With the summer heat in full swing, we’re ready to kick back with a cocktail over crushed ice. Bermuda’s high-end cocktail catering company, The Blind Pig, are our guest bloggers this week, just in time to give us the skinny on how to make the perfect cocktail. Look out for parts 2 and 3 to this blog in the coming months.
You can sample their award-winning drinks yourself this Friday (7th August). The Blind Pig has teamed up with Rising Son Catamaran & Gosling’s to host a luxury Summer Cocktail Cruise with an open bar! Get your tickets here and don’t forget to follow them on Facebook or Instagram for more of their cocktail tips and events.
For now, though get your mixers at the ready and prepare to learn more about the art of cocktail making as we hand you over to The Blind Pig!
How to Cocktail – With The Blind Pig Cocktail Co. – Part 1
Since the outbreak of COVID19, the way that we socialise and interact with friends and family has had to change. But fear not; the multi-award winning bartenders of The Blind Pig Cocktail Co., Bermuda’s premium cocktail catering company is here to guide you through the secrets to making delectable drinks from the comfort of your own home.
Cocktails have been around for hundreds of years: as long as there has been alcohol, there’s been someone there to mix it with other ingredients. Several classic cocktails such as the Mojito can trace their history back as far as the 1600’s! The Blind Pig take these great traditions and put a modern twist on them. But before we get too creative, it is essential to nail the basics.
Cocktail Basics 101 – The 4 Pillars
All cocktails are built on the theory of the 4 pillars. Learn these and how to modify them and you’ll be knocking out delicious drinks in no time at all!
The 4 pillars of a cocktail:
– Strong (the alcohol)
– Weak (your dilution, be it by shaking the cocktail, stirring a drink or adding it to crushed ice)
– Sour (Lemons, Limes etc.)
– Sweet (sugar syrups, fruit juice)
The ratio of each of the 4 pillars you put into your drink will dictate how the drink will taste.
A ratio that has little to no dilution will showcase the alcohol and have a stronger taste, so would be a slow sipping drink, like an Old Fashioned made with a lovely whiskey or a Martini.
A cocktail with a higher ratio of sour to sweet will give you a drink with a more citrus forward flavour, such as a classic Sour; choose your poison!
Seems simple enough? Well, then you must factor in the flavour profiles of your base spirits, what compliments and works well together as well as factoring in any additional sweetness that any other ingredients may add to the mix.
How To Stock That Great Home Bar
Making a cocktail can be easy – making a great cocktail, now that can be a little more challenging!
As with cooking, in order to make a great cocktail, you’re going to need to start with good quality ingredients. As they say you are what you eat… or in this instance, drink. Plus, you’ll really do yourself a favour come morning if you go for quality (despite the quantity)!
Here is a selection of staple spirits that any good home bar should keep stocked to ensure you are able to make a good selection of cocktails when the mood arises:
You can’t make a delicious cocktail recipe without the right ingredients, follow these steps to ensure you have the essentials and you’ll slinging drinks in no time at all.
A good mid-price rye or bourbon (such as Buffalo Trace or Maker’s Mark); Angostura bitters; club soda
You can now make: Old-Fashioned
Gin (Bombay Sapphire, or Hendricks); sweet and dry vermouth (such as Martini Rosso and Bianco); Tonic water (Fever Tree is a great option); orange bitters
You can now make: Manhattan, Martini, Gin and Tonic, gimlet, Tom Collins, Gin Rickey, French 75 (assuming you have sparkling wine)
White and amber rum
You can now make: Daiquiri, Mojito
Vodka (Tito or Absolut), Orange curacao (such as Cointreau or Pierre Ferrand); maraschino liqueur (such as Luxardo), grenadine
You can now make: El Presidente, Hemingway daiquiri, cosmopolitan
Whisky (Famous Grouse or Dewars, maybe add a Highland Whisky, such as Talisker or laphroaig to your stock too!); Amaretto (an almond flavoured liqueur); Coffee liqueur – Kahlua is fine but for something really delicious try Flor De Cana ‘spresso liqueur (available from BDA Spirits).
