A New Orleans beverage establishment is said to have created the cocktail by mixing spirits with bitters, syrup, and fruit juices, then serving to thirsty patrons.
These days, there is a cocktail culture mostly in the U S A, and also in many countries catering to American tourists or businessmen. The United Kingdom has many fine bars, and creative bartenders. Distillers constantly organize competitions for bartenders and encourage them to invent new recipes featuring their brands. Truly, the quality of ingredients in a cocktail makes or breaks the drink.
Some people are so taken by cocktails that they build bars in their basements for parties, to enjoy a drink after work, or even after a dinner.
The basic liquors of a bar are – gin, Scotch whisky, or rye or Bourbon or Irish or each of those pending on your preference or a few of those, rum, brandy, and vodka, Then you need white and red dry vermouths, and liqueurs.
Of course you can select no-name spirits, or go with premium or super premium brands. The choice is endless for vodkas, gins, rums, whiskies and brandies.
There are a few simple rules and techniques to follow when mixing.
• Measure all ingredients carefully
• Use high-quality medium-sized ice cubes (the shape is important)
• Use fresh fruit juices
• Prepare your mise-en-place before serving a large number of guests
• A basic cocktail mixing set i.e shaker, measuring glass, bar spoon, strainer, ice bucket, tongs or a small shovel, corkscrew, bottle opener.
The following techniques are basic and can be mastered after a few tries
• Rimming the glass
Shaking involves filling the glass part of the shaker half with ice cubes, pouring all ingredients quickly and placing the metal part on top.
Shaking must be vigorous and last a minimum of 30 – 45 seconds but not much longer to avoid excessive dilution. The time indicated will ensure that the drink is fresh and undiluted.
Layering requires pouring all ingredients as the recipe call over ice cubes in the appropriate glass. There is, however, another type of layering that dictates a narrow 5 – 8 cm long glass into which you pour using the back of a teaspoon the liquors and liqueurs as the recipe calls for. The specific gravity of each will ensure well-defined lines in the glass.
Stirring the drinks requires simply stirring (seven times) all ingredients on ice cubes in the glass part of the shaker and straining the drink if the drink is specified as straight up.
Rimming the glass must be done to improve the presentation and the taste of the drink. It involves a lemon wedge, with a cut in the middle, run of the glass and quickly dipping it on a salt or sugar spread on a plate or specially designed plastic container. This technique is used for Bloody Marries or Bloody Caesars, or Irish or other types of fortified coffees.
Muddling means mashing up an herb with solid ingredients. You need a muddler to accomplish this task. The most famous cocktail for this technique is Mojito.
Garnishing cocktails is an art and science. You can use lemon or lime wheels, celery sticks, quartered cucumbers, marinated green beans, olives, orange segments or slices, pineapple slices, maraschino cherries, to name just a few.
2 oz (60 ml) Cognac or brandy
1 ½ oz (45 ml) almond liqueur
I Tbsp almond milk
Dash of nutmeg
Combine the first three ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake.
Strain into 6 oz cocktail glass and grate nutmeg over top.
Place two white sugar cubes in bottom of Irish coffee glass. Pour coffee over. Pour cold whipping cream that has been whipped a little
Pour two tablespoons of Irish whiskey, and top it with a little more cream.
The Canadian Mint
10 fresh mint leaves
1 Tbsp simple syrup
1 ½ oz (45 ml) Rye whisky
3 oz (90 ml) hot water
Muddle mint leaves add simple syrup. Transfer to heat proof glass, pour over whisky and hot water. Stir gently.
Garnish with a fresh leaf of mint.
2 oz (60ml) Vodka
4 oz (120ml) tomato juice
1 tbsp lemon juice
¼ tsp horseradish
2 – dashes of Tabasco
2 – 3 dashes of Worcestershire Sauce
Shake all liquid ingredients vigorously. Strain into highball glass filled with ice cues. Garnish with lemon wedge and serve with celery stick.
P.S You can rim the glass with salt or celery salt for effect a different taste dimension.
4 – 5 lime wedges
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 oz (60 ml) cachaca
Muddle the sugar with lime wedges. Fill the old-fashioned glass with ice cubes. Pour the liquor and lime wedges over. Stir a few times.
1 ½ oz (45 ml) citrus vodka
1 Tbsp orange liqueur
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 or 3 Tbsp cranberry juice. Lemon twist
Shale the liquid ingredients on ice cubes in shaker. Strain into chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with lemon twist
2 lime wedges
1 oz (30 ml) tequila
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp Orange liqueur (Cointreau or Triple sec)
Rim the glass with salt
Fill glass with ice cubes. Shake liquid ingredients vigorously and strain into glass
2 oz (60 ml) vodka
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp fine sugar
8 mint leaves
2 oz (60 ml) rum
3- 4 oz (90 – 120 ml) chilled club soda
Muddle mint leaves, sugar and lime wedges. Transfers to glass add rum and stir. Pour over club soda.
More recipes and valuable information available in
The Professional Bartender
|Writer – Hrayr Berberoglu – E-mail – Read his books?
Professor B offers seminars to companies and interested parties on any category of wine, chocolates, chocolates and wine, olive oils, vinegars and dressings, at a reasonable cost.