From the Chopping Block: The Perfect Cocktail

Whether you are kicking off a dinner party or rewinding after a long day, there’s a cocktail for every mood or occasion. But if you think you have to pay the typical $13 a drink price in a fancy bar to get a fresh and balanced cocktail, we’re here to show you that great drinks can be possible at home. All you need is a little knowledge and some basic equipment.

Mixologist Tim Williams has spent years behind the bar, and he shares his tips and tricks to making the perfect cocktail in The Chopping Block’s new free downloadable guide.

One thing you’ll learn in this cocktail handbook is the answer to the ultimate question: Should I shake or stir? Turns out, James Bond was wrong when he ordered his martinis shaken, not stirred!

The difference between the two techniques is simple but yields very different results. Shaking is when you shake the ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker and then strain it into a glass. Stirring is when you stir the contents over ice in a mixing glass. Stirred drinks tend to have a silky texture, and shaken drinks have a somewhat foamy texture.

If the drink contains either citrus, dairy or eggs (i.e. a daiquiri, Ramos gin fizz or Pisco sour), shaking with vigor is required to mix the ingredients.

To shake a cocktail, combine the ingredients and ice in a metal tin. Place the top of the metal shaker on top of the tin at a slight angle and hit the top of the shaker with the heel of your palm. This should create a tight seal to prevent any liquid from leaking out. With one hand on the bottom tin and the other on the top of the shaker, shake rigorously up and down.

Stirring is used when making drinks composed of nothing other than alcohol (i.e. Negroni, Old Fashioned, Manhattan, Martini, etc.). To stir a cocktail, simply combine the ingredients and ice in a mixing glass and, using a long-handled bar spoon, stir the mixture in a fluid, circular fashion until chilled and properly diluted. The outside of the glass will get cold and the liquor will become slightly cloudy.

Get schooled on more cocktail basics, how to stock a home bar without spending a fortune, the essential equipment you need (no elaborate tools, we promise!) and how to put it all together to make ten classic cocktails, with recipes and images included. Just download The Chopping Block’s guide to The Perfect Cocktail. Cheers

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