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About

Empire Mixology is an online collaborative digital publication dedicated to great drinking, skill enhancement, and lifestyle articles. There’s more to bartending than mixing drinks, pouring beers, and collecting cash. There’s a method to the madness and a study to the science. Mixology is the in-depth look at creating and mixing drinks in a professional and social setting. The right drink at the right time with the best ingredients, the biggest names in the scene, and the places changing the game; that’s what we are all about.

Empire Mixology started out as a personal project by a fourth generation mixologist who aimed to advance his own craft and share his knowledge, however the Empire Mixology experts and enthusiasts have made this project into something so much more. The Empire network has expanded to include spirits experts, mixologists, barmasters, photographers, and lifestyle article specialists.

It’s a good time to be a drinker these days. There are countless spirits to choose from ranging from global brands to local craft spirits. It’s becoming harder and harder to choose your next beverage and stay up to date on the latest. Empire Mixology is your personal assistant for that. We tell you what’s in and what’s out, where the best drink is, and how to make your hobby into a refined craft.

We want to educate, entertain, and inspire our readers ranging from the established experts to the basement mixologists out there. There’s so much to learn about spirits, wines, beers, recipes, trends, and more; and we want to be always be there for our readers. We go beyond the bar to show you the latest in entertainment and lifestyle choices as well.

 

The Empire Team

With generations of talent and skill across so many fields; nobody brings to the table what Empire Mixology can. Meet the movers and shakers (pun!) behind the bar.

 
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Anthony sgroi - The mixologist

Self proclaimed “The King of Cocktails” and a fourth generation Mixologist, Anthony is the founder of Empire Mixology. A graduate of York College of Pennsylvania with a degree in sociology; Anthony has over a decade of experience in the mixology field and is able to bring the necessary keys to success behind the bar and in the front office.

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kevin grebeck - the aficionado

Kevin “The Rev” Grebeck is Empire Mixology’s resident Cigar Aficionado and a journeyman Mixologist in his own right. Kevin is a graduate of the university of Scranton.

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robert sgroi - the barmaster

The third generation Mixologist and resident Barmaster of Empire Mixology, Rob “Bobalou” Sgroi brings over a decade of experience behind the bar at an array of establishments to the team. Rob also specializes in construction and renovation assessment.

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branka Sgroi - the photographer

Branka is the lead creative consult for Empire Mixology during photo-shoots for Brand Representation assignments. Branka also possesses a noteworthy eye for layout and overall design/theme for consultations.

Branka is a graduate of York College of Pennsylvania and is a proud mother of one, and a decorated nurse leader.

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jAMES forsyth - the advisor

James is one of Empire Mixology’s most valued assets; as he brings a skillset to the table that is essential to any business, product, or establishment. James specializes in financial assessment and consultation, overall vision feasibility, and standard operating procedure guidance.

Equipment list

Our mixologists are often asked for their preference for equipment and bar tools. The tools don’t make a great bartender or mixologist, but they can help. Our staff uses tools readily available and fair priced for the average enthusiast or professional. Our Lead Mixologist has prepared the list of tools below for those interested in adding to their collection.

Note: The following items and links are unaffiliated with Empire Mixology and are not endorsed or sponsored content.

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libbey glassware

Glassware is glassware. I prefer using plain, undecorated glasses. For me the focus is on the drink not the serving glass. Libbey glassware is durable and relatively imperfection free. At a fair price point I typically stock my own bar with it.

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Bullet cocktail shaker

I’m not typically too attached to shakers, but I’ve owned this specific one for a long time. It’s a vintage style shaker that cannot be used with a pint glass. It’s decorative, a conversation starter, and does its job well.

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Boston Shaker

The Boston Shaker is more traditional and often more preferred in a typical bar setting. Shakers are nice but Boston Shakers are typically quicker to use if multiple tins are around. This combo comes with a mixing glass, tin, and strainer.

