What do you do when you're looking to make a cocktail but you're light on a few ingredients? Paul Clark, writing for the food blog Serious Eats, points out that nearly all good cocktails follow a basic ratio and that using that ratio can yield pretty tasty results even when using non-standard recipes.
For example, sour-style, liqueur-sweetened cocktails such as margaritas and sidecars usually fall into a 2:1:1 or 3:2:1 ratio of spirits:liqueur:citrus, depending on how sweet or tart you prefer the result. Remember the particular formula that's to your liking and you can start swapping all kinds of things through to make different drinks: rum instead of brandy, apricot liqueur instead of Cointreau; while a little wiggle with the proportions may be required with some substitutions, as long as you follow the basic formula you can be assured that you'll wind up with something balanced.
He goes on to detail other ratios and how his experiment with mixing his own cocktails using the formulas yielded positive results. If you have your own trick for mixing drinks, sound off in the comments and save your fellow readers for another round of rum and coke. Photo by Jazarella Mozarella.