Monday, February 16, 2009

The Final Straw

The fifth and final part of my Cocktail Hour series has arrived!
I will be focusing on flavor, flair and more.

There are lots of mixers out there and I am sure you know the usual suspects (like Cola, Fruit Juices and Tonics etc). But there is an emerging market of cocktail mixers which take out the guess work and are quite nifty. There are a variety of flavors like watermelon, passion fruit, grapefruit and apple. You can use them for martinis, margaritas and a variety of other drinks. Don't let the bottle dictate use. Experiment!

Here is an example:

Stirrings Pomegranate Cocktail Mix

Another flavor that is essential for many classy cocktails is simple syrup. It is way easy to make and you can keep it in a squirt bottle for easy use and storage.
2 1/2 cups sugar
Full 1 cup water
1/2 lemon, juiced
-Combine all 3 ingredients in a nonreactive 2-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. All the sugar crystals should completely dissolve. Remove from the heat and pour into a clean medium-size bowl. Let cool completely before using. If you are short on time, you can cool the syrup over an ice bath. Simple syrup can be stored in the refrigerator, indefinitely, if kept in an airtight container. - (borrowed from
This can be infused with other flavors as well if you want to get crazy.

Garnishes can really be the crowning touch on a really elegant cocktail. It is more than just drinking if you jazz things up with a fancy garnish.

Lemon twists, lime wheels, orange wedges, olives, cherries, apple slices, pineapple spikes, and rimmers.

Here are a couple useful videos for getting your garnish just right:

I encourage you to YouTubez tips on creating the perfect bar garnishes. There are about a billion and a half videos that are extremely useful. Thank you internets.

More on Rimmers
Margaritas, some martinis and many other cocktails call for the glass to be rimmed. This is when you wet the edge of the glass (with liquor, rind oils, fruit juice, water, whatever) and dip it into sugar, salt or whatever. It is an elegant look and is a step that should not be neglected.

You can buy your own rimmer set, like this one, which allows you to create your own flavored sugars, blend of salts, etc:

Or you can get premade blends of rimmers like this one from Stirrings:
Lemon Drop Drink Rimmer

And More
There are a zillion other things you can add to your cocktail to really punch up the wow factor. For me, the easiest way is cocktail straws. You can get ones that match the theme of you party or go with classic red or black.

And who can forget umbrellas?!? Super fun and the only way to complete a tropical drink!
Paper Drink Umbrellas

Happy Cocktail Hour!!

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