How To Shake Up Your Cocktail Game From Home
Is there anything more satisfying than a fresh and professionally-prepared cocktail? Actually… yes! With some tasty tipples and a selection of nifty tools to hand, you can make one (or several!) cocktail creations yourself for a fraction of the price - and all from the comfort of your own home! While we wait for our favourite boozy bars to reopen, fine-tuning those cocktail-making skills is the only way you’re going to get close to the real, and utterly delicious, deal. So, what’s stopping you?
Spurred on by National Bartender Day, which takes place on Wednesday, February 24th this year, there’s no better time to dust off your cocktail shaker and harvest some refreshing sprigs of mint to transform yourself into a budding bartender. Regardless of whether you prefer a fruity pornstar martini with the girls or your cocktail beverage of choice includes lashings of gin, whipping up an irresistible beverage from home needn’t be a tough task!
Invest in the correct cocktail making kit
Before you dive straight into your first mouth-watering cocktail recipe, you’ll need to snap up a selection of those essential cocktail making tools. Many cocktail recipes will call for a cocktail shaker, which tends to be a staple feature in a comprehensive cocktail making kit. Other necessary tools include a muddler, which is used to mash fruits, herbs, and spices to release their inner flavours, a strainer to guarantee a smooth finish, and a double-ended jigger to ensure you’re not too heavy handed with the vodka!
Each cocktail making kit will vary with regards to price depending on how many tools are included, the standard of the material and finish, and whether it comes complete with a convenient stand. With popular kits made from wood and steel available in both shiny and matte finishes, you’re sure to find the perfect kit to complement your drinks trolley.
Tick off those oh-so essential ingredients
Another important element of high-quality cocktails are, of course, those tasty beverage ingredients. While some essential ingredients might be staples in your home, such as orange juice and tonic water, there are many more tantalising spirits, herbs, and spices that you’ll need to pick up to do justice to those more inventive cocktails.
By way of illustrating, an array of fundamental cocktail ingredients that always come in handy include sugar syrup, grenadine, and lime juice, to name just a few. These beverage necessities are worth stocking up on as they allow you to perfect an assortment of classic cocktails without constantly nipping to the shops. Having these principal cocktail ingredients in your cupboard also gives you some experimental leeway, allowing you to get creative with your classic espresso martini if desired!
For slightly more daring drinks, you might want to consider researching your herbs and spices and purchasing a cocktail strainer. Regardless of whether they’re crushed, smoked, or sprinkled, subtle cocktail additions like basil, lavender, and ginger can seriously upgrade any lacklustre beverage and transform it into something aromatic, innovative, and utterly delicious.
As any professional mixologist knows, the key to wowing your customers is with the finishing touches. Regardless of whether that’s a dash of invigorating crushed ice, a hint of scorched orange peel for bitterness, or a slice of zingy lemon, these added extras can make all the difference to the final taste and look of your cocktails, not to mention the overall sipping experience - so make sure you don’t forget to add these superb cocktail garnishes and cocktail accessories to your shopping list!
Broaden your beverage knowledge
Stuck contemplating whether to make a mojito or a cosmo again? Why not shake up your current go-to cocktail and replace it with something new and exciting? You can fill your boozy bookshelf with a plethora of mixology masterpieces that can introduce you to those forgotten classics as well as a handful of modern drinks. No matter if you’re an amateur or an expert in the field, there’s always something new to discover.
If your choice of cocktail is slightly more fictional than realistic (yes, we said fictional!), there’s still a bartending book for you! The Geeky Bartender by Cassandra Reeder, for example, is bursting with mythical mixology recipes from fan-favourite science fiction and fantasy films and TV series, such as Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, and even Star Wars. Drawing inspiration from all corners of the pop-culture universe, there’s over 70 creative concoctions to explore.
Teetotal? Not all cocktails need to include alcohol to be utterly irresistible! There are just as many scrumptious mocktails out there to investigate as there are alcoholic cocktails, so there’s no need to shy away from tweaking your home bartending skills if you’d rather relax with a non-alcoholic beverage. Ideal if you’re particularly health-conscious or simply prefer a life without booze, there’s sure to be a beverage mixing book that’ll tickle your taste buds.
Take an online mixology class
If bartending and mixology has never come naturally to you and you need a helping hand from a professional, why not sign up for an online mixology class? While these online cocktail classes often vary in price, depending on how many people you want to bring along (virtually!) with you, they’ll let you in on all the tricks and industry tips that help you to achieve an incredible cocktail.
With your fully-loaded cocktail set by your side, you should be able to follow along with the virtual cocktail masterclass, picking up plenty of beverage hacks and insider knowledge on the way. Some virtual mixology classes will even suggest more common kitchenware alternatives as opposed to the professional kit if you can’t afford or don’t have time to snap up a selection of dedicated cocktail making tools and glasses.
Filled with as much fun as a traditional in-house cocktail making session, some of these online classes even send out all the ingredients and cocktail-creating equipment you’ll need to take part. Although these classes may come with a higher price tag, you’ll be able to keep the mixology tools and carry on whipping up quality cocktails long after the masterclass has ended - cheers to that!
Toast a tipple to your success!
Now you’ve amassed a generous bounty of home cocktail making advice, it’s time to put all that beverage knowledge to the test! Sadly, unless you live with plenty of adult family members or flatmates, you might not be able to show off your new cocktail making skills to your friends and family during lockdown.
However, you can still get out your laptop, smartphone, or tablet to connect with a loved one while you catch up on some gossip, news, or simply share some laughs as you sip from your cocktail glass. Alternatively, you could even encourage a friend to get cocktail savvy at the same time and compare the taste and look of your tempting creations virtually - the choice is yours!
While you may not be extravagantly tossing cocktail shakers into the air after your first online class, you can perfect one cocktail at a time until you’ve mastered an array of both non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages. So, snap up that stirrer and dive into your favourite cocktail making book, and you might just leave lockdown as a cocktail making aficionado!