Originating in the early part of the nineteenth century, Cocktails began as a simple mix of spirits, sugar, water and bitters, but over the decades they have become far more inventive and extravagant. There are many methods of making cocktails; shaken and strained, stirred, layered, crushed, blended, flamed and even thrown. Here are a few of our current favourites for you to try at home.
- Double Strain
After shaking your cocktail, ensure there are no ice fragments in it by straining it twice. A professionally made cocktail is simultaneously poured through a ‘bar strainer’ placed directly on the shaker and a ‘fine strainer’ into the glass. Two tea strainers work well if you don’t have a bar strainer. Great for a crystal clear Martini.
To ‘muddle’ means to firmly press fruits, herbs or spices in the bottom of a glass to release their flavour. A good alternative to a bar muddler is to use the flat end of a rolling pin.
- Chill a Glass
Before preparing a cocktail, simply fill the glass with ice to chill it. Discard the ice just prior to pouring the cocktail. Commonly used when preparing a Martini.
- Sugar Syrup
Dissolve sugar in boiling water using equal parts sugar and water (e.g. 1 cup of sugar dissolved in 1 cup of boiling water). Use spring or filtered water to ensure the best taste. Caster sugar dissolves easiest.
- Make a Shaker
If you don’t have a cocktail shaker, a large, thick-walled jam jar is a great substitute.
- Keep it Cold
Shaking a cocktail on ice for a full 20 seconds or until the cocktail shaker gets ‘iced up’ will ensure your cocktail will be super cold and provide optimal presentation.