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GETTING STARTED

EQUIPMENT

Realistically, all you need to make cocktails are alcohol, ice, and a jam jar!
However, these items will definitely help you out in the long run and make your drinks taste 100% better.

COCKTAIL SHAKER

This really is an essential.There are three kinds of shaker:

  • Boston: comprised of a metal tin and a glass mixing tin or two metal tins.

  • Parisian: a metal tin with a lid.

  • Cobbler: similar to a Parisian but the lid has a separate cap with built in strainer.

Everyone has their own preferences but Cobblers tend to be easier for at home bartenders. My personal choice is always a Boston. 

BARSPOON

A barspoon is a 5 ml spoon with a long, slim handle. It is used for stirring and layering drinks. My personal preference has a disc on the other end, which can be useful for muddling or for easily layering Champagne cocktails.

MIXING GLASS

Mixing glasses are used to create stirred drinks, like Manhattans or Martinis. They are a large glass, similar to a vase, with thick glass sides to keep the ice chilled.

JIGGER

A jigger is a small metal cup used for measuring out liquid ingredients. Most U.K. jiggers are double ended to hold 25 ml and 50 ml, although some cocktail sets prefer 15 ml and 30 ml.

STRAINER

A strainer is used when pouring your cocktail from the shaker into your glass for serving. It is essentially a sieve you put over the end of the shaker to stop ice and other drink debris like fruit getting through. Many bartenders also use a mesh strainer when pouring shaken drinks (known as double straining) to catch any fine pieces.

MUDDLER

A muddler is a metal or wooden stick used like a pestle to muddle (mash up) fruit or herbs in the bottom of the shaker. Drinks like Caipirinhas require a muddler to mix the sugar and lime together. In a pinch a rolling pin can also do the job.

ICE

The most important ingredient! Homemade freezer ice is fine when it comes to shaking drinks, but to really wow guests use good quality ice when serving, the clearer the better. 
Some drinks call for crushed ice, this can be done in a machine or the old fashioned way - simply smacking your bag of ice enthusiastically with a rolling pin!

JUICER

Although you can squeeze citrus fruit by hand, a juicer will make your life much easier and ensure you get every last drop.

An orange cocktail garnished with a dehydrated orange slice. In the background is fresh orange and t

SIMPLE SYRUP

A key ingredient in most cocktails, simple syrup/gomme is used to balance out acidity. You can buy a wide variety of premade syrups in differing flavours, but it's so easy to make your own.

  1. Add equal parts white sugar and water to a saucepan.

  2. Heat gently and stir until the sugar is dissolved.

  3. Once cooled, store in a sealed jar in the fridge (or can be frozen). 

The possibilities are endless: add fruit or spices, switch out the water for tonic or wine, infuse with tea, or even play with the type of sugar to give a totally different taste and texture, 

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