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in the mix a guide to cocktail techniques
by Yee-Fan Sun
1 2 3
continued from page 1

Fill a cocktail shaker about 2/3 full of ice. Add your ingredients over the ice, then pop on the lid -- securely, unless you want to make a great big mess -- and get ready to shake that baby up. With the lid end aiming away from you (so you don't shower yourself in alcohol if the lid happens to come loose), get a good hold on both ends of the shaker. Shake firmly and quickly, moving the shaker in and away from your body. Ten or so vigorous shakes should do the drink -- at this point, if you're using a metal shaker, you'll generally find that the mixing vessel is frosting on the outside, and just about too cold to continue to hold. Strain the mixed drink (your shaker might have a built-in strainer, or you can buy a separate cocktail strainer) into your glassware of choice.

Use this technique for: cocktails that contain ingredients that don't mix readily with alcohol, such as juice, egg, cream and milk

The trickiest part of blending drinks is getting the right proportions of ice to solids to liquids. The whole point of blending a drink is to get it to that perfect, slushy consistency that's thick enough that a straw popped in will stand up on its own, but not so solid that it's impossible to suck up the concoction through the aforementioned straw. You'll probably have to do a little trial and error to get to this point; fortunately, blended drinks tend to be fairly forgiving.

Start with a scoopful of ice. Crushed or cracked ice is better than cubed if you can swing it, as it'll put a lot less strain on your poor blender. Add any solid ingredients -- fresh fruit, ice cream, whatever -- then pour in your liquids. Give it a good zizz, until the chunks are well pureed and the mixture is relatively smooth. Test the flavor and consistency. If it's so thick as to resemble a solid, add a little more liquor or juice. If it's thin as water, thicken things up with a bit more ice (as long as the drink can hold up to more dilution) or solids (if the drink needs more flavor punch).

Use this technique for: frosty frou-frou cocktails

don't stop: more this way!


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