The secret behind a good drink recipe is not always the exact measurements in ounces or centiliters; it’s the basic ingredients and the proportions between them. The 2:1:1 formula is almost foolproof and quickly gets you started and experimenting. It reads 2 parts base spirit, 1 part sweet (simple syrup), and 1 part sour (freshly squeezed lemon juice).
The key, apart from the proportions, is the two ingredients of sweet and sour. With a good supply of simple syrup and freshly squeezed lemons, you are prepared for almost anything. (By freshly squeezed lemons, we mean just that.) To spare your party from a too-messy kitchen and your guests from ruining their outfits, some pre-squeezing is a good idea.
Try the formula with anyone of our flavors, shake and strain in a cocktail glass, or build it over ice in a rocks glass. Tweak the balance between sweet and sour to your taste. (Many bartenders prefer a bit more sour than sweet.)
Start experimenting: switch the base spirit to whiskey, rum or gin; the lemon for lime or orange. Sweeten with a flavored syrup. Top up with soda water, ginger ale, or lemon-lime soda. Add some muddled fresh fruit in the bottom while you’re at it…You see? It’s as easy as 2:1:1!
If you want to learn more about cocktails and proportions, we recommend the classic cocktail book The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks (1948) by David A. Embury. He divided the ingredients into three different categories: the base, modifying agents, and special flavoring and coloring agents. He used a 1:2:8 ratio meaning 1 part sweet, 2 parts sour and 8 parts base spirit. A bit too much base spirit for our taste! But the rest is just great inspiration.