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6 bartending tips for the best cocktails

Just like cooking, mixing cocktails is not particularly difficult but does demand attention to detail. Whether you are a bartender that creates complex cocktails for guests in a bar or a home cocktail shaker that enjoys easy cocktails at home or during a party, there are some things you have to keep in mind when serving cocktails. Stick to these 6 tips below and create great cocktails each and every time!

1. Read the full cocktail recipe

Always read a cocktail recipe from beginning to the end, before you start creating your cocktail. This way you avoid surprises along the way and you can prepare your ingredients before you start.

2. Know your measurements

If a cocktail recipe uses the 'shot' measurement, you can instantly see the proportions of each ingredient compared to the next. We use the traditional shot measurement of 1 shot = 30 ml. This is essential for understanding the recipe. A 'shot' can be any amount you like. Just make sure you stick to the proportions stated in the recipe and the cocktail will taste the same every time. The best way to really make sure you stick to the measurements is using a jigger!

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4. Have good quality ice

You can't make a great cocktail, without ice. It's important to use good quality ice cubes. They should be large, cold, hard, solid, dry, and stored in a drainable container so the meltwater can drain. The more ice you pack together, the less it will melt! Crushed ice is ice that has been processed through a crusher or made by placing ice cubes in a tea towel and hitting them with a sturdy spoon or the bottom of a steel pan.

3. Alway use fresh juices

ALWAYS use freshly squeezed lemon and lime juice in your cocktails. There simply is no substitute. Roll the fruit before juicing to maximize the amount of juice coming out of the fruit and remember to double-strain cocktails containing fresh juice to not get fruit pulp in your glass. 

If you want to make sure you get as much juice out of your lemon or lime as possible, use a hand juicer. This way you can squeeze every last drop out of your citrus. You will earn your investment back before you know it 😉

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5. Pre-chill your glassware

Fill a glass with ice cubes and water and leave to stand while preparing your cocktail. Pour away the ice and water before straining the cocktail into the glass. You can also place the glass in the fridge for an hour or in the freezer for half an hour to chill it. This all helps to keep you cocktail cool for a longer period of time, which makes your cocktail even more delicious. 

Every recipe has a particular type of glass. An Old Fashioned cocktail will always be served in an old fashioned glass. If you need the right glassware for the right glass, check out our Bols glassware.

6. Make simple sugar syrup (1:1) and thick sugar syrup (2:1)

A lot of cocktail recipes you will find on the internet, contain sugar syrup. There are basically two types, often your recipe will specify. If not, decide for yourself if you want your cocktail to be sweeter or not. 

If your recipe asks for simple syrup, or in case you want your drink to be a little less sweet, you take 1 part water and 1 part sugar. Dissolve the sugar in the water by gently stirring it to overheat, in a saucepan. Make sure the syrup doesn't boil because then it will caramelize. 

To make thick sugar syrup, dissolve 2 cups of sugar completely into 1 cup of hot water. Double sieve the syrup and keep it sealed in the fridge. It will keep indefinitely. 

Want to explore more cocktail syrups? Check out this blog and get inspired by other cocktail syrups you can make!

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