Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the Society.

Photo

Possibly stupid question about ice, shaking, dilution, and volume of liquid


  • Please log in to reply
38 replies to this topic

#1 Hassouni

Hassouni
  • participating member
  • 2,225 posts
  • Location:DC Area/London/Beirut

Posted 22 October 2013 - 11:52 AM

OK, this has bugged me for a while, so finally I'm gonna ask: I don't know if I'm doing something wrong or what. I'm under the impression that a standard "up" cocktail meant for a cocktail (martini) glass or coupe has 3 oz of ingredients. But every now and then I see recipes for such drinks with 3.5-4 oz. 

 

The issue with this is that the glasses I have are 6 oz, and most of the nicer martini glasses and coupes I see are also 6 oz or less, often as small as 4.5.  With my 6 oz glasses, a shaken drink with 3 oz of ingredients comes out just below the rim of the glass. Anything more than 3 oz is right at the rim, which is messy and unprofessional looking.

 

So, how do cocktail bars that use these smaller glasses manage? I tend to shake for a pretty long time, but my drinks don't taste over diluted. It might be an issue of ice, too, but home ice is colder, and I don't think a majority of places I drink at use Kold Draft.

 

 

To illustrate, FrogPrincesse's Sidecar here has over 3.5 oz of ingredients, but those coupes don't look like they're especially large.



#2 Chris Amirault

Chris Amirault
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 19,628 posts
  • Location:Rhode Island

Posted 22 October 2013 - 12:02 PM

Not a stupid question at all.

 

Typically you aim for ~25% dilution, give or take. So, using that as a guide, bar managers do one of two things: if you have all one size glass, you build drink ratios to hit that size (with, of course, a 1/4" or so at the top to avoid spills); if you have different sized glasses, you specify the glass type in a given recipe. Some bars have two different coupes for exactly this reason. 

 

This is particularly true in a cocktail-focused bar, where you don't want to leave 10-20% of a drink (a.k.a., product, a.k.a. cash money) in the tin. In a more fast-paced, shake-n-sling environment, that waste is built into the cost calculations, or poured into a side carafe, or whatever. 


Chris Amirault
camirault@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics Signatory
Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

#3 Hassouni

Hassouni
  • participating member
  • 2,225 posts
  • Location:DC Area/London/Beirut

Posted 22 October 2013 - 12:20 PM

25%? It seems higher than that. This means a 3 oz drink would be less than 4 oz total. I just measured out 4 oz into my cocktail glasses, and I definitely get at least that much from shaking.


Edited by Hassouni, 22 October 2013 - 12:25 PM.


#4 Chris Amirault

Chris Amirault
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 19,628 posts
  • Location:Rhode Island

Posted 22 October 2013 - 12:25 PM

Yep. 25% is usually the rough guide for dilution, which is a bit less for stirred than for shaken. You can read Dave Arnold on the subject here

 

If you're getting five ounces in a glass using three ounces in your tin... that's a significantly overdiluted drink by most standards. 


Chris Amirault
camirault@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics Signatory
Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

#5 Adam George

Adam George
  • participating member
  • 517 posts
  • Location:Horsham - UK

Posted 22 October 2013 - 12:46 PM

Where is your ice from?


The Dead Parrot
Built from the ground up by bartenders, for everyone:

Cocktails, Craft Beers, English Wines in provincial Sussex 


#6 Hassouni

Hassouni
  • participating member
  • 2,225 posts
  • Location:DC Area/London/Beirut

Posted 22 October 2013 - 01:03 PM

Either ice made in my freezer, or commercially made bags of ice. Either way, it's from directly out of the freezer, so it's considerably colder than 0º/32º



#7 FrogPrincesse

FrogPrincesse
  • society donor
  • 3,087 posts
  • Location:San Diego, CA

Posted 22 October 2013 - 01:41 PM

Hassouni,

 

I was using 4 oz coupes in that photo, and found that it was the perfect size when total ingredients are about 3 oz before shaking. And I use freezer ice too (from a built-in ice maker).