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Shaker tins

It’s standard equipment for any bartender. A good set of shaking and mixing tins are a fairly essential tool. Typically these tins take a fair amount of abuse, so its not worth going for something too expensive.

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Ninja nutri Bowl duo

Ninja quality and longevity is definitely an industry standard. It blends, smoothies, purees; exactly what you need it to do. If you have a small personal bar I would recommend it.

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Hamilton beach Blender

Ninjas are nice, but if you need a workhorse then this is perfect. The size is great for multiple cocktails and it’s very simple and reliable. Typically half the price of a Ninja, its value is worth it.

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Bar Pour Bottles

These aren’t totally necessary in a bar situation, but they do keep a more professional appearance. Color coded and the ability to seal tight for storage, they help organize a back bar.

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Bottle Pourers

Bottle pourers are more important than you think. So much alcohol is wasted each year because of leaky spouts. I personally use and highly recommend the Pure Pour. It fits almost all bottles and creates a perfect seal.

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ceramic peeler

I prefer ceramic because it doesn’t rust. This peeler is lightweight and cuts well. I wouldn’t invest heavily but get something that peels well. I also recommend ceramic for knives as well.

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OXO Zester

This zester has been perfect in my opinion. I’ve been using it for a while and I love the ergonomic handle and how well it cuts. It’s inexpensive and does a great job.

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Strainer

You don’t realize you need it until you really need it. They’re cheap and plentiful to buy. I’d keep a few handy just in cade.

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muddler

A muddler is pretty important. A lot of key cocktails like the Mojito and Old Fashiioned depend on this tool. Solid wood is a good option, I prefer the more modern model above.

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Mixing Spoons

Better than using your finger or an oversized spoon/knife. The right tool costs little and does the job better than most.

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Steel Strainers

For more labor intensive cocktail you might find the fine mesh strainer more useful. I always have a set behind my bar in case creativity really sparks.

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Speed Openers

Good to have handy, especially if you serve a lot of import or craft beer bottles. Reduce the wear on your hands and work smarter.

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Garnish Tray

Fresh garnishes last longer and taste better. A tray is a simple and economical way to keep your supply organized and chilled.

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jigger

The bartender’s training wheels; a jigger helps to measure pours so a recipe can be followed more exact. Even an experienced mixologist can benefit from owning one of these time to time.

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bar mops

Cleanliness is next to godliness. Take care of your bar and it takes care of you. Quick cleanup and easy wash is the best way to go. You run through these fast.

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cigar humidor

Typically I defer to our Aficionado on these things, but I own one like this. It’s small for a personal collection and has a see through top to keep your eyes on your cigars.

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Cigar Cutter

Cut is matter of preference. I prefer the straight cut, so this works for me. I recommend not cheaping out, as a butchered cut ruins a cigar.

 

The Empire top 10

Our team of experts and enthusiasts sat down and deliberated over “what makes a cocktail great?” Empire Mixology hammered out a list of the Top 10 Cocktails, based on impact and overall taste. The list is updated as new recipes and opinions develop, so check back to see if anything’s changed!

 
 
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#1 The long island iced tea

The cocktail of cocktails. Our experts agree that no cocktail is quite the combination of flavors and spirits as the Long Island Iced Tea. Now sure we’re a little biased because three generations of our mixologists hail from Long Island, but the argument is indistinguishable; no cocktail on this list incorporates as many spirits and flavors as the Long Island. We consider it a core cocktail and one that any self-respecting mixologist should know how to make. The Long Island Iced Tea has spawned its own class of cocktails such as the Purple Rain, Texas Tea, Tokyo Tea and more. For the reasons of taste, skill level, and overall popularity we at Empire Mixology name the Long Island Iced Tea as the Greatest Cocktail.

