A cocktail is always a mixed drink. Originally a mixture of distilled spirits, sugar,
water, and bitters, the word has gradually come to mean almost any mixed drink containing
alcohol. A cocktail today usually contains one or more types of liquor and flavourings
and one or more liqueurs, fruit juices, sugar, honey, water, ice, soda, milk, cream,
herbs, bitters, etc. These are all shaken with cracked ice in a stainless steel mixer
and strained into a pre-chilled glass, usually triangular in profile shape, and
served with an olive (stuffed or pitted), Maraschino, cherry, or silverskin onion
on a stick, and sometimes with a slice of lime or lemon split and slipped onto the
rim, or with other ‘salad’ as decoration.
Cocktails are made with brandy, whisky, rum, gin and especially vodka. Many cocktails
traditionally made with gin, such as the gimlet, or the martini, or Collins are now
made with vodka.
There are seven (or eight) steps to create a cocktail.
1) Glass - hot drink (toddy), hurricane, long drink (Collins), shooter, short drink
(shot), snifter (brandy), tall wine glass, shot glass, highball glass, Old Fashioned
glass, Collins glass, martini (cocktail) glass, Margarita glass, pilsner glass, Irish
Coffee glass, pousse-cafe glass, punch cup, cordial glass, white wine glass, red
wine glass, sherry glass, champagne flute, champagne saucer glass, liqueur glass,
parfait glass, sour glass, cocktail goblet.
2) Method - blend with crushed ice, blend without ice, build (pour) and stir, layer
in order, muddle, shake with ice, shake with ice and strain over ice, shake without
ice, stir with ice.
3) Ice - Start by boiling pure, preferably filtered, water (you can use a Brita filter
or something similar) and slowly freeze it in bigger blocks. To keep it cold in the
glass, the cube should be well frozen all the way through without any cavities. You
keep it dry simply by keeping it cold..
4) Base spirit - gin, vodka, rum, tequila, whisky, cognac.
Layered cocktails are made by carefully pouring spirits, liqueurs etc, one on top
of another into a glass, so that they do not mix but lie in layers, often producing
a colourful, striped effect. The reason for the layers is the density of each different
ingredient. Like mixing oil and water, they will naturally separate. If you slowly
pour each layer, you won't need to wait for separation. If this shot doesn't turn
out the first time around, try again but pour slowly and carefully.
Flaming cocktails are cocktails which are set alight with a naked flame before consumption.
Warm your glass before you begin.
Prepare your cocktail.
Pour a bit of your highest proof alcohol into a spoon.
Ignite using a long kitchen match.
Carefully pour flaming liquid into cocktail.
Extinguish before drinking.
Use extreme caution.
For a fabulous sparkle effect, carefully twist an orange rind over the flame.
Never drink while flame is still lit.
A highball is the name for a family of mixed drinks that are composed of an alcoholic
base spirit and a larger proportion of a non-alcoholic mixer. A highball is typically
served in large straight-sided glass, for example, a highball glass or a Collins
glass, with ice. The proportions of some highballs may be altered—made with little
or no mixer—and served as a shooter. A shooter (or shot) is a one- to four-ounce
alcoholic beverage. It may consist of one type of alcohol or a cocktail of different
alcohols, often mixed with other beverages. Shooters can be shaken, stirred, blended,
layered, or simply poured. Shot glasses or sherry glasses are the usual drinkware
from which shooters are served. A shooter is most commonly served at a bar. Shooters
are often drunk quickly and with groups of people while celebrating.
Combining chemistry and cocktails may sound dangerous. However, mixologists are using
scientific principles to manipulate the flavour and texture of their creations. Known
as molecular mixology, this new style of cocktail-making includes things like powdered
rum and coke, martini popsicles, alcoholic cotton candy (ie candy floss) and whiskey
Simpler concoctions include upscale Jell-O shots and spherical “ice cubes” that are
actually frozen cocktails. Inspired by the culinary discipline of molecular gastronomy,
cocktail chemists have applied many tricks of the restaurant trade to the bar in
the form of gelatins, foams and sorbets.
Molecular mixology merges science and booze to take advantage of chemical reactions.
For example, liquid nitrogen, in addition to being cold enough to freeze alcohol,
also intensifies it upon melting. An expert mixologist could make a specialty shot
that appeared to be served in an edible balloon rather than a glass, thanks to the
chemical properties of sodium alginate and calcium lactate.
Despite the growing popularity of molecular cocktails, the time and expense involved
in making them means it is difficult to find a bar that serves them. But many bartenders
are incorporating some molecular mixology ideas to spice up their martini repertoire
or add flair to traditional cocktail offerings.