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Summer out on the deck with friends, cicadas humming, cocktails in hand. What could be better? You'll save lots of dosh doing these at home, and impress the hell out of your friends! Below, we show you how it’s done.



To blend a cocktail is to mix the ingredients using an electric/ mixer. It is recommended to add the fruit (fresh or tinned) first. Slicing small pieces gives a smoother texture than if you add the whole fruit. Next, pour the alcohol. Ice should always be added last. This order ensures that the fruit is blended freely with the alcoholic ingredients allowing the ice to gradually mix into the food and beverage, chilling the flavour. Ideally, the blender should be on for at least 20 seconds.


To make a Brandy Alexander Cross on the top of your cocktail, Take two short straws and, with a sharp knife, slice one of the straws half way through in the middle and wedge the other uncut straw into the cut straw to create a cross.


To build a cocktail is to mix the ingredients in the glass in which the cocktail is to be served, floating one on top of the other. Hi ball, long fruit juice and carbonated mixed cocktails are typically built using this technique. Where possible a swizzle stick should be put into the drink to mix ingredients after being presented to the customer. Long straws are excellent substitutes when swizzle sticks are unavailable.


Hold the spoon right way up and rest it with the lip slightly above the level of the last layer. Fill spoon gently and the contents will flow smoothly from all around the rim.


This technique is used to coat the rim of the glass with either salt or sugar. First, rub lemon/ orange slice juice all the way around only the glass rim. Next, holding the glass by the stem upside down, rest on a plate containing salt or sugar and turn slightly so that it adheres to the glass. Pressing the glass too deeply into the salt or sugar often results in chunks sticking to the glass. A lemon slice is used for salt and an orange slice is used for sugar.


Ice is probably the most important part of cocktails. It is used in nearly all cocktails. Consequently ice must be clean and fresh at all times. The small squared cubes and flat chips of ice are superior for chilling and mixing cocktails. Ice cubes with holes are inefficient. Wet ice, ice scraps and broken ice should only be used in blenders.


After shaking the cocktail, pour the contents straight into the glass. When pouring into Hi Ball glasses and sometimes old fashioned glasses the ice cubes are included. This eliminates straining.


Using a Hawthorn strainer (or knife) this technique prevents the ice going into the glass. Straining protects the cocktail ensuring melted ice wont dilute the flavour and mixture.


To shake is to mix a cocktail by shaking it in a cocktail shaker by hand. First, fill the glass part of the shaker three quarters full with ice, and then pour the ingredients on top of the ice. Less expensive ingredients are frequently poured before the deluxe ingredients. Pour the contents of the glass into the metal part of the shaker and shake vigorously for ten to fifteen seconds. Remove the glass section and using Hawthorn strainer, strain contents into the cocktail glass.


To stir a cocktail is to mix the ingredients by stirring them with ice in a mixing glass and then straining them into a chilled cocktail glass. Short circular twirls are most preferred. (NB: The glass part of the American shaker will do well for this). Spirits, liqueurs and vermouths that blend easily together are mixed by this method.


Fill a cup or bowl (depending on how much you want to make) with white sugar, top it up with boiling water until the receptacle is just about half full and keep stirring until the sugar is fully dissolved. Refrigerate when not in use. Putting a teaspoon of sugar into a cocktails being lazy, it does not do the job properly as the sugar dissolves.

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