May 202011

If you haven’t noticed, Shaker One has been on a bit of a flip kick of late.  Something about Spring makes the foamy lightness enticing to me.  I’m finding myself taking all sorts of “regular” cocktails and flipping them. Since I’ve already had my failed experiment with Mr. Frothee,  I’ve decided to stick with egg whites.  I am finding a big difference in the head that results from a regular shaker vs. a Boston style shaker.


Tonight’s victim?   A classic Vodka Gimlet.  <Forgive me Raymond Chandler>

Wanting just a light cocktail to end the weekend, I threw the usual suspects into my regular shaker, added ice, one egg white, and gave the whole thing a shaking like I was trying to force a confession out of it.  Vigorous though my efforts were, when I poured it out into the glass, it was only moderately foamy.  Huh.  Now, I usually use a Boston style shaker for all things flip.  Tonight I just happened to grab the shaker in front in the bar.  I suspect that the extra room in a Boston shaker allows more movement of the ice and liquids, resulting in increased foam volume.  I shall need to do some further research to back up this theory.

The cocktail itself was quite enjoyable, despite it’s pittance of foam.  At the last minute (and after the photo) I shook just a dash of bitters onto it……very nice!  It added a good balance to the tart sweetness of the Rose’s Lime.  Tough to beat a classic gimlet.

Next up in the exploration of all drinks flip~ Meringue:  Breaks Down or Holds Up?

Apr 242011

Shaker One here.  I enjoy a good flip.  And by flip I am referring to a cocktail shaken with an egg white to create a foamy “head” on top.  In addition to the head, you also get a sort of velvety mouth feel to the drink itself.  I find it lovely.

But there are many who have an aversion to the idea of using raw eggs in any form.  For this there are foaming products which are supposed to create the same result without the accompanying danger of salmonella.  I’ve long been curious about their efficacy and on my last trip to The Candy Store (Beverage Warehouse) I picked up a bottle to try.

Foaming Substitute

My liquid guinea pig?  The Spicy Lemon Drop.  Feeling a bit scientific, I threw a few dashes of our new friend Frothee into the shaker with the ice and ingredients as instructed.  <shakeshakeshake>

Spicy Lemon Drop Flip Foamy

It poured out into the glass with a somewhat more subdued head than I get with an egg white, but still noticeable.   And as I raised the glass to my lips I noticed a subtle smell.  Not quite plastic, not quite chemical, but also not quite pleasant.  Hmmmm, maybe it just has a bit of an odor.  I forged ahead.

Gahhhh~there was that oddness in the taste as well!  I got about 1/3 of the way through, trying to tell myself that I’d get used to it.  It isn’t overpowering, but because I could smell it as well as taste it with each sip, I found it mildly repugnant.  My poor lovely Spicy Lemon Drop, sacrificed down the drain in the name of science.  (a moment of silence in deference to his service please)

Conclusion:  Frothee-darken my shaker no more.  I’d sooner risk raw egg ramifications.  If you’re pregnant or immune compromised I would not recommend a flip.  But then if you fall under those categories perhaps you shouldn’t be having a cocktail to begin with.  I’ll stick to my egg whites to get a good foam.

And now I’m off to wash the taste of Frothee from my lips.  Gahhh.

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…

Jul 212010

So you’re having a party and want to serve a signature cocktail, but you can’t bear the idea of being locked at the bar all night mixing and pouring.  What to do……Hire a bartender?  Why yes, that’s a fantastic idea (especially if he’s hot and wearing a bow tie), but perhaps not so practical in these budget conscious times.  The more clever and frugal alternative?

Why, make your ‘tini base up ahead of time!  Simply select a signature  drink (or two), and pre-mix all the alcohol and juice ingredients in large pitchers the night before.  At party time, pop them out of the fridge, pour them over ice in a shaker, give them a quick shake and strain and into the glasses they go.  Of course, be sure to save any carbonated ingredients to add at the last minute.    Does this take a bit more time than pouring glasses of wine? Certainly.  But a signature drink can really make your party special.

What about the hostesses who aren’t such a whiz at math? *Shaker One raises her hand here*

I actually sit down with a pencil and paper and convert the ounces in each ingredient to cup measurements on my pyrex measuring cup.  First, pick a drink recipe.  Next, multiply each ingredients’ ounce volume by the number of martini servings you want to have available for your guests.  Convert the total ounces of each ingredient to the corresponding cup volume (my measuring cups have them all printed on the sides).   I suggest you do a taste test and make any adjustments necessary…… might need a little extra lemon juice or simple syrup for example.  And I wouldn’t make them up too far ahead of time-the day before at the earliest.  You don’t want your ingredients to taste stale or flat from sitting.

As for glassware- I do not recommend those plastic martini glasses you see at party supply stores.  They are flimsy and cheap and tend to tip over from the weight of the liquid.  You can purchase simple glass martini glasses cheaply at Target or Bed Bath and Beyond type places.  A restaurant supply even has heavy duty acrylic martini glasses which would be perfect for an outdoor or poolside party.  If you don’t want to invest in reusable glassware, go for basic clear plastic disposable cups.  And don’t forget to garnish (make these up ahead of time,too).

With just a little planning and preparation, you can be a relaxed host(ess) while still making your guests feel special.  Now go send those evites!

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.

Jul 072010

So you’re feeling adventurous and trying out a new martini recipe with friends.  It’s one you haven’t tried before and though you’re feeling brave, you really don’t want to pour anything horrifying into their glasses.  Or you’re making an old recipe that needs a bit of adjustment- a little sweeter for the ladies perhaps.  Either way, the best way to get your flavor right is to take a quick taste yourself before serving to guests.  Now you can simply pour out a bit into a clean shot glass, but why not have some fun with an old bartender’s trick?  Take a drinking straw, put the bottom third or so into the liquid.  Now place your finger over the top to create a seal and lift up, put the end in your mouth and let go!  A quick taste without losing much volume in your shaker.  Now you can tell if it needs a bit more of this or that.

Simple, quick and makes you look like a pro at the bar.  Cheers!

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 232010

When using a traditional stainless steel shaker you may sometimes find that the top gets stuck on the base.  You can get the martini out through the strainer top, but you’ll want to make another round soon and it’s your only shaker!  Before you panic, simply place the entire shaker in your freezer for a few minutes.  Then set it out on the counter.  The colder temp will cause the metal to contract a bit, allowing you to remove the top with ease.  I’ve even had it pop off of it’s own accord.

Now you can make your next round.

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


Powered by WP Robot