Making cocktails at home is much cheaper than going to bars and is, in my opinion, also infinitely more satisfying. If you’re cocktails aren’t coming out as well as those made by mixologists, there are 5 mistakes you can avoid to up your game and enjoy exceptional cocktails in the comfort of your own home.
1. You don’t balance sweet and sour
For your cocktails to provide unforgettable flavor, you must make sure to balance sweetness and sourness. Sweet components include the obvious such as sugar, honey, and agave, but also liqueurs and many fruit juices. Sour components include citurs juices, cranverry juice, vinegars (such as shrubs), and vermouth. When trying out a new cocktail or ingredient, it is important to taste the finished product to make sure it is balanced.
2. You mangle or under-utilize herbs
Herbs need to be somewhat disturbed to access their flavor and aroma- simply tossing them in a drink will do little to enhance the drinking experience. On the other end of he spectrum, if you over-muddle herbs, especially mint, you can release the unpleasant bitterness of chlorophyll.
3. You are inattentive to method
Shaking and stirring are very different methods of preparation. If you shake a cocktail that should be stirred (Manhattan, Old Fashioned, Negroni)you will get a different mouth-feel and dilution. If you stir a drink that should be shaken (most citrus-centric drinks) the flavors will not meld and be as lively as they could be.
4. You don’t measure
Unless you’re an eyeing wizz kid or have been working in the industry for years, you really should measure everything. When a cocktail is only 4-6 oz, even being .25 oz off can make a huge difference in flavor.
5. You undervalue ice
Please, please do not build a perfectly composed cocktail over ice that’s been in your freezer for three months. The ice will have soaked up the flavor of everything in your friends and those flavors will make an appearance in your cocktail. Similarly, it is worth it to strain your chilled cocktail over fresh ice to avoid over diluting it.
Hopefully these tips will help you make even more delicious cocktails to enjoy at home.