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How-To Videos

LEARN ESSENTIAL TECHNIQUES FOR BARTENDING

How to Build a Cocktail How to Build a Cocktail
So you’re ready to make a cocktail and you’ve gathered all your ingredients, recipe card in hand. Now what? The very first step in building a cocktail is to consider which ingredients are the most expensive (or hardest to source), just in case there is a mistake and you have to start over, you’re not wasting your limited supplies.
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How to Shake a Cocktail How to Shake a Cocktail
Master your bartending basics by learning how to shake a cocktail! Learning the proper technique for shaking will significantly improve your drinks. It's easy to conquer, simply practice your shake and follow a few tips. Why shake? Shaking a cocktail adds both aeration and dilution to the finished drink. Certain ingredients are a giveaway for whether you will be shaking or stirring, for example, cocktails with citrus are always shaken.
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How to Stir a Cocktail How to Stir a Cocktail
Why stir? Stirring helps you achieve proper dilution and chill your drink to the correct temperature. Certain ingredients are a giveaway for whether you will be shaking or stirring, for example, cocktails with just spirits, liqueurs, bitters, and syrups are always stirred. Or if it's easier to remember, clear drinks are stirred, opaque drinks (like citrus, cream, and egg cocktails) are shaken! 
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How to Dry Shake How to Dry Shake
Dry shaking is the key to achieve that fluffy, frothy latte-esque foam on the top of your egg-white cocktail. Ready to learn how?
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How to Roll a Cocktail How to Roll a Cocktail
Sometimes a drink doesn’t need as much vigorous aeration as a full shake, but still could benefit from some dilution and needs incorporation. A perfect example of an ideal rolled drink is the Bloody Mary.
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How to Muddle How to Muddle
Some cocktails call for you to muddle ingredients before you build the rest of the cocktail.  Muddling is super easy! The purpose of muddling is to release oils, juice (for citrus and fruit) and aromatics of your muddled ingredients. 
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How to Garnish with Microplaned Citrus Zest How to Garnish with Microplaned Citrus Zest
Using a microplane is easier than you think. These very sharp blades are akin to cheese graters and they make microplanes in a variety of sizes for an assortment of applications. A large format microplane with larger openings is designed for zesting citrus. We have a few specific cocktails that call for microplaned citrus zest, like the Agua Desierto. 
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How to Use a Hawthorne Strainer How to Use a Hawthorne Strainer
After you have finished shaking a cocktail, you will need to strain it into your desired drinking vessel. If you are not using a Cobbler Shaker (which has a Hawthorne strainer built into the top portion of the set), you will need to use a Hawthorne Strainer. A Hawthorne strainer has tightly wound coils and perforated holes to keep ice and other large ingredients in the tins. 
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How to Use a Julep Strainer How to Use a Julep Strainer
After you have finished stirring a cocktail, you will need to strain it into your desired drinking vessel. The appropriate strainer for stirred cocktails is the Julep strainer. Julep strainers can be held either facing up or down, it is simply a matter of preference. Most Julep strainers these days are designed with this variation of preference in mind, with little notches to ease the grip in both directions. Try both and see what feels comfortable to you! 
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How to Select A Jigger How to Select A Jigger
A jigger is a fancy word for a cocktail-specific measuring cup. Not all jiggers are created equal, try as many styles as you can to find the one that suits your needs.  We prefer Japanese Style jiggers because the margin for error is smaller, especially if you pour slightly over or under the recipe specs, because of the slim tapered design. Also, be sure to investigate the variety of measurements indicated on your jigger. Finding a jigger with an elusive quarter ounce mark is exciting indeed (and standard on our Cocktail Courier jiggers).  The most important feature of jiggers are the markings that display the measurements, as not all measuring increments are standardized. Find one that has your most frequently used measurements. It's also important to consider the weight of the jigger and the slope of the taper. 
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How to Select A Bar Spoon How to Select A Bar Spoon
Almost all bar tool selection is based on preference. Try as many styles as you can and see what feels comfortable to you! The important features of bar spoons are the balance of the spoon, as well as the weight in your hands. Practice stirring with different styles of bar spoons to determine your favorite! Preferential style differences include the length of the stem, unique end-caps (decorative or functional), twisted or straight stem, and more! Some bar spoons don't even have the "spoon" portion at all and feature two teardrop shapes on both ends. 
