Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Secrets of a Great Bartender

Here are some great tips and hints from the best bartenders. They will come in handy when you start tending your own bar, either professionally or at home.

Glassware Ideas:
Most drinks have a traditional style of glassware that is recommended for their preparation. Such as a margarita glass or a martini glass, which are used solely for these special drinks. However, when short on money or in a pinch, any old glass will do, as long as the drink fits inside. If you cannot afford a bar full of glassware or it's not feasible for your purposes and you must choose a single type of glassware, make it a large wineglass. Almost any drink can fit in a large wineglass and this type of glassware is attractive and functional enough to be used all the time.

Tips on Frosting Glasses:
Drinks that are to be made with ice, dip the glass in water and then leave it in the freezer for a few. It will get a frosted white look that looks great with the ice. This is traditional "frosting". Be careful not to touch the glass with your fingers (hold by the stem) as as not to melt the "icing". Another method of frosting is to line the rim of a glass with salt or sugar. This is done with Margaritas and Lemon Drops, to name two popular drinks. To do this properly, moisten the rim of the glass with a lemon or lime wedge. Then drip the rim into salt or sugar and twist until it is fully "frosted".

Hints on making "twists" and flavoring rims:
When a recipe calls for a fruit "twist" as a garnish, simply twist the peel above the drink and then drop it in.
When using a fruit "garnish", rub the rim of the glass with a wedge so to flavor the drink with it.

Tips for Making Drinks:
  • Making mixed drinks with a shaker, do NOT fill the shaker with ice. Use a 1/4 cup of ice or a few cubes.
  • Fresh ice is a big part of a tasty "rocks" drink. Overly frozen ice or ice with a freezer taste can ruin the mix.
  • Always use Distilled or Spring water when making drinks with water. Tap water can ruin the taste.
  • Always keep bottles of Vodka in the freezer. This makes the Vodka taste fresher and cleaner when used.
  • When using a shaker set, put ice in the mixing glass first and then add the other ingredients.
  • Always tip the set will shaking so that the liquid ends up in the metal tumbler.
  • Always use the metal strainer when pouring the drink, to strain out any spices, fruits or other ingredients.
  • A "short shaker" can often be used when a shaker set is not available. This is a metal cup that fits over the glass.
  • In the absence of any shaker, a glass with a lid or the jug portion of an electric blender will work just as well.
  • Drinks without milk or cream are often stirred. You can do this right in the glass will preparing.
  • Do not overstir drinks with carbonation, like Champagne or Soda, as it will kill the bubbly.
  • When pouring a pitcherful of mixed drinks, pour a little at a time in every glass, repeating until all are filled.
  • When pouring a hot drink into a glass, put a metal spoon in the glass first to keep the heat from breaking it.
  • When "floating" liquor or liqueurs, always put the heaviest on the bottom and then float into lighter layers.
  • To "float" liquor or liqueurs properly, pour each one over the back of a spoon into the glass, very slowly.
  • To fast track a "float", put the mixed drink into the freezer and leave until the liquor has settled into the layers.
  • To "flame" a drink, prewarm the glass over a low heat, then add the liquor and warm a teaspoon. Put some liquor into the teaspoon, pass it over a flame and set it afire. Then pour this flaming liquid into the glass... carefully.

Notes on Cleaning Glassware:
You should ALWAYS have very clean glassware. Make this your mission. Drinks taste awful in dirty glasses.
When you wash glassware, air dry it, rim down on a towel to avoid spotting.
Always dry with one towel and then polish with another.
Wash glassware immediately after use. If you leave it laying around dirty, it gets stained with drink residue.
In lieu of washing, soak glasses in warm, sudsy water. Just make sure the drink residue doesn't stick.
Never stack glasses on top of each other.

Recipe for Bartenders Sour Mix:

12 oz bottled Lemon Juice or juice of 6 fresh Lemons
18 oz Distilled Water
1/4 cup refined White Sugar
1 Egg White

Blend all ingredients in a blender or shake up in a large jar. Refrigerate thoroughly and shake well before use.

Recipe for Bartenders Simple Sugar Syrup

2 cups Sugar
1 cup Water

Dissolve the sugar in the water in a saucepan. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring. Cover and refrigerate.

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