Author - Agnes M.

Top 7 Essential Bartending Techniques

As a bartender, you will need to perfect the most basic techniques in making cocktails. Excellent bartending skills go beyond the shaking and stirring as discussed in the previous article. Some of these skills include rimming glasses to straining to muddle. These will add some flair and flavor to the cocktail hour.
  • Rimming
Be it the salted and/sugared rimmed glass, this technique adds some aesthetics looks, flavor and wholesome experience to a cocktail. The salt will also ensure that it gives an added benefit such as making bitter ingredient “taste better”. To rim a glass, you will run a wedge of a citrus fruit around the edge of a glass then dip it in a saucer which is filled with coarse salt, sugar or celery salt which goes very well with a bloody mary. You can practice this with a classic margarita cocktail.
  • Citrus Twists
This might look like a technique with no style or even substance butt as a bartender, I would advise not to just write it off. This provides an elegant addition and adds a note of citrus oil aroma to whatever drink that they come in contact with. The most important point to remember is to ensure to put the twist on the cocktail glass or rub some of the peel on the rim of the glass to infuse most of the flavor.  To make twists, you will need to use a channel knife or a y-peeler to remove the strips from the citrus peel. You can practice this on the Negroni.
  • Muddling
This technique is used when you might want to crush ingredients to extract their juices and flavor as well. This can be used on ingredients such as citrus wedges and other soft fruits. It can also be used on certain spices such as ginger. It can also be used to get most of the flavor from aromatic herbs like mints and infuse them on cocktails crushing the leaves at the bottom of the shaker using a muddler. You can practice this when making mojitos, mint julep or even the whiskey smash.
  •   Straining
For a person who prefers to have their cocktails served chilled rather than on the rocks, then as a bartender, you need to learn how to strain to perfection. Straining will remove any ice or solid ingredients after shaking or even stirring the drink. You can do this by either using the strainer in cobbler shaker or by using a Hawthorne or julep strainer that can be sued with a Boston shaker You can practice this on a martini, Negroni, stinger among other types of cocktails.
  • Floating
As a bartender, you need to know that each customer has different taste. There is this type of customer that likes the look and taste of layered cocktails. The good thing about the float technique is that it is easy to master as long as you have the required set of equipment. The technique requires that you slowly pour less dense drinks on top of denser ones over a bar spoon. This helps in blunting the impact and also mixing of the ingredients. Please also ensure that you follow the recipe’s order of procedure so that you make sure the heaviest drink is poured in first. You practice this using the black and tan cocktail or even the mai tai.
  • The Classic Pour
Most bartenders use either of the following discussed pours while working behind the counter. One involves the use of a jigger a common bartender’s measuring tool and the other is the ‘free pour’ where the bartender pours the drink directly into a glass or a shaker by measuring using their eyes or counting. Free is the fasted way to make drinks because you can use both hands to pour from multiple bottles all at once. However, it is usually less accurate. Therefore, it is important to note that any inaccuracy can lead to the imbalanced cocktail flavor profile. Hence, depending on where you work, making drinks might require that you measure. The use of jigger while making a drink might take longer than when doing a free pour but you can rest assured that your balancing is right and your drinks will taste right. To acquire the right skill when it comes to the free pour, you will need to go through a rigorous free-poring training and also testing. As a bartender, you need to learn the two but start using the first one using the jigger and move gradually to the free pour if you feel you have a better eye for the measure and also if the bar lets you to.
  • Frosting Glassware
This is less of a technique but rather a good practice as it doesn’t require a skill but you will need to know why you doing it and how to do it. This is basically chilling your glassware to help keep your cocktails cool for longer and especially if the drink is served without ice such as the Martini or Manhattan. You can chill the glassware by either storing them in a fridge or freezer. It will help keep the glass cool but there is usually not enough space to keep a whole bunch of glassware. The second way is by filling the glass with ice and water before you start making the cocktail by the time you through the glass will have cooled. Just through the ice and water and your glass will have cooled. As a bartender, what technique do you think we have left out? Comment on comment’s section and teach us some more