 

I am amazed that if you start with 3 oz you are able to get close to 6 oz after shaking. That's A LOT of dilution! I shake my cocktails for about 15 secs and the temperature is typically -7C or so when I pour (that IR thermometer gun that I bought from Kerry for chocolate-making comes in very handy!).


Edited by FrogPrincesse, 22 October 2013 - 01:52 PM.


#8 Adam George

Adam George
  • participating member
  • 517 posts
  • Location:Horsham - UK

Posted 22 October 2013 - 02:00 PM

Any chance that despite its temperature your ice is simply too brittle to be shaken?


The Dead Parrot
Built from the ground up by bartenders, for everyone:

Cocktails, Craft Beers, English Wines in provincial Sussex 


#9 Adam George

Adam George
  • participating member
  • 517 posts
  • Location:Horsham - UK

Posted 22 October 2013 - 02:01 PM

Or, alternate question:

What shaker are you using and how much ice are you putting in it?

 

If you don't use enough, dilution levels will be higher as you won't be hitting that temperature plateau.


The Dead Parrot
Built from the ground up by bartenders, for everyone:

Cocktails, Craft Beers, English Wines in provincial Sussex 


#10 Hassouni

Hassouni
  • participating member
  • 2,225 posts
  • Location:DC Area/London/Beirut

Posted 22 October 2013 - 02:45 PM

Hassouni,

 

I was using 4 oz coupes in that photo, and found that it was the perfect size when total ingredients are about 3 oz before shaking. And I use freezer ice too (from a built-in ice maker).

 

I am amazed that if you start with 3 oz you are able to get close to 6 oz after shaking. That's A LOT of dilution! I shake my cocktails for about 15 secs and the temperature is typically -7C or so when I pour (that IR thermometer gun that I bought from Kerry for chocolate-making comes in very handy!).

 

So I measured my cocktail glasses with my jiggers...4 oz is about where my 3 oz drinks shaken up come out to on the glass. Because it's a conical glass, there is a bit of empty space below the rim, but not much. By 5 oz it's getting slightly precarious and by 6 oz it's only held in by surface tension. I'm amazed your coupes are 4 oz, given the 3.5+ of ingredients you mentioned. I too shake for 15 seconds or so.

 

 

Any chance that despite its temperature your ice is simply too brittle to be shaken?

 

No idea

 

Or, alternate question:

What shaker are you using and how much ice are you putting in it?

 

If you don't use enough, dilution levels will be higher as you won't be hitting that temperature plateau.

 

I use two metal mixing tins (not the Koriko ones, just two different tins from various Boston shaker sets, one larger than the other), though for a long time I used a standard pint glass + metal tin Boston shaker. I put a LOT of ice in. Like, filled up nearly 3/4 of the way.

 

 

 

I might have to experiment tonight......


Edited by Hassouni, 22 October 2013 - 02:45 PM.


#11 Adam George

Adam George
  • participating member
  • 517 posts
  • Location:Horsham - UK

Posted 22 October 2013 - 02:53 PM

If the ice is cloudy - like I've seen from many domestic fridge ice machines, it could be too brittle and simply breaking to hell in the shaker, hence rapid dilution.

 

 

The only other reason is that you're haunted.


  • Rafa and Plantes Vertes like this

The Dead Parrot
Built from the ground up by bartenders, for everyone:

Cocktails, Craft Beers, English Wines in provincial Sussex 


#12 Hassouni

Hassouni
  • participating member
  • 2,225 posts
  • Location:DC Area/London/Beirut

Posted 22 October 2013 - 03:19 PM

If the ice is cloudy - like I've seen from many domestic fridge ice machines, it could be too brittle and simply breaking to hell in the shaker, hence rapid dilution.

 

 

The only other reason is that you're haunted.

 

It certainly is cloudy. What's the solution?



