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Tips and Techniques
 
Main Tips & Techniques Equipment & Glassware Liquor Cabinet
Mixers & Garnishes Equivalents Column Events Glossary
 
     
 
Mixing
When using a cocktail shaker, the ice should always be placed into the shaker first and the liquor last. This will ensure that the ingredients are properly chilled and reduce the chance of dilution.
Shaking
Drinks that contain ingredients that are difficult to mix are made better by shaking rather than stirring. For example, it is common to shake drinks containing ingredients such as sugar, cream, and fresh sour mix. While this will help mix the ingredients better than stirring, it will also produce a drink that is less clear. Ingredients should be poured into the shaker glass over the ice. Then the stainless-steel shell should be placed over the glass (if using a standard shaker, the lid should be secured tightly). With both hands placed tightly on either end, shake the container approximately 8-10 times to sufficiently mix the ingredients and avoid diluting the drink. Generally, any drink containing a carbonated beverage should be stirred gently to retain the sparkle.
Straining
Many cocktail shakers are sold with a built-in strainer or Hawthorne strainer. Do not use crushed ice since it will tend to clog the strainer of a standard shaker. Drinks that are shaken with crushed ice are better served unstrained. Instead, when a drink calls for straining, make sure ice cubes are being used.
Blending

Crushed ice should be used for blending smoothies or any frozen drink. An electric blender is needed for recipes containing fruit or other ingredients that do not break down by shaking. The ingredients should be placed in the blender first. Crushed ice is added next and the lid should then be secured tightly before blending. Generally, the mixture should be blended for about 15 seconds before pouring.

Muddling
To extract the most flavor from fruits or mint garnishes, the ingredients should be crushed by a wooden rod called a muddler or the back end of a bar spoon. This can be done at the bottom of the drinking glass and will help release flavorful aromatic oils from the ingredients.
Floating or Layering

When making a drink, occasionally the ingredients kept in separate layers that do not mix with one another. The heaviest ingredient should be poured in the glass first. Then using the rounded or back part of a spoon, it should be rested along the side of the glass with the ingredient poured gradually down the spoon and into the glass. See the Gravity Table below, which approximates the weight of certain liqueurs. This is helpful in determining the order of pouring ingredients where lighter ones should be poured on top of heavier ones.

Frosting Glasses
When making a drink, occasionally the ingredients kept in separate layers that do not mix with one another. The heaviest ingredient should be poured in the glass first. Then using the rounded or back part of a spoon, it should be rested along the side of the glass with the ingredient poured gradually down the spoon and into the glass. See the Gravity Table below, which approximates the weight of certain liqueurs. This is helpful in determining the order of pouring ingredients where lighter ones should be poured on top of heavier ones.
Gravity Chart
The following table lists some common liqueurs and the specific gravity attributed to each. The specific weight gravity of a liquid is measured as the mass per unit volume or the density of the substance. The gravity of each ingredient determines how each is going to fit into a layered drink by keeping the heaviest on the bottom (higher gravity number) and lightest on the top (lower gravity number). The greater the difference in gravity between two ingredients, the less likely they will mix together.
 
Ingredient Gravity
   
Southern Comfort 0.97
Tuaca 0.98
Water 1.00
Cointreau 1.04
Sloe Gin 1.04
Schnapps (cinnamon, peach, and peppermint 1.04
Benedictine & Brandy 1.04
Midori 1.05
Rock and Rye 1.05
Campari 1.06
Brandy (peach, cherry, blackberry, apricot) 1.06
Triple Sec 1.09
Amaretto 1.10
Galliano 1.11
Blue Curacao 1.11
Crème de Menthe 1.12
Crème de Cacao 1.14
Coffee Liqueur 1.14
Kahlua 1.15
Anisette 1.17
Grenadine 1.18
Crème de Cassis 1.18
 
 
 
 
 
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