Frosting A Glass When Bartending

How to garnish your drinks and essential tools for the home bar.

Like the seasoned chef who knows the importance of presentation, the expert bartender knows that the secret to a perfect drink lies in using the right tools and garnishing well. Unique and proper presentation of a cocktail can make a so-so drink spectacular. Here are a few must-haves for the home bar, and some tips for spectacular mixology.

For any job, having the right tool is essential and bartending is no different. Selecting the proper glass for the drink is of the utmost importance. Depending on the type of beer you are serving select a stein, mug, or pilsner glass. Use rocks glasses for drinks served �on the rocks� or mixed with fruit juices or seltzers. Generally speaking, rocks glasses only hold about three ounces of liquid and are not advisable for drinks with more than two ingredients. A highball glass, on the other hand, holds between four and six ounces. Highball glasses are used for �tall� drinks and are the most common glass used in the bar. Cocktail glasses, also known as martini glasses, hold the least amount of alcohol and are used for stronger drinks. A variety of white wine and red wine glasses are also essentials to the bartending trade.

A cocktail shaker is another tool of importance. There are two types of shakers, the American style and European style. The American version is composed of two cones that are put together to form a seal. There is not strainer attached to this type of shaker, so this is another tool you will need if you prefer this type of shaker. The European shaker has one cone and a top with a built-in shaker. Never use a plastic shaker, as this can affect the taste of the drink. A jigger is a measuring tool that holds one and a half ounces, which is the same amount in a shot.

To frost a glass or a mug for an icy cold beverage, simply dip the glass in water and place it in the freezer for an hour. Don�t ever put a hot drink into a frosted glass, or place a hot glass in the freezer. To frost the rim of a glass with sugar or salt, begin by rubbing a lemon or lime wedge around the rim of a glass. Put salt or sugar in a shallow saucer or dish and dip the rim into the substance. Carefully move the glass from side to side to get the sugar or salt to stick to the rim of the glass. Do not spin the glass, or else the citrus juice will simply dissolve whatever you want to stick to the glass. For a fun, festive garnish you can mix some sugar with a drop or two of food coloring for colored sugar.

After you�ve mixed up a batch of your favorite margaritas or other cocktail, don�t forget the garnish! A wedge of lemon, lime, or any other citrus fruit provides the final layer of taste in the drink and shouldn�t be forgotten. Use plastic cocktail skewers (often shaped like miniature swords) as opposed to wooden ones to spear the fruit, as wooden spears can leave splinters in the drink.

© High Speed Ventures 2011