What is a Cocktail?
Drinks akin to cocktails first appeared sometime during the 16th century, but cocktails, as we know and use the term, was first introduced by American bartenders in the 1920ies. The reason the cocktail made it big in the happy '20ies, was the prohibition, when producing and imbibing of alcohol was made illegal. As good as all spirits available was of a rather dubious quality and tasted accordingly. Thus, the bartenders, accommodating as always, started to mix the spirits with various fruit juices and other flavorings to make it more palatable. Later, the cocktail lost its popularity most places, the United States being the main exception.
The last few years, however, the cocktail has reclaimed lost ground everywhere, especially in southern Europe and other places that are full of tourists. Cocktails usually consist of three different 'classes' of ingredients.
• The first,
the base, is most often some sort of spirit, like vodka, whiskey, or tequila. Occasionally, such as in many punches, some sort of wine is being used as a base.
• The second,the modifier, is added to bring out the aroma of the base and to modify its taste. The main flavoring is often such as Vermouth, various fruit juices, wine, or even eggs or cream.
• The third,the flavoring, is added to enhance the taste of the base, and often also adds the color to the cocktail. Common special flavorings include Grenadine, Blue Curacao, and others.
Garnish- Most cocktails are also decorated in some way, usually with fruit slices, orange peel, cocktail sticks, mint twigs, etc.
EquipmentsMany different contraptions are manufactured for the making of cocktails. Some of these are useful, some can be definitely nice to have, and still others are totally and utterly useless. It is up to you to decide exactly what your cocktail equipment should be, but some things are essential.
First out of the essentials is the cocktail shaker.
There are two basic types of shakers available.
The standard shaker- It has three pieces made entirely of electroplated nickel silver (EPNS) or stainless steel. It has a cone-shaped base with the provision for holding the strainer piece and a close fitting top or cap. The measured-out ingredients are placed with the ice, strainer piece is placed in the slot provided and turned to secure it. and finally closed with the cap. The shaker is held tightly and shaken briskly and strained.
The Boston shaken- It has two cones one fitting over the other. The two cones may be made of metal or the bottom is of glass and the other cone is of metal. It is the most preferred shaker of the bartenders. The ice and measured-out ingredients put inside the bottom container and the top container is placed over. The two are held together vertically and shaken. The shaken drink is then strained through a hawthorn strainer. Some bars use regular mixing glass with a cone to cover it while shaking.
Measures- also known as jiggers are also essential. Jiggers are most often made of metal, but glass jiggers are common, as well. The standard measurements of a jigger can vary widely, depending on where you are. In the recipes in the following articles, I will use a standard jigger of 30ml (appx. 1 fl oz).
In addition to the equipment mentioned above, you will find that things like these
|pag measure/ jigger|
Pourer- It is a plastic or stainless device inserted into the neck of an alcohol bottle to control the flow of the drink. The rate of flow may be slow, medium, or fast depending on the device selected.
The amount of liquid to be poured for each turn of bottle may be preset for better control The pourers are available in a wide range of colours and the bars use devices of different colours for each type of drink for easier identification.
Strainer- Strainers are used to strain the cocktails and juices and strainers of different sizes are used for various applications. The most popular strainer is hawthorn strainer which is a flat perforated spoon with a spring coiled around its head to retain the ice while straining the drink.
Bar spoon- It is a spoon with long handle, often with bead or muddler end. The measure of the bar spoon is equivalent to 1 tsp. It is used for stirring the drink either in a mixing glass or in a drink glass. The muddler end is used for crushing mint and sugar in the drinking glass.
Muddler- It is a wooden tool with a flat end on one side to crush the pepper, sugar, etc. and round end on the other side to break the ice.
Ice scoop- It is used for scooping up the ice from the ice box. A standard size scoop makes to get right quantity of ice fox each scoop.
|ice scoop 1|
|ice scoop 2|
Ice tongs- Used to pick ice cube from the ice bucket during the service.
Ice bucket- Used for keeping the ice cubes that are required during the service without melting for a long time.
Fruit squeezer- It is a small tool used for squeezing half an orange, lime, and lemon for a single portion. The juice is strained to remove the seeds.
Funnels- It is used for transferring liquid from a large container into the smaller ones faster without spilling for bar use. Some funnels may have a screen at the wide end to strain the liquid that is transferred.
