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Drink Preparation

Shaker

 

Pouring Techniques

Hand Measured Pouring

Free Pouring

Drink Making Techniques in Simple Terms

Drink Making by Category

How to Make Highball Drinks
How to Make Ice Cream and Cream Drinks
How to Make Martinis and Manhattans
How to Make a Champagne Cocktail
How to Make Rocks Drinks
How to Make Classic Cocktails
How to Make Blended and Frozen Cocktails
How to Make Tropical and Tall Drinks
How to Make Coffee and Hot Drinks
How to Make Layered Cordial Drinks

 

Familiarizing yourself with the various categories of drinks will significantly improve your drink making speed and efficiency by helping you remember specific ingredients, preparation methods, and the proper glassware in which a drink should be served.

Pouring Techniques

There are two general methods used to pour alcoholic products quickly and accurately: free pouring and hand measured pouring. Free pouring requires practice to be precise. Unless you are confident in your free pouring measurements, use hand measured pouring for the best tasting results.

Hand Measured Pouring

This method of using a jigger, or other hand-measuring device is a slower but more precise way to portion out liquor than free pouring. Hand-measuring requires practice to master proper technique. The best way to use a hand held measure is imagining that a hinge exists between the lip of the glass and the jigger. As liquor begins filling the measure, the device is brought to the side of ("hinged" to) the glass. At the instant of correct measure is arrived at, the jigger is tipped into the glass and the liquor bottle is returned upright.

The four separate motions — readying the measure, the pour, ending the pour, and emptying the measure—are performed in one smooth motion as quickly as possible. To cut time loss use the rule "touch anything only once per order" (e.g., pour all required vodka portions in a multi-drink order rather than putting away the vodka, completing one drink and then picking up the vodka again for the next one). The measuring device should stay in the hand until all liquor portions are poured and then be put back on the pour mat in the square used for that purpose. This will help to make sure that time saved isn't ever wasted searching for the measure.

Free Pouring

This method of pouring is most often used for style and speed. Liquor is poured without the use of a measuring device and portioning is dependent entirely on timing. The rule of thumb is that a bottle angled at 45° and equipped with a medium-speed commercial spout will dispense 1/2 oz. of liquor per second; i.e., a silent count of "one thousand-one, one-thousand-two, one-thousand-three" will pour a 1 1/2 oz. portion. (Liqueurs, generally denser than liquors, will pour through the same spout at a slower and less predictable rate.)

The real time saving of free pouring is that the other hand is free to add mixer, or a second liquor/liqueur. A lot of flair and style can be applied to this technique.

Drink Making Techniques in Simple Terms

1. Build in glass

Pour the drink ingredients directly into the ice filled service glass.

2. Layer ingredients

Carefully pour each ingredient into the empty service glass, using the back of a spoon or the side of the glass to slow the pour of the liquid, creating a layered effect.

3. Pour into an iced blender canister / Blend thoroughly

Pour a scoop of ice and each of the ingredients into the blender. Use personal judgment when adding ice. These drinks are meant to have a smooth consistency. If the scooped in ice isn't enough to freeze the drink, add another 1/4 to 1/3 scoop.

4. Pour into an empty blender canister / Blend thoroughly

Pour each of the ingredients into the blender. Use personal judgment when adding ice. These drinks are meant to have a smooth consistency. The ice cream or other frozen ingredients may be enough to freeze the drink; if not, add 1/2 scoop of ice.

5. Pour into an iced mixing glass / Shake and strain

Pour a scoop of ice and each of the ingredients into a mixing glass or cocktail shaker. The ingredients are meant to be thoroughly mixed and develop a frothy head of foam. These types of drinks are often prepared both on the rocks (over ice), and straight-up (without ice). The same process is used in preparation of either.

6. Pour into an iced mixing glass / Stir and strain

Pour a scoop of ice and each of the ingredients into a mixing glass or cocktail shaker. The ingredients are meant to be thoroughly chilled, and gently mixed. These types of drinks are also sometimes prepared using the "Build in glass” method.

