The 17 Things You Must Know To Become A Cocktail Master

Martini cocktail

James Bond famously ordered his Martini “shaken, not stirred.”

We’re glad his specialty is secret service work.

Fact is Martinis are supposed to be stirred — it’s one of the cardinal rules of cocktail-making.

And if Bond didn’t know that, then we’re guessing you might not have known that either.

So we’re here to share a few cocktail-making tips.

With the help of writer and cocktail expert Robert Haynes-Peterson, we’ve put together a list of 19 rules of cocktail-making to help you master the craft.

[slideshow]
[slide
permalink=”learn-the-difference-between-strong-weak-sweet-and-sour-1″
title=”Learn the difference between ‘strong’, ‘weak’, ‘sweet’, and ‘sour’.”
content=”There are four basic ways to describe what’s going on in your cocktail:

Strong: refers to the main alcohol in your drink. That’s your vodka, gin, or whatever your preferred liqour might be.

Weak: refers to the lesser alcohol part of your drink. This might be a liqueur (St. Germain for example) or fortified wines.

Sour: Means that there’s a citrus note — lemon, lime, or orange.

Sweet: This one’s pretty obvious, but that means there’s sugar or syrup involved.”
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5457ad5a6bb3f76a50a1a6c8″
caption=””
credit_href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/dinnerseries/6127142463/sizes/z/”
]
[slide
permalink=”only-stir-drinks-that-contain-only-spirits-2″
title=”Only stir drinks that contain only spirits.”
content=”Cocktails that are made of only spirits should be stirred in order to get the rich, crystal clear look of the drink. This includes the likes of Manhattans, Negronis, and — you guessed it — Martinis.”
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5457b7686bb3f7f37ba1a6b9″
caption=””
credit_href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/dnak/3673732967/sizes/l”
]
[slide
permalink=”if-your-drink-has-citrus-eggs-or-dairy–shake-3″
title=”If your drink has citrus, eggs or dairy — shake.”
content=”Cocktails that made with citrus, eggs, dairy, or cream liqueurs need to be shaken in order to properly emulsify the non-alcoholic ingredients. This includes drinks like the Pisco Sour or the White Russian.”
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5457bb446bb3f7980fa1a6ba”
caption=””
credit_href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/edsel_/6250261158/sizes/l”
]
[slide
permalink=”muddle-lightly-4″
title=”Muddle lightly.”
content=”For the most part, muddling should be lightly done. If you pound the mint or citrus fruit too hard, then you’re release unwanted, bitter chemicals into the drink. Just push down and twist — this isn’t a piece of meat.”
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5457de936bb3f77614a1a6c5″
caption=””
credit_href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/theogeo/3924748043/sizes/z/”
]
[slide
permalink=”dry-shake-ingredients-when-working-with-egg-whites-5″
title=”Dry shake ingredients when working with egg whites.”
content=”When working with egg white, you’ll need to ‘dry shake’ the ingredients in order to fully emulsify and bind the egg white to the drink. Plus, that gives the cocktail better foam.

To do this, shake the drink for 15-ish seconds. If the directions say to add ice, then do so — and shake again.”
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5457e324ecad04f723c3034b”
caption=””
credit_href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/doerbeck/10821803994/sizes/l”
]
[slide
permalink=”if-there-are-berries-or-herbs-involved-double-strain-6″
title=”If there are berries or herbs involved, double strain.”
content=”When you’re making a cocktail with berries with small seeds or herbs (for example, basil), you’re going to need to double strain it in order to avoid bits and flecks floating around in your drink.

Bonus Pro-Tip: You can also double strain your egg whites. That will capture extra foam that you can layer on top of the drink.”
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5457f40a6bb3f7657159ce5e”
caption=””
credit_href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/quinndombrowski/4067613818/sizes/l”
]
[slide
permalink=”sugar-should-be-weighed–not-measured-7″
title=”Sugar should be weighed — not measured.”
content=”Measuring sugar by volume doesn’t work for cocktails because sugar and water have different densities. If you’re making your sugar syrup 2:1, and you measure by volume, it will only end up being around 1.75:1 — which could seriously change up the cocktail’s taste.

Source: Food Republic
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5457e7266bb3f7813ca1a6bc”
caption=””
credit_href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/quinnanya/4105011041/sizes/l”
]
[slide
permalink=”if-youre-using-lime-or-lemon-the-best-thing-to-do-is-leave-the-juice-out-for-four-hours-8″
title=”If you’re using lime or lemon, the best thing to do is leave the juice out for four hours.”
content=”Here’s a helpful hint: citrus juices taste different as they age. Lemon and lime juices taste the best after they have been left to sit for 4 hours. (You can keep them bottled, sealed, or refrigerated.)

Source: Food Republic
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5457e4056bb3f7862ea1a6b9″
caption=””
credit_href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/jonoropeza/6650731979/sizes/l”
]
[slide
permalink=”but-when-using-oranges-freshly-squeezed-is-the-way-to-go-9″
title=”But when using oranges, freshly squeezed is the way to go.”
content=”On the other hand, oranges need to be used fresh. Once the orange is squeezed, there’s an enzyme that makes the juice start to go bitter — so the longer you wait, the worse it will taste. Freshly squeezed, only.

