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Bar techniques you need to know

From basic bar techniques to higher skilled foams and fat washing, leading Irish bartender Andrew Dickey runs through some techniques that will create depth and flavour and impress your customers!

The Basics

Every single bar mentor will tell you differently, ‘stir clockwise for 30 seconds, shake for 22 seconds, that Ramos gin fizz isn’t ready until you are crying with exhaustion!’ So first things first, let’s look at some basics that will help with any serve you are creating.

My top 3 tips when making any serve:

Heightening Your Skills

So, now we have gone through some of the basics, let’s look at three higher skilled techniques.

Foams and airs

Why: This is a great technique for adding flavours and textural differences in drinks, other than classic sour styles, that include egg whites. Foams are easily made and they can be used for any style of drink.

How to do it:

Carbonation

Why: Another craze that came back to the cocktail scene last year was homemade sodas. This again is a great way to add flavour and fizz to your drinks and give a classic serve a twist.

How to do it:

Homemade sodas are easy to create and can add a beautiful effervescence to long drinks or spritzers. All you need is a soda siphon and Co2 charges, which can easily be picked up online or at local home appliance stores. At the moment there are great local tea and coffee merchants that have great tasting fruit teas and the flavours match perfectly with some base spirits (e.g. TANQUERAY NO. TEN and a lemongrass and ginger soda that also contains hibiscus, pomegranate and juniper). Simply follow these steps!

Fat Washing:

Why: A technique that can really bring culinary flavours into drinks, including those which customers may not naturally associate with drinks.

How to do it:

Fat washing is incorporating fats and oils from fruits, poultry or dairy products into spirits. It adds unbelievable flavour, texture and can be a really impressive if done right! You can use bacon, butter, duck fat and coconut oil. Butter and bourbon is a must but being Irish, butter is a way of life! Follow these steps:

Practise – Foam & Airs

Margarita with a twist

40ml DON JULIO BLANCO

20ml Agave Sec

20ml of Lime Juice

( 2.2 standard drinks* - 1.8 units per serve)

For the Foam:

500ml Water

200ml Lime Juice

1.5g Lecithin

2 Teaspoons of table salt

½ Teaspoon of sugar (depending on preference)

METHOD

Add ingredients to a tin and shake vigorously.

Fine strain into pre chilled coupe glass and layer salted Lecithin foam on top.

Practise - Carbonisation

The Mexican Rose

45 ml DON JULIO BLANCO

10ml Fino Sherry

5ml Green Chartreuse

10ml Lime juice

10ml Lime sherbet

2 Dashes of Peychauds Bitters

Cucumber and rose water champagne soda

( 2.2 standard drinks* - 1.9 units per serve)

METHOD

Place ingredients, except soda, into mixing tin and throw 6-8 times until chilled.

Strain into ice filled red wine glass.

Add cucumber and rose water champagne soda and stir.

Garnish with edible rose, cucumber or edible flowers.

For Soda:

1 Litre of Cucumber and Rosewater (infuse 1 litre of water with chopped cucumber with 50ml Rosewater for 24hrs)

Add 50ml Champagne acid solution* and charge with two Co2 cartridges in soda siphon (*Champagne Acid -6g Tartaric Acid, 6g Lactic Acid mixed with 100ml water)

Practise – Fat Washing

Dutch Summer Punch (serves 10)

500ml Coconut oil washed KETEL ONE VODKA*

120ml Crème De Peche

300ml Pineapple juice

150ml Water

200ml Lime juice

75ml Sugar syrup

Pineapple chunks, pineapple leaves, lime wheels and fresh mint for garnish

METHOD

Add all the ingredients to punch bowl over block ice.

Stir and garnish with pineapple chunks, pineapple leaves, lime wheels and fresh mint.

* For coconut washed KETEL ONE VODKA

Add 200grams of coconut oil to a pan and let dissolve on a low/medium heat

Pour the oil into container along with 1 bottle of 750ml of KETEL ONE VODKA

Leave in freezer for 6-8 hours until the alcohol and oil have separated.

Strain off the vodka and you are ready to make punch.

(2.2 standard drinks* - 2 units per serve)

Remember

These are just some techniques bars are utilising and for any newbie bartender reading this it will be a lot to take in. We all start somewhere so please don’t be put off! Experiment with flavours, techniques and they will become a daily part of your routine. Enjoy!

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(*One standard drink contains 8g of alcohol)