Nov 112011

A friend posted this link on her facebook wall~

Type in the musical artist you’re currently listening to and they give you the appropriate cocktail for that mood.  Plus, they play a song by that artist.  I put in a dozen or so and they all came up, though I don’t know how comprehensive their data base is.  Now this is not the place to go in search of actual cocktail recipes (their answers are often tongue in cheek).  But while you’re enjoying your after work beverage and checking your email or making your plans for the evening, Drinkify is a fun little site to play with.

A clever well done to the creators of this site.

Cheers and happy Friday!

Jan 172011

What exactly IS muddling?

Our pals over at Mirriam-Webster define it as something like this:


verb \?m?-d?l\

mud·dledmud·dling \?m?d-li?, ?m?-d?l-i?\

Definition of MUDDLE

transitive verb
1 : to make turbid or muddy
2 : to befog or stupefy especially with liquor
3 : to mix confusedly
4 : to make a mess of : bungle
intransitive verb
: to think or act in a confused aimless way
mud·dler \?m?d-l?r, ?m?-d?l-?r\ noun

Befog or stupefy? Make turbid or muddy? Make a mess of?

Taking it down a bit, muddling is a way to bring out flavors and oils in ingredients to help them permeate a drink more. Mojitos rely on bruising (NOT mangling or shredding and some overzealous bartenders are wont to do) of mint leaves to let the flavor combine with the lime and sugars. Caipirinhas benefit from muddling the lime and sugar.

If you are mixing up a cocktail that calls for muddled blueberries or orange peel, you need a bit more muddling power. In a previous post, we mentioned you can use an immersion blender when berry muddling is at hand. This is a little too much for the leaves and herbs one might also use in a drink, however, so the hand muddler is best for this.

Now, to throw more fun into the muddling mix, there are muddlers with rounded ends and then muddlers with teeth. Best rule of thumb we have found is to use the rounded end for bruising to extract oils, like in mojitos, and the rougher ends when muddling berries or citrus. There are also wooden muddlers and steel muddlers (Shaker One has an awesome wooden parrot muddler that just seems to make mojitos and the like taste even more festive.)

Your brain muddled even more now? We hope not…

Dec 012010

It’s the holiday season already?! How did that happen?!? Seems that the year flies by faster and faster.

Now that the Thanksgiving feeding has been done (for those in the US) and Christmas and Hanukkah shopping has begun all over the place, we figured we would give a few fun gift ideas for your favorite martini fan!

First, some fun Red Shaker Merchandise.

Check out the shirts, stickers, etc. Want something else with the fun images? Let us know!

We also have a number of fun items in our affiliate shop located here.

Now, if you want a nice gift idea for bar ware, try this all-in-one set.

More gift ideas to come!

Oct 022010

Shaker Two here. I am about to share with you a little known fact; until recently I did not own a shaker. I know, I know… how is that possible? Well, until we started this blog, I rarely drank martinis at home, opting rather for wine or (most of the time) non-alcoholic options. Upon starting our little endeavor, I realized that this had to change. It was time to put on my bartending pants and shaker up.

Then I realized that it was not as simple as going out to just buy any old shaker. I mean, after all these years without one, this was special. It had to be perfect. Did I want a small one? An insulated one? Boston? Traditional? So. Many. Choices!

Let the research begin.

I have always dug Boston shakers, they froth it up and you get a lot of extra room for all the ice and liquid to move around but require a hawthorne strainer or a quick strain tin for pouring the drink. The Boston shaker’s thick mixing glass is also conducive to muddling and stirring. A traditional shaker has the strainer built into the lid.

So upon further investigation, there are Boston Shakers that are more expensive and then those that are less so. Same with the traditional models. What is the difference? Don’t they all produce the same end result? Yes and no.

In the case of the Boston shakers, usually the higher quality ones have a thicker tin which helps prevent it from getting as cold on the outside (freezing hands is not always fun whilst mixing drinks.) They are also fit together better for a tighter seal. Sure, you can get tins with no-slip grips, but that can only take you so far when your beverage leaks all over you while mixing.