#13 FrogPrincesse

FrogPrincesse
  • society donor
  • 3,087 posts
  • Location:San Diego, CA

Posted 22 October 2013 - 03:38 PM

Hard to tell exactly what is going on without photos (I would like to see the ice post-shaking - does it shatter in very small pieces or is it more or less intact?)... or just call Ghost Hunters.



#14 Hassouni

Hassouni
  • participating member
  • 2,225 posts
  • Location:DC Area/London/Beirut

Posted 22 October 2013 - 03:44 PM

Hard to tell exactly what is going on without photos (I would like to see the ice post-shaking - does it shatter in very small pieces or is it more or less intact?)... or just call Ghost Hunters.

 

There's a good bit of pulverised ice when I'm done, as well as some smaller pieces broken off from the larger cubes



#15 FrogPrincesse

FrogPrincesse
  • society donor
  • 3,087 posts
  • Location:San Diego, CA

Posted 22 October 2013 - 03:50 PM

That does not sound too good. Do you double strain to get rid of the pulverized ice?



#16 FrogPrincesse

FrogPrincesse
  • society donor
  • 3,087 posts
  • Location:San Diego, CA

Posted 22 October 2013 - 03:59 PM

 

So I measured my cocktail glasses with my jiggers...4 oz is about where my 3 oz drinks shaken up come out to on the glass. Because it's a conical glass, there is a bit of empty space below the rim, but not much. By 5 oz it's getting slightly precarious and by 6 oz it's only held in by surface tension.

 

 

This is a bit puzzling. I could see how a coupe glass could be a little more forgiving than a same-capacity V-shaped glass if you are worried about being too close to the rim. But if your glass is 6 oz and your shaken cockail 4 oz, you should have plenty of room there.



#17 Plantes Vertes

Plantes Vertes
  • participating member
  • 894 posts

Posted 22 October 2013 - 04:34 PM

Is your primary shaking arm hella big???


  • FrogPrincesse and Rafa like this

#18 Rafa

Rafa
  • participating member
  • 687 posts
  • Location:New York

Posted 22 October 2013 - 04:39 PM

 

If the ice is cloudy - like I've seen from many domestic fridge ice machines, it could be too brittle and simply breaking to hell in the shaker, hence rapid dilution.

 

 

The only other reason is that you're haunted.

 

It certainly is cloudy. What's the solution?

 

 

Making your freezer a little warmer. Boiling the water before freezing it also helps. 

 

Also, clear out the vent port. Ghosts like to hang there. 


Edited by Rafa, 22 October 2013 - 04:41 PM.

DrunkLab.tumblr.com

 

”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937


#19 Adam George

Adam George
  • participating member
  • 517 posts
  • Location:Horsham - UK

Posted 22 October 2013 - 04:59 PM

 

 

So I measured my cocktail glasses with my jiggers...4 oz is about where my 3 oz drinks shaken up come out to on the glass. Because it's a conical glass, there is a bit of empty space below the rim, but not much. By 5 oz it's getting slightly precarious and by 6 oz it's only held in by surface tension.

 

 

This is a bit puzzling. I could see how a coupe glass could be a little more forgiving than a same-capacity V-shaped glass if you are worried about being too close to the rim. But if your glass is 6 oz and your shaken cockail 4 oz, you should have plenty of room there.

 

 

I think Has is measuring this shaken drink before pouring it into the glass to confirm that it does indeed exceed 5oz by the time it's near the brim.

Indeed the cocktail ends up at 6oz.

 

When I'm shaking cocktails on Hoshizaki (read, Kold Draft) cubes, I get around a half ounce in volume of crushed ice in my fine strainer by the time I'm done.  

It's those bits of ice that have been diluting.  

 

If your ice is very cloudy and therefore brittle, it will break apart more easily, melt faster and result in more overall dilution.

 

 

Like Rafa said, give your freezer a good clean, including any fans and vents and try and try setting your freezer warmer to produce better ice.

In an extreme move you could also try Camper English's directional freezing method and produce a large, clear chunk to work with.


