How To Read A Cocktail Recipe

Outside of writing, tutoring, and working at My Sister’s Closet at the YWCA, I teach bartending classes every quarter at the Homewood Library. Sharing my knowledge from bartending and writing research is one of the most fun ways to blend the two vocations together.

For every class, I batch the cocktails that attendees drinks, then demonstrate how to mix each cocktail on its own. All of the juices and syrups are made before the class begins. When I talk through making the cocktail, it looks easy. But without hundreds of hours of practice, many of the movements and practices probably don’t feel natural. That’s OK.

Next time you want to make a cocktail at home, keep a few things in mind to make the outcome more delicious. If you’re so inclined, you can apply these tips to the recipes in my book that’s due to come out in December.

  1. Be confident. Everybody looks silly shaking cocktails. Do it with confidence, and you’ll look more the part of the badass bartender.
  2. Avoid ingredients with artificial ingredients. Store bought syrups and juices
  3. Be precise. Use jiggers or other measuring devices. Yes, many bartenders don’t, but if they’re making craft cocktails, they’ve had a lot of training. At home, 1/8 ounce too much or too little of an ingredient can throw a drink way out of whack. Use the dang jigger.
  4. Read into instructions. “Shake vigorously” usually means to shake a cocktail for 10-20 seconds, 10 for pellet or chip ice, and 20 for huge cubes. Same goes for “stir vigorously.”

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