No matter how tastefully curated or well-stocked a bar is, it only gets its charm from a skilled bartender – one who can balance a perfectly crafted drink with easy banter over the counter.
To ace your mixology game, we have compiled some essential tips that every budding bartender must master to become a successful bartender.
It’s All About The Balance
For creating the perfect drink, you must understand the relationship between four essential elements: strong and weak, and sweet and sour. A majority of classic drinks involve at least one of these four elements.
While “strong” refers to the main spirit in the drink such as rum in a Daiquiri or vodka in the Martini, “weak” commonly comes in the form of chilled water, ice or non-alcoholic mixers that are used to chill or dilute the drink.
“Sweet” accounts for syrups and sugar and “sour” means citrus fruits like lemon or lime.
Try and make your own drinks using the foundation above. You can start with simpler ones and work your way up.
Shake It Up
The key to shaking a cocktail is – don’t shy away from it. Not every recipe demands shaking, but when it does, give it your all. Trust us, there is a science to it. When you shake a cocktail, it creates a frothy appearance by introducing extra oxygen bubbles into the mixture. This is why you’ll notice that drinks containing fruit juices, dairy-based ingredients or eggs are usually mixed by a whole lot of shaking.
The Essential Technique of Muddling
Mojito, one of the most classic cocktails, requires this technique called ‘muddling’ to bring the ingredients to life. All you need is a good 'muddler' and a little bit of elbow grease. Put ingredients that you want to crush up and release the essential oils in a shallow dish. Now use the muddler to crush them. When you see that the ingredients are mixed well, you can take them out and add them to the drink. Simple, isn't it?
The Art of Straining
Typically, there are two main kinds of strainers – a Julep strainer or a Hawthorne strainer. The general practice is to use a julep strainer when pouring the drink from a glass and use a Hawthorne strainer when pouring it from a tin. Whichever strainer you use, the main aim should be to keep the ice flakes and chunky ingredients away from the cocktail.
Getting The Layering Right
Layering is one technique that can truly make you look like a pro at a bar. Get this right and you are sure to leave a lasting impression on the minds of your clientele. The most important thing to remember about layering is the densities of the liquids you are using. Even the slightest mistake can totally ruin your drink and make it a mess.
Make sure the heavier liquids go in first and the lighter liquids go on top. You can either practice this with a bar spoon or a non-medical syringe, whichever you are most comfortable with.
Practice these techniques regularly and we are sure you’ll get that finesse in no time!
In the meantime, here are some easy cocktail recipes to start with.
Image Credits: Facebook/@Diageo