 
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#2 The Mojito

Probably the most famous rum highball aside from the Cuba Libre, the Mojito is a worldwide phenomenon. Recently named the favorite cocktail of both France and Britain, the Mojito has ascended to cocktail royalty in the last few decades. With it’s sweet and refreshing taste the Mojito is a summertime favorite. The Mojito is also becoming a class of its own, as many variations and twists on the original recipe are being developed. Due to its immense popularity all over the world and its light and sweet flavor, we name the Mojito the #2 Cocktail.

 
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#3 The old fashioned

It might surprise you that when a newspaper was asked to define the word “cocktail” in 1806, they basically described the Old Fashioned. Traditionally made with rye whiskey it’s also commonly accepted to made with bourbon which is the official drink of Louisville, Kentucky. The Old Fashioned is presently enjoying a renaissance due to the popularity of the mid-2000s drama “Mad Men,” as it was the favorite of lead character Don Draper. An incredibly historic cocktail and traditional to boot, the Old Fashioned takes our #3 spot.

 
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#4 The Moscow Mule

The Moscow Mule is another great American cocktail. Created due to an excess of SMIRNOFF Vodka, this recipe rapidly caught on and is a staple of cocktail menus all over the world. Crisp and refreshing, no cocktail quite captures the unique essence and character of this libation. Due to exceeding popularity and quality flavor, we deem the Moscow Mule worthy of a Top 5 inclusion.

 
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#5 The Rum Runner

The Rum Runner is a quintessential tropical cocktail. The rumor has it that the libation was born in the 1950s in Florida when a bartender tried using up extra inventory to create space. This beverage is an explosion of flavors and sweetness. The blend of citrus juices with the exorbitant fruit flavored liqueurs create a confectionery cavalcade and tastebud tantalizing experience. The Rum Runner is dangerous due to its ability to mask its high alcohol content. The Rum Runner is a favorite cocktail of any summer menu and in taste alone earns a place on the Top 10.

 
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#6 The Cuba Libre

It may be identical to a rum & coke, but this immensely popular cocktail has a worldwide fanbase and history all its own. Hailing from Cuba where most great rum cocktails come from, the Cuba Libre was created in the early 1900s. The exact recipe calls for Bacardi Superior Silver Rum and Coca Cola. Aside from the Gin & Tonic on this list, this is the simplest recipe on the Top 10. However, don’t let the simplicity fool you, as this may be the most popular cocktail in the world on this list too. Due to reasons of immense popularity and historical basis, the Cuba Libre makes the Top 10.

 
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#7 The Manhattan

A New York original and a cocktail for the ages. The Manhattan is thought to have been created in the late 1800s in New York City. This recipe has prevailed through the tests of time into the modern day. A symbol of elegance and sophistication, the Manhattan has been the favored cocktail of many socialites. We granted the #7 slot to the Manhattan based on its bold flavor, perseverance throughout the decades, and its symbolism in cocktail culture.

 
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#8 The Martini

The quintessential cocktail and in a regard all its own, the Martini is a legend. Named the greatest American invention, the Martini has stood tall as the face of all cocktails. Named one of the six basic drinks any bartender should know, the Martini is a pillar of modern mixology and is a recipe all bartenders and mixologists should know by heart. The definition of class, the Martini has stood the test of time and remained prevalent in cocktail culture, therefore it would be shameful to not include it on our list.

 
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#9 the Margarita

The Margarita is in a class all its own. This mid-century cocktail exploded onto the scene and has created a class all its own. Similar to the Martini, the Margarita is a defining cocktail that is considered a pillar of modern mixology. The sole tequila-based cocktail on the Top 10, the list wouldn’t be complete without a cocktail of culture and class all its own.

 
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#10 The Gin & Tonic

Although simple, it is not to be underestimated. The G&T is a classic cocktail that really can be enjoyed by all. The simple, inexpensive recipe is light and refreshing and is perfect for all seasons. This cocktail is centuries old and continues to be routinely ordered in the modern era. For these reasons our panel decided the Gin & Tonic deserved ranking in the Top 10.