Mixology Techniques: The Mixing Techniques

You might be seasoned bartender looking into teaching a new student or a newbie bartender looking into learning mixing techniques then you need to take a look at the next four mixing techniques.   The Roll: The Tools: Two shaker tins and a strainer (your choice) Time: 15 to 60 seconds The Process: This mixing technique is used to make a Bloody Mary because of it the most effective way to chill and mix the cocktail without over diluting the tomato juice. It is also good for making drinks that use carbonated drinks to ensure that there is no build-up of pressure in the shaker. It also avoids making the drink flat by a stir. You will fill one tin with ice a little bit more than half and also secure the ice with a strainer you prefer. With the other tin, build your cocktail then pour it in the other tin with ice. Transfer the mix not more Rocks than 4 times and transfer it to a servicing glass. Rocks Shake: Tools: A Cocktail Shaker Time: 10 to 45 Seconds This is probably the most artistic mixing technique out here.  This is because you take into consideration several factors to determine the drink. These factors are the size of ice, how long you shake your mix and the intensity of your shake. You wouldn’t want an over-diluted drink but you also need to remember the temperature of the drink will also affect the taste. You will need to listen to how the ice behaves while in the shaker as you shake the drink. If you can hear the ice disintegrating and bursting up in shards, then there is a probability that you are over diluting your drink. The Stir: The Tools: A mixing gals, bar spoon, and a julep strainer Time: 45 to 120 seconds The Process: Almost all cocktails made of rather very strong spirits such as the famous Manhattan or Bobby burns need to be stirred in a mixing glass. A stirred cocktail should have a rather smooth, almost if not velvety taste feel that just embraces the alcohol in it. As a beginner, it can quite easy underestimate the technique of stirring complexity.  While the major concern might be effective dilution or even the chilling process, you will need to be quite careful with airing the drink too much with clumsy stirring. You can consider using a Yarai mixing glass or a pint glass as well. Yarai is the diamond pattern cut into the glass. You will need to fill the glass with ice up to three quarters and leave room for the julep strainer as a dome as opposed to a bowl. The position of the finger when stirring is not as important but the main goal is to keep the spoon in contact with the glass as possible and move it in a circular motion. In case you opt to move the spoon across the glass hits the ice rather roughly and this will bring in more air into the process. Stirred cocktails are the easiest to make because you can taste the product to determine both the desired temperature and also level of dilution. If you stir for so long you might water down the cocktail or if you do not stir enough you might end up with a very strong cocktail. Dry Shake/Whip: Tools: Cocktail shaker and a mixer in- your choice Time: 15-60 Seconds The Process: This technique is generally used to mix ingredients that have different textures and density such as cream or eggs. It is also used for drinks that are served on the rocks. Any process that requires you as the bartender to emulsify an egg will require more work because the process requires adding alcohol to the egg. This then requires you as the bartender to give it a strong shake before adding the ice for the final shake. A simpler way to do the whip is to shake up a built cocktail. You can either add ice to the shaker and then do a rock shake. You can do a revere dry shake by doing a normal rock shake, strain the mix into a mixer, get rid of the ice then remix your drink until you get your desired level.

