Cocktail Making For Beginners
If you’re looking to start making your own cocktails, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with some basic principles. This will help you to develop a strong foundation that will serve you well as you start experimenting with different ingredients.
The most important rule to remember when learning how to make cocktails is to keep it simple. This means not going overboard with liqueurs, mixers, and aperitifs.
1. Keep it simple
When making cocktails, it’s important to keep it simple. You don’t want to get bogged down with a complicated process that will take you longer than it should. This is especially true when you’re a beginner at the craft.
One of the most important things you can do is to start with the classics and work your way up. Not only are they a great place to learn the basics, but they also serve as inspiration for many other drinks.
Another thing you can do when learning to make cocktails is to keep it simple with the ingredients. Once you’ve mastered the basics, it’s easy to move on to more complex flavour combinations.
It’s also a good idea to make your own simple syrup from scratch. This will save you a lot of money in the long run, and it’s a simple process to learn.
You can use this as a base for all your other recipes, and it’s a great way to cut down on the amount of sugar you use. This will mean you can create a drink that’s sweet, but still has the right balance of flavours.
As well as making your own simple syrup, you can also try mixing it with different spirits and fruit juices to see what works best for you. You can even try adding a few drops of your favourite liqueur or other flavouring to it to make the mix more interesting!
Having a good range of ingredients on hand is also key. It’s a great idea to stock up on these before you start making cocktails, because it can be very frustrating if you don’t have the right ingredient when you need it.
The same goes for the glassware you’ll be using to serve your drinks. Whilst chilling glassware in a freezer is the best way to go, this isn’t always possible for most people. A good compromise is to fill the glass with ice and water before preparing your cocktails – this helps to cool it down while you’re preparing the drink.
It’s also a good idea to stir your cocktail before serving it, to cool it down and dilute the alcohol a little. This is particularly important if you’re mixing a drink with a high percentage of alcohol.
2. Make your own simple syrup
Simple syrup is a key ingredient in many drinks. It helps balance out bitter, herbal, floral, fruity, and smoky flavors in cocktails. It can also be flavored with spices and extracts to add extra flavor.
Often used in place of sugar, it’s a quick, easy, and cheap way to sweeten your drinks. It can be used in both hot and cold drinks.
You can make your own at home from simple ingredients: water and granulated sugar. Simply dissolve the sugar in water, then cool and refrigerate. It will last in the refrigerator for about a month, so you’ll be set with it when you’re ready to mix up some tasty cocktails!
Making your own can also be cheaper than buying pre-made syrup at the grocery store. Moreover, you can avoid unnecessary additives and stabilizers found in most pre-made syrups.
To make your own, simply combine granulated sugar and water in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool, and then pour into a clean glass bottle or jar.
This simple syrup recipe is ideal for use in a wide variety of drinks, including classic margaritas, mojitos, and more. It’s also great to keep on hand for swizzling and drizzling cakes and cookies for a moist and delicious finish!
It’s even a good base for sorbet and granita, too. Just toss in some ice cubes and a handful of fresh fruit, and you’ll have a delicious frozen treat that won’t weigh you down!
If you want to spice it up, you can make richer simple syrups that have a 2:1 sugar to water ratio. This reduces the dilution of your drink, and gives you more flexibility when creating complex flavors like vanilla, cinnamon, lemon-thyme, or rosemary.
You can also try using different sugars to create alternative simple syrups. Brown sugar syrup is a darker version of simple syrup that’s perfect for bourbon and whiskey-based drinks, while demerara syrup is much lighter in color and adds a nutty caramel flavor layer to your cocktail.
You can also use homemade simple syrups to infuse whipped cream or marinade meat, and it’s the perfect ingredient for a boozy granita or sorbet!
3. Keep an eye on the ice
When making cocktails, it is important to have a good selection of quality ice on hand & to make sure that each time you shake, stir or serve your cocktail you use fresh ice. The type of ice you choose to use will have an enormous impact on the overall experience of your drink.
It is best to always use dry & solid ice in your cocktails, the type of ice that your fingers easily stick to – this will result in a more enjoyable & pleasurable experience for you & your guests. Insufficient ice or poor quality ice will overly dilute your drinks both when they are being mixed & as they are consumed, making them far less enjoyable.
Another aspect of ice is the size of cubes that you use. If you are using large ice cubes in your drinks, this will help to chill the drink & also provide a little bit of dilution as it melts into the drink. It is also a good idea to be generous with your ice in your drinks & to fill your glasses almost to the brim.
To help ensure that you use the correct quantity of ice, it is a good idea to own a pair of jiggers (a straight-sided measuring ‘jigger’) so that you can measure the exact quantities needed in your drinks. These jiggers come in different sizes so that you can get the right amount of ice for any cocktail you are mixing, whether it is a simple martini or something more elaborate like an absinthe cocktail.
Ideally, you will want to have a set of cocktail jiggers that range in sizes from 22 / 45 ml ( 3/4 / 1.5 oz) up to a 15 / 30 ml (0.5 / 1 oz) so that you can easily measure the most commonly used amounts of ice in your drinks.
To keep a good balance of flavours in your drinks, it is best to keep a few fruit based garnishes on-hand such as orange peel twists & lemon zest sprigs so that you can add a little extra flavour to your cocktails without having to buy expensive liqueurs. Citrus fruits are a great choice for this, but be sure to choose a selection of ripe, juicy fruits that will be able to stand up to being blended with your drinks – overripe or under-ripe fruit will usually be bitter or sour in taste so it is important to ensure that you have a variety of different types of fruit on-hand when mixing.
4. Take time over presentation
While cocktail making for beginners is a fun and rewarding job, it is important to take your time to ensure the end result is the best possible. This includes choosing the right glass for your drink and garnishing it with a touch of class.
Getting this right will make your drinks look impressive and help your customers remember that you’re the best in town. A lack of attention to detail can make your drinks look cheap and unappealing.
One of the most important things you can do is to keep your ingredients fresh. This is especially true for ice. Adding the wrong type of ice will dilute your cocktails and water down your drink’s flavour profile.
Aside from ice, another key ingredient in making a good cocktail is the right mix of ingredients. This can be done by using the correct ratios of spirit, syrup, juice, and soda.
The right balance of these ingredients will ensure that your drink is not only delicious but also looks its best at the same time. It might seem like a lot of work at the start, but it’s worth it in the long run.
Taking the time to make the perfect cocktail will not only improve your customer’s experience, it will also allow you to test out new recipes and discover your favorite spirits. You’ll also be able to learn some of the best drink-making techniques along the way, which will make you a more well-rounded bartender in no time.