Travel Cocktail Kit
I recently returned from a six day trip to Georgia for a friend's graduation from Army bootcamp. While there I had a craving for a nicely made cocktail. Figuring that I could obtain all the items needed to make an Old Fashioned I set out on a quest. I was, after some serious hunting, able to find all the things I needed and for the next few nights enjoyed some tasty libations. This whole process got me thinking though. Wouldn't it be nice to have a Travel Cocktail Kit made up that could simply be tossed in my bag when I go on trips? All that would be required at that point would be to get some base spirit and some ice and I'd be set.
So here is what I'm thinking will be included in the kit:
Glass dropper bottle of Orange Bitters (Likely Regan's)
Glass dropper bottle of Angostura Bitters
Glass dropper bottle of Peychaud's Bitters
Any other suggestions for things I should include? Anyone else have a similar kit?
For light travel I try to have some good bitters with me, usually the ones you mentioned plus a few of Fee's offerings and a Boston shaker. Everything else is usually easily available.
I have a major portable kit that I use when consulting, for mixology competitions, and times like this coming weekend when I am going to a huge, multi-day party where I may feel the urge to do some mixing.. It is a briefcase style, diamond plate, black metal tool box from Home Depot of the type used to hold precision tools and instruments. It has a nice, wide shoulder strap as well as a solid handle. It has tons of pockets in the top to hold knives, spoons, muddlers, strainers, zesters, measuring spoons, etc. and movable dividers in the bottom to hold several shakers, jiggers, corkscrews, several types of bitters, etc.It has just about every bar tool you can imagine, except a blender (which I rarely use for anything.) It looks very intimidating and professional at the same time. When I fly I put it in the middle of a larger suitcase and pad it with my folded clothes.
The defacto bar kit for most bartenders in NYC are Koobi Kits. They make an awesome ballistic nylon and have numerous compartments to hold your tools.
In mine I have
Vertical Ceramic Peeler
6" paring knife in holder
Numerous mixing spoons
Mongolian Ice fork
Church Key / Wine Key
Small strainer (for double straining)
Plastic travel case with various dropper bottles of bitters
Metal on Metal shaker set
It all fits in that bag with room to spare.
To these good suggestions(shaker, muddler, corkscrew, stirrer, zester-stripper,,paring knife,strainer, jigger measure), I would add a small bottle of olives and/or onions, a dropper bottle of Rose's lime, and a small jar of cherries(amarena or maraschino). and a small ziploc of demerara sugar.
Interesting, but I personally wouldn't use any of those. This is just my taste/opinion. The onions/olives are only for martini/gibson. And I feel there are much better uses for gin than a martini. I want my gin on the rocks or in a cocktail that points up its flavor.
I don't make gimlets and that is about the only use for Rose's. I use fresh lime and lemon juice.
In my Manhattan I like a lemon twist, mqaybe some homemade candied cherries, but almost all bottled ones are inferior.
And what use for demerara sugar? For rimming?
Sugar for Caipirinhas, mojitos, old fashioneds, and just about any other muddled drinks, the amerena cherries for a manhattan, and olives for a martini or dry manhattan. the Rose's for my wife who likes Gimlets and the onions for my dad who drinks Gibsons. De gustibus non disputandem, etc., as you stated. I just like to be prepared. I also carry miniatures of vermouth, both sweet and dry, campari, maraschino liquer and grand marnier just in case.
re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester
In muddled drinks,such as a caipirinha, the sugar actually acts as an abrasive, helping the muddling process,releasing the essential oils from the lime rind, so you don't really want it too fine. I had noticedthis efect and it was confirmed by Gary Regan in The Joy of Mixology. There may be some drinks that you want it to dissolve quickly, but I generally use simple syrup for those.