7a. Rim glass with salt

Moisten the outside edge of the glass rim with sweetened lime juice or syrup. Dip in kosher or specialty salt to create a rim.

7b. Rim glass with sugar

Moisten the outside edge of the glass rim with sweetened lime juice or sugar syrup. Dip in sugar to create a rim.

Drink Making by Category

Drinks are frequently "categorized". In doing so, it explains the generalities of the group including the type of glass used and the preparation methods. Most drinks fall into a category.

How to Make Highball Drinks

Highball drinks are the combination of requested liquor or liqueur and a specified mixer (water, tonic, soda, juice, etc.). A standard Highball drink is made with 1 to 1 1⁄4 oz. liquor for consistency, the recipes contained in this manual will call for 1 oz.). Commercially these drinks are proportioned 1:2, one part liquor (or liqueur) to two parts mixer. A proportion of 1:1, or equal parts of liquor to mixer, will produce too strong tasting of a drink. A proportion of 1:3 or 1:4 will make a drink over-diluted and weak tasting.

The most frequently used highball glasses are 9 oz. Fully iced, a 9 oz. highball glass has a capacity of approximately 3 fluid oz. Using 1 oz. of requested product leaves room for a free-pour fill of mixer (approximately 2 oz.), making the standard recipe ratio quickly and efficiently.

  1. A Double Highball is prepared in a standard 9 oz. highball glass using 2 oz. of the liquor and a fill of the requested mixer. This will yield a relatively potent proportion of two parts liquor to one part mixer. A word of caution, drinking a double highball is more potent than consuming two regularly prepared highballs.
  2. A Tall Highball is prepared in a 10-12 oz. bucket glass using 1 oz. of liquor and a fill of the specified mixer. This combination will produce a relatively weak tasting drink, an approximate proportion of 1:4 or 1:5.
  3. A Short Highball is prepared in a 7 oz. glass using 1 oz. of liquor and a fill of the specified mixer. This combination will yield a strong tasting drink with a proportion of about 1:1, or equal parts of liquor to mix.
  4. A Double Tall Highball is prepared in a 10-12 oz. bucket glass using 2 oz. of requested liquor and a fill of the specified mixer. This combination will usually create a standard 1:2 proportion. A double tall highball is like preparing two regular highballs drinks in the same glass.

 

Highball Example:

Gin & Tonic
Highball glass, ice
Build in glass
1 1/4 oz. Tanqueray Gin
Fill with tonic water
Garnish with a lime wedge

How to Make Ice Cream and Cream Drinks

These are among the best tasting cocktails you'll prepare. Most often ordered after dinner or in the evening, they are like a liquid dessert.

The base ingredient in almost all of these drinks is half & half cream, preferred because whole fresh cream is too sweet and heavy and milk will produce too thin a drink. Some recipes call for ice cream as a base ingredient, resulting in a kind of alcohol-milkshake. To make any cream drink an ice cream drink, substitute one or two scoops of vanilla ice cream for the half & half.

Cream drinks will be ordered and prepared in one of three ways: straight-up, on-the-rocks, or blended/frozen. This choice will decide the use of glassware.

  1. When these cocktails are ordered Straight-Up, use either a traditional hand mixing set, or an electric up-mixer (a commercial milkshake blender). Either method will produce a frothy mixture that is served strained into a chilled cocktail glass.
  2. When a cream drink is ordered On-the-Rocks, it is mixed as above and then strained into a snifter, or house specialty glass filled with ice.
  3. All of the recipes in this category can be prepared Blended or Frozen and will often be requested that way. This technique uses a commercial grade home-style blender and an amount of ice equal to the liquid ingredients. If ice cream is substituted for half & half, the ice can be omitted. The result is a thick and creamy milkshake drink, many of which become house signature drinks because they are attractive and delicious. Decreasing the portion of half & half from 1 1/2 - 2 oz. and increasing each liquor or liqueur portion from 1/2 - 3/4 oz can change the taste and potency of these recipes.

