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Cocktails maken

Techniques

Jigging, shaking, stirring, muddling, building and straining. What is that and how do I do that?

Jigging

A jigger is a small measuring cup that you can use to measure the ingredients of your cocktail. Keeping your cocktail balanced is really crucial. So using a jigger is a must. Unless you're a free pour champion. They come in different shapes and sizes. 

You have jiggers that measure 30 ml on one side and 60 ml on the other. Or 25 ml and 50 ml, but also 30 ml and 45 ml. Most have lines on the inside that allow you to measure smaller quantities, such as 10/15 ml.

Purchasing a jigger certainly does not have to be expensive, so you plan to make a cocktail every now and then. Then definitely get one!

Shake

Shaking is the technique we all know. A cocktail is not just "shaked" to thoroughly mix the ingredients together. We can also think of other ways to do this. They say that shaking brings the cocktail to life. Shaking creates small air bubbles that really change the structure of the cocktail. So you actually achieve three things with it: correct dilution of your drink, the right temperature and the right structure.

You should not shake for too long, because then your drink will be watered down too much. About 15/20 seconds is long enough. But really fill it with ice. Two or 3 ice cubes is not enough. Once you see some frost starting to form on the shaker, you're done! I always and only use a Boston shaker. Make sure that you do not place the two cups right on top of each other when you shake with ice. The cold causes the metal to contract and the two fit together even better. If you put them right on top of each other, you won't be able to open the shaker unless you hold it under running hot water, but then you can throw away your cocktail. So always make sure that the small cup is placed at an angle. 

In general, I shake as follows: I measure the ingredients with my jigger and put them in the small cup. I fill the same small cup with ice cubes. I place the large shaker tin diagonally above it. Turn the shaker over and tap the shaker so that it closes properly. I hold my hands at the top and bottom of the shaker. Not on the sides. This is for two reasons: you touch more surface area with your warm hands, which does not help cooling and you want to prevent the shaker from accidentally flying open and your entire kitchen being covered in drink. By holding the shaker securely at the top and bottom, you can prevent this chaos. 

Stirren

This is the delicate counterpart of shaking. When stirring, you do not want to shake your cocktail with ice, but you want to mix it carefully, bring it to temperature and achieve the correct dilution. Here you want the cocktail to remain soft and you don't want to create air bubbles. If you stir well, the result is a smooth and clear cocktail. 

You use a mixing glass and a barspoon for this. First you measure the ingredients with a jigger and pour them into the mixing glass. Then fill it completely with ice and try to gently stir between the glass and the ice with the barspoon. The more noise you make, the less good you are doing ;-). You don't want to still create air bubbles. 

Stirring for 20 seconds is usually sufficient to achieve the correct dilution and temperature. You can see it on the outside of the glass. If you see a layer of frost on the outside, you have come to the right point. 

Make sure your mixing glass is cold before you start. So it is best to keep these in the freezer. But of course you can also cool it using ice cubes.

Shake or stir?

Yes, and then of course the question arises: "when should I stir or shake?" Actually very simple. Do you use juices in your cocktail? Like lime, lemon, orange? Then you shake the cocktail. Stirring will then not ensure the correct mixing of your ingredients. Do you mainly use spirits, liqueurs and syrups without citrus or other juices? Then choose stirring. But secretly you can also know it yourself. After all, you drink it yourself ;-)

Build

This is the easiest way to "build" a cocktail. You can simply make this directly in your glass. For example, as we do at a Gin & Have a tonic or a Mojito. You fill the glass with the desired ice (cubes, crushed, for example) and add the ingredients. You usually stir it afterwards with a barspoon and you're done. Are you using something with carbon dioxide in the recipe? Always pour this last over the rest of the ingredients and then stir well with your barspoon.

You should never shake carbonated drinks in your shaker anyway. We all know what can happen if you shake a carbonated drink vigorously. You don't want your shaker to explode!

Exercise

Straining is actually nothing more than pouring your cocktail into your glass. But of course you have ice in it that you don't want in your glass. This needs fresh ice that melts less quickly, so that you do not end up with a watered-down cocktail. With straining we keep the ingredients that we don't want in the glass. 

When shaking we use a Hawthorne strainer. This strainer has a spring on the side. The ice is held back while you pour the cocktail into the glass. You place the strainer on the shaker and hold it with your index finger and pour your drink into the glass. 

When stirring we use a Julep Strainer to hold the ice. This is a metal strainer with holes in it. You place it with the rounded side up on the ice cubes to stop them and pour your drink into your glass. 

And last but not least; double strain. This is also often referred to as fine straining. To do this, use a fine strainer, also known as a tea strainer, to filter the small pieces from your cocktail. This only occurs when shaking. For example, if you shake in pieces of fruit or herbs that you do not want in your drink. There are also people who always use it when shaking to filter out the small pieces of ice. That is also possible, but of course not necessary. Sometimes those little floating pieces of sparkling ice can be quite beautiful on your drink!

Muddlen

Muddlen is the crushing of ingredients to extract the juices and aromas, so that the taste of these ingredients comes into their own in your drink. You use a muddler for this. These come in all shapes and sizes, made of wood, glass or metal. I have both a wooden and a glass muddler. I generally use the wooden muddler for citrus fruits. When I want to muddle something more colorful like strawberries or cherries, I usually use my glass muddler. 

When muddling, do not use too much force, just gently squeeze out the juices and aromas with small pressing and rotating movements. You have to be especially careful with herbs. These can become very bitter if you crush them too vigorously.

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