The Mixology Gear

Every bartender to be or already needs to know that you need to have your bar gear and all the other liquids and solids you will ever need to mix together. To make the perfect drinks you will need to make great use of your brain power. The perfect drinks are not just a function of equipment but also, taste, care, and patience. So Long as you have an understanding of what you mixing or you do, you will always find a way around a piece of the bar-gear. If you are in the market for barware, what should you go for? A Shaker: For home use, the standard three-part stainless steel shaker is good for this job. It is easy to use, long lasting and holding all things constant, your drink will pour a little bit colder than if the shaker was made of plastic or glass. This is commonly referred to as a cobbler. Most bartenders use the two-part ‘Boston’ shaker which is made up of a pint glass which is the American beer pint and a 26-ounce stainless steel mixing tin. A Cocktail Strainer: The strainers built at the top of almost all three-part shakers. As a result, they tend to pour rather slowly,  hence the dilution happens better. The best strainer is the one with a spring-edged contraption which can be held over the bottom of your shaker as you pour out your drink. You need to make sure that your strainer is a sturdy one. There are two types of strainers: The Hawthorne Strainer: the spring is loaded to fit around the top of the mixing tin. It consists of a flat disc which is fixed to a coiled spring. The spring traps generally trap huge chunks or slivers of ice and other solid ingredients like muddled fruits and mint leaves. Julep Strainer: It fits exactly into a mixing glass. It is a perforated bowl-shaped cup and it had a handle. A Bar Spoon: This can be anything that has a long handle and is sturdy. Most bar spoons have long necks to allow it to reach the bottom of the largest mixing glass. It can either be twisted or cylindrical and this allows the spoon to spin freely during stirring. A Muddler: This is important as it is a necessary tool that muddles up the herbs in any Old-Fashioned drink or mojitos. This is thick hardwood dowel which has a flat bottom.  You might need to sandpaper the bottom as most of these muddlers come varnished.No one would like to have varnish in their drink.  There is also stainless steel alternatives which leave less residual in your ingredients that are being muddled. The flat part is one used to muddle and the round end is the handle. It is important to note that you will need some bit of liquid to muddle but too much of the liquid will make muddling a little bit difficult. Jiggers: These are used for measuring purposes. They come in the form of back-to-back stainless steel cones. You will need a two ounce/ ten-ounce jigger on the lowest side and also a one and a half ounce/three-quarter ounce and also a one ounce/ half ounce jigger as well. Measuring Spoons: These spoons come in different sizes but you will need to have only four of these. One tablespoon which is equal to half an ounce, half a tablespoon which is a quorate ounce. 0ne teaspoon(a sixth of an ounce), half a teaspoon (a 1/12 of an ounce). Anything above this boils down to pinches and dashes A Knife: This will need to be a nice looking, sharp paring knife. Other knives you might need is the chef’s knife for cutting up large fruits like pineapple or halving citrus. A Small Cutting Board: This will be used in cutting, slicing, and peeling of citrus. A Vegetable Peeler: This is majorly used to cut your twists. A Juicer: Whatever you usually use to juice your lemons, limes, oranges and or grapes will work well. If you are in need of any equipment, you can go for the Mexican-style hand juicer. Fine-Meshed Strainer: This is basically used to strain your juice. This will make the drink look better and also make it easy to clean the equipment used. The Glassware: This is an additional, especially for your home bar. No mixology gear is complete unless there is your glassware. The following three glass where are quite important:
  • High Ball Glass: This is basically for drinks that contain large volumes of juice or/and soda mixers.
  • Rock Glass: This generally for drinks with ice cubes. A heavy bottom is also good for muddling of the ingredient.  This is known as double old fashioned.
  • Stem: This generally used for drinks that do not contain or served with ice cubes. The stem is generally used to keep the hand from warming the drink.

