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Tips & Techniques

Simple tips to help get you started

Give them a try right now! The techniques here are easy enough; they can be done by anyone with no previous experience, if you're willing to maybe give them a few practice tries first. If you're trying these techniques out at home, just dive right in; rimming a glass with salt or layering a shot are both great places to start.

Measuring

Balancing the ingredients in a cocktail is key to achieving the desired taste. Measuring each ingredient accurately will ensure consistency in every drink. Measuring is usually accomplished using a jigger or using a shot glass with measurement markings on it.

Igniting

Igniting drinks is easy. The last liquor that is poured into the drink (floated on top) must be an overproof liquor, 151-proof rum being the most common. Simply touch a flame to the top of the drink and it should ignite, and then allow the flame to burn for a few seconds, and don't forget to extinguish the flame before drinking.

Rimming

To rim a glass you must first wet the rim of the glass, either by dipping the rim in a plate with some liquid on it, or by wiping it with the pulp (inside) of a fresh piece of fruit. The rim of the glass is then dipped in a plate of whatever substance you wish to rim the glass with; most commonly powdered sugar.

Shaking/Stirring

When you see the phrase "shake with ice", it means you're meant to combine the given ingredients in a cocktail shaker (mixing glass) full of ice cubes and shake it briskly for about 15 seconds, then strain or pour the drink into the proper glass. When you see the phrase "stir with ice", it means you're meant to combine the ingredients in a mixing glass about 2/3rds full of ice cubes and stir briskly with a long spoon or cocktail stirrer for about 20 seconds, and then either strain or pour the drink into the proper glass.

Muddling

Muddling means mashing ingredients with a blunt tool (a muddler) similar to a pestle in the bottom of a glass or mixing glass so as to release the liquids and flavors of those ingredients. When using a muddler, press down with a twisting action to really release the juices. Never attempt to muddle ingredients in a thin/weak glass, as the pressure required could break the glass and cause physical harm.

Layering/Floating

Layering/floating is the process of pouring an ingredients without blending it with the liquid below it so that the ingredient forms it's own layer. Layering is achieved by resting the back of a barspoon in the glass over the top of the previous ingredients and gently pouring the ingredient down the stem of the bar spoon so that it doesn't mix with the ingredient below it but instead rests on top. Different consistencies of liquids must be used to achieve the layering effect.

Blending

Blending means running a blender that's filled with the specified ingredients so as to liquify them.

Preparing Simple Syrup

To make simple syrup simply combine 2 parts sugar with one part boiling water and simmer in a saucepan on low heat for about 10 minutes.

Preparing Sour Mix

Sour mix is made by combining 1 part simple syrup with 1 part lemon juice. Make sour mix in a plastic container and store it in the fridge, discarding it at the end of the day as it does not stay fresh for 24 hours.

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