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I am a cocktail novice. I try at home, and I think I do OK. But my biggest problem is getting accurate measurements. I know this is mostly about ratios of this to that that may make a drink tasty, but any other tips? I found out the thing I was using was not a 1 oz thing, but either a 2CL or 4CL thing (.6666 and 1.3333 oz respectively thing).

TIA!

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The Oxo thing is good in that is shows all measurement units, metric and standard. But I find it a awkward to use.

You should go to Cocktail; Kingdom and buy a pair of properly graduated shot glasses. Buy the one that has 1/2 ox paired with 3/4 oz and the 1 oz paired with the 2 oz. Get the Japanese style, which is longer, not squat like the alternative.

A great book on technique to get you started was published last Fall. Look for "The Bar Book" by Jeffery Morganthaler. No recipes, all about technique, and how to do it right. For all of this and recipes, too, look for Gary Regan's "The Joy of Mixology". Both really good writers and books.

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I am curious, why do you say it is a measuring accuracy thing?  Even if you are using a inaccurate shot glass, wouldn't you still be getting the ratios right?  What recipes are you not satisfied with?

Personally, I think accuracy is overrated, especially when it comes to the base spirit.  For gin, rum, whiskey, tequila, etc., I have found it is not fatal to pour between 1.5oz and 2 oz for any given cocktail.  Where accuracy does become important is in the ratio of sweet:sour.  DeGroff generally has a 3:2 ratio, but others use a 1:1.  Your choice.  For especially strong cordials, or bitters/amaros, I do find precise measurements are needed.

Of course you are using pristine clean equipment, but I just want to address that to the general audience.  That of course can affect taste.  Washing garnishes, like oranges before using the peel, is also important.

Finally, you can't go wrong using as much (clean) ice as possible when shaking/stirring drinks.  Using not enough ice can raise the water content of the cocktail which I am not a fan of.  I know some are dilution proponents, but I respectfully disagree.  Similarly, chilling your cocktail coupe, or preheating your toddy glass, is akin to using preheated plateware.

But I also use the Oxo angled 2 oz-er. :)

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Personally, I think accuracy is overrated

Yeah, maybe that's why I tend toward drinks with equal parts (Negroni, Boulevardier, Last Word, etc.) or ones with easy ratios (Martini, Manhattan).

(Really, I go with bourbon neat 98% of the time, because it's delicious and I'm lazy.)

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This is the best thing I've found for cocktail measuring:

OXO Good Grips Angled Measuring Cup

Thanks for the suggestion. My biggest problem is dripping when I pour in to the shaking/stirring container. This angled thing seems like it would solve that problem, but I only see on the link you provided a container with measurements of cups and mL. I do not see ounce measurements. Is the picture wrong or the image deceiving because there seem to be markings on the angle that I cannot see.

The Oxo thing is good in that is shows all measurement units, metric and standard. But I find it a awkward to use.

You should go to Cocktail; Kingdom and buy a pair of properly graduated shot glasses. Buy the one that has 1/2 ox paired with 3/4 oz and the 1 oz paired with the 2 oz. Get the Japanese style, which is longer, not squat like the alternative.

A great book on technique to get you started was published last Fall. Look for "The Bar Book" by Jeffery Morganthaler. No recipes, all about technique, and how to do it right. For all of this and recipes, too, look for Gary Regan's "The Joy of Mixology". Both really good writers and books.

By the graduated shot glasses, you mean the thing on that site called 'jiggers' right? Those seem more practical than the thing I am using now which looks like 20ml/40ml on the end of a freaking wand - hence my spillage.

Thanks for the book recs - I threw them in my Amazon cart to ponder for purchase.

I am curious, why do you say it is a measuring accuracy thing?  Even if you are using a inaccurate shot glass, wouldn't you still be getting the ratios right?  What recipes are you not satisfied with?

Personally, I think accuracy is overrated, especially when it comes to the base spirit.  For gin, rum, whiskey, tequila, etc., I have found it is not fatal to pour between 1.5oz and 2 oz for any given cocktail.  Where accuracy does become important is in the ratio of sweet:sour.  DeGroff generally has a 3:2 ratio, but others use a 1:1.  Your choice.  For especially strong cordials, or bitters/amaros, I do find precise measurements are needed.

Of course you are using pristine clean equipment, but I just want to address that to the general audience.  That of course can affect taste.  Washing garnishes, like oranges before using the peel, is also important.

Finally, you can't go wrong using as much (clean) ice as possible when shaking/stirring drinks.  Using not enough ice can raise the water content of the cocktail which I am not a fan of.  I know some are dilution proponents, but I respectfully disagree.  Similarly, chilling your cocktail coupe, or preheating your toddy glass, is akin to using preheated plateware.

