Making Cocktails is More Than Squeezing, Straining and Shaking
Cocktails are alcoholic drinks that include ice, one type of alcohol (or several), a non-alcoholic mixer, bitters, syrups, and garnishes like limes or maraschino cherries.
Some cocktails also feature a range of modifiers such as citrus juices, fortified wines, and liqueurs. These can add a wide array of flavors and aromas to the drink.
In making cocktails, there are several ingredients that must be included to make the drinks taste great. These ingredients include liquors and other alcoholic beverages, flavorful additions, and bitters. They also need to be used in a balanced manner so that the drink does not become overly sweet or overly sour.
Liquors are the main ingredients in most cocktails. They are primarily distilled spirits such as gin, vodka, rum and tequila. These are generally mixed with other liquids like vermouth, lemon juice or orange juice to create a drink that is not only delicious, but also palatable and well-balanced.
The most important ingredient in a cocktail is alcohol. It is what will give you a buzz & can help to enhance the flavour of the other ingredients.
It is essential to have a good quality spirit on hand as it will help you achieve the perfect balance of all other elements in your cocktail. This includes the other ingredients – bitters, syrups, and mixers.
As the name suggests, bitters add complexity and depth to your cocktails. They are available in many different varieties so you can experiment with them to find what suits your tastes.
Sugar is another vital ingredient in cocktails as it can help to enhance the flavour of other ingredients. It can be used as a simple or rich sugar syrup, or can be infused with spices to add more flavour.
Freshly squeezed lime and lemon juice is another crucial ingredient for a good drink. Especially when mixing a new recipe, it is important to use freshly squeezed ingredients as they will not be as over-ripe or under-ripe and will result in a better-quality drink.
The ice you use in your cocktails is also an essential element in the final result. It is important to use a high-quality ice because it will not melt as quickly as a lower quality type of ice and will not dilute your cocktail as much.
It is also important to serve your cocktail in a glass that is both clear & clean. This ensures that the drink you are serving will be as enjoyable & refreshing as possible.
Making cocktails is a lot more than squeezing, straining and shaking: you also need tools to ensure you get the right drink every time. That means a few basic ones, like jiggers and shakers, as well as a few that are just for fun (like a brulee torch and a juicer).
Jiggers are two-sided, cone-shaped measuring cups that are easy to use – and much more reliable than “eyeballing” your pours. They come in a variety of sizes, from 1/4 oz to 2 oz, and you can even find taller versions that are ideal for mixing drinks that contain more ingredients.
Another essential tool for cocktail making is a muddler, which is used to crush fresh fruit and herbs. There are a few coated muddlers that work well, but for best results, stick with a plain wooden one.
Bar spoons are essential for stirring cocktails, layering them, and occasionally measuring small amounts of liquid (like 5ml). They are long-handled and have a flat circular back-end that makes it easier to stir in a wide variety of glassware.
If you’re serious about your bartending skills, you’ll want to stock your home bar with a mixology set of tools. These include a shaker, a mixing glass and a Hawthorne strainer.
Shaking a cocktail involves shaking the alcohol with ice to cool and dilute it as much as possible. It’s important to achieve this dilution without causing bubbles or ice shards, which can damage your glasses and the flavour of your drink.
Aspiring bartenders should also have a bar spoon, a metal spoon with a long and spiral handle that is ideal for stirring drinks, layering them and even spooning in small amounts of ingredients.
It’s also a good idea to have some fancy knives for garnishing, such as channel knives. These are small spoon-shaped knives that peel long, thin twists of citrus to create beautiful designs on your cocktail.
There are many other essentials for the home bar, such as ice accessories, a wine cooler and a can opener. Having these tools at hand will make your drinks taste better, but more importantly they will help you entertain your friends and family with delicious cocktails!
Making cocktails requires a certain set of tools and ingredients. The right equipment can help you achieve the best results, while the wrong ones can make your drinks less than desirable.
At their most basic, cocktails include a spirit, mixer, and ice. From there, you can add syrups, flavorings, bitters, liqueurs, cream, herbs, fruit, and more to make your drink more interesting.
When measuring cocktail ingredients, you should use a spirit measure or jigger to ensure that you have the exact amount of each ingredient. There are different sizes & shapes of jiggers, so choose one that you can handle easily & will allow you to measure the full quantity needed for your cocktail recipe.
Depending on the recipe, you may need to muddle your ingredients before mixing them. This is a great way to evenly distribute the flavors, and it can also enhance the aroma of your cocktail.
You can use a cocktail muddler to create this effect, or you can stir the herbs & fruit with a strainer to release their oils. You can also mix the ingredients with simple syrup to help distribute their flavors throughout the drink.
Modifiers, like liqueurs, citrus juices, and fortified wine, can also contribute to the flavor of your cocktail. These can add floral, herbaceous, or umami notes that can enhance the balance of your drink and introduce a new taste experience.
Water is another common modifier that can help to dilute the high-proof alcohol in your cocktail and can also help to smooth out any other harsh or bitter tastes. It’s not a bad idea to try adding water to your cocktails, though it is better to start with small amounts and increase them over time.
It is important to keep your cocktail recipes simple. Generally, you’ll want to limit yourself to no more than two or three ingredients per drink.
While it’s tempting to branch out and experiment with new recipes, stick to tried-and-true cocktail families that you know well and can rely on when creating your own drinks. This will help you get familiar with the underlying balance and structure of your cocktails, which will save you time and money in the long run.
The serving process is one of the most crucial elements of a good cocktail, and a failure to execute it correctly can leave guests disappointed and unimpressed. It’s an area that is often overlooked, but it’s a major factor in how your drinks are perceived.
A perfect serve is something that 4 out of 5 consumers say they expect, so getting it wrong is going to put you at a serious disadvantage. A perfect serve boils down to consistency, so ensure you work methodically every time you make a cocktail.
Glassware – The glassware used for a drink is very important, and you want to select the highest quality possible, as this will be the first thing your guest sees. When choosing a glass for a particular cocktail, you’ll need to consider a number of factors, including how tall the drink will be.
Using the correct sized glass will give you the best presentation, and will also be more comfortable for your guests to hold. Depending on the size of your drink, you may need a 12-16 cl (4-5.5 oz) sized glass.
The right size of glass is also essential for ensuring your guests can move the drink without spilling it, and giving them a little space to raise their lips to sip it. Most cocktails should be poured to about a quarter of an inch below the rim so that they can raise their lip and still have some room to swizzle or sip it.
Garnishes – The garnishes you choose for your drinks are another big part of how they are seen and enjoyed, so it’s important to choose the best available. If you can, ensure the garnishes are fresh and haven’t been sitting around for too long.
Ice – The ice used in a cocktail is an extremely important factor, as it chills the drink. It should be large solid cubes, preferably clear produced with filtered water. You’ll want to fill your shaking or stirring vessel with ice to the top, but not so much that you create bubbles or ice shards in the drink; this will dilute the cocktail whilst not allowing it to properly cool.