Who wants to settle for a mediocre cocktail when you could creating something special at home for you, your family and friends?
Making cocktails is fun and easy when you know how.
Here’s five pointers from us to get you off and running and making mouth-watering cocktails like a pro.
1. Know Your Cocktail Glasses
There are three main types of glassware used for cocktails that should have a home in your glassware cabinet; stemmed, tumblers and high-ball. Use a stemmed glass whenever you’re serving a shaken or stirred drink without ice as the stem lifts the bowl away from your hand which would otherwise warm the glass. Use an old fashioned glass for drinks built in the glass, usually directly over ice such as an amaretto sour. And use a high-ball glass when you’re sipping something cold and refreshing over lots of ice.
It’s fun to experiment with innovative glassware too. Recent trends have catapulted mini milk bottles and handled jars into the limelight as alternative ways to serve cocktails. If you want a cold cocktail make sure the glass is chilled by leaving it in the freezer as it will keep your cocktail colder for longer.
2. Remember Your Proportions
Balance is key to any good cocktail – and that includes knowing how much booze to use. Too much or too little and you can ruin the whole drink. If you’re making a spirit-forward drink, like a martini or Old Fashioned, 2.5-3 oz (75-90 ml) of spirits works best. For other spirits-based cocktails, the standard bar pour is 2 oz (60 ml), like 2 oz of tequila in a margarita.
3. Keeping Cool
Ice and cooling your glasses is important. They make sure your drinks are chilled an also yslightly dilute it to bring your ingredients into balance by softening the spirits and marrying the flavours.
You can improve your own ice by chucking out anything older than a week and simply fill your ice trays with distilled water rather than tap.
Ice cubes are good for almost any cocktail mixing and super easy make to make home. The bigger the ice cube, the better, as the drink will be colder with the least amount of dilution.
Tip – Did you know, your drink should contain no more than 20% water, if the ice cubes are too small they will dilute quickly and you’ll encounter a ‘bruised’ or watered-down drink.
4. Shake or Stir?
Cocktail recipes will tell you when to shake all your ingredients and when to stir them, but what difference does it make to your drink? As a rule, you should shake cocktails that include fruit juices, cream liqueur, dairy or any other thick or flavourful mixtures. Shaking adds effervescence to your drink to lighten it up and add character. It also ensures every ingredient is fully integrated into the finished drink’s flavour and breaks up ice which in turn dilutes the drink for a well-balanced cocktail.
To properly shake a cocktail add all your ingredients into the shaker and bring it above shoulder level, holding it parallel to the floor. Shake it vigorously for about 15 seconds until the outside of the shaker cup is cold and frosty.
Stir cocktails that are built with distilled or very light mixtures as stirring is a gentler technique for mixing cocktails and will delicately combine the cocktail’s ingredients with a perfect dilution of ice. If your cocktail includes gin or whiskey such as an old fashioned to a martini, you should stir the drink to avoid ‘bruising’ the spirit.
5. Add Mixers, Purees & Syrups
Whether you’re going sweet or sour, we have the perfect flavour mixer for you. Purees and syrups are simple to use and can easily be stored in your cupboards. Freshly squeezed lemon and lime are also a great addition to your home made cocktails giving them fresh taste.
Tip – Use a straw as a pipette to gradually add syrups and flavours to your cocktail so you don’t overpower your drink. Each time you add a different flavour take a sip to make sure the flavours work well together.