Bartending 101: Elements of a Great Cocktail

CocktailsHere at the M Resort, we take great pride in delivering exceptional service to our guests along with creating things that will enhance their experience, like a handcrafted cocktail. The art of mixology has become the culinary equivalent of preparing an unforgettable gourmet meal. With bartending, like cooking, the magic is in 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 drink!

Here are seven important elements that our bartenders incorporate into their cocktails. Try some of these the next time you're creating something exciting to sip on.

Character – The distinctive identity of your drink. Is it tropical, exotic, fruity, frozen, mixed, sweet, sour, spicy, dignified, old class, after dinner, shooter or seasonal? Are you trying to pair it with food or a special theme? There are many different elements your cocktail can take on, so it's important to define it before you begin.

Presentation – The visual appearance of a cocktail. The type of glass and garnish used should highlight the drink so it will essentially sell itself. When a well-presented cocktail is seen, the guests should think, "I want to order that!"

Flavor - The blend of smell, taste and feeling. A drink's flavor must be delicately balanced. Too much of a particular element can cause the cocktail to become out of control, and too little can cause it to deflate into something vapid and forgettable.

Aroma - The hint of what's to come. It's customary to take in the bouquet (scent) from a glass of wine to understand its essence. To create an essence in your cocktail, muddle fresh fruit or herbs to extract the oils, juices and scents. This adds flavor and aroma to the drink.

Taste – The culmination of what people see and experience from an aroma. The immediate flavors the tongue collects are; sweet (tip of the tongue), salty and sour (at the sides) and bitter (back of the tongue). The time it takes to stimulate different areas of the tongue vary, with bitter receptors taking the longest.

Texture - The blending of ingredients; they can't be too thick or thin. A consistent, smooth quality cocktail is one that is easily drinkable, not thick like pudding or runny like soup. Cocktails should also be firm and clean, not watered down.

Balance - The elements of a cocktail working together to produce a smooth and balanced drink. The strength of the cocktail shouldn't be overpowering and neither should any of the other ingredients.