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Teh Drink Apollo

The archer-god of medicine wants you to drink up.

Know of any bartending techniques that aren't covered here? Is there a mistake? Let us know here.


An electric blender is needed for recipes containing fruit or other ingredients which do not break down by shaking. Blending is an appropriate way of combining these ingredients with others, creating a smooth ready to serve mixture. Some recipes will call for ice to be placed in the blender, in which case you would use a suitable amount of crushed ice.

This takes practice to get right. Too much ice and the drink seems weak, too little and it seems runny. Usually, the liquids should fill about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way up the ice (if the blender is full with ice, then the liquids should reach to about 1/2 or 2/3)

Used By: Banana Cow, Pina Colada, Raspberry Popsicle, Red Arctic, Strawberry Blast

When building a cocktail, the ingredients are poured into the glass in which the cocktail will be served. Usually, the ingredients are floated on top of each other, but occasionally, a swizzle stick is put in the glass, allowing the ingredients to be mixed.

Most highball drinks are made this way. For example, for a Rum and Coke, you would put ice in the glass, add the rum, then add the coke. The carbonation in the soda allows it to mix naturally. You always add the liquor first, followed by the mixer.

Another example is a Tequila Sunrise. Fill the glass with ice, add the tequila, fill almost to the top with orange juice, then top with grenadine. This gives the drink its "sunrise" appearance. There is no special pouring technique as there is with layering, but the order is often important.

Used By: Colorado Bulldog, Flatliner
Cracked Ice

To get professional quality cracked ice, buy an ice machine or purchase cracked ice from the store. However, a weak substitution can be made, depending on your ice cubes. If you have the old-school 12-cube trays that produce large, trapezoidahedral "cubes", then empty a few trays into a bag or dish towel. Lay the cubes out on a board or counter so that there is only a single layer of cubes, and whack them firmly with a frying pan, meat tenderizer or mallet. Each cube should only be broken once or twice.

If you have the good, multiple small-cube trays, then cracked ice is more easily made. Fill the trays and put them in the freezer. Check on them periodically - once they are near frozen but still liquid inside, shake them and break them a little bit. Freeze once more - when they are almost ready again, do the same but transfer them into an "ice service" tray and discard the excess water. This will give the cubes an irregular cracked texture.

Used By: BMW, Classic Martini, Manhattan, Moscow Mule, Old-Fashioned, Sidecar, Tequila Sunrise, Vodka Martini
Crushed Ice

Knowing when to crush ice and knowing when to blend it is difficult. Many recipes call for "crushed ice" in terms of making a slushy drink, while other call for it in terms of adding slivers of ice to the drink. If you blend a drink into a slushy drink, break the cubes up (as above) before adding them to the blender - this will save your blender much wear and tear. If you are expecting to make slushy drinks at an occasion, break the ice up prior to your guests arriving.

Used By: Almond Joy, Cup o' Douche, Pina Colada, Raspberry Popsicle, Scitalina, Strawberry Blast

There are many recipes that call for a shot or a drink to be lit on fire. This generally leads to a neat effect, or a certain taste, and looks pretty cool when done right.

Some liquors will ignite quite easily if their proof is high. Heating a small amount of the liquor in a spoon will cause the alcohol to collect at the top, which can then be easily lit. You can then pour this over the prepared ingredients. However, there are many things to keep in mind when dealing with flaming alcohol. If you are going to be making a recipe that calls for fire, keep the following things in mind.

 * Never ever ever consume a drink while it is still on fire. Always extinguish it first! You might say, "What is the point in that?", and the answer is "So you can avoid being horribly disfigured for life". There is nothing macho about drinking something that is on fire, unless you consider extensive care in the burn ward macho. Blow it out!
 * Close any open bottles of alcohol before lighting, and move them away from the presentation area.
 * Do not serve flaming drinks to guests that are inebriated.
 * If you cannot see the flame, turn out the lights. Do not put your face up next to the drink, or stick your finger in it. Alcohol burns with a bluer flame that is not always visible in normal light.
 * Do not let the drink burn too long. The glass may heat and crack, or the taste of the drink may be ruined.
 * Do not add alcohol to a burning drink. You run the risk of having a flaming bottle, or spraying fire around.
 * Do not leave a burning drink unattended. Again, the glass could crack, spilling flaming alcohol onto a flammable surface.
 * Use heavy glassware. Fine crystal or thin glass will crack more easily, or if left too long, may be etched.
 *Short, round glasses, such as a snifter, are better suited for flaming drinks than tall thin ones. The drink will have a larger flammable surface area, and you can cup the glass for easier ignition.

