Quick Cocktail Guide to Bitters, Syrups, and More

It’s nice to go out and treat yourself to fancy cocktails. However, we all know that can get expensive. So why not save some money and develop a cool new skill? Making your own high-quality cocktails is easier than it looks. But to start, you need a quick cocktail guide to some supporting actors.

Many people think cocktails are just the gin and juice. And sometimes it is! But to take your cocktails to the next level, you need to get to know your bitters, syrups, and garnishes. If you aren’t sure what those are or how to use them, don’t worry. Using this helpful cocktail guide, you’ll be on your way to making all of your favorite cocktails in no time!

All About Bitters

A few aspects of mixology are simply a mystery to the average person, even if they enjoy cocktails regularly.  Bitters tend to fall into this category as something that many casual drinkers understand to be an important part of their favorite cocktails yet are not sure exactly what role they play.

Bitters are heavily concentrated plant and herb flavorings that can be made with various substance combinations to achieve different flavor profiles.

Though bitters earned their name from the slightly bitter taste of their traditionally botanical ingredients, some modern-day bitters have a neutral or even sweet flavor. Use bitters in small quantities for common drinks like gin and tonics, old-fashioneds, or Manhattans.

Sweet and Refreshing Syrups

This wouldn’t be a complete cocktail guide without some information about syrups, which are used in various cocktails to achieve the perfect taste. The aptly named simple syrup is one of the most common cocktail sweeteners, and it is made by dissolving sugar in hot water.

You can buy many cocktail syrups from your local wine and spirit shop. However, these liquid sweeteners tend to be easy to make at home with just a few ingredients. If you want to make your own custom syrup, you can always add your favorite flavoring, such as lavender or citrus, to the mix and taste the combination as it cools.

Keep your homemade simple syrup in the refrigerator. They have approximately a one-month lifespan. Adding a small amount of liquor to the syrup will help it last even longer.

Using the Right Tools

Though ingredients are a crucial part of any cocktail guide, it’s important to bring it back to basics with the tools you need to create high-quality beverages at home. Anything you use to create your cocktail can affect the quality and taste of the finished product, from your cocktail shaker to your brand of liquor.

We recommend going with a cocktail shaker and stirring spoon made from high-quality metals like stainless steel or copper. Plus, if you enjoy specialized drinks like an old-fashioned or a mojito, investing in a muddler to properly press the ingredients could instantly take your cocktails from good to great.

A Garnish Goes a Long Way

The garnish on your cocktail is like the cherry on top of the sundae: it would still taste great without it. And it’s just not quite complete without it either.

Do some research on the typical garnishes that are added to your favorite cocktails. Generally, the garnish will have some relationship with the ingredients in the drink. Common garnishes are lemons, limes, Maraschino cherries, olives, and cucumbers. However, there is a lot more you can experiment with!

Get Your Cocktail Spirits Festival Wine & Spirits

Now that you’ve perused our cocktail guide, it’s time to pick up some high-quality ingredients! We have bitters, spirits, and some syrups. We are located next to a grocery store, so you can pick up just about anything you need for garnishes. Visit us today at Festival Wine & Spirits for all of your cocktail needs.

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