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Technically Saturday: The Basics of Substituting Cocktail Ingredients

September 28, 2013 Nick McAfee 0

There are few things quite as frustrating as finding a great cocktail recipe only to realize that you don’t have all of the ingredients to make it.  Or that some of the ingredients are so expensive that you will never be able to justify stocking them in your bar.  Lucky for you, many cocktails will not suffer from some substitution if you don’t have an ingredient.  Like many aspects of mixology, experimenting is key after you know the basics. Basic Cocktail Ingredient Substitutions If you don’t have Cointreau, try: another orange liqueur triple sec curacao Grand Marnier Combier cherry liqueur pomegranate liqueur a floral liqueur such as St.-Germain Elderflower Liqueur a spicy liqueur such as Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur If you don’t have maraschino, try: other cherry liqueurs Cherry Moonshine triple sec a floral liqueur such as St.-Germain Elderflower Liqueur a spicy liqueur such as Domaine de Canton Ginger Learn More

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Technically Saturday: 10 Tips for Flaming Drink Safety & Success

September 21, 2013 Nick McAfee 0

There are many shots and mixed drinks which call for being lit on fire.  Flaming cocktails or shots are usually made by floating a layer of high-proof alcohol (such as Bacardi 151 or grain alcohol like Everclear).  Flaming a drink can add several unique characteristics: flavor, presentation, and an air of danger. If you follow some basic tips, you can safely drink any flaming cocktail or shot and impress your friends as well. Never do the shot or drink the cocktail while it is still lit on fire.  The simplest way to put out the fire is to blow it, just be careful not to blow too hard and risk splashing the alcohol and fire out of the drink.  If you don’t blow it out, you risk horrible burns on your face and hands.   I had a friend who did a flaming shot after he had had a bit Learn More

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Technically Saturday: How to Layer Cocktails

September 14, 2013 Nick McAfee 0

Layering cocktails can be both fun and impressive.  Layering drinks means that each spirit or liquor doesn’t mix with the other ingredients in the drink and can be done in several ways.  The easiest way is to use two ingredients with vastly different densities: think of the oil and water effect.  Almost any spirit or liqueur can be layered on dense liquids such as cream or even dense liqueurs such as Baileys.  However with a bit of care, even similarly dense spirits can be layered to the point where they have more levels than Avicii.  Here’s how! How to Layer Cocktails Find out the gravity of each of the spirits in your cocktail.  This is mixology speak for density. Pour the ingredient with the highest gravity into the glass and build up.  It is important to do your best not to get any on the sides of the glass. Place Learn More

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Technically Saturday: How to Make the Perfect Water for Cocktails

September 7, 2013 Nick McAfee 1

This time it is all about the water.  And no, this isn’t a post about how it is necessary to save the oceans or whether there is enough clean water to support  the growing world population.  As important as this issues might be, this post is is about using the perfect water for your ice, syrups, and cocktails.  Once the ice starts melting, water can become up to 40% of the cocktail, but lucky for you the perfect water can be made in your own home! The Perfect Water for cocktails 2 liters distilled or purified water, divided 1.5 grams magnesium chloride 1 gram sodium bicarbonate 1 gram calcium chloride First off, all credit for this recipe goes to Kevin Liu.  Begin by filling two bottles with 1 liter of water.  In the first bottle add the magnesium chloride, sodium bicarbonate, and calcium chloride.  This will create a electrolyte solution Learn More

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Technically Saturday: 4 Steps to Blending Perfect Drinks

August 31, 2013 Nick McAfee 0

Blended frozen drinks don’t have to be bad, they just usually are.  With a bit of care you can make a tasty balanced drink that isn’t too sweet.  But it isn’t just the recipe, the technique for blending a cocktail can make a world of difference between a watered down slurry and an amazing frozen cocktail.  Here are a couple of basic steps and tips to make your blended drinks as amazing as they can be. The 4 Steps to Blending Add all ingredients to the blender.  This includes the spirits, fruit, syrups and whatever other ingredients are in your recipe.  Make sure all fruit is in 1″ cubes or smaller.  Do not add ice at this step. Blend all of the ingredients.  You want all of the ingredients to be well blended and mixed before you add ice to the equation.  This step can be skipped if all ingredients Learn More

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Technically Saturday: Learn How to Free Pour

August 24, 2013 Nick McAfee 0

Have you ever noticed that when you go to a good bar the bartender rarely uses a jigger but always manages to pour the right amount of spirit into your cocktail?  This is the art of free pouring and with a bit of practice, you can do it too! What you need to learn how to free pour: A liquor bottle (filled with either spirits or water) a jigger a pour spout patience The simplest way to learn how to free pour is by starting by pouring into a jigger.  Count how long it takes to fill the jigger and repeat several times.  Most people find that a fast count of five or a slow count of 3 “Mississippis” will be that magic number.  Try both and see which works best for you.  The trick to a good pour is keeping a steady flow of liquid throughout the process with Learn More

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Technically Saturday: How to Roll a Drink

August 17, 2013 Nick McAfee 0

The term roll is bit misleading. No, you will not be getting out your rolling pin and trying to fruitlessly flatten your drink. This simple mixing technique requires only two glasses and some ice to work effectively. Rolling, although very useful and easy to pickup, is a rarely used. It is best suited to high volume drinks served on the rocks like highballs and lowballs. This technique excels at mixing simple cocktails with two or three ingredient (think screwdriver with just orange juice and vodka) and allows for delicate mixing without the incorporation of much ice. It also prevents as much air from being forced into the drink as the technique of shaking would do. The Steps for the perfect Roll Fill one glass with ice and the ingredients of the cocktail. Set aside another empty glass of equal or larger size. Pour the contents of the first glass into Learn More

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Technically Saturday: A Stirring Tutorial

August 3, 2013 Nick McAfee 0

Do you want your cocktail to be as clear and sharp as a diamond?  Then you are going to have to put away the shaker and stir.  And be using clear spirits like vodka and gin (if it isn’t clear then shake it). There are a couple of helpful tips to make your stirring as perfect as the cocktail you are creating. The Process Fill a mixing glass half way with ice. A cocktail shaker or pint glass will also work just fine. Add the spirits and other ingredients Technique #1: Put the bar spoon into the glass and twist the shaft up and down and back and forth for 20 seconds.Technique #2: Place the bar spoon inside of the glass and for about 20 seconds gently rotate the spoon around the outer edge using just your wrist.Technique #3: Hold the spoon upside down and stir with the handle by gently rotating Learn More

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Technically Saturday: To shake or not to shake? That is the question

July 27, 2013 Nick McAfee 0

Today is all about shaking.  Shaking cocktails that is.  Even if you know the basics, keep on reading.  An okay cocktail can become amazing if shaking is executed perfectly. Shaking serves two main purposes.  The first is to completely mix the ingredients in the drink.  This can be more difficult than it sounds and that is why shaking is so useful.  The second is to chill the drink.  If you add a warm drink to cold ice in a glass, not only will the ice melt quickly, but the glass will quickly b swimming in condensation.  By prechilling both the cocktail and the glass some of this condensation is mitigated.  Here are some helpful tips on shaking cocktails: Place ice cubes in the shaker first. Pre-chilling the shaker accelerates the entire process. Use 4-6 ice cubes per drink. Don not overfill the shaker.  Space is needed for proper mixing to Learn More