Glass rimmer- It is a device containing three small trays as a unit—one holding the sponge soaked with lemon juice, the other holding fine sugar, and the third holding salt.
Chopping board- A small board of plastic or rubber is used for cutting the fruits and preparing garnishes. Most do not prefer wooden cutting board as it is hard to keep it bacteria-free.
Bar knife- It is used for preparing garnishes and cutting fruits and, therefore, the knives used should be of different sizes. The knives should be very sharp to get neat cut. Stainless steel blade should be preferred.
Relish fork- It is a long thin two-pronged fork designed to pick up the olives, onions, etc. from the narrow -necked bottle. Some forks have spring between the prongs to secure the onions or olives firmly.
Zester- It is used to peel away the yellow or green part of the citrus fruit which contains oil without taking the white skin underneath which is bitter.
Bottle opener- It is used for opening the bottles with crown.
Can opener- It is a device used for cutting the top side of the tin at its edge.
Corkscrew- It is used for opening the wine bottles that are closed with cork. The screw or worm should be 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 inches long and its diameter should be around 4 1/2 mm. It is made up of stainless steel.
Cork extractor- It is used for extracting the broken cork.
Waiter's friend- It is a tool containing corkscrew, bottle opener, and a small knife to cut the foil, which can be folded like a jackknife.
Champagne stopper- It is used to close the opened champagne bottle to retain the gas.
Coaster- It is used for placing the prepared drinks on them.
Salver- it is used for carrying the drinks and glassware. The salver should be lined with a cloth or Rexene to prevent the articles from slipping.
Cocktail stick- for presenting the garnishes with the drinks and also to pick up the snacks white eating with the drinks.
Jug- it is used for cream, juices etc
Straw- it is a thin tube made of paper or plastic used for sucking a drink through.
Swizzle stick- it is a stir stick.
GlassesCocktail glasses come in four different basic types:
• First, there are the glasses known as rocks glasses, also known as tumblers. These glasses are usually short and broad glasses, with straight or slightly ice, fruit juices and short drinks.
• Second, there is the highball glass. These glasses are usually of medium width, and are tall with straight or slightly sloping sides. They normally hold between 200 and 300ml and are used for long drinks with ice.
• Third, the champagne glasses are of two different kinds. The most common, the champagne flute, is a tall and narrow glass with a stem. Champagne flutes have thin-glassed sides, and the long, tapering sides can curve both inward and outward. A champagne flute holds approximately 150ml. The second type of champagne glass is the less-known champagne saucer. The champagne saucer is a broad and shallow glass with a stem. The broadness and shallowness of the glass make the champagne loose its fizz quickly, and the glass is therefore less popular than it once was. It is still, however, in use, and such cocktails as the Margarita use exclusively such glasses.
• Fourth is the group known as cocktail glasses. These are the classic cocktail glasses; stemmed and with sharply sloping sides, making it Y-shaped when seen from the side. The classic cocktail glass holds about 90ml and is best suited for short, strong drinks.
In addition to these glasses, some drinks, such as the Pina Colada, have special glasses. Unless you are really serious about mixing your cocktails, you don't really need to buy such glasses. Use glasses you already have instead. There are also other glasses available that will work just fine with cocktails. Use your imagination, but remember that plastic glasses (or shakers, jugs, mixing glasses, or other such equipment for that matter) should NEVER be used with cocktails, as it will make the cocktail taste of plastic. A cocktail is supposed to have a refreshing taste, not to taste like the inside of a used plastic bag.
Mixing a CocktailNot all cocktails are made in the same manner. Just as the ingredients may vary, there are several ways in which to mix a cocktail. The most frequently used methods are the following:
• Shaking: The cocktail is mixed by hand in a cocktail shaker. The shaker is first filled three quarters with ice, preferably cubes, as crushed ice will tend to melt and dilute the cocktail. The ingredients are then poured on top of the ice, in order of alcohol content (highest first). When shaking a cocktail, hold the shaker in both hands, one hand on the top and the other supporting the base of the shaker, and shake vigorously. When water has begun condensing on the outside of the shaker, the cocktail is sufficiently chilled, and the cocktail should immediately be strained into the glass. In general, shaking creates a colder cocktail than stirring does, but also a cloudier one.