Know Your Whiskey

You have taken a course with us on bartending and you have released that your customer base is a whiskey kind of people. Whiskey people are particular about their drink and are also very particular about the age and even the origin of their drink. As a bartender, you need to know your whiskey and even as a whiskey newbie, you need to know your brand as well. We shall discuss the whiskey types, a few brands and what each means to us as whiskey people. What is the difference? One of the most common questions there is what is the difference between a Scotch, Bourbon, and whiskey? In the simplest of all Scotch is from Scotland and to the Scottish people it is whisky while to the rest of us, it’s gonna be Whiskey. Bourbon is mainly American and more specific to Kentucky. Another difference is that Scotch is made from malted barley while Bourbon is made from corn. It is also important to note that all scotches and bourbons are whiskeys but the reverse is not always true.  Basically, a whiskey is an alcoholic drink that is made and distilled from fermented grain mash. Let’s look at the differences between these kinds of whiskeys, shall we? Scotch The Scottish people call their whiskey whisky. Scots also have been protected by international law to call their whiskeys Scotch as the whiskeys are made of 100% Scottish ingredients and made purely in Scotland. The main ingredient is normally mated with barley and the whiskey is barrel-aged for a minimum of three years and hence the very special name, “Scotch”. The term “single malt” is a very common term with scotch and it means that the whiskey is from a single distillery and distilled purely from malted grain which is usually barley. A blended scotch is usually scotch that has been sourced from different distilleries and then blended together. Johnny Walker is a good example. The taste? Scotch taste varies from distillery and region and their flavor is rich, bold, smoky with peat. Bourbon Though it is an American whiskey, the name itself originated from the royal families of France. Which was gratitude advanced to King Louis XVI for his decision to intervene against the English man in the American Revolution in the Western counties of Virginia which later became known as Kentucky? Kentucky is famously known as the Bourbon County. What makes bourbon?
  • It is made from at least 51% corn
  • Is aged in new American oak charred barrels
  • Distilled at less than 160 proof
  • Bottled at no less than 80 proof
  • Free of additives
  • It has to be aged for not less than two years.
  • It is also made in America.
  What is the difference between whiskey and bourbon? There is really none.     Rye This is one of the trickiest whiskeys to explain. The name, historically, comes as a result of it being made of Rye that is produced in Canada. In as much as there is the assumption that is purely made from ash which is composed of Rye mass, it is not always too. For Canadian whiskey to be named Rye, it must actually have rye in it. The American Rye Whiskey, on the other hand, it should contain at least 50% rye. Other ingredients used include corn and barley. Any Rye which has been aged for more than two years earns the title of being called straight. The major producer of Rye is Alberta Premium in Canada and it is made of 100% rye mash. The other characteristics of the American Rye Whiskey are same as the Bourbon.   Tennessee Whiskey Tennessee whiskey is straight bourbon which has been made in the state of Tennessee. The producers, such as Jack Daniel, do not like their whiskey labeled as Bourbon as they say that it is the “only type of whiskey which puts the spirit through a charcoal filtering process.” As a result, the whiskey deserves a unique name. Apart from that, all other rules to Bourbon apply. Irish Whiskey This whiskey is aged in the Ireland Republic or Northern Ireland. And like Scotch, it must be distilled to not less than 94.8ABV. It must also be made from yeast-fermented grain mash so as to have the aroma and flavor derived from the materials used (Wikipedia). You can use more than one type of grain but it must be labeled as blended. The whiskey must also be aged for not less than 3 years in wooden casks. As a bartender, you need to know the types of whiskeys and what makes each unique. The biggest gift you can give to your customer is to know the difference and always offer to explain what makes each brand unique!!

Bartending Lingo

So you have started your bartending career or even job and like every other job, the lingo is a must. This being foreign to you or even it being used a lot in the bartending classes you have been attending, let’s look at some of the most common bartending lingoes we have around. Box: This is basically pouring into a shaker and then out without shaking. It is usually done so as to give the drink a mix. Build: This is usually the term used when making a drink that usually starts with ice then adds up to it(Build it up) the drink with some extra ingredients such as alcohol, juice, garnishes, etc.) Bitters: This is basically a herbal alcoholic mix that is used in other cocktails to enhance the flavor. E.g. Sweet Vermont with some dashes of bitters or a Manhattan is rye.  The most common of all bitters is the Angostura bitters that were used to ease stomach sicknesses back in 1824 by a German physician. Burning your well: This is used to refer to the thorough cleaning one does at the end of their shift. What is the process?  Empty the ice in the sink and melt it with hot water, remove and wipe all bottles in the speed rail including all spill mat and fill up all juices that are halfway full, then wipe the sink after the ice has melted down and wipe any area you used during your shift. Do not forget to put back the glassware where it is supposed to be. Generally neatness, cleanness and sanitary is very important for your job. Call drink: This is basically a drink that a customer orders with specific names such as Bacardi and coke or Tanqueray and tonic. Chaser: This term is used for anything that is taken immediately after a shooter or a neat shot of alcohol. It is supposed to ease the taste of the shot or mask its taste. Cocktail: This is a term used to refer to a variety of alcoholic drink like Gin, brandy, whiskey or Vodka mixed with a fruit juice or other kind of liquors and best served chilled. Daisy: This drink is usually oversized and is sour in taste. It is usually made of rum and served over crushed ice and a straw and sweetened with fruit syrup. Dirty: This is usually done by adding olive juice to a martini. The more olive juice used, the dirtier the martini. Free pour: This a term used to refer to the process of making and mixing drinks without using a measuring device such as a jigger. Frappe: This is a partially frozen and often a fruity drink. It is a mix of several ingredients and is served over a mound of crushed ice. Garnish: This is basically added to a drink after all the ingredients have been mixed together to enhance the presentation of the drink. Most common forms of garnish are lemon slices, lime wedges, cherries, olive just to mention a few. Highball: This is an alcoholic drink mixed with a soda and served in a tall glass. Lowball: This is basically a short drink made of spirits and served with either water, ice soda and usually in a small glass. Mixers: These are the non-alcoholic mixes that usually accompany alcoholic drinks. The mixers can either be water, juice, energy drinks. Mist: This is liquor served over a glass filled with ice and is usually used to serve liqueur as an after-dinner drink. Muddle: This is the process of crushing up ingredients with a tool called a muddler. This can be done on majorly organic cocktails drinks such as mojito. Muddling basically involves extracting the essential oils and flavor from your choice of organics. E.g. mint leaves in the case of mojito. Neat: This is basically serving an alcoholic drink straight from the bottle. This means that you will not add even ice to the mix and it is served in a snifter glass. On the rocks: This basically means serving a drink over ice, e.g., whiskey on the rocks, It is served in a rocks glass or a lowball glass. Proof: This is the measure of how much alcohol is contained in an alcoholic beverage. To establish the “proof” of any alcoholic drink, double the percentage of the alcohol. Premium: This is the top shelf liquor. This can also be referred to as supercell. This is the high octane, often higher proof alcohol or well-aged or flavored versions of alcohol. Virgin: This is generally a non-alcoholic drink, just like the name suggests. As you start this journey of bartending, you will not be alone. Why not consider taking up classes at to learn more about this bartending lingo and more!!

