ESSENTIAL BAR SKILLS: COCKTAIL BASICS
Whether you’re making a Mojito or a Gin Fizz, at the heart of every great cocktail there must be a perfect balance. So, let’s strip it back to the cocktail basics and look at the principles of making a great serve every time.
Let’s talk about flavour
Understanding how your taste buds work will help you make great cocktails and improve your basic bartending knowledge. The main tastes we recognise are sweet, sour, bitter and salty. When it comes to making drinks, the first two are generally the most important.
Sweet flavours: Sugar syrup, liqueurs, fruit juices and cordials.
Sour flavours: Citrus fruits like lemons and limes, also passion fruit and green apples in smaller amounts.
Bitter flavours: Angostura bitters, vermouths, some flavour notes in aged spirits, tea and espresso coffee.
It’s all about balance
In order to create a good mixed drink, you need to use these flavours in the right proportions.
There are thousands of recipes and variations for mixed drinks, but all cocktails are built around getting the right balance of flavours.
A classic example would be:
sweet + sour + weak + strong = BALANCE
The principles in action
Let’s explore how these basic principles of flavour and balance transfer to these five famous cocktails that all have a sweet and sour component.
Now put all the bartending knowledge you have gained into practice with these two recipes.
50ml CAPTAIN MORGAN WHITE RUM
25ml Lime juice
15ml Sugar syrup 1:1
75ml Soda water
8 Mint leaves
1 Mint sprig
1 Wedge of lime
Slap the mint leaves to release the aroma and place into a glass
Add the lime juice, sugar syrup, and CAPTAIN MORGAN WHITE RUM to the glass
Then add a small scoop of crushed ice
Add the soda water and then mix the ingredients through with a bar spoon
Then add some more crushed ice so the glass is filled and finally garnish with a sprig of mint
(2 standard drinks*- 1.6 units per serve)
50ml DON JULIO TEQUILA
25ml Orange liqueur
25ml Lime juice
1 Lime wedge
Moisten the rim of Margarita coupe or cocktail glass
Dip the rim into a plate of salt and shake off excess
Shake all ingredients and serve straight or over ice
Garnish with lime wedge and serve
(2.9 standard drinks*- 2.4 units per serve)
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