• Stirring: The cocktail is stirred with a glass or metal rod in a mixing glass, before the cocktail is strained into a glass. As with shaking, crushed ice should not be used, and water condensing on the outside shows that the cocktail is finished.
• Blending: An electric blender is used to mix fruit juices, alcohol, fruit, etc. Blending is an excellent way of mixing ingredients which do not blend easily in any other way. Blend the cocktail till it has reached a smooth consistency. If the recipe requires ice, add crushed ice last, but be careful not to add too much, as the cocktail may be watered down. Blending is a much disputed method of mixing a cocktail, and in general, blending should be avoided unless the recipe demands it.
• Building: When building a cocktail, the ingredients are poured into the glass in which the cocktail will be served. Usually, the ingredients are floated on top of each other, but occasionally, a swizzle stick is put in the glass, allowing the ingredients to be mix.
Decorating CocktailsAlmost all cocktails are decorated in one way or another, most often with some kind of fruit, but no matter the exact decoration, cocktail sticks are almost always invaluable.
Cocktail sticks come in two types; Wooden and plastic. Wooden sticks are most often used, and are suited for just about any kind of cocktail, but they cannot be reused.
Plastic sticks, however, should be carefully used, as they tend to give the cocktail a slightly artificial appearance. Unlike wooden sticks, plastic ones can be reused, but should be carefully washed and boiled first. Cocktail sticks are, whatever the type, used for spearing slices of fruit, cherries, and just about anything else you care to decorate your cocktails with. Straws are also essential and go well with highballs. Straws should not be reused. The traditional cocktail garnish is, however, the red Maraschino cherries. These are used in just about any kind of cocktail, and are now also available in green, yellow and blue. In addition to this, slices of fruit, strips of orange or lemon peel, mint twigs, etc. can also be used.
One often used method of decorating cocktails is that which is called frosting. Frosting leaves an edge of sugar, salt, cocoa, or any other fine powder, on the rim of the glass.
There are several ways to frost glasses, and one of the most frequently used of them is this: Rub the rim of the glass with a slice of orange or lemon, then submerge the rim in sugar or salt (or any other powder), just so that it lines the top of the rim. Other methods use egg white or other substances for 'gluing' the powder to the glass. For a more colorful frosting, use small drops of food coloring in the powder. With some cocktails, such as the Margarita, frosting is a 'standard' decoration.
Wheels are called for when a drink might be a little too sweet.
Adding a wheel or half a wheel to a drink gives the imbiber something to eat or suck on after a sip of the cocktail.
Wheels are difficult to squeeze juice from but are refreshing asides to many tropical beverages. They are the perfect accompaniment to slightly sweet drinks in need of a little bravura.
Use your sharpest knife to prepare wheels. Like tomato slices, they are beautiful when cut exactly, but sloppy when done otherwise. Slices one-eighth to one-fourth of an inch in width will suffice.
Olives and onions are almost always interchangeable, depending on one's preference. Even the lowliest green olives stuffed with pimentos are a party favourite.
With both these garnishes, the brine in which they're cured adds a little saltiness to Martinis and Gibsons that softens the gin's edge. One olive or onion is elegant, two is proper, and three is a meal. People who ask for extra olives in drinks should have their cocktails prepared particularly diluted.
If you know an actual purist, pour out the brine from the olive or onion bottle; replace it with dry vermouth. Perceptive friends will appreciate the essence
of vermouth in their cocktails.
When it comes to flora, mint is my all-time favourite. I think the uppermost sprig
is one of the greatest gifts to the bar. Atop most any tall drink or floating in a Stinger, mint adds the most delicate aroma.
If you're knowledgeable about edible flowers, use blossoms to top any cocktail. Don't reserve this garnish for ladies: a well-selected flower can make a drink unforgettably unique for anyone.
Tips and Tricks1/2 oz. of liquor is equal to 1 count, assuming you are using a pourer on your bottles. To measure 1 1/2 oz. of liquor, count "1001...1002...1003" as you are pouring. After a while, you should be able to do it by eye.
• To make highballs, fill glass two-thirds full of ice before adding liquor. Always pour liquor in before the mixer. Do not stir drinks containing carbonated mixers.
