Like every other beautiful thing, cocktails take an ample amount of artistry to make. There are certain techniques and terminology that the rookie mixologist should know when trying out a recipe.
We have selected 13 important techniques and terminolgy essential in making a cocktail.
Build a drink
Some cocktail recipes require strategic building in a glass. Building demands careful pouring of ingredients in layers. It is the oldest and simplest method of preparing a cocktail.
Shake a drink
“Shaken, not stirred” – you must know that famous line from James Bond. Shaking is the most common method for making a drink. It involves filling the shaker with ice and shaking for about 15 seconds to ensure the drink is chill and the ingredients mix properly.
Strain a drink
Straining a cocktail is done in order to keep out broken ice and fruit pieces from the main drink.
Double-strain a drink
This technique is typically used when making Martini-style cocktails. The fine strainer is used to catch all the tiny ice slivers so that the drink is not watered down in the glass.
Pour a drink
This involves pouring the entire contents of the shaker into a glass without using a strainer.
Stir a drink
Stirring is a technique used for recipes that are made up of ice and alcohol. It takes about 20 – 25 seconds to stir a drink to the right temperature.
Rock ‘N Roll a drink
Rocking and rolling refers to throwing the ice and ingredients and forth between the shaker’s glass and the metal tumbler. It adds an element of flair to the drink and is most commonly used for Caipirinha.
Layer a drink
Layering is when the various ingredients are poured along the bar spoon’s spiral in layers. The b-52 and Pousse Cafe are the most commonly layered drinks.
Blend a drink
Blending is not quite as easy as it sounds. A perfect blend for cocktail usually involves using crushed ice one scoop per cocktail. Never blend for more than 10 seconds.
Always prepare the garnishing before mixing the ingredients. It is also important to create a space for cutting fruit and garnishes at the bar based on the cocktail menu.
Muddling involves pressing fruits with a muddler till it becomes a puree. It is best to use fresh fruits only. This is done in order for the fruit to mix easily with other ingredients.
Rimming a glass
This is an indirect technique for mixing spices in a cocktail. It involves moistening the edge of the glass with lemon juice before rolling in the required spice. Lemon or lime juice goes well with salt, while sugar or cacao combines well with orange juice.
Pouring in a glass
Anybody can pour a drink. Or so you thought. This actually a delicate skill as you need to pour the right amount of drink. Some mixologists use the counting system to pour the correct amount. This skill must be adequately practised in order to get it right subsequently. The challenge here is every recipe with more or less of a certain ingredient tastes differently. Another way to get it right is by using aa jigger as it slows down the speed of the pour, helping you to get it right.
*You ought to practice these techinques extremely well. Because as it rightly said – practice makes perfect
Simply put, a cocktail is a mixed alcoholic drink. A Cocktail is mixed either as one type of alcohol with juices, as a soft drink and other fruits or as multiple alcoholic drinks with juices or ice tea. Drinking is fashionable and trendy in today’s world. As a result, cocktails and what we’ve come to know as “mocktails” are often confused for each other.
Mocktails are any mixed drinks that don’t contain alcohol. The name “mocktail” is derived from the word “mock” meaning to “imitate or mimic”. Mocktails are imitations of cocktails in the sense that they seem similar to them, but do not have alcohol or any other spirits.
Today, when we refer to a generic alcoholic mixed drink, a cocktail is any beverage that contains two or more ingredients if at least one of those ingredients contains alcohol.There are many theories about the origin of the word “cocktail”, but the strongest claim is that it was derived from the French word “coquetier”, referring to an eggcup-type measure.
Brief History of the Cocktail
Mixed drinks called punch were being made as far back as the 1500s, but the invention of the cocktail itself can be traced to the 1800s. The word “cocktail” was first published in a newspaper in 1806, but the first publication of a bartenders’ guide which included cocktail recipes came in 1862, titled How to Mix Drinks; or, The Bon Vivant’s Companion, by “Professor” Jerry Thomas. The book is still a standard reference work today as the recipes are still used all over the world. Along with recipes for punches, sours, slings, cobblers, shrubs, toddies, flips, and a variety of other mixed drinks are ten recipes for “cocktails”.
The first cocktail party was hosted by Mrs. Julius S. Walsh Jr. of St. Louis, Missouri, in May 1917. She is said to have invited fifty guests to her home at noon on a Sunday. The party apparently lasted an hour, until lunch was served at 1pm. The site of this party still stands today. In 1924, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis bought the mansion and it has served as the local archbishop’s residence since.
