Updated: Jul 25, 2020
A good friend of mine has recently gotten really interested in cocktails. To prevent him from making many of the mistakes I did when I was really into being an alcoholic back in the day I decided to pass on the knowledge I’ve gained over the years working at a wine/spirits store, bartender training at Dose, and generally being a nerd about anything I’m interested in. I’ve enlisted the help of my good friend and colleague Dr. Dickoless III to help me. He has been my mentor every step of the way through my 20s as a budding cocktail enthusiast.
Welcome my pretentious protégé to the first class in Doctor Dick's Cocktail Crash Course
“I may not teach you to be better at making cocktails, but I’ll definitely teach you how to be an asshole!” - Dr. Dickoless III
Today we will be discussing the tools of the bar. These are not absolutely essential (you can make a cocktail with anything that can stir and any vessel that can fit liquid and ice) but I find they will make your cocktail experience more enjoyable.
The bar spoon is more important than you'd think. The spiral cut into the handle really helps you stir easily and properly. Keep the outside of the spoon facing the outside of the cup when you stir. A bar spoon should be at least as long as your dick.
This is by no means the best boston shaker or the cheapest. The boston style is the easiest way to shake the cocktails. It's basically 2 cups. One smaller and one larger. Put the liquid in the larger half and the ice in the smaller half. The larger half will be the bottom. This set comes with a jigger and a strainer. The jigger is a measuring tool. One half is 1.5oz the other half is .75oz when filled completely to the rim.
The thing that matters most for the peeler is that it's sharp and it's this shape. The cheapest you can find that meets those standards. It's better to buy cheap and replace when it gets dull.
This is the hand juicer I have but for some reason I can only find it in yellow. The hand juicer will change your life! I use it very often even when I'm just cooking. If you want to juice anything bigger than a lemon you will have to cut it up small enough to fit into this. You can splurge and get a crazy juicer but this is only 10 bucks so fuck yeah get this one!
If you want to be as pretentious as possible then you need a mixing glass that you only mix cocktails in. Use it only for mixing cocktails with your super long specialized bar spoon. Sure to impress the uncultured!
The Bar Book - Jeffrey Morgenthaler
Absolutely essential guide to bartending technique. If you want to do it right you need this book. There are recipes in this book but the best part is the explanation of tools and technique and the recipes for making your own syrups/shrubs/bitters/ginger beer/mixers. I learned most of what I know from this book. The rest I learned from being incredibly smart with an aptitude for how things work.
You can measure most recipes with a jigger but I recommend using a scale because it will make it perfect every time and expands your measurement options infinitely. Also it makes you better than everyone who doesn't have a scale. Everyone should own a solid kitchen scale, so if you don't have one you should get one. Make sure it reads at least to 1/10 of a gram. If you are using it as a kitchen scale as well I'd also make sure it goes up to at least 5 pounds.
This tray will get you 2" big ice cubes. The big cubes are essential for spirituous cocktails like an Old Fashioned. The larger the cube the slower it melts so the longer your cocktail is in the prime dilution state while in your glass. Also they are cool af and make you look like the pretentious badass we all want to be. Pro tip #69: You can pop these babies into a plastic bag and store more than 6 at a time.
There is a myth that certain glassware makes certain cocktails taste better. For example the flute glass actually makes champagne go flat almost immediately. Glassware is primarily for aesthetics unless it is designed to capture aromatics.
The Rocks Glass
This is what I use 90% of the time. The shape doesn't matter. The only criteria is that it has a mouth big enough to comfortably fit an ice cube with a 2" girth. I personally like them heavy and durable so you can really feel their power when you hold it in your hand. This is your workhorse glass. These can sometimes be called Old Fashioned glasses or Whiskey glasses.
Coupe Glass (Stemmed)
Coupe glasses fall into the stemmed category of glasses. You will put drinks into a stemmed glass when you don't want the liquid to be warmed by your hand. This is why wine glasses tend to have stems (though not always) especially white wine glasses. (FUN FACT: white wine glasses only have a different shape so that your server can easily remember which type of wine you had). You will put drinks that are served without ice into a coupe glass. Champagne is best served in a coupe glass.
A Collins glass is used for any variation of the Tom Collins. So basically anything with soda water or carbonation in it that's not champagne. You generally put ice in these. I like my highball glasses (and pretty much everything in my life) to be minimalistic and durable.
These are the only 3 essential types of glassware for cocktails (and the only ones I own besides wine glasses). You can spend A LOT of money (free shipping tho) on glassware. Buy what makes you feel good. It's your glassware so make it fit your style. If you can, hold it in your hand before you buy and ask yourself “How does this make me feel?” Does it make you feel sexy? The best place to buy glassware is thrift stores. You can get some really cool classic glassware for just a few dollars at thrift stores. I wish I had known this before I bought my sets.
If you want more on glassware this is a pretty good article.
Here is a simple recipe for a Tom Collins to try in your new Collins glass written by Jeffery Morgenthaler:
2 oz. London Dry or Old Tom gin (try seeking out Hayman's if going the Old Tom route) - any gin will do though
3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz. 2:1 simple syrup, made by slowly heating two parts sugar to one part water in a small saucepan on the stove, until the sugar is dissolved
2 oz. chilled club soda (club soda is just soda water)
Combine all ingredients but soda in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until ingredients are combined and chilled. Add soda water to the shaker. Pour over fresh ice in a tall glass and garnish with a lemon peel.
Source - yup this is from playboy lol
That's it for class 1! The next class we will discuss Essential Ingredients. If there is anything you want to learn or if you have any questions, comment them below and I’ll make sure someone answers them.