Bartending Lessons: Life Skills For Life

I do not know what you think about bartending skills but one thing that I have come to appreciate about bartending is the skills. I have been able to gather a few skills that have not only been used in the bartending job but also in other areas of life. Based on experience, bartending will teach you on how to be an all-around person. It will teach you about confidence, humility, social acuity and the value of hard work. When it comes to bartending, you might not want to stop bartending Working as a bartender can help you gather a few skills so long as you will you work on yourself. These skills that you learn,  you can be able to transfer to other areas of your life. There are four major skills that you can enhance your life. These skills are discussed below. People Skills Out of the four skills listed, the most practical and obvious skill to develop is the people skill. Considering that bartending involves spending most of your time surrounded by people most times and the main purpose is customer service. This job requires a high level of skill in communication and also dealing with other people.  Due to the nature of people skills, you will learn:
  • Communication skills
  • Customer service skills
  • Sales skills
  • Teamwork
  • Training and teaching skills
  • Humility
These skills are not only valuable in the professional aspect but also in every aspect of life. This is because it involves interaction with other people.  This might be a simple interaction at the grocery shop, or at the gym or by simply starting a business. Work Ethic In the hospitality industry, there is always something to do. It is no secret bartenders do work extra hard. There long nights long hours, being on your feet, dealing with customer’s complaints and dealing with rude customers are just some of the things that make the hospitality industry one of most difficult to work in and it requires hard work. When it comes to work ethics, the sooner you develop a strong one, the better it is for you. Bartending and the hospitality industry will teach and reinforce the value of hard work. By learning this you will become more successful as a person in any profession you choose to go into. Bartending will teach you resilience and you will learn how to take up initiate in the workplace. It will help build the mental strength on how to get things done even when you do not want to do them.  Bartending will teach you how to work best under pressure and also stress. Organizational Skills To work efficiently behind the bar counter, organizational skills need to be at the top of their game. If you are disorganized, your night can go down the drain fast within the blink of an eye. Organization at the bar will mean, how well your bar equipment, bottles, and other products are behind the counter.  They need to be put in a neat and efficient way to enhance their accessibility, make it easy for you to clean, and make it easy to grab when you are having a busy night. Organizational skills will help you manage your own time, and help you prioritize your tasks. It will also help teach you how to make quick and decisive decisions even when under pressure. It will enhance multi-tasking and this is a good skill to have in any professional area. When working at a high-volume and high-intensity bar, organizational skills and multi-tasking are a must-have skill. These skills will prevent the bar from crashing and burning. The only way to avoid this is by being highly organized. Organizational skills are both important in both professional and personal life. They can help you get more things done and help in prioritization. Knowledge When it comes to being a bartender, you will need to be knowledgeable when it comes to cocktails, wine, food, tea, coffee, spirits, and beer. When you prove to be knowledgeable in these areas, you can get other professions out of bartending but within the food and beverage industry. These jobs can be bar/venue manager, sommelier, brand ambassador, bar consultant among other.  Apart from this, you can teach your family and friends about food and alcohol in social situations. When people get to learn about their food and drink, it makes a great start point for great conversations. How are these skills transferable? These skills are not directly transferable to other professions but with the right kind of attitude, you can learn how to make it work. Your human skills will be better than you started. The most beautiful aspect is that you are on your way to being the best.

