Want to get into mixing your own drinks? Looking forward to being the life of the party? Here are a few tips to help you make some bad ass cocktails.
Spend More, Drink Less
When you first come of drinking age, it usually goes like this—find something with a bearable taste that’s really cheap. Buy lots of it and drink as much as your stomach can handle. Get sick. Repeat. However, most of us typically grow out of this stage and eventually realize that there’s more to a cocktail than the fact that it can make you intoxicated if you drink enough of them. There’s a certain class to them. The flavors can be dissected and enjoyed.
If you’ve reached that point, or you might be on the cusp of coming to that realization, then let me make a suggestion. It’s time to start paying more for your liquor. That’s right; don’t even let your eyes venture down to that bottom shelf. Sure, the price tags sting a little as you get higher, but for the most part, you’re going to find that the liquors on the middle-to-top shelves taste better.
Now, that’s not to say that you have to buy the most expensive liquors. Sometimes you’re simply paying for a name (I’m looking at you, Jose Cuervo). But do a little research. Find a site that gives tips on choosing liquors, as well as reviews.
Something else to consider—hopefully you’ve gotten past the point of drinking as large of quantities as your body can handle. If not, paying for higher quality might help you out. After all, you might think twice before downing an entire bottle if it costs triple or quadruple what you’d normally pay. Besides, a good mixed drink is made to enjoy. So slow down, pay attention to your taste buds, and enjoy.
Infuse Your Cocktails with a Volcano Vaporizer
Here’s something you probably never would have come up with on your own. Daring mixologists around the world are breaking new ground in the world of cocktails with vaporizers. And it’s not just the pro’s either. It’s not completely unheard of to find people who have Volcano Vaporizers in their kitchen or liquor cabinet to help them make that perfect drink.
How does it work? Well, it’s simple, really. You mix up your favorite cocktail, whatever it might be. Then you decide on an herb or spice that would match up well with the drink’s flavor. Grind it up very finely and add it to the Volcano Vaporizer, heat it up, and use a tube whip to infuse the drink with the flavor. Talk about a bold, new experience.
Now, you may have noticed in your local liquor store that you can sometimes purchase spirits that are pre-infused. And you may have also noticed the hefty price tag. You know what makes much more sense? Buying your own Volcano Vaporizer (you can get one here) and infusing the liquor yourself. Not to mention it will probably taste a whole lot better. Yes, you’re going to pay a bit extra up front, but if you’re serious about mixing your own drinks, the investment will pay off in the long run. I bet Roger Sterling from Mad Men would have loved to have one of these.
Match the Temperature of the Glass to the Temperature of the Drink
Trust me when I say that this makes a much bigger difference than you might think. Cold drinks require cold glasses. And warm drinks beg to be served in a warm glass. Yes, it sounds completely unnecessary, but it’s often exactly what you need to put your mixed drink over the edge.
Now, there’s no need to get too technical here. You don’t need to bust out the thermometer or anything. Just make sure that if you’re mixing a drink that should be served cold, like a margarita, that you chill the glass beforehand. On the flip side, if you’re serving a warm drink like a hot toddy, warm up the glass a bit.
If You’re a Newbie, Measure
I remember when I first decided it was time to cut loose, throw out the store bought margarita mix, and begin mixing my drinks from scratch. I began by looking up a very basic recipe for a margarita. It called for 3 parts tequila, 2 parts triple sec, and one part lime juice. It looked easy enough, so I bought the ingredients and was on my way. Only problem was, I couldn’t find my measuring cup. “Oh well,” I figured. The ratios seemed easy enough. Half tequila, half other stuff.
So I eyeballed it. Bad idea. As you may imagine, it tasted like hell. So I kept adding a little of this and a little of that, and ended up having to pour it out. Moral of the story—measure out your ingredients.
What else is required to make an awesome cocktail? Have any secrets to share?
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Billy Smitherman is a first year college student that is currently working on his Bachelor of Arts (BAF) degree. When he is not blogging about fine art or holistic health he enjoys meditation, yoga, aromatherapy and generally living a healthy lifestyle.