It is necessary to have the right tools for any job, whether it’s building a bird house or baking brownies. Cocktails are no different. Check your bar for these cocktail essentials.
The shaker is the most important tool in any bar. It’s used to make “shaken” cocktails – the ingredients are put in and shaken vigorously. There are three types of cocktail shakers: Cobbler Shaker, Boston Shaker and French Shaker.
Don’t have a cocktail shaker?
Use two slightly flared glasses inverted over each other, or a glass jar with a screw-top lid.
Strainers are usually used in conjunction with Boston or French Shakers, though they can be used with Cobbler Shakers to get a cleaner pour. There are two types: Hawthorne and Julep Strainers.
Julep strainers are more frequently used in glasses. To use:
- Place the strainer bowl pointing into the glass
- Hold it in place with your index finger while pouring
What if you don’t have a Hawthorne or Julep Strainer?
Use a regular kitchen strainer with small perforations.
A metal measuring device, the Jigger can look odd to newcomers. This little device is used to measure the liquid ingredients in a cocktail.
No jigger handy?
Most shot glasses are 1.5 oz. Or use a tablespoon: ½ oz = 1 tbsp
This is a long handled spoon that is perfect for reaching to the bottom of tall glasses. You’ll need one of these if you make a lot of stirred and layered drinks, or if you need to fish cherries out of a jar.
A muddler is use to mash ingredients at the bottom of the glass; this process releases the flavours, juices and oils from the fruit, mint or herbs to enhance the drink.
Need a tutorial on how to muddle?
Watch this one from How to Mix Drinks.
“Shaken”, “stirred”, “on the rocks”, “neat”, “dirty” – there are a variety of ways to take your cocktails, but what do they all mean?
Martini served with an olive and a little brine added to the mix.
A cocktail that is not sweet; usually incorporates dry vermouth.
Martini that is neither stirred nor shaken; includes gin or vodka ice cold from the freezer with a rinse or spray of vermouth.
A single, unmixed liquor served without being chilled and with any water, ice or other mixer.
On the Rocks
A liquor poured over ice cubes; or when just “rocks”, any drink served with or over ice.
Manhattan that is neither too dry nor too sweet.
A cocktail made by shaking the ingredients in a cocktail shaker.
A cocktail made by stirring the ingredients in a glass or mixing tin.
A drink that is shaken or stirred with ice, then strained and served in a stemmed glass without ice. Also known as “Up” and can be confused with “neat”.
With a twist
Add a twist of lemon or lime to the cocktail; usually hanging the garnish on the glass.
In the September issue of Quench, Sarah Parniak outlines the Draper Effect – the influence of popular shows like Mad Men in the increased popularity of classic cocktails. In her article, she mentions seven classic cocktails that are the foundation for every bartender – and ones you should commit to memory, so you can whip them up for guests and surprise them with your skill.
3/4 oz gin
3/4 oz green Chartreuse
3/4 oz maraschino liqueur
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
Shake ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled glass.
3/4 oz sweet vermouth
2 1/2 oz blended bourbon
1 dash Angostura bitters
2 or 3 ice cubes
1 Maraschino cherry
1 twist of orange peel
Combine the vermouth, bourbon, bitters and ice in a mixing glass. Stir gently, don’t bruise the spirits or cloud the drink. Place the cherry in a chilled cocktail glass and strain the whiskey mixture over the cherry. Rub the cut edge of the orange peel over the rim of the glass and twist it over the drink to release the oils, but don’t drop it in.
1 1/2 oz gin
3/4 oz dry vermouth
Stir gin and vermouth over ice cubes in a mixing glass. Strain into a cocktail glass, add the olive, and serve.
1 oz gin
1 oz campari
1 oz sweet vermouth
Stir over ice and pour into a rocks glass. Garnish with a lemon zest.
2 oz bourbon
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 splash water
1 tsp sugar
1 maraschino cherry
1 orange wedge
Mix sugar, water and angostura bitters in an old-fashioned glass. Drop in a cherry and an orange wedge. Muddle into a paste using a muddler or the back end of a spoon. Pour in bourbon, fill with ice cubes and stir.
1 tsp Ricard
1/2 tsp superfine sugar
2 dashes Peychaud bitters
1 tsp water
2 oz Bourbon
1 twist of lemon peel
Pour Ricard into a glass and swirl around to coat glass, discard any excess. Place the sugar, Peychaud bitters, and water into the glass and muddle with the back of a teaspoon. Almost fill the glass with ice cubes. Pour the bourbon over the ice cubes.
2 oz cognac
1/2 oz cointreau
1 oz lemon juice
In a shaker half-filled with ice cubes, combine all of the ingredients. Shake well. Strain into a cocktail glass.
For more mixed drinks, visit quench.me/mixed
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Published by Quench Digital.
Quench Digital and Quench Magazine are registered trademarks of Kylix Media. Opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher.
Art direction and production by Paris Associates.
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Photography and media provided by:
- Bartending Lesson: How to use a Hawthorne Strainer video – BartenderOne Toronto Bartending Schools page on YouTube.
- How to Use a Muddler video – How to Mix Drinks channel on YouTube
- How to Shake a Cocktail Shaker by Aldo Parise via Snapguide
- Mad Men Promotional Cover image – from Art of the Title
- Cocktail Recipe sources: