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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