Any mixologist will agree that the key to a great cocktail is its base spirit. The base will affect the mix in a number of ways. This can include the taste, colour, consistency and alcoholic strength of the drink. Over the years, several spirits have emerged as popular bases for different types of cocktails.
Vodka is one of the most common forms of bases. Many of the cocktails made from it have a fruity taste to them. Examples include the screwdriver, lemon drop and sea breeze.
However, not all vodka cocktails have to be fruit-based. The spirit is so versatile that it can lend itself to a very wide range of drinks. Some are creamy, others are savoury. When it comes to vodka, the possibilities are endless. This is due to the fact that it has less of a strong taste than other spirits. Therefore the flavours of the mixers take over.
Rum has a stronger taste than vodka, and so the types of cocktails made from it are less broad. Drinkers are much more likely to notice the taste of the rum in these kinds of cocktails. It will be hard for mixologists to conceal the rum flavour through mixers. However, if the rum is spiced, this will help. Popular rum cocktails include piña colada, rum punch and negroni.
This Mexican spirit is mainly drank in shot form. However, it is also an ideal base for some strong tasting cocktails. Perhaps the most well known of these is the tequila sunrise. When drinking a tequila cocktail, the base spirit will be very noticeable. This is not necessarily a bad thing as it allows mixologists to come up with some great flavour contrasts between the tequila and the mixers. A good example of this is the margarita.