Healthy Cocktail Tricks To Try in 2018

It is at the start of the year. And in comes the resolution making and the goal making process. And I can bet #bodygoals are definitely on that list. Yes, most probably on the body goals, avoiding alcohol is on the list but remember we do have cheat days on the days as well and maybe you want to go have a night out with the girls or the boys and you want to enjoy some bit of alcohol in your cocktails. Before we can be able to dive into some of my all-time low-calorie cocktail recommendations, how can you be able to slim down the rather calorie-dense alcohol?
  • Ice, Ice, Ice: do not be scared of ice. The more the ice, the more the merrier especially crushed ice. Ice keeps your drink cold, it keeps you extra hydrated and it helps dilute the strong alcohol flavor. This reduces the need for juice or sweeteners.
  • Use fruits and vegetables: do not be scared of using the fruits and veggies. The riper the fruits, the sweeter it is and this means more natural sugars and less added sugar you will need.
  • Use spices: when it comes to spices, I recommend fresh herbs and spices than the packaged kind. You will notice most of the recommended cocktails have some lemon and lime and some cases bitters.
  • Go easy on the juice: If the recipe you want to try has more than half a cup juice, try to replace it flavored seltzer or dilute it with extra water or ice.
  What cocktails can you be able to consider?
  • Gin and Tonic
When it comes to G&T, the tonic usually account for only 10 calories in just one ounce.  The best way to accompany this by accompanying it is with some top quality gin or vodka. Another variation of G&T is to combine the gin with 2 shots of seltzer water. This can be garnished with a lemon wedge. This drink has about 148 calories.
  • Vodka Soda
By ordering a vodka soda you can be assured that you are cutting down the calories you take during a night out.  This cocktail contains lots of water in the form of ice, vodka, soda, you can add some lemon juice and garnish with a lime wedge. Instead of water, you can use seltzer water as well. This drink has about 96 calories in total.
  • Old Fashioned
If you not the kind to take bourbon straight up or your whiskey neat, then this cocktail is perfect for you.  With a mix of simple syrup, some bitters, some orange peel and some cherry you can have this drink that only has about 154 calories. The Classic Mojito When it comes to the mojito, trust me you never go wrong. At the bottom of the glass, add a muddle of about 12 mint leaves, with about half lime juice and one tablespoon of a simple syrup. Add a few ice cubes and add a shot of light rum and a definitely three-quarter cup of seltzer. Favorite garnish is a lemon wedge. This refreshing drink has about 168 calories.
  • Sangria
Whether read or white sangria, these are the best bets when it comes to cocktails under 200 calories.  When it comes to the red sangria, all you need half an apple sliced, half an orange sliced, 4 red grapes halved. Half a cup of red wine and a quarter cup seltzer. For the white Sangria, combine, two strawberries halved, half a fresh peach diced, half a pear diced, two shots of white wine and a quarter cup of seltzer.
  • Cucumber-Herb Champagne
For a veggie cocktails, this is my favorite. This combines some champagne or dry sparkling wine, half a cup of lemon flavored mineral water, a quarter cucumber, sliced and the basil leaves chopped. Use the lemon flavored as the top off.
  • Skinny Blackberry Cucumber Mint Cocktail.
Blend some handful of blackberries, 3 to 4 cucumber slices, some few springs of mint, 3-4 tablespoon of lime juice and blend up really well. Have about 8-12 once glance filled with ice and add about 1.5 ounces of vodka and top this off with half a can of your favorite blackberry cucumber sparkling water. Then add about one to two tablespoon your blended puree and stir it really well. Garnish your drink with some fresh blackberries, sliced cucumber, a slice of lime and/or fresh mint. As the year begins, let us make sure we still get to enjoy our cocktails that have both a mixture of health and also have fun while at it, shall we?