 

Cream Drink Example:

Brandy Alexander
Cocktail glass, chilled
Pour into an iced mixing glass
3/4 oz. Brandy
3/4 oz. Dark Crème de Cacao
1 1/2 oz. half & half cream
Shake and strain
Garnish with a sprinkle of nutmeg

How to Make Martinis and Manhattans

The classic Martini and Manhattan enjoy enormous popularity and are also potent. Martinis and Manhattans are most frequently served before dinner during the Cocktail Hour and are likely to be ordered with premium liquors.

Martinis and Manhattans are prepared with 3 oz. of requested liquor. The high-proof liquors (80-100 proof) served undiluted explains why these drinks are so potent.

 

Martinis and Manhattans are ordered in two different ways, on-the-rocks, or straight-up.

  1. On-the-Rocks: These drinks are built directly into an iced rocks glass, garnished and served.
  2. Straight-Up: These drinks are prepared in an iced mixing glass, then stirred gently and strained into a chilled cocktail glass. Shaking the cocktail rather than stirring it will "bruise" the liquor (over-dilute it) and is often grounds for a drink being rejected. Each recipe is prepared with dry and/or sweet vermouth. Dry vermouth is a pale, dry, almost tart French fortified aperitif wine with an alcohol content of 19% by volume. Sweet vermouth is a sweet, reddish-brown Italian fortified aperitif wine, meaning that alcohol has been added to raise the alcoholic content to approximately 16% by volume. Vermouth is put into these drinks to soften the edge of the liquor.

 

Martini Example:

Classic Martini
Cocktail glass, chilled
Pour into an iced mixing glass
3 oz. Gin
1/2 oz. Dry Vermouth
Stir and strain
Garnish with olives or lemon twist

 

 

   There are three different types of Manhattans: regular, using sweet vermouth; dry, which uses dry vermouth; and perfect, which uses both sweet and dry vermouth. Unless requested with a specific call brand, Manhattans are always made with well bourbon whiskey.

Note: Originally, the Manhattan was prepared with a dash or two of Angostura Bitters and rye whiskey. These are now considered optional ingredients and left up to personal preference.

 

Manhattan Example:

Classic Manhattan
Cocktail glass, chilled
Pour into an iced mixing glass
3 oz. Bourbon
1 oz. Sweet Vermouth
1-3 dashes Angostura Aromatic Bitters (optional)
Stir and strain
Garnish with a cherry

How to Make a Champagne Cocktail

For nearly a century and a half the Champagne Cocktail has remained relatively unchanged. The contemporary version of the drink is made directly into a Champagne flute, tulip glass, or saucer. Typically a sugar cube is placed into the empty glass and saturated with one or two dashes of Angostura Bitters, after which cold Champagne is slowly added. Anticipate that the Champagne with create an immediate froth when it comes into contact with the sugar, thus the need to pour the wine slowly.

The finishing touch is twisting a lemon rind such that its essential oils are expressed in the direction of the glass. The spiraled lemon twist is then dropped into the cocktail and served.

 

Champagne Cocktail Example:

Classic Champagne Cocktail
Champagne glass, chilled
Build in glass
1 sugar cube soaked with Angostura Aromatic Bitters
Fill with Champagne
Garnish with a lemon twist

How to Make Rocks Drinks

The Rocks category is a popular type of mixed drinks. They are perhaps best illustrated by the Black Russian, a classic concoction made from a vodka and Kahlúa served in an ice filled 7 oz. glass. Rocks drinks are normally prepared with a liquor base of 1 1/2 - 2 oz. of liquor topped with a 1/2 - 3/4 oz. portion of liqueur. The key to their enduring popularity is the synergy created by marrying a liquor with a complementary liqueur. Excellent examples include the Rusty Nail (Drambuie and Scotch), the Brave Bull (tequila and Kahlúa), the Boss (bourbon and Disaronno Amaretto). The liquor portion is always poured first, followed by the liqueur. Being the denser, heavier product, the liqueur will settle through the layer of liquor, making any further mixing unnecessary. Some of the drink recipes in this category — namely the gimlet, kamikaze and stinger — are often requested served straight-up. Other liquor and liqueur combinations are served neat, in which case the ingredients are poured directly into the service glass without ice.

