Friday Night Cocktail: The Esquire Formula

It may sound like the title of a bad spy novel, but the “Esquire formula” is really just shorthand for an interesting “universal” cocktail ratio proposed by Esquire magazine. The idea is that, armed with this ratio and one secret ingredient, you can make a tasty cocktail from pretty much any other ingredients you have on hand.

The “secret ingredient” in question is Aperol, a citrusy, lightly bitter Italian liqueur. It’s kind of a Campari-lite, and apparently does a good job of tying other cocktail ingredients together. Lucky for me, the LCBO started carrying it a couple of years ago.

A formula like this isn’t guaranteed to produce a mind-blowing cocktail every single time; instead, it’s intended to produce something that’s enjoyable at the very least, and can possibly be used as a starting point for creating something new and interesting.

It’s also a good way to play with some of the more off-beat cocktail ingredients you have kicking around your liquor cabinet. I recently used the formula with a Hungarian apricot eau-de-vie, a French sloe-kernel liqueur, the requisite Aperol and some lime juice.

And you know what? It was pretty tasty. Not intense or terribly complex, but a light, fruity, refreshing drink. Somehow it reminded me of the Cosmopolitan – in colour if nothing else – so I would definitely try it out on my Cosmo-drinking friends.

How to make a cocktail using the Esquire Formula

  • 1.5 ounces of any spirit (in my case, barack palinka)
  • 0.5 ounces of any liqueur (in my case, prunelle)
  • 0.5 ounces of lemon, lime or grapefruit juice (in my case, lime)
  • 0.5 ounces of Aperol

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, shake for 15 seconds, and strain into a chilled glass.

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One Response to “Friday Night Cocktail: The Esquire Formula”

  1. Speaking of universal, I remember, and use a Jamaican verse for rum punch,

    “One of sour,
    Two of sweet,
    Three of strong,
    And four of weak!”

    Respectively, that’s lime, fruit juice, rum, and soda, or variations.