• To make cocktails, low balls, and other shaken or stirred drinks, fill shaker halffull of ice. For low balls, fill the glass about half-full of ice before pouring drink.
• Most shaken drinks which contain light cream can also be made as blended drinks, substituting vanilla ice cream for the light cream.
• To make blended drinks, first fill blender half-full of ice. If necessary, add more ice as you are blending.
• Always keep fruit juices and other mixers refrigerated.
• In fruit drinks, e.g. strawberry margaritas always use fresh fruit, not frozen
When using a cocktail shaker there is one golden rule to remember. Always put the ice in the shaker first, and the liquor last. This is to ensure that all ingredients are properly chilled by the ice when they are poured over the ice, and by adding the liquor last you reduce the chance of dilution.
- Using a measure, pour a little of the liquor needed in the glass.
- Carefully pour the other liquor over an inverted bar spoon, held inside the glass with the tip touching the interior of the glass, so that it floats on the other liquor.
- The layers should not mix.
A drink that is stirred instead of shaken will retain its clarity and be free of ice chips.
Drinks based on clear liquors, like a Martini, should always be stirred and not shaken (don't listen to James Bond when he order his Martini "shaken, not stirred"). When stirring a cocktail you should stir it enough to mix the ingredients, but not stir it that 10-15 stirs will be sufficient for proper mixing.
- A drink containing carbonated beverage(s) should be stirred gently and briefly to retain the sparkle.
- First chill a suitable glass
- Put 2 or 3 ice cubes into the mixing glass and swirl them around a few times.
- Strain the melted ice water out of the mixing glass
- Measure out the ingredients according to the recipe and put them into the mixing glass
- Now mix together, working from bottom to top, with a long-handled spoon.
- Strain the drink immediately through the bar sieve into the chilled glass and garnish if desired
Instead of stirring, you can shake the drink. This will mix the ingredients more than stirring, but will also result in a less clear drink. Drinks that contain ingredients that are hard to mix, such as cream, fruit juices and eggs, should be shaken vigorously to ensure that the ingredients has been well mixed.
- Fill the cocktail shaker up to two-thirds full with ice cubes and swirl them around
- Strain any water from the melting ice cubes out of the shaker.
- Measure out the ingredients according to the recipe, add them to the shaker, and
- close it tightly.
- Shake the shaker firmly for a few seconds, moving it in and out from the body.
- Open the shaker and strain the drink through the bar sieve into a glass.
- Garnish the drink if desired.
- A perfectly shaken cocktail looks cloudy a first, then slowly clears from
- bottom to top
Use an electric blender to mix fresh fruit, liquor, juices and ice instead of using a shaker. Not too popular everywhere, but perfect for making frozen cocktails or to blend ingredients that are otherwise impossible to mix.
- Put 2 or 3 ice cubes into the blender jug
- Measure out the ingredients according to the recipe and put them into the
- blender jug.
- Make surer the lid is properly closed.
- Now run the blender for about 10 seconds on the first setting then switch to
- the second setting and blend for another 10 seconds.
- Pour the drink into the glass, garnish and serve immediately
The purpose of floating is to keep each ingredient in the drink in separate layers that do not mix with the others. This will create a drink with separate layers, and this is why floating often is referred to as layering.
The easiest way to float one liquor on top of another is to use a demitasse spoon, holding it over or in the glass and slowly trickle the ingredient over the back of the spoon.
Muddling is a simple mashing technique for grinding herbs, such as mint, smooth in the bottom of a glass. You can use a wooden muddler that you buy in a bar supply store or buy a bar spoon with a muddler on the end. It crushes the herbs, much as the back of a soup spoon might, without scaring the glass.
To frost a glass, first dip it in water and then put it in the freezer for half an hour or so. Also note that metal and silver mugs and cups will frost better than glasses.
Setting up a barBasic set of tools
When setting up a bar, you will need quite a lot of equipment. The following is a list of basic bar equipment you should have in your bar to allow you to make most drinks. You may also want to take a look at the list of additional equipment that will make life behind the bar a bit easier too.
• Bottle opener
• Can opener
• Measuring cups and spoon set
• Bar spoon with long handle and muddler on the end
• Juice squeezer
• Electric blender
• Cutting board and a sharp knife
• Ice bucket with an ice tong
• Mixing glass
• Shaker and strainer
• Bottle sealers
• Boxes/jars to store garnishes in
You will have to buy new supplies of the following equipment regularly.
