Bartending Tips and Tricks | NightCap

Bartending Tips and Tricks | NightCap

Mastering the art of cocktail-making is both a skill and a delight. Whether you’re a seasoned mixologist or a curious beginner, crafting the perfect drink is an art worth honing. In this article, we unveil a treasure trove of bartending tips and tricks tailored for cocktail enthusiasts. From selecting the finest ingredients to mastering the shake and stir, we delve into the nuances that elevate your cocktail game. Join us on a journey through the vibrant world of mixology, where every sip tells a story and every pour is a celebration of flavour. Whether you’re an amateur mixologist, or a pro who’s looking to take their drinks to the level, these bartending tips and tricks are sure to give you a helping hand. 


All the Gear 


We’ve all heard the phrase ‘all the gear, no idea’ but when it comes to mixology having the right equipment is half the battle. We’d recommend getting the following bits and pieces to get you started:

  • Boston Shaker
  • Bar Spoon
  • Strainer
  • Fine Strainer
  • Muddler
  • Measure (jigger)
  • Speed Pourers

As you get more advanced in your mixology, there may be other bits and pieces you’d like to also pick up, but this list will more than get you started. And the best part? You can pick up a beginners cocktail kit with everything you need for £20-30. 

Looking for a change? Fancy working at some of the most iconic venues in Northern Ireland? Check out our Work With Us Page, and apply for a job at NightCap today.


12.5 ml is half a shot 


This might be obvious to the more seasoned pros out there, but half a shot is 12.5ml. Lots of different recipes call for syrups and citrus juice in half measures, and if you’re going to become a skilled mixologist it’s worth bearing this in mind and mastering the 12.5ml measure. It’s one of the most basic bartending tips and tricks, but one you definitely need to learn!


Master the Classics


Mastering classic cocktails is essential for any bartender. Start with foundational drinks like the Martini, Old Fashioned, Margarita, and Mojito. These classics are the backbone of mixology and serve as a great introduction to balancing flavours and techniques. Understanding their ingredients, proportions, and variations will enhance your ability to create and innovate new drinks. Practice these recipes until you can make them flawlessly, ensuring consistency and satisfaction for your customers every time.


Shake HARD


When you’re shaking cocktails in Boston, you need to shake hard, like really hard. The point of shaking a cocktail is to rapidly cool the alcohol down, whilst thoroughly mixing the ingredients together. The softer you shake, the longer the cooling period will be, and the more diluted your cocktail is going to be. No one wants a watery margarita, so really give it some welly when you’re shaking. We’d definitely highlight this as one of our top bartending tips and tricks – you can’t call yourself a pro bartender without a pro shake. 


Master Stirrer


When a cocktail requires stirring rather than shaking, we’re just looking for some cooling and low dilution. Learning how to stir properly is a skill in itself. If you disturb the ice too much when stirring, you’re going to chip small bits of ice off, and water your cocktail down. This takes time and patience, but eventually you will create the perfectly diluted and chilled old-fashioned. 


Adjust Accordingly


Sometimes the recommended recipe for classic cocktails can be VERY booze heavy, and this isn’t for everyone. If you’d like to lower the alcohol content of your cocktail, adjust all other ingredients accordingly. So if the recipe says 80 ml of vodka and 50 ml of orange juice, and you reduce the alcohol to 60 ml, the orange juice would be 37.5 ml.


PLENTY of ice


Photo by Jan Antonin Kolar on Unsplash

This is another key point to remember when you’re stirring down or shaking. Your glass or Boston needs to be full of ice, if you just stick a couple of cubes in, these will dilute very quickly and spoil the drink. After you’ve added all your ingredients, you should put as much ice as physically possible into your glass or shaker. Buying better quality ice also helps to lower the dilution rate.


Making sugar syrup

Photo by Jordane Mathieu on Unsplash

We would always recommend making sugar syrup rather than buying it in the shop. Making sugar syrup is so, so easy and it’s also a lot cheaper. The general rule of thumb for sugar syrup is 2 parts sugar 1 part water, and you simply dissolve the sugar in the water on a low heat. We’d say 300g of sugar and 150ml of water will give you a decent amount of simple sugar syrup. Stick it in a bottle and store in the fridge. The best part is this syrup will not spoil for ages if kept in the fridge in a clean bottle. The vast majority of cocktails call for a sugar syrup so it’s definitely something useful if you’re planning on making cocktails frequently.


Double / Triple Up

If you’re making cocktails for a few people, always try and double, triple or even quadruple up. This is going to save you lots of time. But, it also makes pouring smaller volumes much easier. For example, if you have 12.5ml of an ingredient, and you double up, then pouring 25ml is going to be a hell of a lot easier than judging a half shot. Always make sure you have enough room for plenty of ice!


Drink with your eyes

The old saying goes, ‘we eat with our eyes first’ and the same is true when it comes to drinking! There’s no wonder breweries spend a lot of time and money into creating unique glassware that makes your pint look even better. So, when you’re making cocktails, apply this principle and get creative. Whether you invest in some fancy glassware, learn some different fruit cutting techniques, or try your hand with dehydrating, taking your presentation to the next level is going to make your cocktails go down so well. 

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.