If there’s one thing the Internet isn’t lacking, it’s how-to videos. Whether you want to get artistic with your eyeshadow or make your own stun gun, someone’s made a video showing you how. So when budding Next New Networks channel Hungry Nation launched the series 12 Second Cocktails, it was only natural to ask whether, even in the attention span-challenged world of web viewing, mere brevity is enough to make a vid stand out from the crowd. Fortunately, 12 Second Cocktails isn’t just short; it packs a lot more punch than you might expect.
When you think about it, most how-to cocktail-mixing videos waste a lot of time. They start out by telling you what glassware you’ll need, as well well what equipment, liquors and mixers. But it’s a video. I don’t need somebody to tell me I’ll need a martini glass; I can see it right there. Nor do I need a host to hold up a bottle of vermouth to the camera. Just say, “Add an ounce of vermouth,” and I’m set.
Each 12 Second Cocktails vid, on the other hand, is essentially a recipe come to life. As the cocktail is being made, you don’t even see the bartender’s face — just a couple of skilled hands mixing, a confident voice narrating, some quick cuts and sped-up film so it’s not the Watch the Cocktail Shaker show, and bam — drink’s ready.
“Well, OK then,” you say. “What’s so great here that I can’t get from just reading the recipe?” The answer lies in this confession: Each episode of 12 Second Cocktails is actually about 30 seconds long. The first half consists of a mixing demo, while the second half details a related tip from the bartender. In one episode, for example, first you get a demo of a Manhattan — garnished with a maraschino cherry, then you get a tip that brandied cherries are actually easy to make and a tastier addition to your drink. The Negroni lesson is followed by the inside scoop that sweet vermouth needs to be kept chilled. And so on. The end result is that after each episode, you feel like you’ve gone to mini-bartending school, which makes the series a perfect fit for Hungry Nation, whose target demo is non-pro foodies who like to know their stuff.
Sure, the show lacks any bells or whistles. While a few episodes take place in an actual bar, many are hosted from what looks like someone’s apartment kitchen. But that’s part of the charm. After an episode of 12 Second Cocktails, you feel like you can break out one of these drinks at your next party, tossing it off with, “Here’s a little tip a bartender friend of mine showed me.” And with a lot of drinks and a lot of “bartender friends” to choose from, you should have enough new mixological tricks up your sleeve to make your guests very happy.