Cocktail Tips

A few tips for making great cocktails from Drink Movement contributor and internationally acclaimed bartender Ryan Duvenage.
  1. Quality matters. Use the best quality liquor you can afford. You don’t have to be excessive but you will taste the difference between a decent brand and that dodgy bottle of something you found at the back of the cupboard.
  2. Since you’re using decent booze, don’t go and ruin it by skimping on the rest of the ingredients. Fresh fruit and juices, fresh ice and the correct glassware go a long way to making a good drink.
  3. Lime cordial and lime juice are not interchangeable. Freshly squeezed lime and lemon juices add balance to cocktails and a “brightness” that you won’t get from substitutes.
  4. Measure your ingredients. As cool as you think you look waving bottles around and pouring “by eye”, the proof, as they say, is in the pudding. Think of cocktails like baking a cake – too much or too little of something and it’s going to flop.
  5. Shake your cocktails well. The act of shaking is not all for show. There’s some pretty complex scientific principles going on in your shaker – Do them justice and shake hard until the outside of your shaker is frosted.
  6. Don’t be scared of ice. Ice is a vital ingredient in most cocktails. It’s not in there by accident or personal preference. You actually need it to make the drink taste like it should. Use fresh, cold blocks and plenty of them.
  7. Pick the right drink for the right time. Cocktails are all about time and place. Don’t whip up a round of Bloody Mary’s as an after-dinner nightcap or a Hot Buttered Rum for your friends on the beach.  Look at ingredients, style, temperature and occasion and choose a drink that fits.


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