October 15, 2013
Mixology is a hot trend in the world! With the proliferation of new liquors, new flavors, and new accents bartenders are creating new cocktails and also reinventing old classics!
Mixology is basically the fancy term for mixing drinks. But I compare it to me cooking hot dogs on the grill to a chef preparing a fine 5-course dinner experience. The same care and skill can go into making a cocktail, as a chef will put into a Chateau Briand!
Five Celebrated Rochester mixologists will be teaching the basic tenets of mixology. It is an event called Mixology 101. October 26th at the Rochester Civic Center McDonnell Suite. It is a Fundraiser for The Rotary Risers of Rochester who will take the proceeds to promote literacy in area Grade schools. It will be a rare chance to watch and learn the basic techniques for mixology—but also some advanced tricks! Go to XXXXXX Website for details!
Mixing cocktails is an art form. Cocktail at its basic definition is a drink composed of liquor, and at least two other flavoring ingredients. The finest mixologists try to use a few basic steps to create a cocktail that goes from ordinary to extraordinary!
First is the quality of the liquor. There is a reason there is a difference in top shelf and bottom shelf. Treat yourself to the better liquors and you will be amazed! Invariably the better liquors are handcrafted from better ingredients. A $5.00 bottle of gin will hurt! While a good mid priced gin will have a smooth finish with much more nuance. Virtually every spirit category has a huge difference in quality levels!
Second step to a great cocktail is real fresh ingredients. For instance freshly squeezed lime juice has to taste better than a pasteurized processed sweetened lime juice!
Third is the temperature of the drink. If you are making a cool drink try to cool the glass before you pour your drink in! You will see true mixologists put ice in the glass before they mix the cocktail to allow the glass to get to a proper temperature. The same applies to warm drinks—pour some hot water into your mug while you are preparing the drink. It will keep the drink warmer longer and allow you to enjoy it all the way to the bottom of the drink!
The Fourth Key to a cocktail is Garnishes. As in great cooking a hint of the proper flavor will allow the entire dish to explode in a cacophony of flavor that melds together to reach greatness. The lack of one ingredient will not ruin the dish—but the addition can make it awesome! Not only does the proper garnish enhance and add flavor, but the aesthetic value of a colorful lemon or lime can make the presentation better!
The Fifth key is careful and precise measuring. Again as in cooking, too much or too little of a specific flavor can overwhelm the others and not allow the drink to reach its full potential!
My Favorite cocktail is the Martini. A true martini is made with Gin and Dry Vermouth. Typically a 2-1 ratio. With a lemon twist! But a really cool variation is the French Martini. It combines Chambord with pineapple juice and a good gin. Chambord is one of my favorite after dinner liquors. Its amazing black raspberry flavor gives just enough sweetness with the pineapple to make it an awesome after dinner sipper!
Another classic is the Old Fashioned! I prefer a whiskey old fashioned, but you can use brandy if you prefer it sweeter! An old fashioned contains virtually every flavor a cocktail should have—spirits, sweetener, bitter, sour. You put a sugar cube in the bottom of a larger bottomed glass, pour bitters over the cube, add a fresh orange slice (and cherry if you want it sweeter yet) and muddle the mixture to release the flavors and nuance of the orange, sugar bitter concoction. Add the bourbon (remember use a top shelf) and stir well! Add an orange slice and a maraschino cherry for garnish! Enjoy! Mixology is not for the faint of heart. It takes time and dedication. But you only live once and you should enjoy the finer things in life! Enjoy the journey and the destination will be sweeter!