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raise the bar tend a better home bar 
by Yee-Fan Sun |
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continued from page 1

measuring up
No matter how uncool you think it looks, you'll want to take the time to actually measure your ingredients when you're making your cocktails. Yeah, it's a little anal-retentive, but remember: real bartenders measure too. And honestly, it's the best way to make sure that your drinks are consistently good.

Again, thinking in terms of ratio will make life easier for you: instead of fussing with 1 Tbsp. of whatever and 1½ oz. of something else, combine 1 part whatever with 3 parts something else. This means that, essentially, you only need one measuring device rather than a whole arsenal of spoons and jiggers. A simple standard shot glass works dandy.

Some common bar measurements, and how they relate…

1 Tbsp. = 3 tsp. = ½ oz.
1 oz. = a pony = 2 Tbsp. = a normal shot glass
1½ oz. = a jigger = 3 Tbsp.

shaken or stirred?
There are two basic methods for combining the ingredients for a cocktail: shaking and stirring. So how do you know which to use when? Basically, stirring is more gentle than shaking, and the general wisdom is that drinks that contain all alcoholic ingredients, like martinis, are best stirred, as the ingredients will mix readily without two much agitation. On the other hand, cocktails that contain a mix of non-alcoholic and alcoholic, like cosmos, should be shaken to ensure that everything gets properly combined. Personally, I like martinis shaken, so that they get those lovely frosty flecks, but ultimately, I suppose, this is just a matter of preference. One thing you definitely don't want to shake is any drink containing fizzy ingredients -- stir gently, to ensure that all those bubbles don't go bye-bye before anyone gets the chance to enjoy the drink.

If you are shaking it up, make sure to shake that cocktail good. No half-hearted wrist wiggle, please; use two hands if you must (although you'll win more style points if you can manage a good one-handed, over the shoulder shaking), but do whatever you have to in order to really mix up those ingredients properly. Shake until the shaker's too cold to hold.

keep on skedaddling folks

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