5 Things You Should Never Do When Making Cocktails at Home

5 Things You Should Never Do When Making Cocktails at Home

Cocktails are great, and the art of making them is almost as thrilling as enjoying them. It’s a little bit of art, a little bit of science, and a big bit of hospitality – this is a special thing you’re making for yourself or a friend. We’re here for that, so if you’re interested to hear them, here are some tips for creating your own world-class cocktails at home. Or, rather, tips on what you shouldn’t do when making them.

5 things you shouldn’t do when making cocktails at home

Don’t be shy about using the right tools

Having a good set of cocktail tools doesn’t make you a wanker – it’s part of the theatre, and fun, of great cocktails. A good set of tins or a shaker will ensure that your cocktail will get the proper aeration and dilution that it needs to be as fluffy, balanced, or built as it should be. Plus, you get to have the fun of the build and shake – and to look cool while you’re doing it. 

Don’t use old ingredients

You have to use fresh produce. If your recipe calls for limes, squeeze them to order – this will ensure optimal sugar and acid profiles, which will, in turn, boost the zest and pop of your cocktail. Those limes need to be full and juicy – if your fruit has been sitting in the bowl for two weeks turning grey and becoming rock-hard, you’re going to have to squeeze them more, and your juice is going to be bland and washed out. If you’re making espresso martinis, use fresh espresso – the heat and pressure of espresso extraction means a more robust, roasted coffee element for your cocktail. 

Don’t use small ice cubes

Most cocktails benefit from big ice cubes. Larger blocks mean less surface area in the shaker or in the glass, which means slower dilution. To get the best, most intentional flavour and profile from your cocktail, always put your ingredients in your shaker first and add your ice just before you shake. That way, you can take your time to get your measurements right, without your ice diluting in your shaker. And don’t just dump your cocktail with the ice, if your cocktail is served over ice, use fresh block(s).

Don’t go in without a plan

The fastest route to a half-arsed, one-dimensional bore and snore cocktail is to ignore or under-consider your choice of liquor. The breadth of flavour and character representation in every category of liquor is staggering. So, where should you start? With intention.

A great blanco rum will make a classic daiquiri incredibly refreshing, and, depending on the style, it can also impart minerality and brightness. An expertly crafted tequila will provide salinity, grassiness, and peppery vegetal notes that make a margarita absolutely sing with character and grace. Vodka selection can add varying elements of creaminess or character to an espresso martini, depending on what you’re looking for. If you know what you’re setting out to do, you’ll have your best chance of hitting the mark. 

Don’t forget to taste as you go

Most importantly, all of these are just tips – just like when you’re cooking, you’ll be able to sense if your drink needs a splash more rum, or a couple of raspberries, or a pinch of salt. Take your time; make it great! 

And if after all that you’re still not feeling inspired enough to make your own cocktails at home, we at Curatif happen to have a range of ready-made cocktails. So, when you want an incredible drink – ready to go – check out the collection here.

Matt Sanger is the co-founder and Managing Director of Curatif.

Lead Image Credit: Roadshow Films

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