Beginner's Guide to Mixology (2021)
There is nothing more refreshing than a delicious alcoholic beverage after a long day or relaxing on the weekends with friends. It's even better if it's your own creation and its just like the pro's make!
Well if you want to make a drink that's more than just a mixture of rum and sprite, this is the post to guide you on your journey to the art of mixology.
The term mixology can sound intimidating especially when you don't even know the basic equipment needed to make the perfect drink.
If you want to perfect the art of mixology, here's a list of must get equipment:
While this might be pretty basic, a quality knife is important for a mixologist. You need knives to slice up fruits, zests, etc. So you can garnish your drinks.
Whipped cream dispenser
Whipped cream dispensers + Cream chargers can be used for more than just making whipped cream.
Infuse solid ingredients into liquid in minutes instead of the old fashioned method of waiting several weeks of storing your infusions in a mason jar in the fridge for several weeks to steep.
There are three major things a shaker does for you:
- Diluting Drinks: For a cocktail to taste great it has to be properly diluted.
Try this, follow all the steps in that great cocktail recipe, mix your drink thoroughly, skip the ice, and just place it in the fridge.
Then drink it, you'll find out that the taste will turn out to be too strong for you.
- Mixing Cold Drinks: It's difficult to mix cold ingredients. Which is what the shaker helps you to do perfectly.
- Cold Drinks: It gives you cold drinks fast. The ice is placed in the shaker and this allows the drink to get cold fast.
The most common shaker is the Boston Shaker, it consists of a tall metal accessory and a wide glass.
Nitro beverages are in high demand! With the recent growing global trend of nitro charged cocktails and beverages the iSi nitro dispenser is an essential piece of equipment in any aspiring mixologists arsenal.
When making a cocktail, it's best to avoid small pieces of fruits or ice floating in your drink. This is why you need a strainer. It's a type of sieve that you place over the mouth of your shaker.
The two most common kinds of strainer are Hawthorne and Julep strainer.
Hawthorne strainer consists of a flat disc that is attached to a coiled spring while the Julep strainer is a perforated bowl-shaped cup that comes with a handle.
It is a short measuring cup ranging in size from 0.5-2.5oz. They're dual-sided with different capabilities on each end.
The advantage of Jigger being dual-sided is that it helps you mix drink quickly while using both sides of the Jigger.
During the speakeasy prohibition period when alcohol quality declined as a result of prohibition. Their was not a lot of choice and often mixologists had to work with whatever they could get their hands on to create flavourful beverages that would suit all palates and mask the bad alcohol quality taste.
Alot of the early cocktails revolved around soda recipes, The Soda siphon could be found on display and witnessed in action in all speakeasys, The iSi soda syphon is a functional as well as an attractive addition allowing for simple creation of soda water on demand.
It's used like a pestle to mash fruits, herbs, etc. In the shaker.
They're normally six to eight inches long which makes it the perfect size to reach the bottom of a shaker.
Muddlers are made up of different materials which are wood, plastic, and steel.
The steel muddler is perfect for crushing hard ingredients like nuts, the plastic muddler is perfect for juicing fruits and the wood muddler is perfect for everyday usage.
It's designed to make the mixing process easier. When stirring is important in the procedure of making your drink the bar spoon makes it easier.
Apart from stirring the bar spoon helps in:
- Measuring ingredients in small quantities as one bar spoon is more like one teaspoon.
- Some European bar spoon comes with a hammer at the end of the handle which can serve as a kind of muddler.
- The flat bowl of the bar spoon can be used to layer different spirits in a drink.
It doesn't matter which bar spoon you get just to make sure you get a long and twisted bar spoon.
While glassware isn't that important in making cocktails. It's a great idea to have a few depending on the kind of cocktails you love to make or drink.
The basics are Martini glass, champagne flute, highball, coupe glass.
Mixers: Start with the basics which are mainly tonic water or sparkling water. Depending on your taste or the kind of drink you want to make you can go on to pick from a variety of mixers such as lime juice, lemon juice, orange juice, club soda, cranberry juice, ginger ale, bitters, etc.
Alcohol: It's necessary to get the spirits you'll need depending on your cocktail recipe. The basics include vodka, tequila, whiskey, brandy, rum, bourbon, gin, etc. Vodka is one of the most used spirits with many easy recipes.
Garnishes: Garnish your drink to your taste with limes, lemon, cherry, olives, etc.
Garnishes help add that final touch and give your drink not only a splash of flavour but also makes it look visually appealing.
Ice: No cocktail is complete without ice. They help not only in cooling but also in dilution.
Essential techniques for making cocktails
Shake: After adding all your ingredients and filling your shaker with ice. Close the lid tightly and shake.
Shaking allows the ice to move from one end of the shaker to another, crashing against the end of the shaker. This causes the liquid to go through the ice and also helps in the dilution of the drink.
You can shake for about 10-15 seconds but if the drink contains egg white or cream you would have to shake longer than that.
Stir: It does almost the same thing as when you shake but without dilution.
It is mainly used for drinks that contain alcoholic ingredients.
Stirring is perfect for drinks which do not need much dilution, as too much dilution can lead to loss of flavor or texture of these drinks.
Muddle: Crush your ingredients to extract flavor and juice.
When it comes to herbs, you can use your bar spoon to muddle or just gently press it a few times.
For berries you muddle until you have a puree and with citrus you muddle just enough to get the juices.
Misconceptions About Mixology
- It is about creating surprising or unusual drinks: Mixology is more than just creating unusual drinks, it's an art that lets you mix ingredients together to get that perfect cocktail for you.
- It is expensive: Mixology isn't really that expensive. Most of the expensive ingredients can be substituted with a more affordable ingredient.
- It is difficult: Making cocktails is more about the recipes, equipment and ingredients.
So it isn't all that difficult as it looks, so long as you follow the recipe.
This guide was to show you that you don't need to be a professional mixologist to make great cocktail.
So start experimenting today, get your equipment, follow a great recipe and create that delicious cocktail you crave.