Chiswick’s Cocktail Saturday!
Posted on July 18 2015
There is debate about when the term “cocktail” was first used.
According to The Telegraph, the word is first found in print on March 20th 1798 in a satirical newspaper article about what must have been a hell of a party. Of particular note, was the account of drinks imbibed by William Pitt (the younger) which included “L’huile de Venus,” “parfait amour,” and “cock-tail (vulgarly called ginger.)”. There is some debate whether “cocktail” in this article truly referred to an alcoholic drink or something else…..!
Others point to an April 28th 1803 article from The Farmer’s Cabinet in Vermont, where to drink a cocktail was claimed to be “excellent for the head.”
The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks is a classic cocktail book by David A. Embury, first published in 1948 and widely accepted as the cocktail bible. Embury first outlines some basic principles for fashioning a quality cocktail, which still stand today:
- It should be made from good-quality, high-proof liquors.
- It should whet rather than dull the appetite. Thus, it should never be sweet or syrupy, or contain too much fruit juice, egg or cream.
- It should be dry, with sufficient alcoholic flavour, yet smooth and pleasing to the palate.
- It should be pleasing to the eye.
- It should be well iced.
Here at The Good Wine Shop we stock everything you need to make a great cocktail ranging from white rum to vintage gin, English vermouth to fruit cremes! We also sell some cocktail equipment such as muddlers and shakers. No excuse not to do it properly and release your inner Tom Cruise/ aka Brian Flanagan from “Cocktail”….
We hope you’ll join us at our Chiswick Shop for our cocktail event on Saturday 25 July where you can try 3 different cocktails we’ll be making, using our fabulous spirits range. We also want to hear about your favourite recipes on Facebook and in-store – the best one (as judged by Andy, our Manager, who gets all the hard jobs!) wins a bottle of Sipsmith Gin!
To enter the competition, simply go to The Good Wine Shop Chiswick’s page on Facebook and post your recipe on our wall. Why not “Like” us while you’re at it!? You’ve got until Friday 31 July to submit your recipe entries.
From “Cocktail Saturday” (25 July) there’ll also be a secret recipe sheet you can download, exclusive to our Facebook page!
Now you’ve got the ingredients, here is our guide to everything you need to KNOW to make a great cocktail whether its equipment, technique or recipes!
- Twisting: Giving orange- or lemon-skins a short twist or squeeze over the cocktail to release the essential oils onto the top of the drink. Depending on the type and taste of the cocktail you can add the skin to the mix, after twisting it, like in a Cosmopolitan.
- Cooling: Placing the cocktail glass in a refrigerator for several hours or by placing a few ice cubes in the glass and rolling them around the glass for a few minutes. Remember to remove all of the residual water before adding the cocktail.
- Rimming: moisturizing the rim of the glass with lemon- or lime juice and dipping the rim into regular or coloured sugar, or salt, and twisting it until the rim is evenly covered.
- Blending: Some drinks require the use of a blender. One should always blend the ice separately before adding the other ingredients and the liquids should be added last.
- Straining: After mixing or stirring the ingredients in a shaker, a strainer is required to keep the ice cubes from falling into the glass. Nowadays most cocktail shakers come with a build-in strainer. Remember not to use shaved or crushed ice, if you intend to use a strainer for serving.
- Smacking: slapping herbs between your palms over a drink to release essential oils—and, of course, to add drama to the spectator experience.
A NOTE ON ICE
The ice should as cold and as dry as possible, to prevent water from mixing with the cocktail too much. Use demineralized water, or low minerals water like Evian, to make the clearest and cleanest ice cubes.
Crushed or shaven ice, which can be made by machine or by smashing ice cubes that are wrapped in a bar towel or other cloth. It gives faster cooling but also melts more quickly, so only use shaved or crushed ice for long drinks.
- Jigger: Usually made of a metal, this small hourglass-shape double cup is used to measure drink ingredients. One side is a 1-1/2-ounce jigger; the other is a 1-ounce pony. You could also use a shot glass marked with measurements.
- Cocktail shaker: As the name suggests, cocktail shakers are used to shake, or mix, the cocktail ingredients. There are two types of shakers: the Boston shaker, which requires a separate cocktail strainer, and the standard shaker, which comes with a built-in strainer.
- Muddler: A cocktail muddler mashes ingredients, like the mint leaves in a mint julep, to release their flavours. It’s also used to break up sugar cubes.
- Long-handle metal bar spoon: This tool is for stirring cocktails. You could also use it as a muddler in a pitcher.
- Blender: For frozen drinks, like daiquiris and margaritas, you’ll need a quality blender for crushing ice.
Swizzle sticks and umbrellas optional!
- Fill a cocktail shaker half way with ice first. This will chill the shaker and cool the liquids as you add them. If using a smaller shaker and making more than one drink at a time, use less ice to make more room.
- Don’t overfill the shaker. Give the ingredients plenty of room to move around. This also helps to prevent spills while shaking.
- Shake vigorously. Most drinks will be properly mixed if you shake steadily to a slow count of ten. Shake drinks longer and harder that have many ingredients or ingredients that don’t mix well such as eggs or cream. Thirty seconds is a good goal.
- Look for the frost. The majority of the time, you are done shaking when the cocktail shaker becomes frosty on the outside.
- Shake to a rhythm. Hum a tune and shake to the beat.
- Shake it like you mean it. Give the movement some force and power and enjoy the exercise! Hold both pieces of any cocktail shaker firmly to ensure they stay together while you are shaking.
- Over your shoulder. Shake over one of your shoulders (whichever is natural) just in case the shaker comes apart. Your backside may get wet, but your guests will not. This also helps add force to the shake.
TYPES OF GLASS:
Here’s the definitive list of cocktails glasses for the main categories, though you may need a big glass cabinet for all of them! Invest in the most flexible shapes such as hi-ball and a sour glass, and you can always use wine glasses or flutes too…
- Vodka/schnapps glass (1-4 ounces): chilled vodka, schnapps
- Old-fashioned glass (8-10 ounces): old-fashioned, bloody Mary
- Cordial/liqueur glass (1-4 ounces): Kahlua, Amaretto
- Highball glass (8-10 ounces): highball, rum punch, other tall drinks
- Sour glass (6 ounces): whiskey sour
- Margarita glass (6-8 ounces): margarita, daiquiri
- Cocktail/martini glass (4-6 ounces): martini, grasshopper, Manhattan
- Shot glass (1-1/2 to 2 ounces): tequila slammer, kamikaze, lemon drop, other shots
- Collins glass (10-12 ounces): Tom Collins, fuzzy navel, screwdriver cocktail
- Champagne flute (6-8 ounces): champagne, mimosas, other champagne cocktails
Now you’ve got the basics, you can enjoy creating some classics and maybe your own recipes!
Just remember Dorothy Parker’s famous quote and be warned…….
“I like to have a martini, two at the very most.
After three I’m under the table, after four I’m under my host!”