When making cocktails, if you are using heavy ingredients they need to be shaking vigorously in order to be mixed. Shaking tends to create a colder and cloudier drink than just stirring alone. To mix cocktails using this technique either use a Boston or a three piece, fill the shaker/glass with ice and add the ingredients in order of alcohol content (highest first). Hold one hand on the top and one on the base and shake vertically making sure the drink and ice travel the full length of the shaker.
So how long do you shake for? Well some drinks require more than others but a good way to tell that is when the water starts condensing on the outside of the shaker, this indicates that the cocktail is chilled enough. Once shaken, strain into your desired glass and enjoy!
Tip: do not use crushed ice as when shaking the ice may melt and dilute the cocktail – and we don’t want that happening now do we! Therefore, remember to stick to ice cubes.
When stirring a cocktail you will need a glass or metal mixing rod, sometimes referred to as a swizzle stick. It is best to use a mixing glass when stirring and then strain into your desired glass. As stated above don’t use crushed ice as this may melt and dilute your cocktail. Furthermore, when water is condensing on the outer side of the glass the cocktail is ready to drink.
Tip: cocktails are best served in chilled glasses. There are many ways of doing this, your glasses can be stored in the fridge, placed in the freezer for approximately an hour or alternatively add ice to the glass and stir until the glass is chilled (remember to drain excess water out of the glass).
Blending cocktails with an electronic blender is a great technique to use when you are faced with ingredients that will not mix well together and that can’t be shaken or stirred. This technique is ideal when mixing fruit juices, alcohol and fruit and is commonly used to make frozen and fresh fruit cocktails such as Strawberry Daiquiris, Margaritas and Pina Coladas. In most circumstances you will probably need to blend for approximately 20 seconds or until you have a smooth consistency.
Tip: when making your frozen cocktails what you need to be aware of is less is more when it comes to crushed ice. Add the crushed ice as the last ingredient and add a little at a time until you get the right consistency, this saves your finished product looking like a slushy mess.
Building simply refers to adding your ingredients one after the other into the prepared glass, and so the name implies ‘building’ your cocktail. You may find you use this technique when preparing drinks such as a gin and tonic or a screwdriver.
Fill the glass with ice and add the heaviest drink first followed by the lighter, finish with a straw or swizzle stick so that it can be given a quick stir before consumption.
This is a fantastic technique to wow your friends, grab loads of different spirits of different colours and densities to create some amazing cocktails and shooters.
This technique may prove a little tricky at first but you will soon get used to it after plenty of practice! First start with the heaviest spirit and add this to the bottom of the glass, secondly you add the next spirit, do this by pouring it over the back of a teaspoon touching the edge of the glass so that the liquid pours down the side of the glass to form the second layer. Carry on with your layers as you desire but remember to layer them in order of density.
Tip: to determine which spirits are heavier or lighter than others follow these simply rules; the lower the alcohol content the more sugar there is therefore, the denser the spirit is. And so remember, the sweetest and lowest proof spirit should be poured in first.