• Cocktail napkins and coasters
• Swizzle sticks
• Straws, both long and short ones
• Cocktail picks
• Sugar and salt (for coating rim of glasses)
In addition you may wish to buy some other equipment to make things a bit easier and to be able to make additional drinks.
• Ice crusher, preferably electric
You can crush ice manually, but with an electric crusher, it will be a whole lot easier than using a hammer.
• Wooden muddler
• Ice pick or chipper
• Vegetable peeler or a twist cutter for fruit peels
• Ice scoop
• Nutmeg grater
When operating a bar, whether it be in-house or a business, you need to have certain types of glasses. The right glass can enhance the drink you are serving, making you look even better. You really do not want to serve wine in a coffee cup, a cocktail in a beer mug, and you definitely don't want to serve an Alabama Slammer in a sherry glass.
Get the point?
• Beer mug
• Beer pilsner
• Brandy snifter
• Champagne flute
• Cocktail glass
• Coffee mug
• Collins glass
• Cordial glass
• Highball glass
• Hurricane glass
• Irish coffee cup
• Margarita/Coupette glass
• Mason jar
• Old-fashioned glass
• Parfait glass
• Pousse cafe glass
• Red wine glass
• White wine glass
• Sherry glass
• Shot glass
• Whiskey sour glass
When you are around any bar, home or business, you need to be concerned for yourself and your guests. Here are a few tips about accidents and what to do:
• Always use an ice scoop and not the glass itself. Tiny slivers of glass always chip off when dipped into an ice well and your glasses become unclear after a while
• If you accidentally break a glass near ice, always throw away all the ice. When glass shatters, pieces go everywhere. You really don't want pieces of glass in your drink.
• Never take a hot glass and add ice into it. This can cause the glass to shatter due to thermal shock. Be careful about this.
• Mechanical shock occurs when you clank two glass together. One of the glasses will almost always break. If you carry the glasses by the stem or the base you avoid fingerprints where people drink from, and you will have more support carrying the glass.
Stocking your barYou cannot make drinks out of the equipment, so you'll probably want to buy a selection of liquors and mixers too. It is impossible to make a list that "fits all" without including every possible liquor in the World, but here are a few guidelines on what to buy.
You should always choose your bar stock to suit your guests. Young people often prefer the more exotic drinks, so you will need various fruit juices and flavored liqueurs instead of the darker liquors (like whiskey) older people often prefer.
It is likely you will experience requests for drinks you cannot make, but that happen to almost every bar now and then. You can add new liquors to your bar stock later, and should learn how to mix what you have in the meantime.
A well stocked bar should have the following, but you should consider the number and type of guests you expect before buying.
• Gin (dry)
• Rye (or Canadian whiskey)
• Scotch whiskey
• Rum (light)
• Vermouth (dry and sweet)
• White and red wine (dry)
• Beer (lager)
• Cognac (or other brandy)
• Different liqueurs:
o Advocaat (somewhat like brandy eggnog)
o Amaretto (almond)
o Anisette (anise)
o Benedictine (herbs)
o Chambord (black-raspberry)
o Chartreuse (herbs)
o Contreau (oranges, like curaçao)
o Crème de Cacao (cacao)
o Crème de Cassis (blackcurrant)
o Crème de Menthe (mint)
o Crème de Violette (lavender)
o Crème Yvette (violets)
o Curaçao (oranges)
o Galliano (herbs and spices)
o Godiva (chocolate)
o Goldwasser (herbs and spices, flecked with gold leaf bits)
o Grand Marnier (champagne and curaçao)
o Irish Mint (whiskey and cream)
o Kahlúa (coffee)
o Kümmel (caraway)
o Mandarine Napoléon (tangerine)
o Midori (melon)
o Ouzo (anise)
o Peter Heering (cherry)
o Prunelle (plum)
o Sabra (orange and chocolate)
o Sambuca (wild elderberries)
o Southern Comfort (peach)
o Strega (orange and spices)
o Tia Maria (coffee)
o Triple Sec (oranges, like curaçao)
In addition to the liquors, you will need different mixers, flavorings and garnishes.
