Bartending tips for the newbie

Dec 17, 2014

Say you have graduated from your barending courses and now it is your turn to join the trade. You have managed to get a job at that outstanding bar you had your eyes on. It is your first day at work; you arrive at the bar with anticipation as well as trepidation. What do you do? How do you start?

Here are a few useful bartending tips to get you going and help you settle down.

  • After the introductions start with familiarizing yourself with where things are kept. Open coolers and cabinets and ask about all the various spirits, beers and wines stocked in that establishment.
  • Ask after the popular drinks served at the bar; get familiar with the method and glasses used in that establishment. Remember a regular at any bar prefers to have his favourite drink served exactly the same way every time.

Mixers in a bar

Dec 15, 2014

Mixers are the next most important ingredients in a bar after the spirits, wines and beers.

Although most of them are available bottled or canned in the market, a freshly made mixer not only tastes the best, you can always add your own twist to it and it is economical too.

Today we will talk about mixers and how to make your own and easy healthy substitutes for some of them.

  • Simple sugar syrup: As the name suggests, this is simple to make and is the most important mixer in a bar. It is used in cocktails like daiquiris, mojitos and hurricanes. It adds rich volume to the drink and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to six months. But it has to be well sealed. Dissolve two parts sugar to one part of boiling water. Cook for no more than five minutes, cool thoroughly, strain, bottle and seal. You can increase its shelf like by adding a dash of vodka to it. Demerara sugar can be used instead of white sugar in simple syrup, but the colour is darker and can change the colour of the cocktail. But the flavour is definitely superior. A non fire method of making a bar syrup is by adding one part of sugar to one part water in a bottle and shaking thoroughly till the sugar melts. This version of the mixer is obviously thinner and has a shorter shelf life. The simple syrup can also be infused with various flavours to give your drinks a subtle twist like lavender, cinnamon, cardamom, eucalyptus, ginger, rose vanilla etc.

Digestifs or tipples after dinner

Dec 11, 2014

While aperitifs are had before a meal and stimulate one’s appetite, digestifs are alcoholic beverages that are had after a meal and are said to aid digestion. While in the case of aperitifs the bitterness helps to whet the appetite, it always better to end a meal on a sweet note so digestifs are typically on the sweeter side and are normally had straight.Sometimes a digestif can replace the dessert altogether at the end of a meal.

In some cultures various types of teas and spiked coffee are also consumed as digestifs.

There are various kinds of digestifs, to name a few:

  • Brandy: Cognac, Armanac, Schnapps, Grappa, Calvados and other Eau de vie or fruit brandies
  • Fortified wines: Usually sweet like Cream Sherry, Port and Madiera
  • Liqueurs: Sweet like Irish Mist, Drambuie, Cointreau, Kahlua, Tia Maria, Amaro
  • Liqueurs: Bitter like Averna, Zwack, Strega
  • Distilled spirits: Whiskey, Ouzo, Tequila
  • Liquor cocktails: Rusty Nails, Black Russian, Old Fashioned etc.

While choosing an after dinner drink it is important to keep in mind its pairing with coffee and dessert. Let us talk in more detail about some popular digestifs.

Aperitifs and the cocktail hour

Dec 09, 2014

Cocktail hour as per the dictionaries is the designated hour before dinner is served when guests partake of cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. It became popular in the United States during Prohibition when the only legal place to drink was at home. After Prohibition the idea was adopted by commercial establishments like hotels, restaurants and bars and cocktail hour came to be referred to as ‘happy hour’.Discounted drinks with complimentary appetizers were sold during cocktail hours or happy hours.

The practice continues to be popular today. Cocktail hour also graduated to cocktail parties where no dinner was served and it became a social event by itself. The drinks served during the cocktail hour are called aperitifs, a word with French origins that refers to alcoholic beverages which are served as appetizers. The primary reason for enjoying aperitifs is to stimulate the appetite and any dry or bitter drink qualifies. Dry fortified wines and vermouth, Amaros and bitters, aromatized wines are all good aperitifs. They can be served chilled or mixed into a cocktail or with a splash of soda. Champagne is an excellent aperitif since it is low on alcohol, crisp and dry and therefore does not kill the appetite. Here are some suggestions for great aperitifs.

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