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Level Up Your Bar Game With These Cocktail Hacks!

There is no greater happiness than the one that comes from doing 'jugaad'.
Handy tricks that anyone can do, they’re known to make tasks simpler. And who wouldn’t want to simplify the process of making a perf cocktail?
From using a substitute ingredient to replace another to using a mason jar instead of a cocktail shaker, there are umpteen cocktail tricks and tips a bartender would know best.

Which is why I got in touch with Brandon Toborg, Reserve Brand Ambassador Diageo to get a lesson in bartending 101 straight from the expert’s mouth!

Keen on knowing what bar-wizardry hacks Brandon is a fan of? Well, get shaking and stirring.

 Level Up Your Bar Game With These Cocktail Hacks!

1. Ice-Ice-Jugaad
First things first, ice is a bartender’s best friend and it should be yours as well. I understand there is a fear of a sore throat from ice in India but think of how cold beer > warm beer!
So, the first and most important jugaad I have for making a stirred cocktail, especially with warm mixers, is to fill your glass with ice and I mean FILL. By making your drink over a full glass of ice, you get what we call a ‘proper dilution ratio’. Stir until its cold so the remaining ice does not melt, creating an equilibrium as the drink warms up. Yep, its science!

 Level Up Your Bar Game With These Cocktail Hacks!
Source: In The Mix
2. Go Chop-Chop
Making an Old Fashioned at home but don’t have a fancy mixing glass and long bar spoon? But, I bet you’ve got a set of chopsticks from that night you ordered some Chinese food! Or if you’re like me, you’ll have a few nice pairs at home that are reusable. Get stirrin’

 Level Up Your Bar Game With These Cocktail Hacks!

 3. Two Words: Flavoured Ice
Spirits with 40% AVB or more do not freeze, however if you mix them you can create some delightful spiked ice. My personal favourite is to mix equal parts Tanqueray Gin and brewed coffee. Fill up an ice tray on a Friday evening at home and be set for a great Saturday brunch with some special cold coffee. This trick also works really well with Ketel One Vodka.

 Level Up Your Bar Game With These Cocktail Hacks!

4. Freeze Your Glassware
Keep some whisky glasses in the freezer to get your Caol Ila cold instantly. Better yet, add a finger of water to the glass before putting it in there, and you can literally have your whisky ON the rock!

 Level Up Your Bar Game With These Cocktail Hacks!

 5. Pour Some Sugar On Me
In your ice tray, add some herbs, a tiny bit of hot sugar syrup and freeze for 20-30 minutes. Then add hot water and freeze for 2-3 hours or until frozen. This way, the hot sugar syrup will extract the flavour from the herbs and help keep them towards the bottom of the tray once frozen before you add some hot water.
Why hot water you ask? It melts the sugar just right while helping mix the solution before it starts getting frozen all the way. While this method might take longer to freeze, it gives you slightly clearer cubes as well.
Use these for some extra flavour in your Tanqueray/Ketel One Soda/Tonics!

 Level Up Your Bar Game With These Cocktail Hacks!

6. 1-2-3-Shake
Unless you’re super into making cocktails, I’d guess that you don’t have a full bar kit and cocktail shakers. But wait, there are a few things you can use to shake up a tasty libation at home. So, don’t throw out those bottles from your favourite milkshake delivery place and up-cycle them to a shaker. A mason jar also works very well.

 Level Up Your Bar Game With These Cocktail Hacks!

 7. Here’s An Eggs-elent Tip
For all you vegetarians, there’s a way to make an amazing Johnnie Walker Black Label Whisky Sour with the texture of an egg white without all the egg. Replace the egg white with 30ml of Aquafaba and get shakin’.
Here’s a video on how to make it.

8. Oh Sugar, Honey Honey

Here’s a healthy hack that I use on the regular. Swap out refined sugar in your drinks with honey, or get a bottle of 100% agave syrup online. These natural sweeteners are far better for you and are completely natural.

Cocktail Tricks Only A Bartender Would Know
9.  Infuse Like A Pro
For this fun jugaad, use a neutral spirit such as Ketel One Vodka and some fresh fruit. Take some fresh strawberries and make sure they are totally submerged in the vodka. Store in a sealed mason jar at room temp for around 20-30 days till the strawberries turn white. When ready, put the mixture  back into a bottle and store away in the freezer. This can now be sipped cold and neat, or used in any cocktail recipe of your own!

 Cocktail Tricks Only A Bartender Would Know

10. When Life Gives You Citrus
Have leftover citrus from cooking? Add the peels to white sugar in a zip-lock bag, roll them around to express the oils and let sit for a day or two. You now have Oleo Saccharum (oily sugar in Latin).You can now turn it into a simple syrup with a naturally fresh citrus flavour!

Cocktail Tricks Only A Bartender Would Know
Source: Drinking Hobby

Now, how’s that for some jugaad? 

*Drink responsibly