6 tips to create the best cocktails at home
Now we mostly have (small) parties at home, instead of in the bar, you better make the most of it. Surprise your guests with amazing cocktails, made by yourself in your kitchen. Or serve a nice aperitif cocktail at a dinner party or barbeque. You might think that this is a lot of hassle, but making cocktails at home is easier than you think with these amazing tips and tricks. Even if you don't have the proper tools!
#1: Start planning
It starts with planning. Maybe there are things you can do before your guests arrive to prepare your cocktails. Making a homemade syrup for instance. This way you can easily add flavor, without having to add the fresh ingredients last minute. Check out how to make your syrup at home in this blog we wrote.
#2: Make room
Make sure you have enough space in your kitchen or living room, you have the right tools, and your recipes, or maybe have them printed. If you prepare the steps you have to take to make the cocktail at home, you can execute properly and fast when your guests have arrived!
#3: Get two sets of tools (or a cleaner)
It is always wise to have two bar sets or cocktail shaker sets when you make the drinks, so you don’t have to constantly clean your tools and wait while you clean them. Maybe you can have somebody cleaning one cocktail shaker set, while you clean the other cocktail shaker set. The same goes for your other bar tools.
#4: Collect all the ingredients
Any good cocktail starts with the right ingredients. Ingredients have to be fresh and of good quality. Fresh mint for instance is easily stored in the fridge, when you put them with the stems in a glass of water, or fold them in wet tissues and put them in a Tupperware box in your fridge. This will make sure you have great-tasting and beautiful looking mint for your cocktails at home. If you want to have consistent and high-quality flavors added to your cocktails, maybe think of getting some liqueurs. They are always consistent in flavor and easy to work with.
#5: Ice it
So, now we have our bar set up properly, we have enough space and tools, the right ingredients and we know the recipes. Let’s look at the core of any good cocktail and where it often goes wrong in cocktails, the ice. It is very important to have proper and cold ice when you make cocktails. My advice is to fill a couple of Tupperware boxes with water and put them in the freezer. When they are properly frozen, take them out and leave them at room temperature for 30 minutes. Now, with a sharp knife, you can cut beautiful and solid ice cubes that won’t melt too easily. This way you won’t get overdiluted drinks!
#6: Work on your presentation
As a bartender, we often say that you drink with all your senses. Obviously, we want the drink to taste and smell amazing, but looks are very important as well. Invest in some proper glassware, trust me that is half of the drinking experience. In your cocktail recipes, there will be a suggested glass for each cocktail. If you have the right glass, now let’s look at the garnishes. You want to dress up your cocktail like you are dressed up yourself for your dinner party 😉 A beautiful fresh mint sprig on your mojito gives it just that bit of extra to create the ‘wow’ effect. A nicely cut orange peel gives both flavors and looks to the drink. Check out the below video to learn how to garnish your cocktails.
I don't have a cocktail shaker, now what?
All right, I hear you thinking ‘I don’t have all these tools at home, and my party is tonight. Of course, you can easily buy all the cocktail tools and glassware in our Bols Shop, but if you don't have time let me help you out here. This is the fun part of bartending, we can get creative! If you don’t have a shaker, an old jam jar will do perfectly. Just add your ingredients, ice and put the lid on. Start shaking and when you are done, just open the jar and pour your ingredients plus your ice into your glass. If you want to strain your drink in a cocktail glass without ice, you can maybe make some little holes in the lid with a hammer and a nail after shaking. It will be a one-time-use shaker then 😉. If you want to use your "shaker" more than once, just grab the strainer you use to bake cakes with.
If you like going to the gym to pump iron, your protein shaker is an excellent replacement for a cocktail shaker.
Stirring a cocktail is easily done in the glass you will be drinking from. Just add your ingredients and the ice to an old-fashioned glass, take a tea-spoon and start stirring. After 20 seconds, your drink is done!
Lastly, if you don’t have a professional jigger, any measuring cup will do. If you don’t have a measuring cup, I will tell you a little secret. The cap of a Bols liqueur bottle measures exactly 10 ml!
If you don’t feel like getting all the ingredients and tools in, but you still want to serve amazing drinks, we offer many ready to serve possibilities. You can invest a bit more time in ‘dressing’ the drinks and making sure you have good ice, we have the cocktails ready for you. Check out our ready to drink options and our cocktail packages here.