Bar Tips and Secrets

  Chill Out

Always chill a glass before you fill it. There are basically three ways make a glass cold:
  • Put the glasses in the refrigerator or freezer a couple of hours before using them.
  • Fill the glasses with crushed ice just before using.
  • Fill the glasses with cracked ice and stir it around before pouring the drink.
If refrigerator space is not available for pre-chilling, fill each glass with ice before mixing. When the drink is ready, empty the glass, shake out all of the melted ice, and then pour in the drink.

  Frosting Glasses

There are two types of frosted glass. For "FROSTED" drinks, glasses should be stored in a refrigerator or buried in shaved ice long enough to give each glass a white, frosted, ice-cold look and feel. For a "SUGAR FROSTED" glass, moisten the rim of a prechilled glass with a slice of lime or lemon and then dip the rim into powdered sugar.

For margaritas, rub the rim of the glass with a lime, invert glass, and dip into coarse salt.

  How To Muddle

Muddling is a simple mashing technique for grinding herbs, such as mint, smooth in the bottom of a glass. You can buy a wooden muddler in a bar supply store. It crushes the herbs, much as the back of a soup spoon might, without scarring the glass.


Pitchers of cocktails need at least ten seconds of stirring to mix properely. Carbonated mixers in drinks do much of their own stirring just by natuarlly bubbling. Two stirs from you will complete the job.


Shake any drink made with juices, sugar, eggs or cream, or use an electric blender. Strain cocktails from shaker or blender to a glass through a coil-rimmed strainer.


Pour drinks as soon as you make them or they will wilt. Leftovers, should be discarded or they will be too diluted by the time you get to "seconds."

When making a batch of driks at once, set up the glasses in a row. Pour until each glass is half full, then backtrack until the shaker is empty. That way everyone gets the same amount, thoroughly mixed.

  Floating Liqueurs

Creating a rainbow effect in a glass with different colored cordials requires a special pouring technique. Simply pour each liqueur slowly over an inverted teaspoon (rounded side up) into a glass. Start with the heaviest liqueur first. Pour slowly. The rounded surface of the spoon will spread each liqueur over the one beneath without mixing them. You can accomplish the trick using a glass rod. Pour slowly down the rod.


The secret of setting brandy (or other high-alcohol spirits) aflame is first to warm it and its glass until almost hot. You can warm a glass by holding it by its stem above the flame or electric coil on your stove until the glass feels warm. (Avoid touching the glass to the flame or coil; that could char or crack the glass.)

Next, heat some brandy in a saucepan above the flame (or in a cooking pan). When the brandy is hot, ignite it with amatch. If it's hot enough, it will ignite instantly. Pour the flaming liquid carefully into the other brandy you want flamed. If all the liquid is warm enough, it will ignite.

  When Using Eggs

Eggs go into the shaker before the liquor (so that you can make sure the egg is fresh). To seperate yolk from white, crack the egg in half on the edge of a glass. Pour the egg yolk from on half-shell to the other, back and forth, until the white runs down into the glass below and only the yolk is left in the shell.

Used cracked ice to blend egg with other ingredients you need to chill.

  Fruits And Juices

Whenever possible, use only fresh fruit. Wash the outside peel before using. Fruit can be cut in wedges or in slices. If slices are used, they should be cut about one-quarter-inch thick and slit toward the center to fix slice on the rim of the glass. Make sure a garnishes are fresh and cold.

When mixing drinks containing fruit juices, always pour the liquor last. Squeeze and strain fruit juices just beforeusing to ensure freshness and good taste. Avoid artificial, concentrated substitutes.

When recipes call for a twist of lemon peel, rub a narrow strip of peel around the rim of the glass to deposit the oil on it. Then twist the peel so that the oil (usually one small drop) will drop into the drink. Then drop in the peel. The lemon oil gives added character to the cocktail, which many prefer.

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Last Touched: 5/30/00 2:22PM