But I also use the Oxo angled 2 oz-er. :)

Well, I guess I am hung up on accuracy because I am a neophyte and do not know what matters. I assume cocktail recipes are written a certain way for a reason. Cooking is far more forgiving than baking. So is cocktail making more like cooking or more like baking or somewhere in between?  Some cocktails I am not satisfied with are the ones that tend to be too sweet. Like a basic gin & tonic - which should be easy, but maybe I am using a bad recipe. It's too sweet (is it the quinine in the tonic?). But I can make a good Corpse Reviver #2 all day long and usually do a pretty good job at it. I do not like cocktails that are too sweet.  Thanks for the tip on clean equipment - I have always done so, taking the nod from wine service, cooking and baking. Just made sense to me. And I rarely make more than two cocktails at a time (wife and I), and even when I do another round, it tends to be the very same drink (Hey! I want another one of those!).

Your thought on the ice is interesting. My refrigerator has a water filtration thing on it and so the ice is pretty clean - I use about 1/2 to 2/3 full saker/mixer thing. Too much? Too little? So far I am satisfied.

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My suggestion is to be careful to not overdilute. Shake with enough ice to chill quickly. Use plenty of ice in a mixing glass (or the base of your shaker) to chill quickly when stirring, too. As DaRiv18 mentioned, using too little ice will overdilute. Seems counterintuitive, I know.

For measuring, I'll second (fourth?) the suggestion to get the Oxo Angled Measuring Cup, 2oz version. I also like the Oxo beaker-like measuring cups. Here are four in the set that measure 5cc, 15cc (0.5oz), 1 oz and 2 oz. They nest so they don't take up much room on the bar.

For education, read Jeffrey Morganthaler's blog and get any of his books. Same with Gaz Regan.

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Click on the 2nd picture on amazon.  The oz markings (and Tbsps) are on the angled part inside.  It will definitely help with drippage.

I totally missed seeing the second picture last night. Thanks I see it now. That is definitely a buy for me then.

My suggestion is to be careful to not overdilute. Shake with enough ice to chill quickly. Use plenty of ice in a mixing glass (or the base of your shaker) to chill quickly when stirring, too. As DaRiv18 mentioned, using too little ice will overdilute. Seems counterintuitive, I know.

For measuring, I'll second (fourth?) the suggestion to get the Oxo Angled Measuring Cup, 2oz version. I also like the Oxo beaker-like measuring cups. Here are four in the set that measure 5cc, 15cc (0.5oz), 1 oz and 2 oz. They nest so they don't take up much room on the bar.

For education, read Jeffrey Morganthaler's blog and get any of his books. Same with Gaz Regan.

Thanks. Is there generally a rule of thumb for when to shake and when to stir a cocktail? So recipes spell out what they want you to do, others do not.

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Like JoshNE, I am a big fan of equal part cocktails, especially when I was starting out.  Your Corpse Reviver 2 is basically an equal parts too.  Since you don't like sweetness, I would suggest matching the cordial pour to your citrus.  EG, usually daquiris are 2/.75/.5 ratio for rum, simple, and lime.  But you might try 2/.5/.5 or 2/.75/.75

Going back to ice, let me get on my soapbox.  I am not a fan of icemaker ice.  The cubes (at least in my machine) tend to be hollow, small, and fragile, and shatter when you shake.  Overdilution.  I got some of those old-school ice cube trays like my grandma used to keep.  Those produce dense, large, cubes that retain their form when you shake.  High end cocktail bars saw off their own dense cubes from these massive ice blocks that are delivered to them, that is what you are trying to replicate.

For mixers, I fill it with as much ice as i can.  For shakers, I fill it at 90% of capacity.  Shake cocktails that use citrus or milk or egg whites.  Stir cocktails that are just plain booze.  Stir the Remember the Maine, another equal parts cocktail, counterclockwise to replicate how that ship sank.

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Like JoshNE, I am a big fan of equal part cocktails, especially when I was starting out.  Your Corpse Reviver 2 is basically an equal parts too.  Since you don't like sweetness, I would suggest matching the cordial pour to your citrus.  EG, usually daquiris are 2/.75/.5 ratio for rum, simple, and lime.  But you might try 2/.5/.5 or 2/.75/.75

Going back to ice, let me get on my soapbox.  I am not a fan of icemaker ice.  The cubes (at least in my machine) tend to be hollow, small, and fragile, and shatter when you shake.  Overdilution.  I got some of those old-school ice cube trays like my grandma used to keep.  Those produce dense, large, cubes that retain their form when you shake.  High end cocktail bars saw off their own dense cubes from these massive ice blocks that are delivered to them, that is what you are trying to replicate.

For mixers, I fill it with as much ice as i can.  For shakers, I fill it at 90% of capacity.  Shake cocktails that use citrus or milk or egg whites.  Stir cocktails that are just plain booze.  Stir the Remember the Maine, another equal parts cocktail, counterclockwise to replicate how that ship sank.

You know, right now, managing ice is the least of my worries. My ice cubes are thinner than the 'days of old' ice, but they will work for now. When I geek out, getting old school trays and filling them with filtered water to make better cubes will be easy enough.  But I will add more ice than I have been going forward. That is very easy to implement.  Thanks for the tip on reducing/balancing/handling sweetness.

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On 7/3/2016 at 1:55 PM, Pool Boy said:

What do you all use for bar spoons?

I love my Rosle bar spoon, I hate that they discontinued their barware line.  Maybe on ebay?  

If you have a blender like a Vitamix, a good barspoon with a narrow head can scrape all the leftovers down near the blades.  

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