New Drinking Rules for 2010

We’re not going to suggest that you give up your occasional late-night Big Mac this year or start working out every morning. (Though both are probably good ideas.) However, there are five drinking resolutions that you should definitely make in 2010. Not only will they improve the quality of your drinks, but they’re a lot easier to keep than a daily treadmill commitment.

Use Only Fresh Juice:

Stop buying pre-made sour mix and bottled lemon or lime juice. Invest instead in a simple juicer (like this $14 Oxo model) and squeeze fruit right before you make a cocktail. Your drinks will taste better immediately.

Always Measure:

Trust us: Nobody’s impressed by your free-pouring “skills.” Making cocktails is like baking—you should always measure. Using a jigger is the only way to ensure consistency and to create a balanced drink.

Buy Premium Spirits:

When standing in the liquor aisle faced with rows of expensive spirits, it’s tempting to downgrade. You can save a few bucks by switching brands, but don’t go too far— stick to well-known names. For example, if you’re looking for a vodka bargain try Absolut, Finlandia or Smirnoff.

Make Good Ice:

A common mistake by both professionals and home bartenders is using bad ice. It may sound like a minor ingredient, but a small watery piece of ice can ruin a great drink. (Bars are going to great lengths to keep their drinks cold.) A quick fix is to buy an ice tray that makes jumbo cubes, which won’t melt as fast.

Keep Experimenting:

The truth is, everybody makes a bad drink sometimes. But that doesn’t mean you should stop experimenting with new recipes and ingredients. To shake things up this year, check out Master Mixologist Charlotte Voisey’s cocktail ingredient hot list.

Finally, resolutions we can keep.

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  9 Comments.

Discussion

  • Benji posted 5 years ago

    People ARE impressed by free pouring if you do it with flair. It isn't hard to know the count to a shot. (at my bar it is between 2 and 3 seconds) You just have to make sure that the people you put behind the bar can actually count. Taking your time with jiggers behind the bar can be very inhibiting when you are trying to get drinks out quickly and can cut into sales.

  • jjg posted 6 years ago

    i think the first few drinks are the ones that count.... after that what the hell does it matter anyways.... ur not going to taste a thing once u pass that point. it all does the same god damn job.

  • Joe Mixer posted 6 years ago

    After running a successful bar, I can honestly tell you that smirnoff is not AS BAD as people are making it out to be. In reality it is a fine vodka. To the snobs that think otherwise: piss off will ya?

  • Gabe posted 6 years ago

    I'm afraid when you suggested Smirnoff you lost a lot of credibility with this mixologist. Many store brands are as good or better tasting than Smirnoff. Same goes for rum. If you're paying for cheap "good" rum, like Bacardi, do a taste test with the store brand. Don't let flashy advertising fool your pallet; taste and I guarantee you'll be pleasantly surprised. Your wallet will thank you. (I won't elaborate but I think the charcoal filter trick makes $50/liter vodka's pointless too.)

    On a more petty note. After more years of bartending than I'd like to admit, I'd like to discuss free pouring. A great drink means different things to different people. To some, a 1 oz shot of rum into 6oz of coke is the perfect mix. On the other end of the extreme, another may like a mix that's nearly half and half, right? Just like in cooking, hand-crafting your creation to make it best for your audience is always better than the fixed cookie-cutter approach that a jigger provides.

  • Popov posted 6 years ago

    Dbag and Justin, how is it that Smirnoff comes up on top in blind taste tests? Check out the NY Times or Business Week. The fact of the matter is that vodka has been a bunch of smoke and mirrors for fools who care more about conspicuous consumption than the quality of the drink. Vodka is one of those places where a good deal can be found because it is very difficult to tell one brand's pure ethanol and water from another brand's pure ethanol and water. My challenge to those who simply disregard middle shelf vodkas is to have an honest, blind taste test. You will likely be surprised.

    Links:
    http://www.businessweek.com/lifestyle/content/may2008/bw20080521_901688.htm
    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/26/dining/26wine.html

  • Katie posted 6 years ago

    In Ireland (and other places, I'm sure), the bottles are set up on a mechanism that measures out one serving (there's is a little more than 1 oz) in a little bubble below the glass - when the bartender goes for it, they just push the lever (like on a soda machine) and when it runs out, it's one serving. Not only do drinks taste the same every time - it's faster and cleaner than using a jigger!

  • dbag posted 6 years ago

    i stopped reading when i reached 'smirnoff'...this person obviously knows nothing about anything.

  • justin posted 6 years ago

    smirnoff? how low down the ladder is too far, for chrissakes? personally, i draw the line at stoli.

  • Leslie D. posted 8 years ago

    All great rules to live by. I've always told my bartenders to use a jigger no matter how cool it looks to free pour. I'v also encouraged my employees to push low-calorie drinks to accommodate our guest's New Year's Resolutions. There has been a great revolution in "healthier" cocktails that boast as few as 100 calories a drink. Mostly, we've been making ours with Ty-Ku Liqueur which has a melon flavor, so it makes mostly fruity drinks. Not necessarily for the more male-dominated bourbon crowd!


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