The Dead Parrot
Built from the ground up by bartenders, for everyone:

Cocktails, Craft Beers, English Wines in provincial Sussex 


#20 Hassouni

Hassouni
  • participating member
  • 2,225 posts
  • Location:DC Area/London/Beirut

Posted 22 October 2013 - 05:11 PM

That does not sound too good. Do you double strain to get rid of the pulverized ice?

 

I should say the ice is not fine enough to get into the drink, there's just a bit of slushiness left in the shaker. Not a huge amount, but it's there.

 

 

 

So I measured my cocktail glasses with my jiggers...4 oz is about where my 3 oz drinks shaken up come out to on the glass. Because it's a conical glass, there is a bit of empty space below the rim, but not much. By 5 oz it's getting slightly precarious and by 6 oz it's only held in by surface tension.

 

 

This is a bit puzzling. I could see how a coupe glass could be a little more forgiving than a same-capacity V-shaped glass if you are worried about being too close to the rim. But if your glass is 6 oz and your shaken cockail 4 oz, you should have plenty of room there.

 

 

a shaken cocktail at 4 oz hits the sweet spot in the 6 oz v-glass. But any more and spills are likely as it sloshes around.

 

 

 

 

So I measured my cocktail glasses with my jiggers...4 oz is about where my 3 oz drinks shaken up come out to on the glass. Because it's a conical glass, there is a bit of empty space below the rim, but not much. By 5 oz it's getting slightly precarious and by 6 oz it's only held in by surface tension.

 

 

This is a bit puzzling. I could see how a coupe glass could be a little more forgiving than a same-capacity V-shaped glass if you are worried about being too close to the rim. But if your glass is 6 oz and your shaken cockail 4 oz, you should have plenty of room there.

 

 

I think Has is measuring this shaken drink before pouring it into the glass to confirm that it does indeed exceed 5oz by the time it's near the brim.

Indeed the cocktail ends up at 6oz.

 

When I'm shaking cocktails on Hoshizaki (read, Kold Draft) cubes, I get around a half ounce in volume of crushed ice in my fine strainer by the time I'm done.  

It's those bits of ice that have been diluting.  

 

If your ice is very cloudy and therefore brittle, it will break apart more easily, melt faster and result in more overall dilution.

 

 

Like Rafa said, give your freezer a good clean, including any fans and vents and try and try setting your freezer warmer to produce better ice.

In an extreme move you could also try Camper English's directional freezing method and produce a large, clear chunk to work with.

 

 

I haven't measured a cocktail yet, though I might tonight. I simply poured 4 measured oz of water into the glass and eyeballed it - that's roughly where my "standard" up cocktails come out to. I then added another ounce, then another. With the V shape, 5 oz is just a few mm below the rim, and 6 is very literally at it.

 

Re: Rafa's advice about the freezer - I just moved into my place and the fridge was squeaky clean. It still is, more or less.  

 

I have an auto-ice maker, which makes VERY cloudy ice, like basically opaque, and some tavolo silicone ice cube molds (2), which make 1.25" or so cubes. They're a big cloudy, but nowhere near as bad as the icemaker. I'll try tonight with those, though I typically reserve those for drinks on the rocks, and shake with the ice-maker ice.

 

If I see a noticeable improvement, I may just fill up the ice molds with boiling water



#21 Chris Amirault

Chris Amirault
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 19,628 posts
  • Location:Rhode Island

Posted 22 October 2013 - 06:01 PM

Shake for 15 seconds with a full tin of the Tavolo cubes then immediately fine strain into your glass. Report back: my money's on significantly less dilution.
Chris Amirault
camirault@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics Signatory
Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

#22 lesliec

lesliec
  • host
  • 1,226 posts
  • Location:Wellington, New Zealand

Posted 22 October 2013 - 06:15 PM

Don't see why you guys are so concerned about ghosts - spirits are pretty much essential in the cocktails I make.  Maybe Hassouni's problem is he's NOT haunted.  Which proves what I've long thought: too much exorcise is bad for you.

