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Measuring Ingredients

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Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us! Your answers so far have been fascinating and informational - great stuff.

How do you feel about measuring cocktail ingredients vs. just eyeballing amounts? I see many seemingly experienced bartenters just start pouring into the shaker, but my feeling is that the quantities of each ingredient in a single cocktail are so small that the ballance can be thrown off too easily by sloppy mixing. Or are graduated jiggers for tourists. :wink:

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Hi Nightscotsman,

Measuring ingredients with a jigger is a must for new bartenders and the home bartender having a cocktail party. Having said that… in an upscale bar or restaurant free pour is classier and jigger service seems old fashioned or stingy.

To control the pour size especially in a free pour bar do not rely on the count method to many variables like clogged pour spouts, interrupted pour, different spouts that pour at different rates.. .Use a two part Boston shaker and assemble the cocktail ingredients into the glass half of the shaker. Shaking a cocktail properly will add about one, to one and a half ounces of water to the cocktail. Strain the drink into the cocktail glass and it should be with in a half inch of the top of the glass.

The secret is to find the fill level on the side of the glass portion of the shaker that corresponds to the glass your serving the drink in and hit that mark consistently. Have the bartender use a jigger to build a drink so he can see the level as each ingredient is added. Bar supply wholesalers offer a piece of equipment called Exacto Pour, it is a liquid calibration system. The bartender pours what he perceives to be an ounce, half ounce or whatever into a glass, then the liquid is poured into the calibration test tubes and the results can be sobering. Practice with this tool can be invaluable. Note: Don't under-estimate this problem in a free pour bar thousands of dollars a month can go down the drain if the bartender doesn't know how to use the mixing glass to build drink accurately.

Assembling ingredients in the metal half of the shaker and relying on count is dangerous, especially with volatile ingredients like fresh lemon and lime juice. When I assemble drinks with fresh lemon or lime juice the juice goes in first before the ice or any of the other ingredients. The bartender has to see that imaginary line on the side of the glass shaker for the juice to avoid over-pouring. in a fresh juice bar this is a must to achieve consistency and balance. Remember fresh kemon and lime are so concentrated that a small over-pour can render the drink so sour it is undrinkable. I have heard so many managers and owners claim that they tried a fresh juice bar but the dinks were terrible SURE THEY WERE ..to impliment such a program the planning and training is intense!

Remember glass size dictates recipe and price so choose your martini glass carefully and cost out the drinks accordingly just as a chef would cost out a new dish in the kitchen to determine portion size and price.

Towards this end, add ingredients to the mixing glass in the following order: citrus juice, sweetener or flavorings, liquor, and ice. The exceptions are Manhattans and Martinis, the ice goes in first and the ingredients are poured over…but don't miss that imaginary mark on the side of the shaker glass.

Finally when using fresh lemon and lime juice for sour drinks ...magaritas ..collins... sours ...fizzes, let me repeat the formula again ...it is fool proof and will please 95% of the public:

3/4 pat of the sour ingredients

1 part of the sweet ingredients

1 1/2 to 2 parts of the strong ingredient

Then of course in the case of the long drinks like the collins, the weak ingredient (soda) is added last after the shaking.


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