In the traditional shaker styles, the key with these is not only the seal between the lid and the tin, but also the strainer part. Are the holes small enough to effectively strain out ice cubes but not clog easily when there are muddled berries in the drink. Is there a lip around the strainer to prevent spills when you take the cap off? And finally, and I speak from experience here, does the tin contract so much that you can’t get the strainer lid off?

Then you move into other features like measurements printed on the side, twisting outer tins with drink recipes on them, shapes that make it more of an art piece, or those that add a touch of whimsy to your bar area.

So after looking at a LOT of different options, what was my consensus? Easy.. I waited for my birthday and let Shaker One pick one out for me 😀

Ok, so I took the easy way out. I admit it. Had the timing (read: my procrastination) not been right around my birthday, I would probably still be shaker-less.. I seem to have commitment issues.

Shaker One opted for the traditional style with insulated walls, roomy for generous pours, easy to remove cap and a nice lip around the strainer.. all in all a fabulous addition to the Patio Bar.

Jul 142010

Many martini recipes using fresh fruit or herbs call for you to muddle the ingredients in the bottom of the shaker before adding the ice.  For soft fruit/herbs, like strawberries, this is fine.  But when the item to muddle is made of tougher stuff a simple traditional muddler just may not extract all the flavor you need for the drink.

The Shaker solution?  Whip out your handy immersion blender!  Just a pulse or two will really bring out any flavors you want.  It is a tremendous time saver as well.  Now this would not work for more delicate items- such as basil.  But for certain citrus and even ginger or other tougher shaker guests it’s the way to go.  Be sure to adjust quantities a bit when you use the immersion blender……it will extract much more flavor so you don’t want to overdo it.  And use a Boston shaker with a separate strainer to keep the bigger chunks out of  your drink without clogging up the top of a built in strainer.

Your immersion blender is also the best tool for making whipped cream for those dessert martinis.   And you can even pre-whip your egg whites a bit before adding them to a flip for more body in your drink.

An immersion blender is an excellent addition to  your bar.  And fun to use, too.

Jun 302010

If you read the post talking about our friend Simon’s birthday party, you might have caught the part about Shaker One coming up with the brilliant idea for making “tape worms” from citrus zest. A citrus zester is a handy tool to have around.

A rather odd looking gadget, it does a wonderful job of removing just the colored portion of the citrus rind and excluding the pith, which can add bitterness to the recipe, rather then the flavorful part of the rind.  You can also create decorative patterns on the fruit skin and then use the  slices or wedges as garnish.

Zest is used not only in giving a light essence of lemon, lime, orange or grapefruit to a martini (or other cocktail) but it is also used in many desserts, sauces, cookies and salads.

This Oxo Good Grips Lemon Zester is a good one to add to your collection of gadgets.  Shaker One picked her’s up at Surfas, but the Oxo one is great, too.  Citrus “confetti streamers” in different colors would be a great garnish for dessert, fruit salads, even fish dishes.  It takes a bit of practice to get the really long threads, and of course the larger the fruit the longer the strands you can achieve.  A fun garnish can really make a drink or dish feel special.  Now get to zesting!

Jun 162010

Shakers One and Two, though obviously big martini fans, both very much enjoy a glass of something bubbly.  Champagne, cava, prosecco……..on their own or with a bit of something added (a splash of St. Germain for example) are all wonderful treats- especially in the summertime.

When there’s a crowd around (and by “crowd” I mean the two Shakers) there’s no trouble finishing up a bottle of  the sparkly stuff.  But what if you are on your own and not excessively thirsty?  Should you forgo the fizz?

Absolutely not!  Simply get yourself one of these champagne bottle stoppers.  With one of these little gadgets you can keep an opened bottle of bubbly in your fridge for a few days without losing the effervescence that makes it special.  Then just pull it out whenever you want a glass of celebration.

The plastic stopper is adequate, but Shaker One prefers the stainless steel model.  Either way, don’t let mere moderate thirst levels keep you from opening up a bottle of bubbly.   Certainly you can find something to celebrate?

Champagne Stoppers


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