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Mixing cocktails is a matter of becoming familiar with the techniques used in making the drink. It can be the difference between creating a fantastic drink and a glass of nothing.
The techniques are a matter of practice. Fortunately they are easily learned and these basic technigues are used for all cocktails.
Another aspect of these techniques is the equipment you will use.
For most recipes you will either build, mix or shake. This requires that you have a mixing glass and a mixing tin. These should be purchased. You could use a regular pint style glass for a mixing glass but a true mixing glass is a more heavy duty glass than most household glasses of similar volume and resists breakage or cracking.
A mixing tin will be your best friend. While they come in many styles a metal mixing tin is leaps better mostly because it chills the liquid contents quicker while shaking.
This method is the most common.
Building a drink means there is no stirring involved once all the ingredients have been added. This allows layers of flavors. The ice will keep the drink cool for as long as you drink it. A glass filled with ice also gives the drink a nice stylish look. Garnish as called for.
To mix a frozen drink such as a Daiquiri or Margarita you need a blender.
To make liquid float is done by carefully pouring a small amount of liquid that balances as the top layer of a drink.
Gently disperse the ingredient on top of the ingredients already in the glass.
How To Layer A Drink
Layering is key for the presentation of many drinks, and to properly set the taste of each layer as you sip the cocktail.
Layering is density dependent. Those with higher density sink through those with lighter densities, and the lighter density solutions will tend to remain floating above the high density liquids.
The problem with alcohols is that many of them have densities that are very similar. This means that layers won't form if there is too much mixing or turbulence, and therefore, layering has to be done very slowly and very carefully. In general, the higher the proof number of the alcohol, the lighter it will be.
The most common technique is to pour the liquor slowly (always slowly!) over the back of a spoon, touching the side of the glass. This allows the liquor to trickle into the drink without too much downward disturbance, and settle nicely upon the top of the drink.
Here are step-by-step directions for layering, using the spoon method:
The muddling technique is used to press the flavor out of fresh fruit or berries.
The term Muddle means to crush the ingredients of a drink together so that the flavors can be released and combined in the drink.
Muddling has been used in some of your favorite drinks for quite some time. This is normally done right in the glass that will be used to build the drink, and is done right before most of the cocktail’s liquid ingredients are poured.
The key to muddling is to get a quality muddler. Then, smash the ingredients with the large end of your muddler against the sides and bottom of the mixing glass until they are ground and blended.
Why is it important?
Muddling can certainly make the difference between a common cocktail or a drink that is extraordinary. It heightens the taste from particular ingredients, such as citrus fruits, that you wouldn’t get if you didn't’t add the element of muddling. Drinks like the Mojito or Caipirinha require the bartender to muddle ingredients as an integral part of the recipe. The flavor and experience of the drink wouldn’t be the same if the bartender just dropped the mint into the mojito. In fact, there would be virtually no flavor to it at all.
You use a shaker because you want to chill and mix your drinks.
Fill the shaker with ice cubes and all ingredients.
Mount the lid on the cobbler shaker or the tin part in case you have a Boston shaker. Hold the shaker together and shake until the tin part is misty.
Strain the fluid into a glass.
Remember not to shake carbonated or hot liquids.
Also, it is a golden rule NOT to shake in the direction of any of your guests.
Mastering the shake will give you the skills to make a Cosmopolitan.
You can mix and chill a drink by stirring it with ice cubes. This will keep the drink transparent and clear.
You need a mixing glass and a bar spoon (long spoon).
Add ice to the mixing glass and add all the ingredients. Stir gentle until the liquids are properly mixed and chilled. Put a strainer on the mixing glass and strain into a cocktail glass.
Normally you make drinks like a Dry Martini using this method.
Swirling a drink, as in the preparartion of most shooters, is a process of adding ice to a mixing tin (just one scoop) add the ingtedients listed, then swirl the tin by rotating your wrist in a circular fashion. The idea is to combine the ingredients quickly. you would then strain into the glass.
To Roll a drink simply means to pour the ice and ingredients from one glass to another glass and then back again. It is a quick way to mix your ingredients.
To easily salt rim or sugar frost a glass, pour a small amount in a bowl, rub the glass with lime or lemon and then dip into the bowl.
Glasses can be frosted by being chilled in the refrigerator or by letting crushed ice and water sit in them for a short while.
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