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How to Select Ice How to Select Ice
Ice can vary widely. The ice typically found at bars is larger, clearer and denser than the average freezer-made crescent cube. Since the bar ice cube is larger, it has less surface area exposed to the drink (and so melts slower), compared to using lots of smaller cubes (cumulatively a larger surface area of ice melt) to achieve the same level of chilling. By this reasoning, you'd think using lots of little cubes would be the best bet for a quickly chilled drink. However, more surface area equals more ice-melt and it is the water on the ice that actually over-dilutes your cocktails. 
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How to Crush Ice (Using a Lewis Bag) How to Crush Ice (Using a Lewis Bag)
Some classic cocktails specifically call for crushed ice instead of cubes, think: Cobblers, Swizzles, Brambles or Smashes. Usually, these drinks are extra boozy, extra sweet or simply could benefit from the rapid dilution. The large surface area of the small cubes melts quickly, taking those strong (in spirit or flavor!) cocktails and turning them into extremely drinkable concoctions.  A Lewis Bag is the easiest tool for creating crushed ice. It is simply a heavy cotton-canvas bag that will absorb the extra moisture from the ice-melt and contain all your small crushed ice shards. Ready to start?
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How to Chill Glassware How to Chill Glassware
The purpose of shaking and stirring your cocktails is to add dilution and chill your drink to the proper temperature. Why go through all the effort of cooling your ingredients down, just to warm them back up in a room-temperature glass? Serve your drinks like a professional with this simple move. The best tasting drinks pay attention to the details, like chilled glassware. 
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How to Rinse A Glass How to Rinse A Glass
Some classic cocktails, like the Sazerac, call for a rinse of absinthe, or other spirits, liqueurs, and aromatic liquids. Here’s how to rinse a glass! Add a small amount of the spirit to your serving glassware (less than .25 oz is plenty) and gently rotate the glass between your hands, leaving a trace of the flavor and aroma behind. You can also gently swirl the glass to achieve the same effect.
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How to Rim a Cocktail How to Rim a Cocktail
Some cocktails call for a rimmed edge as garnish (or in addition to a garnish). Rimming is an easy way to add flavor and a nice presentation to cocktails. If you want to get fancy, or would like to alternate sips with a rimming flavor and sips without, a half dipped rim is a really lovely garnish.
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Garnish with Bitters Garnish with Bitters
You often encounter bitters used in cocktail recipes, but did you know they also make wonderful garnishes? You classically find bitters garnishing egg-white cocktails. This is because while eggs taste delicious in drinks and create a wonderful mouthfeel, they don’t have the best smell. So once you’ve mastered your dry shake (watch the video here), you can delicately drop a few bitters around the edge of your egg white cocktail to enhance both the aroma and flavor of your finished drink. If you’d like to get fancy, drag a straw, toothpick or back of a spoon through the droplets to create intricate patterns. Have fun!
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Garnish with Citrus Zest Garnish with Citrus Zest
The reason to use freshly zested citrus is for the highly aromatic oils, which enhance the flavor and aromas of your finished cocktails. Let's peel some zest! Select your citrus, place your Y-peeler across the midsection of the fruit. You are going to cradle the fruit in your non-dominant hand, and apply pressure to the orange to gently push it UP into the blades of the peeler.
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Garnish with Flamed Citrus Zest Garnish with Flamed Citrus Zest
The principle behind a flamed zest is the same as any zest, really. You're squeezing oil out of the peel and onto the surface of the cocktail. In this case, though, you're squeezing it through a flame, which lightly caramelizes the oil and subtly enhances its flavor.
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Garnish with Herbs Garnish with Herbs
Many bartenders select fresh herbs as accents for their cocktails because of the vibrant colors and bold aromatics. To use herbs in a cocktail, the most important step is to release the oils (just like we did with our citrus peels!) using a technique called “awakening.” Let's awaken some herbs! Select an herb: mint, basil, sage, thyme, rosemary - any type you'd like!
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