The art of cocktail-making is a craft that has evolved over several centuries and requires time, effort and skill to master. In this post, our expert mixologists will provide some basic tips to teach you how to make cocktails like a pro.
If you have ever had the pleasure of watching a professional cocktail bartender at work, it’s truly a sight to behold. Many of the techniques and knowledge they use are seamless as they almost make it look easy, but if you’ve ever tried to whip-up your favourite cocktail, you’ll know it’s not as simple as it looks.
Not only do you need to be familiar with the tools and ingredients being used, but you also need to tap into a wealth of cocktail recipes at a moment’s notice. So it’s safe to say that craftsman is very much a title a skilled bartender deserves.
Below we’ll provide you with a few simple yet effective tips for how to make cocktails like a professional mixologist.
Get to Know Your Alcohol
The base liquor you use in cocktails has a much more crucial role than merely being the fuel for getting drunk. The varying flavours and characteristics of your spirit of choice are what makes a cocktail unique and delicious, so it’s vital to know what liquors are best suited to specific styles of drink.
For example, high-quality vodka should be flavourless, which makes it the perfect base for a wide range of cocktails — such as a classic Martini. Whiskey and Rye, on the other hand, are known for their smokey flavour that cuts through and lingers on your taste buds.
This may not sound like your cup of tea, but try an Old Fashioned and then try to tell us you don’t like whiskey cocktails. Then you have gin, which has enjoyed immense popularity in recent years. Made from juniper berries, gin has a unique flavour that suits sweet, sour and every cocktail in between.
Want to know how to make cocktails like a professional? Start by familiarising yourself with the liquors you’ll be using.
Techniques & Tools of the Cocktails Trade
Just like any other profession, cocktail-making requires a few different tools and the know-how for using them. For starters, you’ll need to invest in a cocktail shaker. Some will come with a lid, whereas a Boston cocktail shaker looks like two cups put together. A cocktail shaker is used to mix non-carbonated drinks as well as for “dry shaking” to produce thick foam using ingredients like egg white and cream. If you’re unsure how to use the shaker correctly, there’s a wealth of tutorials available online.
Certain cocktails, such as a Martini or Manhattan, require a simple stir to mix the ingredients properly. While you could use any spoon you have at hand, an extra-long bar spoon is an ideal tool for the job as it can be used easily when serving in a variety of glassware. Have you ever seen a barman layer a cocktail to demonstrate each individual liquid? It’s incredible, and a skill you can learn and perform with a bar spoon.
Another essential technique for cocktails is muddling. This is where you crush or “muddle” ingredients like citrus peel, ginger and berries using a muddler, which is essentially a pestle for cocktail ingredients. If you use a mortar and pestle at home for cooking, you should have no problem getting to grips with muddling.
Learning how to strain cocktails properly is also important, as a poor technique or an inefficient cocktail strainer will mean that your cocktail contains unwanted chunks of ice or pieces of ingredients that can ruin the aesthetic and quality of the drink. Straining is the final step before you serve a cocktail, so falling short at this stage can easily undo all your hard work.
Want to learn from the best? Why not book a cocktail making class with our team of experienced cocktail bartenders?
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Absorb as Many Cocktail Recipes as Possible
No matter what industry you’re in, diligent research is crucial for increasing your knowledge and evolving as a professional — making it a big part of knowing how to make cocktails like an expert mixologist.
If you quickly search for “cocktail recipes”, you’ll soon discover that there’s an endless library of recipes at your disposal. It’s always good to start by making some of the most classic cocktails, such as a Martini, Manhattan, Cosmopolitan, Old Fashioned and Mojito. But new cocktail recipes are being created every day by amateur and established bartenders, so you’ll never struggle for inspiration or a lack of new recipes to try out.
Do you want to know more about how to make cocktails or want to hire our team of mixologists for an upcoming event? Get in touch today to discuss your requirements!