• Club soda
• Tonic water
• Ginger ale
• 7-Up or Sprite
o Tomato juice
o Orange juice
o Pineapple juice
o Cranberry juice
o Grapefruit juice
• Maraschino liqueur
• Worcestershire sauce
• Tabasco sauce
• Heavy cream
• Cherries (maraschino)
• Green olives (small)
• Cocktail onions
• Lemons, limes and oranges
• Sugar, salt and pepper.
Fruited Ice Cubes
Suggested Fruits Beverage
Lemon slices Iced tea
Strawberries, raspberries, Lemonade
lemon or lime slices
Pineapple chunks; grapes; Punch
mandarin oranges; orange,
lemon or lime slices
Lime slices, strawberries, Ginger ale
To make fruited ice cubes, fill an ice-cube tray halfway with water; freeze until firm, about 1 1/2 hours. Place one or two pieces of desired fruit in each section of the tray.
Fill with water; freeze until firm, about 1 1/2 hours. If desired, substitute lemonade or a light-colored juice for the water
Gravity ChartWhen making layered drinks, also known as a Pousse Cafe, you'll need to know which
ingredients are heavier than the others. The technique is simple; the heaviest liquor is poured into the glass first, and the lighter ones are layered carefully on top with the lightest one on top.
This table lists some common liquors, along with their Specific Gravity that is the weight of the liquor relative to water. Higher values indicate heavier liquor.
|gravity chart 1|
|gravity chart 2|
Points to note while making cocktails and mixed drinks
1. make sure that there is a good supply of clear and clean ice.
2. Do not reuse the ice. Use fresh ice andfresh glass for each drink.
3. Do not touch ice with hands. always use scoop or tongs.
4. Do not scoop ice with glass.
5. Serve cocktails in chilled glasses.
6. To avoid spillage, do not fill glasses to the brim.
7. Handle the soda siphon by its metal or plastic pan only as the glass is a poor conductor of heat and the heat of the hand could make the glass burst. The glass cannot withstand the sudden change in the temperature.
8. Do not overfill the cocktail shaker.
9. Effervescent drinks should never be shaken. It should be stirred in at last.
10. Do not use liquidizer for effervescent drinks.
11. Do not leave the prepared cocktail for a long time as they will separate. Serve the cocktail as soon as it is ready.
12. To extract more juice from the citrus fruits, soak them in hot water.
13. When egg white or yolk is an ingredient, break fee egg into separate containers to check the quality before using.
14. To shake, use short and snappy actions.
15. Stir briskly until blend is cold.
16. Always plate ice in the shaker or mixing glass first, followed by non-alcoholic beverages, and then alcoholic beverages.
17. Always add the cheapest ingredients first into the mixing glass or the shaker. If any mistake, you may have to throw away only the cheapest ingredients and not the expensive alcoholic drinks. However, for stirred drinks, it is a good idea to add the alcohol drink first followed by syrups, juices, soda. etc. Since they are heavier than alcohol, when poured they would go through the alcoholic and making stirring process quicker.
18. As a general rule, the mixing glass is used for stirred drinks based on spirits, liqueurs, or wines (clear liquids).
19. The shakers are used for cocktails which include fruit juices, cream, sugar, egg, and similar ingredients.
20. When egg white or yolk is an ingredient then the Boston shaker should always be used.
21. Always add the garnish after the cocktail has been made; add it to the glass.
22. Always measure out ingredients; inaccurate amounts spoil the balance of the blend and taste.
23. Never use the same ice twice.
24. All kinds of sugar must be in dry form and uncaked.
25. While making chilled sweet cocktail, use sugar syrup instead of sugar as it does not readily dissolve. For hot drinks, sugar is used.
26. Demerara sugar is used while making hot rum-based drinks.
27. For all cocktail and mixed drinks, use fresh juice as far as possible.
28. Ensure adequate supply of iuices, svrups, olives, silver onions, eggs, and other items, such as drinking straws, napkins, umbrellas etc.
29. the bar tender must have cigarette lighter or matches, cigar cutter, waaiters friend.
30. where soda or any drink is poured in the glass, pour within 1/2 to 1 inch of rim.
31. While serving teh hot drinks, rinse the glass with warm water or place the metal spoon in the glass before pouring the hot drink.