That magic twist of orange or lemon peel is one of the biggest differences between a drink at some fancy cocktail bar and most drinks made at home. It’s just a little thing, but it’s one of the most vital techniques in a bartender’s bag of tricks.
What you want from a citrus peel is the oil. Using a peeler or channel knife, get yourself a nice piece of peel from a well-rinsed lemon or orange, making an effort to get as little of the bitter white pith as you can. Notice the little bit of spray and puff of aroma when you make the garnish— that spray is the oil you want to get onto your drink. Some people will peel the citrus directly over the drink, but others find it difficult to aim. When you’ve got the peel, twist it or pinch it over the drink. If you look carefully, you should see a light film of oil over the surface of the cocktail. That’s the stuff! Mission accomplished!
Depending on the recipe, you might also want to rub the peel around the rim of the glass. Either way, you’ve added a potent little ingredient to your cocktail that can really contribute something to the overall experience.
When should I stir a drink, and when should I shake it? This question has confused and intimidated far too many people— most people who are just getting into the world of cocktails know that sometimes you “should” do one, and sometimes you “should” do the other, but how do you know which?
Here’s a good general guideline: If a drink has citrus or cream, or egg, or some other thick or opaque ingredient, shake it. Shaking will generally chill the drink faster, and it doesn’t matter if the drink gets cloudy or frothy because— well, it was going to be cloudy or frothy anyway! If the drink has mostly boozy ingredients— like a Martini or a Manhattan— stir. Stirring takes a little longer, but it will get your drink just as cold and add the right amount of water, while retaining the clarity and preventing a surfeit of froth or little shards of ice floating in your drink.
All that being said, some people want an ice-cold Martini that has little flecks of ice in it. At the end of the day, the best drink is the one you enjoy the most. But if you’ve been shaking your Manhattans or Martinis— give stirring a try. You might like it.
We love this idea! Check out the tips from Chris Ojeda below. Click through for a Bottled Americano recipe.
Stay Strong. When choosing cocktails to carbonate and bottle, stick with high-proof, spirit-forward drinks think Manhattan, Negroni and the Americano, and avoid bottling ones with citrus juices since those flavors can change over time and are less shelf-stable.
Keep Cool. Bubbles are more lively when the drink you’re carbonating is super-cold, so combine all ingredients ahead and refrigerate for at least two hours before charging with CO2.
Don’t Overfill. Make sure you leave room in the neck of the bottle just in case it tries to fizz over when you open it. And store capped, carbonated bottles in the fridge since the cold air helps hold the bubbles.
Great article from Simon Ford about tipping your bartender for those days when you’re out for a cocktail or two (or more).
From crowded dive bars to table service to cocktail lounges — where bartenders spend three or four minutes to make your fine cocktail — tipping has gotten complicated. On top of that, the bartender might give you a drink on the house (what do you do then?) or you may be abroad and not know the local etiquette. There’s no doubt that navigating tipping culture can be confusing for even the most experienced drinkers.
I’ve always used the Hawthorne spring method, but click through to the original article to get two new ideas from some well respected bartenders.
The key to a good egg-based drink, i.e., proper emulsification, can be hard to achieve.
It is sometimes accomplished with a technique called the dry shake, in which the cocktail is shaken first without ice, then shaken once more with ice added.
Even then, emulsification can take forever, as evidenced by the Ramos Gin Fizz. The directions for this classic egg-white cocktail call for excessive dry-shaking of two or three minutes. Consider it the busy bartender’s nightmare.
So it’s no surprise that enterprising bar folk have found ways to cut corners. Here, two of our favorite tips for making your favorite fizz or flip.
In an age of complicated bar maneuvers, the methodology is mind-bendingly simple: Just throw a grapefruit twist in with the contents of a cocktail, then shake and strain.
Lanterns Keep co-owner Theo Lieberman came to the idea after a particularly long and stressful day. Since his mother had used grapefruit oils as a homeopathic remedy during his childhood, he threw a peel in with his daiquiri components. The results were surprising: “It dried the drink out, made it smoother,” he says.
…some resolutions are easy to stick to – like taking your cocktails to a whole new level by avoiding the simple mixology mistakes made by so many.
Sure, there’s no accounting for taste when it comes to drinking, but these missteps are some of the main reasons people are convinced they can’t get a good drink anywhere but the bar – and even then it’s rare! So make 2011 a banner year one drink at a time and avoid these rookie mistakes.