 

Rocks drinks are ordered in two different ways, on-the-rocks, or straight-up.

  1. On-the-Rocks referred to as "build in glass": These drinks are built directly into an iced rocks glass, garnished and served.
  2. Straight-Up referred to as "pour ingredients into an iced mixing glass, then shake or stir and strain": These drinks are prepared in an iced mixing glass, then stirred gently and strained into a chilled cocktail glass. Shaking the cocktail rather than stirring it will "bruise" the liquor (over-dilute it) and is often grounds for a customer rejecting the drink.
       In some instances, cognacs, brandies and liqueurs, such as Grand Marnier, or Extase XO, are requested served neat in a heated snifter. This is accomplished by filling the glass with hot water, allowing it to sit for a minute, then emptying the glass out prior to making the drink. The heated snifter will help the brandy release its bouquet. Before serving, place a cocktail napkin over the mouth of the glass to help keep it warm and to retain the bouquet until the drink is served.

 

Rocks Drink Example:

Black Russian
Rocks glass, ice
Build in glass
1 1/2 oz. Vodka
3/4 oz. Kahlúa
Note: Add 1/2 oz. half & half cream to make a White Russian

How to Make Classic Cocktails

 

   Classic cocktail drink recipes were at the height of their popularity from around 1900 through the long days of prohibition. Today, they are once again experiencing popularity. Most of these cocktail recipes are made using a base liquor or liqueur, one or two fruit juices and a cordial or syrup. Most use sweetened lemon juice (sweet 'n' sour or Margarita mix). This product can be purchased commercially, or made in the bar. Many of the recipes in this category contain 3 fluid oz., 1 oz. of the recipe is typically reserved for the liquor or liqueur portion.

 

Cocktails are served straight-up, on-the-rocks, or blended/frozen. Each of these preparation methods may require the use of a different glass.

  1. A cocktail requested Straight-Up is prepared in a mixing glass, hand shaken and strained into a chilled cocktail glass or sour glass.
  2. A cocktail requested On-the-Rocks is also prepared in a mixing glass and hand shaken, then strained into an iced glass. Margaritas served on-the-rocks are sometimes served in an iced bucket glass. A cocktail ordered blended or frozen is prepared in a blender with either crushed or cubed ice and served in a house specialty glass.
  3. A cocktail requested Blended or Frozen requires the use of a blender and ice. Crushed ice makes a slightly better and faster blend, but most bars use small cubes. A frozen drink should be completely blended with no cubed ice left. It should be fluid enough to drink, yet thick enough ("slushy") to be called frozen.

How to Make Blended and Frozen Cocktails


The three key elements to properly blend a cocktail are:
  1. There should be equal parts of ice and liquid ingredients in the blender canister. Too much ice will result in the drink being too thick, while too much fluid will make the drink too thin.
  2. After the drink is blended for 10-20 seconds, the bartender should turn off the blender and listen for any remaining large cubes. If necessary, the drink should be blended 5-7 seconds more.
  3. If the finished drink in the blender canister is too thin and liquefied, reblend adding a small amount of ice. If the cocktail is too thick and undrinkable, it should be reblended with more mixer.
    Note: As a result of being blended with ice, a frozen cocktail is more diluted and less potent than the same drink served straight up or on-the-rocks.

 

Blended Drink Example:

Daiquiri
House specialty glass, chilled
Pour into an iced blender canister
1 1/4 oz. Light Rum
1/2 oz. Rose's Lime Juice
2 oz. lime sour mix
Blend thoroughly
Garnish with a lime wedge

How to Make Tropical and Tall Drinks

These drink recipes originated from such exotic locations as Tahiti (Mai Tai) and Jamaica (Planters Punch), as well as sophisticated urban areas like New Orleans (Ramos Fizz) and southern Florida (Rum Runner). All of these drinks are cool and refreshing. Tropical and Tall drinks share a reputation for being very potent. This reputation is warranted. Therefore, these recipes have all been adapted so that they are responsibly portioned. It should be noted that there are many variations of these drink recipes. While this is a category of recipes that inspires creativity and imagination, caution is recommended to any bartender taking artistic license with the recipe and ingredients.

