Friday, June 10, 2011

Top Ten Cocktails

Weather forecasters are predicting a hotter than usual summer.  It's a perfect time to sit back, relax, and have a refreshing drink!  Below is our top ten list of cocktails to enjoy this sizzling season.


  • According to the book, "400 Blender Cocktails: Sensational Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic Recipes," when adding ice to your cocktail, the drink becomes diluted by up to 40%.  Slushy drinks, therefore, require strongly flavoured ingredients to create a great final taste.  Undiluted frozen concentrates (lemonade, orange, and mango), and frozen fruit with less ice are use to get a full fruity flavour.
  • Shaken Cocktails - Use this technique with flavourful or thick mixers (i.e. cream liquers, fruit juice, simple syrup, sour mix, egg, or other dairy).  The strained drink starts cloudy and fizzy, then tapers off and becomes clear.  Using a shaker makes your drink as cold as can be, and also dilutes it so it's not too strong.
  • Stirred Cocktails - Use this technique with strong distilled spirits or considerably light mixers.  It's a more gentle way of mixing cocktails
Below are some essential gadgets for the home bar according to


Jigger - Properly measuring the ingredients for your cocktails ensures a balanced taste. Most jiggers (or measuring glasses) have a half ounce measure on one side and a two ounce measure on the other.

Shaker - The Boston shaker (with pint glass) is the shaker of choice for professional bartenders. A standard cocktail shaker works just as well for your home bar, plus, it looks stylish.

Hawthorne Strainer - You'll typically use a Hawthorne strainer with a Boston shaker. It keeps ice in the shaker while allowing fruit pulp to pass through.

Cutting Board and Knife - Prepare garnishes before you start serving, but keep a small cutting board and knife handy if you start to run out.

Bar Spoon - For layering or stirring. It's also handy for pulling cherries and olives from jars.

Muddler - For mashing fruit or mint leaves into the bottom of a glass.

Corkscrew - If you plan on serving wine - a winged corkscrew makes opening bottles a breeze.

Ice Bucket - Bartending requires mountains of ice, no matter how small the party. The right bucket keeps ice from melting and is especially handy if you're bartending outside.

Blender - If you already have a blender, make sure it's able to crush ice.

Bottle Stoppers - Especially useful for maintaining the bouquet in wine.

Julep Strainer - A smaller strainer that's handy if you're straining into narrower glasses.

GLASSWARE - Try chilling your glassware in the freezer, or by filling with ice cubes, before use. Always hold glassware by the base or stem to avoid leaving finger marks.

Martini Glass - Also known as a cocktail glass, its chic neck lets your guests hold the glass without warming the drink.

Old Fashioned Glass or Rocks Glass - A short glass with a heavy base for drinks served on ice. It's the quintessential tumbler for enjoying whiskey.

Highball Glass - Similar to a rocks glass, but taller. It's typically used for drinks that have larger amounts of mixer, such as a Scotch & Soda. A highball glass is also known as a collins glass.

Wine Glass - Grasping the long stem keeps chilled wines from getting warm. The bowl shape of the glass converges the wine's flavors or the "bouquet." Red wine glasses typically have a larger bowl than white wine glasses.

Champagne Flute - The narrow shape helps retain champagne's carbonation.

Snifter - Usually used for serving brandy, the bulbous shape helps hold aroma.

Margarita Glass - The best way to serve Margaritas or other frozen drinks. The wide rim is perfect for salting.

Pint Glass - Improves beer's drinkability and is useful for serving low-alcohol and non-alcoholic drinks. A must-have if you're using a Boston shaker.

Shot Glass - Thick-walled glass for serving shots or spirits.

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