Source: Food Republic
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5457e5af6bb3f74338a1a6b7″
caption=””
credit_href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/sackton/7185592533/sizes/l”
]
[slide
permalink=”the-blended-drinks-need-an-extra-dose-of-sugar-10″
title=”The blended drinks need an extra dose of sugar.”
content=”When you blend drinks, you dilute the flavour with all the ice. In other words, your drink will taste watery and flat. So add some extra sugar to add more flavour to your frozen concoctions.

Source: Food Republic
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5457e4f0eab8eafc40fd8a42″
caption=””
credit_href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/neilconway/5899250186/sizes/l”
]
[slide
permalink=”keep-the-whipped-cream-to-a-minimum-on-top-of-coffee-drinks-11″
title=”Keep the whipped cream to a minimum on top of coffee drinks.”
content=”Please don’t plop a mountain of whipped cream on top of a coffee drink — you’re not four years old anymore. The whipped cream if 50% visual garnish, and 50% a protection against the hot drink. Don’t go overboard.

Source: Food Republic
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5457e640eab8eac446fd8a49″
caption=””
credit_href=”https://www.flickr.com/search?sort=relevance&license=4%2C5&text=irish%20coffee”
]
[slide
permalink=”keep-the-ice-as-dry-as-possible-12″
title=”Keep the ice as dry as possible.”
content=”Keep the ice as dry as possible in your drink. Otherwise, the melting ice will dilute your drink.

Bonus Pro-Tip: Try and find deminieralized water (or low level mineral water) to make the clearest ice cubes. This will also keep your drink from looking ‘dirty’ as the ice melts.

Source: Cocktails
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5457e953eab8ea744ffd8a4b”
caption=””
credit_href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/joshua/2390963379/sizes/l”
]
[slide
permalink=”only-use-crushed-or-shaved-ice-in-long-drinks-13″
title=”Only use crushed or shaved ice in long drinks.”
content=”However, if you’re making a long drink (the less strong, potentially-daytime cocktails like a Caipirinhas) use crushed ice.

Source: Cocktails
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5457e926eab8eab44efd8a49″
caption=””
credit_href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/booleansplit/9531184591/sizes/l”
]
[slide
permalink=”start-with-the-cheapest-ingredient-and-work-your-way-up-14″
title=”Start with the cheapest ingredient and work your way up.”
content=”When making your cocktail, start with the ‘cheapest’ ingredient and work your way up: citrus, then fruit juice, then alcohol. And if your cocktail needs ice, make sure that’s the last thing added so less of the drink is diluted.

Source: Food Network
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5457eb1aeab8ea5757fd8a46″
caption=””
credit_href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/jenarrr/7484881466/sizes/l”
]
[slide
permalink=”sugar-and-lime-juice-are-a-great-substitute-for-syrup-15″
title=”Sugar and lime juice are a great substitute for syrup.”
content=”If you don’t have any sugar syrup, here’s a cocktail-hack: mix up brown sugar with lime juice. It’s a great substitute that won’t change the taste significantly.

Source: Food Network
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5457ea5aecad04d443c30345″
caption=””
credit_href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/edsel_/5899036457/sizes/l”
]
[slide
permalink=”dont-use-the-good-stuff-in-cocktails-16″
title=”Don’t use the good stuff in cocktails.”
content=”Avoid using the extremely high-end stuff in cocktails. Chances are, it will just be a waste.

And if you’re making a cocktail for a business associate who happens to be scotch expert — well he may be straight up offended that you aren’t drinking it neat.”
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5457ede9eab8ea8066fd8a41″
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credit_href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnjoh/4863071269/sizes/l”
]
[slide
permalink=”most-importantly-know-your-audience-17″
title=”Most importantly, know your audience.”
content=”We hope this is intuitive, but just in case: if your date doesn’t like whiskey, don’t make a whiskey cocktail. And that goes for any liquors and flavours. Everyone has their own cocktail preferences — so play the role of an attentive host.”
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5457ee7beab8ea7a66fd8a41″
caption=””
credit_href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnjoh/6271534639/sizes/l”
]
[slide
permalink=”bonus-here-are-some-substitutes-for-fancy-cocktail-equipment-that-you-already-own-18″
title=”BONUS: Here are some substitutes for fancy cocktail equipment that you already own.”
content=”Instead of buying fancy cocktail equipment, you can use all of these household items to make your cocktails.

  • Measure/jigger can be substituted with an egg cup.
  • A cocktail shaker can be substituted with a thermos flask.
  • A juicer can be substituted with a your own hands! (Just squeeze the citrus fruit.)
  • A mixing spoon can be substituted with a long teaspoon or fork handle.
  • A strainer can be substituted with a tea strainer.

Source: The Guardian
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5457ecbceab8eae061fd8a41″
caption=””
credit_href=”http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/oxo-stainless-steel-double-sided-jigger/?cm_src=AutoRel”
]
[slide
permalink=”and-now-take-a-look-at-the-19″
title=”And now take a look at the…”
content=”

19 Cocktails You’ve Probably Never Heard Of But Should Start Drinking Immediately


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[/slideshow]