Hello again board gamers!
With the beginning of June I figured I’d contribute a little more- and as your resident internet gaming bartender, it’s only best if I share my drink concoctions with the masses. For June, I’m going to start by giving some basic bartending tips and then teach you a simple drink for all you 21+ gamers and another for all you non-alcoholic drinkers. These tips should help anyone making either kinds of drinks.
Tip #1: Ice does make a difference – If you’re like me, you might get your pop or soda from a fountain without any ice. It’s already cold, what’s ice gonna do? Well, surprisingly, it can affect how a drink is made and the taste. You’ll find that some drinks don’t just require ice, but need it. Others you can strain and drain the drink with no problem. And what’s worse: if you have a packed freezer, bad water, or an ice machine that’s not been cleaned in awhile- how the ice is made can affect the drink’s taste. Now, each their own- but I personally grab a bag of ice for a couple of dollars or a fiver if it’s a huge group (those are 22 lbs here!). Not only is it easier, it just tastes better to me. Either way ice is definitely a necessity when mixing drinks, even if you strain it all.
Tip #2: You get what you pay for, most the time – You might be thinking well no duh, you get a higher shelf quality drinks it’s going to taste like a higher shelf. Thing is, for mixed drinks the higher shelf is really not going to make that big of a difference most of the time. For liquor I usually stick with what I’ve tried and liked. Sometimes I’ll buy a brand because it’s cheaper or the only option in the store to find I’m not a fan of it. Use your budget to truly figure out what you can buy, and what you might like. For your mixins, again it’s going to be what you like, your budget and what’s available to you. I personally prefer the Simply brand for juices and similar premade drinks, while going with the name brand pops like Sprite or Mt. Dew. If you however drink or prefer 7Up or store brand Mountain Lightning, it’s perfectly OK but might change the taste a bit. Realize that your mixins are going to be the majority of the drink, so those are really going to make or break it. You might be able to mask a bad tasting liquor but you won’t be able to mask a bad tasting mixin.
Tip #3: Research what a drink is – If you’re not someone who has ever dealt with mixing drinks, you might not have any idea what amaretto is supposed to taste like. For the record, it’s almond. When you look up drinks online to try to mix, you’ll find that they have all these fancy names. Well, those are typically brand names. Midori for instance is a brand named melon schnapps, which means a lower end melon schnapps should be more than fine. Don’t worry though- all the drinks I’m going to be making are going to be simple and should be easy to find all the ingredients for. “Should be” is mostly for those gamers in remote places where it’s going to be a tad harder. But knowing what you like, and what mixes well together, means you’ll start making your own drinks in no time.
Tip #4: Have fun no matter what – The key point of playing these games is to have fun! And if it starts to get to be a pain to make these drinks or you’re hurting in your wallet: stop doing it. My group might love when I make them, but they totally understand when I just want to sit back and not worry about it. I’m thankful my group doesn’t have anyone wanting to stop the game every few minutes to make a new drink- because that’s not fun. Occasionally having drinks ready though is a great way to add something to a gathering to make it themed or just to celebrate. We never pressure anyone to drink, and it’s why I decided to have both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options- so everyone can join in.
I’m gonna start you all off with some classics that are popular.
This is a fairly simple drink that can get a little complex only in finding the right ingredients.
What you’ll need:
How to prep:
Fill cup with ice. Pour in desired amount of Sake. Fill cup with orange juice leaving a little room. If in a clear glass, slightly tip the glass and use the side to pour in the grenadine.
What’s it taste like?: It really depends on the kind of sake you use. In America, sake is a rice wine that comes in a handful of different flavors. This is where it gets complicated: I have no way to tell you which to get. If you’re in America, you might be able to find some sake labeled all sorts of things- sweet, ruby red, etc. Because of this it’s difficult to know what exactly you’re buying as it all depends on branding. You’ll also have imported sake, which makes it a tad more confusing as some are meant to be heated while others are room temp- not the kind you want in your cold drink. We typically use a low end brand you might find at Kroger for around $10, while I’ve tried a more sweet sake that cost double that to find it wasn’t great in this mix.
All in all it’s going to have mostly an orange juice taste to it, with an aftertaste that can only be described as ‘rice wine with a hint of grenadine. If you’re not familiar with grenadine, actual grenadine varies but is meant to be a blackcurrant or pomegranate flavoring. The Rose brand by Mott’s, the most popular brand, has almost a cherry-esque flavoring to it but not quite. The more sake you use, the more alcoholic it is- but I typically use the 1-2 method of pouring around the cup twice with all liquor unless specifically noted.
An even simpler drink that’s a classic staple and can be made multiple ways.
What you’ll need:
How to prep:
Fill cup with ice. Pour in desired amount of grenadine. Fill cup with Sprite or lemon lime soda of your choice. Optional: You can also use ginger ale in place of your lemon lime soda if you prefer.
What’s it taste like?: It’s really just a flavored lemon lime soda. If you like cherry Sprite, you’ll probably enjoy a Shirley Temple. The ginger ale version is really similar.
Well that’s all for this month board gamers. If you’ve never made a mixed drink for your table, give it a go at your next meetup! And remember: drink responsibly, play to win and don’t party foul on the board.
- The Bartender