All that being said, flaming drinks are very snazzy and have great presentation value! Flaming safety is pretty much all common sense, so have fun with them, and just use that extra little bit of grey matter to make sure no one dies in a flaming inferno. Because nobody is really a fan of that.

Used By: Backdraft, Fireball, Flaming Dr. Pepper

To frost a glass, dip it in water and put it into the freezer for an hour or so. Never pour a hot drink into a frosted glass.

Used By: Grasshopper, Red Arctic

Layering is key for the presentation of many drinks, and hobbyists will argue that certain drinks must be layered to properly "set off" the taste of each layer as you sip the cocktail. However, it is one of the more difficult techniques in bartending.

Layering is density dependent. Any solution has a specific density. Those with higher density sink through those with lighter densities, and the lighter density solutions will tend to remain floating above the high density liquids. Thus the key to knowing how the layers will turn out is by consulting a density chart. If all else fails, experiment and get used to the liqueurs that you most often use.

The problem with alcohols is that many of them have densities that are very similar. This means that layers will not form if there is too much mixing or turbulence, and therefore, layering has to be done very slowly and very carefully.

The easiest way to layer a drink is by using a medium plastic syringe with a reasonably sized bore. Simple suck up the required amount and slowly add it to the glass by placing the tip of the syringe on the inside of the glass. Slowly is the key, and a syringe gives you excellent control. However, this is best done discreetly or with specialty syringes that do not look medical syringes. After all, it is not too professional looking, and could possibly embroil you in a bad situation if everyone is not aware of what is in the syringe.

Therefore, the common technique today is to pour the liquor slowly (always slowly!) over the back of a spoon, touching the side of the glass. This (hopefully) allows the liquor to trickle into the drink without too much downward disturbance, and settle nicely upon the top of the drink.

Here is a step-by-step for layering using the spoon method:
 1. Consult the density chart for relative densities of your ingredients.
 2. Add your most dense ingredient first.
 3. Place a teaspoon upside down into the glass, up against the edge of the glass and close to the surface of the drink.
 4. Slowly pour the next heaviest liqueur over the back of the spoon. Raise the spoon slowly if necessary.
 5. Continue with each ingredient, ending with the least dense.

If a person does not know the specific gravity of liquor or a liqueur, they can read and compare the proofs of the bottles. The proofs can help create the layered drinks. Lower proofs of liqueurs generally mean there is more sugar and that the liqueur is thicker and heavier (e.g. 151 rum can be floated on top to make flaming shooters). Remember, the same type of flavoured liqueurs that are made by different companies can sometimes have different proofs (or a specific gravity), and this conflict with other liqueurs and spoil the layered presentation.

Also, if a person tries to create a shooter and messes up the layers, he can place the shooter in the refrigerator for about an hour and the liqueurs will separate themselves. I have tried this out and it has worked well on multiple occasions.

Used By: B-52, Bob Marley, Brain Geyser, Buttery Nipple, Cocksucking Cowboy, Duck Fart, Neapolitan Shooter, Paradise Island, QuickF***, Tequila Sunrise

To extract the most flavor from certain fresh ingredients such as fruit or mint garnishes, you should crush the ingredient with the muddler on the back end of your bar spoon, or with a pestle.

Used By: Mojito, MOJO-ito, Old-Fashioned, Scotch Old-Fashioned

To salt the rim of a glass, rub a fresh cut wedge of lemon or lime around the rim. Keep a shallow tray about 1 cm (3/4 inch) deep with salt, and invert the glass and dip gently into the salt. Move the glass gently from side to side, but do not spin quickly or the salt will simply absorb the citrus and fall off the glass. Use rock salt or sea salt for the absolute best in flavor.

Used By: Margarita, Margarita, Slamming Butt Fu**

When a drink contains eggs, fruit juices or cream, it is necessary to shake the ingredients. Shaking is the method by which you use a cocktail (or "Boston") shaker to mix ingredients together and chill them simultaneously. The object is to almost freeze the drink whilst breaking down and combining the ingredients. Normally this is done with ice cubes three-quarters of the way full. When you have poured in the ingredients, hold the shaker in both hands, with one hand on top and one supporting the base, and give a short, sharp, snappy shake. It is important not to rock your cocktail to sleep. When water has begun to condense on the surface of the shaker, the cocktail should be sufficiently chilled and ready to be strained.

Never use makeshift shakers - two glasses, one upside down over the other, is an extremely bad idea - the rims of the glasses break and drop glass shards into the mix (not to mention they leak).

