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marty mccabe

Let's talk dashes...

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Here's a note regarding dashes I had previously missed from Robert Vermeire's "Cocktails: How to Mix Them":

A DASH OF BITTERS is equal to 1/3 of a teaspoonful.  There are between 16 and 18 teaspoonfuls in a cocktail glass (1/2 gill measure).

Wow, that's a heavy dash, especially considering the size of the cocktails. I had not really believed the "Gentleman's Table Guide" to be particularly accurate given the number of recipes for liqueurs which are more or less forgeries.

But this puts Vermeire right in the ballpark with their 1/2 tsp per dash.


Edited by eje (log)

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Go ahead and laugh, but I keep a set of these at my home bar:

http://images.netshops.com/mgen/master:GOST094.jpg

I don't use them religiously (for bitters, I dash directly from the bottle), but one thing they are useful for is consistency if you are experimenting with recipes. If you feel that the "dash" spoon seems a bit too large, then use one of the smaller spoons and call that your "dash." At least your dashes will always be the same size, and if you are changing other elements of the recipe, you can eliminate the variable of imprecise dashes. At any rate, I always use them for things like Pernod, etc. where I want to be careful to control just how much of that is going in the drink.

I'm not sure, but the I think the sizes of these spoons are meant to be 1/32 tsp; 1/16 tsp; and 1/8 tsp.


Edited by brinza (log)

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Go ahead and laugh, but I keep a set of these at my home bar:

http://images.netshops.com/mgen/master:GOST094.jpg

I'm certainly not laughing; I've owned a set for about a year and find them fantastic. As noted, even if the exact volume is 'wrong,' the consistency imparted is a useful starting point to further refinement.

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I just reread this topic (on prompting from a similarly obsessed friend), and realized that Dave Wondrich and Toby Maloney have the key: teaspoons (or fractions thereof) and drops are the way to go. This dash stuff is wack.

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Go ahead and laugh, but I keep a set of these at my home bar:

http://images.netshops.com/mgen/master:GOST094.jpg

Those look interesting. But I tried backtracking from your picture link and couldn't find the item for sale at netshops. No matter what I typed into the search engine, I got only coffee makers and bread machines, hundreds of pages of them. Can you put up a link to the product page?

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I just reread this topic (on prompting from a similarly obsessed friend), and realized that Dave Wondrich and Toby Maloney have the key: teaspoons (or fractions thereof) and drops are the way to go. This dash stuff is wack.

When I see those measurements I normally just mentally convert them to dashes; measurements are so much more romantic when they're obscure, vague, or imprecise. Find me a cocktail enthusiast who isn't in it at least partly for a romantic angle (not like love romantic) and I'll eat my mixing glass.

But hey use what works for you; that's what I do.

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Go ahead and laugh, but I keep a set of these at my home bar:

http://images.netshops.com/mgen/master:GOST094.jpg

Those look interesting. But I tried backtracking from your picture link and couldn't find the item for sale at netshops. No matter what I typed into the search engine, I got only coffee makers and bread machines, hundreds of pages of them. Can you put up a link to the product page?

If you Google 'dash spoons' or 'mini measuring spoons' you'll get numerous hits. I don't remember where I found that particular image. Here are a couple examples:

http://www.spacesavers.com/dash.html

http://smalltownkitchen.com/Accessories/dash_spoons.html

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Thanks!

I still plan to dash from the bottle while making drinks, but for dialing in new recipes, or experimentation, I can see it being useful to have those.

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The dash is a perfectly good measure, so long as you have some kind of consistency with how your dashes are made. The problem with the dash measurement is that no two people dash the same way, that some dasher bottles dash more than others, and that some things are "dashed" out of actual bottles rather than dasher bottles. This makes it somewhat complicated to figure out someone else's recipe.

For example, if an old recipe calls for two dashes of bitters and also for two dashes of curacao to balance out a half-ounce of lemon juice, it is reasonable to assume that the two dashes of curacao are significantly larger in volume than the two dashes of bitters. Perhaps this was a particular bartenders way of saying what some people might today call a "splash"; or perhaps the bartender "dashed" in his curacao with short shakes of the curacao bottle with his thumb restricting the flow. Who knows? There is no way of knowing, most of the time. All the modern mixologist can do in these situation is try to understand how the drink is probably have supposed to have balanced, and adjust the amount or curacao accordingly. Those "two dashes" of curacao might turn out to be as much as a quarter ounce, or even more.

These days, just about any time someone says "dash" they mean a short dash out of a bitters bottle with a dasher top. It doesn't seem worthwhile to specify amounts to any greater degree of specificity than, at the very smallest, a half-teaspoon per drink.

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I wonder about that, though. My daughter and wife had strep last week, so we were all using those fat plastic measuring droppers. (Here's an example.) Those things hold one tsp/5 ml, and the difference between 1 and 2 ml is pretty significant. It's also quite a bit more than a typical dash, which I measured here to be between 1/14-1/10 tsp.

There certainly are situations in which drops are necessary, atop Pisco Sours, and so on. But even treating them as outliers, I think I'm wanting greater precision than 1/4 tsp.

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It's also quite a bit more than a typical dash, which I measured here to be between 1/14-1/10 tsp.

So, based on those spoons, your Dash is equal to about 1.2 to 1.6 Pinches or, to keep it simple, 3 Smidgens ought to do it. :biggrin:

Say, does anyone else do this: when measuring small amounts of a viscous (not to mention tasty and expensive) liqueur, I don't want to lose what might remain sticking to the shot glass, so I usually put that into the shaker first, then I measure out the "solvent" liquids like lemon juice and alcohol to rinse out the glass and make sure I got all of thick stuff that's supposed to be in the drink. Anyone?

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Some liqueurs and syrups that are common to use in small amounts I actually have in dasher bottles from bitters. Since I know that I dash about 8 to a tsp, I can then measure them out with a fair amount of precision without having to worry about waste when it sticks to a spoon. I have the following items in bottles of this type:

Rich (2:1) Demerara syrup

Rich (2:1) Simple syrup (refined sugar)

Homemade Grenadine

Grand Marnier

Brizard Curacao

Creme de Violette

Luxardo Maraschino

Jade Edouard Absinthe

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Say, does anyone else do this: when measuring small amounts of a viscous (not to mention tasty and expensive) liqueur, I don't want to lose what might remain sticking to the shot glass, so I usually put that into the shaker first, then I measure out the "solvent" liquids like lemon juice and alcohol to rinse out the glass and make sure I got all of thick stuff that's supposed to be in the drink.  Anyone?

I personally use an Oxo mini measuring cup when mixing (like this), but still use the method you've described above. I keep all my syrups in squirt bottles in the fridge to make it easy to dose them out at will.

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I'm doing a ton of batching right now, and the "20 dashes=1/4 oz" rule is working nicely.

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