Most cocktails aren’t a big commitment to make, if you’re a cocktail fan of any sort. You’ve got the supplies, a well-stocked bar and the know-how to mix them. There are some cocktails, however, that take far more effort than the average Margarita or Martini, though getting even these drinks just right is no small feat. These are drinks that feature dozens of ingredients, complicated homemade tinctures and infusions, and fire. That’s right—fire.
Intrigued? Take a look at the five super-complicated cocktails below and see if you’d be game to make them at home.
With a grand total of 71 ingredients (yes, you read that correctly), the Commonwealth is, without a doubt, the most ingredient-heavy drink on this list. In truth, we’re not entirely sure how so many ingredients fit into a standard coupe glass. Nevertheless, Glasgow-based mixologist Mal Spence managed to do it in honor of the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
The ingredients hail from across the world—just like the competitors—and include everything from prickly pear from Namibia and okra from Jamaica to honey from New Zealand and saffron from Pakistan.
Ever tried fat-washing liquor? It’s not as gross as it sounds, but, in this case, it does require a good amount of pork fat. In essence, fat-washed liquor is just an infusion—one that takes time and is a lot messier than most infusions. This recipe from Manhattan’s Empellón Cocina uses fat drippings from a rack of slow-cooked pork ribs. Add an equal amount of mezcal, let it sit in the freezer overnight and strain. Easy peasy, right?
As if pork-fat-washing the mezcal isn’t enough of a project, the drink’s spicy habanero-tincture garnish also requires a bit of thinking ahead. Though it’s probably worth it for that perfect touch of spice.
Okay, okay. This is pretty easy if you have a good pre-made Bloody Mary mix on hand. But a few years ago, the brunch staple Bloody Mary was named the most complicated drink by the American Chemical Society.
“It’s a very complicated drink,” said Neil C. Da Costa, Ph.D., an expert on the chemical analysis of flavors at International Flavors & Fragrances, Inc. “It covers almost the entire range of human taste sensations—sweet, salty, sour and umami or savory—but not bitter.”
Da Costa has a few tips on how to get the most out of the perfect Bloody, including using inexpensive vodka, splurging on real tomato juice and using lots of ice, which “helps to slow down the chemical reactions involving acids in tomato juice and other ingredients that degrade the taste.” Do all that, then doctor it to your preference, and you’ll have one tasty Bloody Mary that beats any of the bottle mixes.
Japan is known for unique creativity when it comes to food and mixology. Bartenders are willing to go the extra step to ensure each element of a cocktail works in harmony, and this Rum Martinez from Japanese bartender Takumi Watanabe proves it. Toasted wood chips, digital smoke infusers and 23-year-old rum give a combination of maraschino liqueur and vermouth a boost. Clearly, this is not a simple process. Perhaps the best part: The smoky drink is served with a cigar.
At first glance, this recipe may not seem that hard. Sure, it has more ingredients than usual, including cream and egg white. And the instructions are fairly basic: Dry shake. Add ice. Shake again. Strain.
What is lost in translation is how long and hard you do have to shake the Ramos Gin Fizz in order to achieve the right consistency. As any New Orleans bartender would know, it requires major elbow grease to churn these out, day after day. Let this be a lesson to home bartenders hoping to master this frothy concoction: Shake until you can shake no more.