 

Moving on ...

 

May I (slightly) hijack this thread to ask a couple of my own noob-type questions?  Thank you; you're very kind.

 

Adam and Chris both mention fine straining.  I have the technology for this, but I haven't figured out when I should do it.  And in similar vein, when should one use a Hawthorn strainer and when a julep?

 

Thanks.  Now back to our scheduled programme.

 

 

 

Edited to get rid of a stray word the ghosts put in.


Edited by lesliec, 22 October 2013 - 06:21 PM.

  • Rafa and Plantes Vertes like this

Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

My eG Foodblog

eGullet Ethics Code signatory


#23 FrogPrincesse

FrogPrincesse
  • society donor
  • 3,087 posts
  • Location:San Diego, CA

Posted 22 October 2013 - 06:38 PM

Fine strainer - see Adam's profile picture.

I use the julep strainer with my mixing glass (for stirred cocktails) and a Hawthorn for shaken drinks.

#24 Plantes Vertes

Plantes Vertes
  • participating member
  • 894 posts

Posted 22 October 2013 - 06:50 PM

Leslie, you need to fine strain when there is debris like muddled fruit or herbs (or ice fragments) in your drink and you don't want them in the glass. Normally you would strain through both a Hawthorne (keeps the ice in the shaker) and a fine strainer (catches the bits) in that situation.

 

The Julep strainer was originally used  to reserve the crushed ice in the drinking vessel while sipping the Julep, to avoid getting a gobful of freeze. Now you use it for transferring stirred drinks from the mixing glass to the serving glass, because it fits over the mixing glass better than a Hawthorne.



#25 Chris Amirault

Chris Amirault
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 19,628 posts
  • Location:Rhode Island

Posted 22 October 2013 - 06:53 PM

Julep strain stirred drinks with large pieces of ice. Hawthorne strain shaken; fine strain when you want to remove the fine ice particles, citrus pulp, egg clots, etc.

In Portland OR, where their ice splinters into shards at the first sign of agitation, every good bartender fine strains out of Hawthorne. In Tokyo, Japan, where ice shards atop a drink are often considered an aesthetic benefit, cobbler-shaken drinks are not fine strained.

De gustibus non est disputandum.
Chris Amirault
camirault@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics Signatory
Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

#26 lesliec

lesliec
  • host
  • 1,226 posts
  • Location:Wellington, New Zealand

Posted 22 October 2013 - 06:53 PM

Brilliant - thanks, FP, PV and Chris.

 

I've only acquired a nice mixing glass in the last week or two and I'm giving it a good workout.  Just to complicate matters, my Hawthorn fits it perfectly!


Edited by lesliec, 22 October 2013 - 06:54 PM.

Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

My eG Foodblog

eGullet Ethics Code signatory


#27 Plantes Vertes

Plantes Vertes
  • participating member
  • 894 posts

Posted 22 October 2013 - 06:55 PM

Unless you feel it's important for the world to know about your Julep strainer you can probably just go with that then!



#28 lesliec

lesliec
  • host
  • 1,226 posts
  • Location:Wellington, New Zealand

Posted 22 October 2013 - 06:57 PM

Ah, but having both available confers a certain je ne sais quoi, don't you think?


Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

My eG Foodblog

eGullet Ethics Code signatory


#29 Hassouni

Hassouni
  • participating member
  • 2,225 posts
  • Location:DC Area/London/Beirut

Posted 22 October 2013 - 07:45 PM

I find a hawthorne a necessity but a julep strainer a luxury. Straining out of a shaker tin with a julep strainer just makes a mess.

 

As for fine-straining, I usually don't do it, especially for summery, overly citrusy drinks. 



#30 Plantes Vertes

Plantes Vertes
  • participating member
  • 894 posts

Posted 22 October 2013 - 07:57 PM

In days before shopoholism compelled me to acquire All Bar Gadgets, I found a tea strainer could do the job of all of these things... :unsure: