How to prepare a cocktail
Below are listed some methods and basics to know before preparing a cocktail.
1 Shaking and straining
"Shaking" means vigorously shake the ingredients in a cocktail shaker. This is a simple and convenient way to obtain a mixture of ingredients (e.g. juice, egg white, cream and sugar syrup) that integrates poorly with alcohol.
Most shakers consist of two or three pieces. We first fill the tin with two-thirds of ice. Then we pour the ingredients, starting with fruits and syrups or cream, and finally alcohol.
We vigorously shake for 10 to 15 seconds. We remove the lid and, using a strainer (which may be incorporated in the shaker) or a knife, filter the content above the cocktail glass to hold the ice which, once melted, could dilute the preparation and make it lose its flavor.
If the shaker is not equipped with a lid, use a coaster or the palm of the hand will be just as effective.
To sample the cocktail before serving, simply pour a little into the lid of the shaker and drink with a straw.
2 Using a shaker and serving
After mixing the cocktail as described above, pour it directly into the glass with ice. We usually use this method with the glasses known as "highball" a tall glass, and sometimes with glasses called "old-fashioned" or whiskey glasses.
3 Using a mixing glass
We can also prepare a cocktail by stirring the ingredients with ice in a mixing glass, using small circular movements, then filtering the contents into a chilled cocktail glass. Thus alcohols, liquors and vermouths are well blended.
4 Stirring in the cocktail glass
This technique consists on preparing a cocktail by stirring the ingredients directly into the glass by pouring them in the order listed in the recipe. It is used with tall glasses for long cocktails containing fruit or non-alcoholic beverage.
The drink is served with a stick so you can mix the ingredients yourself. Otherwise, a long straw will do the job.
5 Using a blender
To mix a cocktail we use an electric mixer or blender.
We always starts with fruit (fresh or canned) preferably cut into small pieces to obtain a smooth texture. Alcohol is then added and we always end with ice. The order indicated allows fruit to mix perfectly with alcohol.
To obtain a homogeneous mixture containing no chunk of ice or fruit, it is recommended to mix for at least 20 seconds.
The blender must be perfectly clean. The Angostura Bitters is well suited for cleaning because it contains ammonia.
Proceed to 4 or 5 pulses then fill with hot water, rinse and dry.
6 Layering (or floating) ingredients in the glass
To make a layered cocktail, we add ingredients by pouring one after another without mixing them.
The technic consists on pouring delicately on a spoon back a bit above the last layer, so that the liquid spreads gently on the surface of the glass.
To know more about layering cocktails, have a look at the page how to layer a cocktail.
7 Muddling in the glass
This technic consists on gently crushing fruits or mint leaves in the glass with a muddler.
Most of time we add sugar or a small amount of liquor. Then we add other ingredients.
This method lets fruits or mint flavors to expound totally.
8 Flaming a cocktail
Most alcoholic drinks are flammable, the higher the proof the easier they are to ignite.
In general, follow these rules:
• It is advised to warm the alcohol before igniting it.
• Pre-heat the glass before flaming, that will prevent the glass from breaking due to a sudden temperature change
• Do not use a direct flame on the glass while heating, for it will shatter or darken
• It is recommended to pre-heat alcohol in a spoon, then adding it carefully to the glass containing the cocktail, the cocktail should catch fire
• Keep distance from the flames especially dor your hairs or flammable materials, bottles of alcohol, etc...
• Do not add any alcohol after igniting the cocktail
9 Riming a cocktail glass
Riming a glass can be a way to make the cocktail even more attractive or to add an additional flavor.
To rim a glass you can use fine sugar or salt.
Wet the outside rim of the glass with a fresh lemon or lime wedge (or orange for sugary rims).
Hold the glass by the bottom and dab the rim into the salt or sugar while slowly turning the glass so that only the outer edge is covered. You can use a saucer filled with some sugar or salt for convenience. Now shake off any excess of salt or sugar and your glass is ready to cary a nice cocktail !