david turnbull 2012

Do This And You Will Make Better Cocktails

You’ve got the fancy shaker and strainer, the latest trendy recipe book, a stack of premium spirits lining your home bar - so why do your drinks still taste like crap?

As a professional Cocktail & Spirits Instructor (shortform - Cocktail Nerd) I’ve spent a good part of the past few years training bartenders how to mix drinks properly , and if there is one quick and easy peice of advice I can take from these years of instruction and distil it back to you, the non-pro at home, the enthusiast who just wants their own drinks to taste good, it is this:



M - E - A - S - U - R - E.


Far and away, the number one problem I encounter doing technical cocktail tastings is a lack of balance in flavour, usually because the proportions of the ingredients have been messed up. Maybe there is a 1/4 barspoon too much sugar, causing the drink to be overly sweet; or maybe there was 5ml too much gin added and now the botanical notes are overpowering the rest of the ingredients in the glass. It doesn’t matter - if the proportions are wrong and the drink isn’t balanced then it’s not going to taste good. And if you are using decent ingredients and following a good recipe, then the only reason you’ll come across a lack of balance is if you screw up your measurements.

So treat it like baking, where ‘close enough’ isn’t good enough. Take the extra 10 seconds or so to grab and use a proper measure. Follow this very simple advice and I guarantee your drinks will taste better.

It’s your new cocktail making testament:

I. measure. everything.

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