With few exceptions, the Tropical and Tall drinks are hand shaken and served in tall, iced glassware. In many instances, these recipes are finished with a fill of club soda, or a float of a dark rum, or a liqueur.

 

Tall Drinks Example:

Blue Hawaiian
Collins or bucket glass, ice
Pour into an iced mixing glass
1 1/2 oz. Light Rum
1 oz. Gold Rum
1 oz. Blue Curaçao
1 1/2 oz. fresh lime sour mix
1 1/2 oz. pineapple juice
1 1/2 oz. coconut cream syrup
Shake and strain
Garnish with a pineapple wedge and orange slice

How to Make Coffee and Hot Drinks

Its warmth and rich flavor make coffee work especially well with liqueurs and cordials. The heat from the coffee thins the liqueur so it mixes easily in the recipe. Many of the flavoring agents used to produce liqueurs are complemented by the taste of coffee.

Liquors are also used in coffee drink recipes. Dark liquors such as bourbon, Scotch, Irish whiskey and Jamaican rum particularly complement the flavor of coffee and are frequently used in hot coffee drinks.
These drinks are built directly into coffee mugs or insulated glasses. The alcohol ingredients are poured before the coffee. Leave about 3/4 - 1 inch between the drink level and the rim of the coffee mug. This will prevent over diluting the drink and leave plenty of room for a whipped cream garnish. Whipped cream not only enhances the drink's presentation, but also flavors and sweetens the coffee. It is important to inquire about the whipped cream rather than assuming it should be added.

Once the drink is garnished with whipped cream there is no way to remove what's melted into the coffee. Remember to ask first. Coffee is not the only hot beverage used in these types of recipes. Included are drinks which use hot water, apple cider, wine, milk and frothed, steamed cream. There are also drink recipes which use tea or hot chocolate.

 

Coffe Drink Example:

Keoki Coffee
Coffee mug, heated
Build in glass
1/2 oz. Brandy
1/2 oz. Kahlúa
1/2 oz. Dark Crème de Cacao
Near fill with hot coffee
Garnish with whipped cream and dust powdered cocoa

How to Make Layered Cordial Drinks

Pousse Cafés are layered cordial drinks, which create three or more stripes. In French, Pousse Café translates to "Push Coffee", a reference to its reputation as an after-dinner drink.

Technically, shooters such as a B-52 are also Pousse Cafés. When prepared properly, the layered ingredients will form "stripes" within the glass. This occurs as a result of using liqueurs with different specific gravities or densities. The effect achieved is similar to the way oil will float on water or vinegar, creating two layers.
To accomplish this, care must be taken to prevent the various products from mixing in the glass. The ingredients should be poured in the order specified in the recipe, since the ingredients are listed from heaviest to lightest (i.e., top-listed ingredient on the bottom of glass, each successive ingredient atop the previous).

The easiest and fastest way to create these layers is to use the back of a bar spoon or long handled spoon to slow the pour of the liqueur. The spoon is held just above the level of the first liqueur poured into the glass against the inside edge. The next ingredient is poured slowly and carefully over the sloped back of the spoon. Each layer is poured using this same technique.

The same effect for a two-layer drink can be obtained by first tilting the glass so that the bottom layer is almost touching the inside rim. The second product is then slowly and gently poured onto the glass surface between the first liqueur and the rim. While pouring the second layer, the glass should be carefully brought upright.

 

Layered Cordial Example:

After Five
Presentation shot glass, chilled
Layer ingredients
1/3 fill Kahlúa
1/3 fill Peppermint Schnapps
1/3 fill Baileys Irish Cream