Used By: Adios Motherfucker, Alpine Sunset, Amaretto Sour, Ambrosia, Angel's Breast, Apple Martini, Apple Martini, Apple Pie, Apple Sour, Apricot Margarita, Artlantic, Astoria, Athena, Babylon Sour, Bald Pussy, Banana Split, Bananarama, Black Rock, Blackstone, Bloody Bullshot, Bloody Mary, Blue Hawaiian, Blue Monday, Bourbon Cream Float, Bourbon Manhattan, Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Covered Cherry, Corrida, Cosmopolitan, Cosmopolitan, French Martini, Grandma's Peach Pussy, Grasshopper, Kamikaze, Kamikaze, Long Island Iced Tea, Mai Tai, Margarita, Margarita, Miami Beach Cocktail, Mojito, Rattlesnake, Scotch Alexander, Scotch Irish Shillelagh, Scotch Milk Punch, Scotch Sour, Scotch Street, Sidecar, Summer Scotch Cocktail, Tequila Sunrise, The Stoner, Three Mile Island, Tim's Lemonade, Tipperary Scotch Cocktail, Twisted Sister, Vodka Gimlet, Vodka Martini, White Lady

You can stir cocktails effectively with a metal or glass rod in a mixing glass. If ice is to be used, use ice cubes to prevent dilution, and strain the contents into a glass when the surface of the mixing glass begins to collect condensation.

Used By: Abra Cadabra, Acapulco Fizz, After The Rain, Algonquin, Alien Excretion, Almond Joy, Aloha, Andromeda, Anna Karenina, Apollo, Apple Fizz, Applesauce, Archbishop, Ascot, Astor Place, Avenue B, Aztec Gold, Banana Cream Pie, Bastard Child, Birth of Venus, Black Russian, Blind Kamikaze, Blue Hawaiian, Blue Hawaiian, Bourbon and Soda, Bourbon and Sprite, Bourbon Breeze, Bourbon Godfather, Bourbon John Collins, Bourbon Kiss, Bourbon Kiss, Brooklyn Bridge, Bubble Gum, Candy Apple, Caribou Lou, Cherry Rob Roy, Cherry Vodka Sour, Classic Martini, Converted Jew, Crown and Coke, Dry Rob Roy, Duck Fart, Jack and Coke, Knife Show, Manhattan, Midori Sour, MOJO-ito, Moscow Mule, Perfect Rob Roy, Rattlesnake, Rob Roy, Rusty Nail, Scitalina, Scotch Ale, Scotch and Soda, Scotch Blossom, Scotch by the Pool, Scotch Cablegram, Scotch Cooler, Scotch Gimlet, Scotch Highball, Scotch On The Grill, Scotch Stinger, Screaming Orgasm, Screwdriver, Sex On The Beach, Shirley Temple, The Academic, The Alamo, The Rupert, Veteran, Zaza

Most cocktail shakers are sold with a build-in strainer or hawthorn strainer. When a drink calls for straining, ensure you have used ice cubes, as crushed ice tends to clog the strainer of a standard shaker. If indeed a drink is required shaken with crushed ice (ie. Shirley Temple), it is to be served unstrained.

Used By: Abra Cadabra, Adios Motherfucker, Algonquin, Amaretto Sour, Ambrosia, Andromeda, Angel's Breast, Apollo, Apple Martini, Apple Martini, Apple Sour, Applesauce, Apricot Margarita, Artlantic, Ascot, Astor Place, Astoria, Athena, Avenue B, Aztec Gold, Babylon Sour, Banana Cream Pie, Banana Split, Bananarama, Beekman Place, Birth of Venus, Black Rock, Blackstone, Blind Kamikaze, Bloody Mary, Blue Monday, Bourbon County Cowboy, Bourbon Cream Float, Bourbon Kiss, Bourbon Kiss, Bourbon Manhattan, Brooklyn Bridge, Candy Apple, Cherry Rob Roy, Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Covered Cherry, Classic Martini, Dixie Dew, Dry Rob Roy, Fancy Scotch, Grasshopper, Kamikaze, Kamikaze, Mai Tai, Miami Beach Cocktail, Midnight Cowboy, Mojito, Perfect Rob Roy, Rob Roy, Scotch Alexander, Scotch Blossom, Scotch Irish Shillelagh, Scotch Milk Punch, Scotch Sour, Scotch Street, Sidecar, Summer Scotch Cocktail, Tequila Sunrise, The Academic, The Arthur, Three Mile Island, Tim's Lemonade, Tipperary Scotch Cocktail, Vodka Martini, White Lady, Zaza