• 66°

Today is March 24

National Cocktail Day

Who isn’t playing home mixologist these days? Many people are heading to the liquor store to make sure they have all the essentials on hand to blend classic cocktails and creative drinks for socially distant happy hours over Zoom or to toast to birthdays and other special events with loved ones at home.

Novice mixologists and even seasoned amateur barkeeps may benefit from a rundown of all the elements necessary to create cocktails from the comforts of home.

Prepare your inventory

A good base of glassware is essential for pouring tasty cocktails.

  • Collins/highball glasses: Tall, chimney-shaped glasses good for vodka and club soda or gin and tonic.
  • Coupe or martini glasses: These stemmed glasses are ideal for cocktails served shaken or stirred with ice and served chilled.
  • Single rocks glasses: Stemless glasses for any spirit served neat or on the rocks. These hold between eight and 10 ounces.
  • Shot glasses: These small glasses tend to be short and stubby.

In addition to these glasses, make sure you have stirrers, shakers and strainers available for mixing drinks.

Drink ingredients

Once your glassware cabinet is full, it’s time to stock the bar with liquor and other essentials.

  • Gin
  • Rum
  • Tequila
  • Triple Sec
  • Vermouth
  • Vodka
  • Whiskeys (including Bourbons and Scotches)

In addition, it’s best to have on hand some other drink essentials.

  • Sour mix
  • Simple syrup
  • Green olives
  • Maraschino cherries
  • Grenadine syrup
  • Muddled mint
  • Citrus rinds
  • Citrus juices
  • Tonic water
  • Club soda and other sodas

Learn the essentials

With accessories and inventory in place, practice mastering these three classic drinks.

Margarita

Makes 2 drinks

(courtesy of Serious Eats)

1 lime wedge, plus 2 lime wheels for garnish

1 tablespoon coarse salt, for glass rims

4 ounces high-quality blanco tequila

2 ounces Cointreau or other triple sec

11/2 ounces fresh juice from 2 limes

  1. Run lime wedge around the outer rims of two rocks glasses and dip rims in salt. Set aside.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, combine tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice. Fill with ice and shake until thoroughly chilled, about 15 seconds (the bottom of a metal shaker should frost over).
  3. Fill glasses with fresh ice and strain margarita into both glasses. Garnish with lime wheels and serve.

Tom Collins

Makes 1 drink

(Courtesy of The Spruce: Eats)

11/2 ounces gin

1 ounce lemon juice

1/2 ounce simple syrup

3 ounces club soda (or enough to fill)

Maraschino cherry

Lemon or orange slice

  1. In a collins glass filled with ice cubes, pour the gin, lemon juice and simple syrup.
  2. Stir thoroughly and top with club soda.
  3. Garnish with a cherry and an orange or lemon slice.

Whiskey Sour

Makes 1 drink

(Courtesy of Liquor.com)

2 ounces bourbon

3/4 ounces fresh lemon juice

1/2 ounces simple syrup

1/2 ounces egg white (optional)

Angostura bitters, for garnish

  1. Add all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake.
  2. Strain into a coupe.
  3. Garnish with three dashes of Angostura bitters.

**

National Ag Day recognizes and celebrates the abundance provided by American agriculture. Every spring, producers, agricultural associations, corporations, universities, government agencies and others across the country join together in recognition—and appreciation—of agriculture in our country.

**

National Inhalants and Poisons Awareness Week

Childhood is time of exploration for youngsters. Curiosity is a healthy way for kids to broaden their horizons. However, in an effort to learn more about their worlds, children may find themselves in harm’s way.

The Victoria State Government says accidental poisoning is most commonly a problem in young children. Most poisonings happen at home, but they also can occur while visiting friends and family or while on vacation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that more than 300 children in the United States between the ages of zero and 19 are treated in an emergency department every day, and two children die as a result of being poisoned.

Parents may think that only chemicals with clear warning labels pose a threat to youngsters. However, many everyday items can be poisonous. Here’s how to recognize some of the more common hazards lurking in typical homes.

Medications

Medications account for roughly half of potentially toxic exposures, according to NYU Langone Health. A child who gets into over-the-counter or prescription medications can be in real trouble. To children, medicines may seem like food, beverages, candy, or toys. Some medicines need not be ingested to be dangerous, so make sure all are kept well beyond the reach of curious tykes.

Pesticides/herbicides

Chemicals used to treat lawns and gardens may be toxic to children and pets. It is important to read labels thoroughly and to always strictly follow instructions.

Household plants

Houseplants can be dangerous. Although many common indoor plants only cause mild gastrointestinal symptoms if consumed, daffodils, dumb cane, foxglove, hydrangea, lilies, oleanders, rhododendrons, and wisteria, may have toxins that can affect the stomach, respiratory system, liver, or heart. Speak with a pediatrician about how to keep kids safe around these plants.

Alcohol/nicotine

It may only take a small amount of alcohol to make children ill. Alcohol can be found in beverages, but also in perfume, mouthwash, cleaning products, hand sanitizers, and over-the-counter cold medications. NYU Langone says alcohol poisoning in children can cause low blood sugar, which can lead to seizures and coma.

Liquid nicotine or nicotine replacement gum can be hazardous as well. Illicit substances also carry serious health consequences for children. Changes in breathing, unconsciousness or seizures may result depending on the substance.

Keeping children away from potential poisons takes diligence. Certain substances may be best kept behind lock and key and/or up high where curious hands cannot reach. Homes should have the poison prevention hotline number clearly displayed. The CDC also recommends discarding unused products, medicines and vitamins to limit children’s access to them