United States’ Prohibition lasted from 1919 to1933 and because alcoholic beverages became illegal, cocktails were consumed illegally in establishments known as “speakeasies”. The quality of liquor available during Prohibition was much worse than before and there was a shift from whiskey to gin because it does not require aging, making it easier to produce illicitly. In that period, honey, fruit juices, and other flavourings were used to mask the foul taste of the inferior liquors. Sweet cocktails were easier to drink quickly, which was ideal because the establishment might be raided at any moment.
By the late 1960s and through the 1970s, cocktails became less popular until rising again in the 1980s with vodka often used in place of the original gin in drinks such as the martini. The standard cocktails began to make a comeback in the early 2000s, and by the mid-2000s there was a renaissance of cocktail culture in a style we now call mixology that draws on classic cocktails for inspiration but utilizes novel ingredients and often complex flavours
Traditionally, what we referred to as a cocktail was a mixture of spirits, sugar, water, and bitters. The key ingredient separating cocktails from other drinks in Thomas’ book was the use of bitters. Popular mixed drinks of today which conform to this original meaning of “cocktail” include the Old Fashioned whiskey cocktail and the Manhattan cocktail.
Cocktails have featured in most aspects of our popular culture, if not all. Some cocktails have even come to exist as a result of them. In film and literature most especially, we have a long list of these cocktails including the Vesper Martini, Jack Rose, Whiskey Sour, Scotch Mist, 7&7, May Queen, Rob Roy, Flaming Moe, Singapore Sling, French 75 and so on.
The Cocktail’s Jerry Thomas
Lauded as the father of bartending, Professor Jeremiah “Jerry” Thomas was a native of Westchester, New York. He was given the title “professor” because he established the image of the bartender as a creative profession with peculiar showmanship. He lived a celebrity’s life in his prime in the mid-1800s, bartending and running bars in New York, St. Louis and San Francisco. He also toured the United States and Europe with a traveling bartending show, making signature cocktails like the flaming Blue Blazer.
Recent research has shown that six times more Genever was imported into the United States than gin during that time. Thomas’ biographer David Wondrich reported that recipes made with gin were meant to be made with Genever, since Genever was one of the four main cocktail ingredients and was often mistakenly called gin at the time. Genever gives its cocktails a smoothness and depth and allows classic cocktails such as The Holland House cocktail to be recreated perfectly.
Thomas’ death in 1885 at the age of 55 from a stroke was marked by notable obituaries. The New York Times obituary, one of the most famous of the publications said Thomas was “at one time better known to club men and men about town than any other bartender in this city, and he was very popular among all classes.” Jeremiah P. Thomas was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, New York City.
Interested in learning how to become an expert mixologist? Want to learn about their histories, tips and tricks? It feels good to be the one who can constantly turn a dull gathering into a swinging shindig. Trust us. We know. That’s why we’ve put together some of the best guides to cocktail mixing so you can start to show off at any soirees you organise or attend.
Becoming a master in the art of mixing drinks isn’t as hard as you may think. All you need is lessons from the best in the business. These helpful books will get you there in no time.
The Periodic Table of Cocktails – Emma Stokes
Cocktail blogger Emma Stokes, aka Gin Monkey, has compiled a playful guide to some of the most popular cocktails served in bars across the United Kingdom. She’s made each recipe is easy to follow and come with a detailed description and facts of each drink. This handy book helps readers navigate by base spirit, flavour and style, so it’s the perfect book for those of you who know what kind of mix you want to learn.
The Spirits: A Guide to Modern Cocktailing – Richard Godwin
This humorous, amateur guide to cocktailing written by London journalist Richard Godwin contains a good number of modern and classic recipes from London’s most popular bars and famous bar books. Tools and techniques are explained thoroughly and you’re given some brief cocktail history to explore how it all started.
The Little Book of Cocktails – Rufus Cavendish
This one’s for those who want to gain some fast knowledge. The handy book is packed with simple guides and advice on the correct equipment and ingredients. The Little Book contains over 200 quick recipes for cocktails made with vodka, gin, tequila and rum.
The Savoy Cocktail Book – Harry Craddock
Harry Craddock, one of the most popular bartenders ever, immortalised in wax at Madame Tussauds wrote this classic book. First published in 1930, readers of he Savoy Cocktail Book can find a number of cocktails Craddock learnt or invented while working at London’s Savoy Hotel. Each recipe is beautifully illustrated with Deco drawings.
Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails – Ted Haigh
If you want some rare cocktail recipes, then look no further than this updated and expanded book by historian, expert, and drink aficionado Ted Haigh. The award-winning book is packed with historical facts and recipes from different times, including the 19th century and Prohibition era.