The art of mixing the perfect cocktail is a wonderful life skill to have at your disposal. You will always be a popular party host if you can serve up a professionally prepared alcoholic beverage! It’s also a great way to build a career as a bartender, or simply to enjoy learning about the magical way that different ingredients work together.
It’s a huge subject that can seem overwhelming to the untrained eye, with so much to learn about tools, techniques, the properties of different types of alcohol, and fresh ingredients. Here are four simple points that can help you to get a grip on the basics of mixology.
Use good quality alcoholic ingredients
Cocktails are alcohol based drinks, rather than fruit juices or soft drinks with a dash of the hard stuff. Therefore you should always use good quality base spirits and additional alcohols, because these are the most important ingredients of the cocktail.
Make sure that all the spirits and liqueurs you use are in date, rather than a bottle of something that has been languishing at the back of your drinks cabinet for years. Buy the best quality spirits you can afford, usually the established brands rather than supermarket equivalents.
Never skimp on the ice
Beginner cocktail makers can sometimes view ice as an optional extra you might add to a drink on a warm day. However, professional mixologists would never dream of serving a drink without ice. The ice is not just there to chill the drink however: it also has a slight diluting effect on the potency of the alcohol.
A common mistake is to add too little ice, out of fear that the drink will become overly diluted. However a smaller amount of ice melts faster, leading to greater dilution, and the drink will not be chilled enough. Therefore be very generous in your helping of ice.
Start with simple classics
Let’s be honest: the ingredient lists for some cocktails can be fairly daunting, with two or three obscure liqueurs or spirits, plus multiple freshly pressed juices and mixers. It’s not necessary to make it this complicated: many of the best classic cocktails are very simple to make.
However, it is important to bear in mind that all the ingredients are there for a reason, to ensure that the drink is the correct strength and has the right balance of flavours. Therefore don’t be tempted to skip anything on the list just because you don’t have it to hand.
Don’t neglect the presentation
A cocktail is a drink to show off and be seen with, from the eye-catching colours to the elegant glasses. Even if you are just making yourself a treat to wind down with at the end of the day, a slice of lime or lemon or a sprig of mint will help you to savour the moment.
Garnishes are not just there to look pretty either: fruit slices or twists, and herbs or olives, add extra texture, aroma and flavour to the drink.
If you feel inspired to take an online cocktail making class, please get in touch with us today.