Seven Elements of a Truly Great Cocktail
Guest Blogger: Charlie Moavero, Assistant Beverage Manger
Summer is just around the corner and we're guessing it's time you might be hankering for some time by the pool with a great cocktail in hand. Here at M Resort, we take our mixology seriously. What's mixology? Mixology is the art of harmoniously blending a variety of different flavors. Understanding ingredients and knowledge of flavor profiles are what represents one's creativity to create a well-balanced drink. Mixology is like cooking, it's the harmony and understanding of flavors, the right amount of each ingredient and having the passion, patience and dedication to make or create a truly great cocktail.
A first class restaurant will go to great lengths to promote that they use only fresh ingredients in their food - today's bars, pubs and lounges are starting to join that trend. Using the freshest ingredients available will aid greatly in the crafting of a great cocktail. New flavored spirits along with fresh juices, syrups, fruits, herbs and infusions give bartenders the starting blocks to create that exquisite cocktail.
Here are the seven elements of a truly great cocktail and some things every great bartender should ask them self when creating cocktails:
Character is the distinctive identity of your cocktail. Is it tropical, exotic, fruity, frozen, mixed, sweet, sour, spicy, dignified, old classic, after dinner, shooter or seasonal? Are you trying to match it with a food menu or special theme?
Presentation is the "eye appeal" or appearance of the drink. Does the drink sell itself? Does the glass and garnish highlight the drink? This cocktail should be mouthwatering. Eye-catching cocktails find that a guest's "What's that?" often turns into an "I want that."
Flavor is a blend of smell, taste and feeling sensations. Our noses detect scents - nuances of flavor from explosive aromatics - and pass this information directly to our brains. Our senses of the smells that surround us are recorded subconsciously, yet smells trigger memories more effectively than sounds or sights: they are the most evocative of experiences. With a little practice you can soon learn to break smells down and identify their components.
Aroma is a hint of what's to come. It is customary to take in the bouquet from a glass of wine to understand its essence. Muddle fresh fruit and herbs to extract the oils, juice and scents. This will add flavor and aroma to your cocktail.
Taste is the confirmation of what people see and get from the aromas. Tasting is done principally with the nose - a far more acute organ than the tongue, although the two interrelate as the sample is swallowed. While there are only four primary tastes, there are 32 primary smells. These are aromatic volatiles, which are detected by a small fleshy bulb called the Olfactory Epithelium, located at the back of our noses and having a direct link to the brain. Primary tastes are registered by little sensory receptors on our tongues and palates. These are broadly arranged so that sweet flavors are picked up on the tip of the tongue, sour and salt flavors by the sides and middle and bitter flavors at the back. The time it takes to stimulate the different areas of the tongue varies, with the bitter receptors taking the longest, so it is important when tasting to hold the liquid in the mouth and to make sure it coats the tongue thoroughly. You'll then want to identify the primary tastes - the immediate flavors your tongue collects. There are only four: sweet (on the tip of the tongue), salty and sour (at the sides) and bitter (at the back).
Texture means ingredients must blend together; they can't be too thick or too thin. A consistent smooth quality cocktail is one that is easily drinkable not one that is like thick pudding or one that's like soup. You also want a firm clean cocktail, not a watered down one.
Balance is when ingredients work together to produce a smooth and uniform taste. Is the strength of the drink overpowering? Is there a flavor that is missing or one that's coming through too much?
Now that you know the Seven Elements of a Truly Great Cocktail, here's a refreshing one for summer that you can try at home or by the pool at M Resort:
The Honey & Ginger
1 ? oz. Jose Cuervo Citrus Tequila
Dash of ginger syrup
Juice from ? a fresh lemon
Drizzle of pure honey
Muddle mint leaves, ginger syrup and two lemon wedges in a clear pint glass. Add tequila and ice and muddled ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Shake and double-strain into a martini glass. Top with ginger ale, a swirl of honey and ginger zest.