Newsflash: the days when a bartender simply splashed a soft drink into a tumbler of rum and called it a drink are gone. Nowadays, booze is all about the science. Here at The Thirsty Barber, our mixologists are always coming up with the most creative and great tasting cocktails. So what does concocting the perfect cocktail take? We were in a bit of a generous mood and decided to let you in on some tricks… (you’re welcome!)
The importance of Good Quality Liquor
There’s a significant difference between spirits. The rule of thumb is to go for good quality liquors, since cheap alcohol usually doesn’t go very well with the rest of the ingredients in the cocktail. If you’re going for a great tasting cocktail don’t skimp on good quality.
If you’re using similar spirits in your cocktail, an equal amount of each is needed. The problem arises when you have to combine spirits with different flavour profiles. When combining two different spirits the trick is to go for 3 tablespoons of the weakest and 1 tablespoon of the strongest liquor.
Fresh is Best
When creating the perfect cocktail, you can’t afford to be lazy. Many buy bottles of juices (Lemon, Lime, etcetera), limp herbs or already sliced fruit for cocktails, but if you spend a few more minutes picking and preparing fresh ingredients when creating your cocktail, the result will be dramatic!
Don’t forget to Garnish!
The strawberry or orange slice at the top of that glass needs to be fresh and appetizing. After all – it’s all part of the experience of a great cocktail! Although it may seem like something trivial, amazing garnish is what gives your cocktail that extra pizazz. By adding fabulous garnish to your cocktail, you’ll be making sure people’s eyes and stomach will crave for more!
Prior to serving your cocktail, make sure the glass is cold to keep the drink itself cool. Chucking the glass in the freezer for 10-30 minutes is the best and easiest way to do it, but if you’re in a rush, add some ice cold soda to your cocktail glass while making the cocktail and when you’re ready to pour up the cocktail, pour the soda into the sink and your glass will be ready.
Don’t forget to measure
How great does it look when a bartender does the free pouring?
Do you think you can “eyeball” measurements to the tee? If so, we’d love to know how. The fact is, there are cocktail recipes for a reason – because the correct measurements are the most important factor in producing fantastic cocktails. It’s all about mathematics, the simplest and most intoxicating math. Pythagoras would be so proud.
The Golden Ratio
Every cocktail recipe combines three main ingredients: alcohol, of course, which forms the base of the drink; a sour ingredient such as lemon or lime juice; and a sweet ingredient, like a simple syrup or triple sec. Combined in a balanced way, these basic ingredients create magic in a glass. The formula for achieving this balance is 2:1:1. That’s 2 parts alcohol, 1 part sour, and 1 part sweet.
Sugar is Important
Many tend to forget sugar when concocting the perfect cocktail and end up making drinks that aren’t sweet enough. So adding a small amount of sugar can be a game changer. Make sure you taste it before you start adding sugar! A good trick is to use a straw by placing it in the drink, putting your thumb on the end, creating pressure and finally pulling it up from the drink to taste it.
Squeeze the juice
Most drinks contain herbs, fruits or both, so adding them without squeezing them will leave you with less flavour than you might’ve hoped for. Always start off by squeezing before you start creating your cocktail, also, it’s best to add a little ice while squeezing.
When squeezing herbs, you only want to squeeze them till you can smell the aroma. Squeezing them for too long will get the oils out of the herbs which will give the drink a bitter aftertaste.
When squeezing fruit, squeeze them 3-4 times to get the most of the juices out and keep them intact.
Just like liquors, there so many different kinds of sodas, don’t choose the cheapest one when you’ve just bought a good liquor bottle. Even though you might think the liquor is the most important, the actual combination of all the ingredients is what constitutes when concocting the perfect cocktail.
Ice Ice Baby!
Turns out, one of the biggest contenders in the science of cocktail making is… ICE. It’s used to control a drink’s temperature and marks the difference between a good and perfect cocktail. This is mostly due to dilution: when a drink is stirred or shaken with ice, the dilution from that ice brings out the flavour.
But not all cocktails are diluted equally. Different cocktails need different grades of dilution, and it’s the temperature of the drink that is used to gauge that dilution. It’s all very scientific and soon enough, we’ll have bartenders making cocktails on a molecular level. However, it’s best we brush up on that Table of Elements before heading to our local watering hole.
Bonus tip: To create crystal clear ice cubes, use distilled water.
Concocting the perfect cocktail is just like cooking, once you’ve learned the fundamentals, it’s easy to create perfectly every time. If you appreciate the art of a fantastically made alcoholic concoction, come over to The Thirsty Barber, where our expert mixologists will whip cocktails so good, your taste buds will be doing cartwheels.