You can now make: Amaretto or Whisky Sour, Penicillin, Espresso Martini
Mixers: You’ll also need cocktail drink mixers. Along with Tonic Water, lime juice, orange juice, sparkling water, lemon juice, ginger ale, club soda, and cranberry juice.
Essential Bar Tools
To mix cocktails like a pro, the proper bar tools are essential.
- Jigger: This small hourglass-shaped double cup is used to measure drink ingredients. One side is usually a 1-1/2-ounce jigger; the other side is typically a 1-ounce volume.
- Cocktail shaker: As the name suggests, cocktail shakers are used to shake, or mix, the cocktail ingredients, also known as a Boston Shaker (this can also double as a mixing glass)
- Hawthorne Strainer: You’ll recognize this as the strainer with a tightly coiled metal spring around it and is essential for any shaken cocktail, to catch the large pieces of shaken ice.
- Fine Strainer: When you shake something, you create all sorts of tiny ice particles. These change the consistency of your cocktail. A fine strainer will also come in handy if you ever shake with herbs or berries (unless you enjoy having mint in your teeth).
- Muddler: A cocktail muddler mashes ingredients, like the mint leaves in a mint mojito, to release their flavours.
- Long-handle metal bar spoon: This tool is for stirring cocktails.
- Glassware: A Collins glass, a rocks glass and a coupe (I’d advise against V-shaped “martini” glasses, which seem to be designed to spill drinks!)
The wonderful folks at The International Chef Shop have all of these supplies available, so give them a call to arrange you curb-side collection!
Preparation is Key!
When you order a cocktail in your favourite bar, the bartender should have that drink to you within a few minutes. That’s because they’ve done a lot of the preparation beforehand.
Making sure you have everything you will need prepared and ready to go can make the whole process of cocktail making a lot quicker and more enjoyable!
For example, save time later by buying your lemons and limes in bulk, squeeze your citrus in one go and place in an ice cube tray to freeze for future use. Bonus points if you measure the volume of your ice cube tray beforehand so you can adjust your cocktail ratios! Most standard sized ice cube trays hold between ¾ – 1oz of liquid. Just defrost when you’re ready to shake up a storm.
The same can also be done for other ingredients: frozen cranberry juice for Cosmopolitans, frozen espresso for Espresso Martini’s, etc.
About The Blind Pig
Founded in 2017 the Blind Pig Cocktail Co. is the result of the shared vision and passion of founder Somers Carr and co-owner Matt Francis.
The Blind Pig Cocktail Co. offers Bermuda a high-end catering service specializing in fully customised craft cocktails, alongside full bar service including wine and beer. Relax happy in the knowledge that Bling Pig have got your event libations handled; from creating a bespoke and personalised drink menu to serving drinks that will delight your guests. No detail is overlooked from beautiful glassware to best quality ingredients, professional staff, purpose- built bar rental and retro bar décor!
Somers has been in the hospitality industry for 13 years, working in in countries all over the world and is a familiar face behind the bar back home in Bermuda. Having honed his craft in the lively bar scene of Edinburgh, Matt has competed in cocktail competitions both on the island and internationally and notably has won:
- Stoli Bermuda Cocktail Master 2015
- Goslings Best Bartender 2016
- Bacardi Master Bartender 2018 & 2019.
Many thanks to The Blind Pig for this crash course in cocktail making! Tune in to part 2 in a few weeks when we’ll learn more about the 4 pillars and how to create the different flavour profiles.
Don’t forget to sign up to The Blind Pig’s Summer Cocktail Cruise, and watch the masters in action!
Local Bermuda is about the Bermudian way. If you would like to contribute a story to be shared on our blog, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or submit a request here and we’ll reach out to you. Stay safe everyone!