Home Leisure & Lifestyle National Cocktail Day: Mixologist Spills Hacks on Perfecting the Art of Cocktail Making

National Cocktail Day: Mixologist Spills Hacks on Perfecting the Art of Cocktail Making

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National Cocktail Day is approaching on 24th March. Whether you like a fruity drink or something on the rocks, it’s time to make your favourite cocktail.

With the right hacks and tricks, making bar-quality cocktails doesn’t require professional skills. NIO Cocktails mixologist Patrick Pistolesi has shared his top tips, from the “clap hack” and secret ingredients to budget-friendly equipment.

NIO Cocktails recommends opting for a professionally prepared RTD cocktail such as a NIO, then there are many ways to enhance the perfect serve, including:

The garnishing clap hack

There are many garnish options to add to a cocktail, such as cherries, olives, lemon, celery, and fresh herbs. Depending on the type of cocktail, you can choose which garnish to add. Fresh herbs like mint and basil are ideal for margaritas. A trick to really release the fragrance of the herbs is to clap them in the hand to release the oils before garnishing. The more delicate the herb, the lighter the clap required. Once added to the drink, the oils will infuse the cocktail just enough to taste.

The secret household swaps for expensive mixology equipment

If you don’t have a mixology kit, there are many budget-friendly alternative options available to use, and some you may already have in your kitchen! If you don’t have a cocktail shaker to hand, you can use a mason jar or even an empty water bottle, and they’ll work just as well. This will also save time when presenting the cocktails, and the drink will look great served in the jar.

A tea strainer can also serve as an excellent option for straining your cocktail ingredients into the glass. Even the lid of a mason jar can be used to ensure a smooth result.

At-home ice methods

Ice is an important part of a cocktail. Adding large ice cubes, which are typically 2 inches by 2 inches and melt slower than standard ice cubes, reduces the amount of water that is diluted into the cocktail. Ideal for drinks such as a Manhattan in a lowball glass, these large ice cubes look impressive and will keep your drink chilled for longer. Large ice cubes can also be used for shaking to add extra texture to cocktails but they are not recommended for stirring as they are too large and melt too slowly.

Crushed ice is a very popular ice type for cocktails such as a mint julep, frozen daiquiri, or any other drink with a slushie-like consistency. It adds texture to the cocktail, makes it ultra-refreshing and dilutes it just enough so the spirits aren’t too strong. Rather than going out and buying crushed ice, you can make it yourself easily at home; all you need is a rolling pin, a zip lock bag, and some muscle. Add the ice to the bag and hit it with the rolling pin until it’s crushed.

Glass rim secret ingredient

Ever wondered how cocktails taste so sweet? The secret ingredient to giving your cocktail an extra sweet taste is to rim the glass with honey, as its sticky consistency makes it perfect for adding to the glass. Simply cover a small plate with honey, turn your glass upside down, and dip the rim into it. Then you can either leave it as is or add extra garnishes such as herbs, coconut or chocolate flakes.

Add edible flowers to your ice cubes

Enhance your cocktails with a stunning touch by adding edible flowers to your ice cubes. Simply place them in your ice cube tray before freezing for a visually captivating effect. Alternatively, infuse your ice cubes with slices of fresh fruit like lemons, strawberries, or limes to impart a delightful new flavour as they melt into your drink. Try lime-infused ice cubes with a Margarita or lemon-infused ones with a Gin Sour for an extra burst of flavour and flair.

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