Cocktails / General

Starting with Cocktails

When I used to think of cocktails, I’d picture a barman mixing concoctions of exotic and unusual ingredients, showing off by flipping the shaker in the air. It would then be poured into a fancy glass, and served with a cocktail umbrella and expensive bar bill.

After noticing my drinks cupboard was becoming fuller and more varied, I decided to treat myself to a cocktail shaker, and see what I could produce at home. As usual, I research things too much, and eventually decide on a Boston Shaker, as that’s what the bars tend to use. (A Boston shaker usually consists of a metal bottom, and a slightly smaller glass that can fit together for shaking. A cobbler-type shaker usually screws together, with a built-in strainer.)


A Boston cocktail shaker set and cocktail/Martini glass.

We’ve all made our own cocktails out of random half-full bottles, but armed with my new shaker, we thought we’d try making well known ones with recipes.

First up was the Daiquiri – Served in a classic Cocktail/Martini glass, the International Bartenders Association (IBA) specify the ingredients as 4.5cl (9 parts) white rum (We used Bacardi), 2.5cl (5 parts) lime juice, and 1.5cl (3 parts) simple syrup. I made a batch of simple syrup in advance, as it can be bottled and keeps for future use. Half fill the shaker with ice, add the ingredients, and shake (After ensuring the glass has fitted securely – the glass fits best at a slight angle to avoid unfortunate leaks. Shake according to your personal preference – the more you shake, the colder it gets, but it also melts the ice faster, watering down your cocktail.

Next up was the Caribbean classic, the Pina Colada. Containing white rum; (3cl/1 part), coconut milk (3cl/1 part), and pineapple juice (9cl/3 parts), this drink will make you wish you were lying on a lounger by the pool. It’s usually served with crushed ice in a curvy Poco Grande glass, but I remember a friend receiving one in Mallorca in an elaborate white ceramic pineapple shaped glass, complete with cocktail umbrella, and streamers. Ensure that your coconut milk is will mixed, as we ended up with lumps of cream, which didn’t make for a smooth texture!

When looking for recipes, there seems to be a lot of variation, both in ratio, as well as ingredients, such as coconut cream instead of coconut milk in the Pina Colada. Variations are also common, such as adding crushed raspberries or strawberries to Daiquiris. As there are so many different cocktails to try, I’m sure this is a subject I’ll be revisiting soon.


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