Presentation is Key: Creative Ways to Show Off Your Drink Creations

Edible Cocktail Glasses

These days, thanks to Pinterest, if you want to really stand out then you have to take your game to the next level. Making a great cocktail is one thing. Displaying that cocktail in a way that earns Instagram shares and Snapchat story inclusion is an entirely different skill. A little bit of creativity and flair can go a long way. Here are a few creative ways to show off your cocktails:

Edible Cups

You can have your drink and eat it too! Edible cups are a great way to show that your drink isn’t just for drinking. For example, baking cookies into little shot glasses and then filling them with an Irish cream liqueur is a great dessert and drink! The process of making edible cups for your drinks is not always easy. In the above example, you would want to shape your cookie cups around shot glasses before baking them.

Another great way to make edible cups is to use fruit. Cups made out of fruit are especially great for sweeter, summertime drinks. Plus, if you’re trying to lead a healthy lifestyle you can feel good that you’re getting a piece of fruit into your diet every time you have a drink.

Mad Scientist

Mixing drinks is basically as close as you can get to being a scientist without getting a post secondary education. Why not show off your drinks like a scientist would show off their creations? Get some test tubes and offer small, one-sip drinks. Use bright colored mixers and syrups to make it look like you have been mixing crazy chemicals together. Of course, if you also happen to be an actual scientist who works with test tubes - be sure to keep your drinks and your experiments separate.

Garnish With Candy

Everyone enjoys a great drink. Everyone loves candy. Combine the two for a sweet presentation! Plus, there are so many different types of candy to choose from. You really have an option for every type of drink. Garnish a rum and cola with a gummy cola bottle. If you’re serving a Fuzzy Navel then you can garnish with a Fuzzy Peach candy. And, when in doubt, just throw some gummy bears into a glass to let them swim around. It doesn’t have to be complicated and your sugary garnish will certainly earn some smiles.

Show Off Your Personality

If you’re going to get a little creative with your presentation, be sure to incorporate your own personality into whatever you do. The presentation says just as much about you and your own style as it does about the drink. If you’re creating your signature wedding drink be sure to incorporate the theme of your wedding day. If it’s a birthday party for a friend then use something that reminds people of them. The thought that goes into the presentation is the most important part. Trust yourself and your judgement - the result will be amazing!

Making Cocktails With Kombucha and Tea

Making Cocktails With Tea

If you have ever been sipping on a nice kombucha or tea and thought, “This could really use a little kick,” then you’re not alone. A lot of mixologists have started incorporating the two beverages as a starting point for their new mixed drinks. However, you can’t just add any alcohol and hope the drink turns out fine. It will almost surely turn out not fine if you don’t do a little bit of planning before you start pouring. Here are some handy tips to help you make tasty cocktails with kombucha or tea.

Kombucha

Kombucha is one of the trendiest things you can put inside your body right now. It’s up there with rolled ice cream, coconut oil, and anything that has “artisan” in its name. For those that haven’t experienced kombucha; it’s a fermented tea that has active probiotic cultures. It’s one of the best-tasting health drinks you can get. Best of all, you can make it at home for the cost of some tea and a probiotic culture. Of course, many of us just buy it premade at the store because this is the 21st century and our smartphones have taught us to crave instant gratification.

Kombucha has a sweet taste than regular tea. This is because of the sugar that’s added for the fermentation process. There is also a very nice bubbly sensation when you drink kombucha. It’s like a lightly carbonated beverage. And, of course, anything carbonated tastes better with a little something extra mixed in.

When making a cocktail with kombucha, you want to try and complement the sweet taste. Try adding some ginger syrup, a little bit of lemon juice, and some vodka for a refreshing drink with a bubbly kick. The tea you use to make the kombucha will also influence the taste of the mixture. A fruity tea mixture will go great with some gin and a splash of lime. Experiment with different flavors to find the right one for you.

Tea

Ah, good old tea. If it’s good enough for the Queen of England, it’s good enough for us. Making a cocktail with tea can be challenging but very tasty. First, you have to ask if you want a hot or cold beverage. If you want a cold drink; try making some sweet tea and adding whiskey with a splash of lemon juice to turn things up a notch.

For a hot tea beverage that warms you up right down to your bones, choosing the right liquor to mix with your flavor of tea is the key. A classic Earl Grey tea pairs up nicely with some bourbon. Chai Tea mixes best with some whiskey or Irish cream liqueur.

Experiment

Turning your tea into a party is easy if you know which flavors work well together. You may need to try experimenting with a few different recipes and flavor additions to find the right combination for your personal taste. Have fun and try new things - you never know what great drink you might invent!

Become Your Friend’s Favorite Bartender: Essential Tips and Tricks

Bartender

If you host guests at your home for a night of drinks you have a few options… First, you could take the easy way out and serve only beer and coolers. Most people will have no problem with this. After all, a free drink is a free drink. However, beer and coolers don’t impress. The second option is to try and be a bartender and fail miserably. We don’t want that. The third option is the best one: use a few simple tips and tricks to become the best home bartender you can be!

Play The Part

First, before we get into the actual tips and tricks, it’s important to know how to play the part. To be a mixologist you must use the tools of a mixologist. You don’t need to go out and blow your whole pay cheque on gear for your home bar but you do want to have some of the essentials. Get a cocktail shaker, some nice glassware, a muddler, a bar spoon, and a strainer. These are all easy to find and use but they can make you look like a pro. BG Reynolds' favorite is this Ubertools Barternder's roll. Some of the tools are very unique, but incredible useful.

Keep a Well-Stocked Bar

Again, you don’t need to go out and spend your entire pay cheque on liquor and mixers. However, you should have some of the basic stock that allows you to make a wide range of drinks. Do you need 3 different types of premium scotch to appeal to each individual taste preference? No. Make sure you have the essentials like Vodka, Rum, Gin, Tequila, and Whiskey. Get some syrups and mixers that can be incorporated into several different recipes. Ginger and citrus flavors are used in a lot of drink recipes so they will definitely be handy to have around.

Do The Prep Work

Part of being a great mixologist is being a good host. Good hosts don’t spend half the night behind the bar chopping limes. Do your prep work before your guests arrive. If you want fresh citrus juice then squeeze the lemons early. If you want to garnish your drinks then chop your garnish early. If you want to serve Bloody Marys with a hamburger slider on a stick then cook those sliders a few minutes before your guests arrive. Your friends and family are coming over to hang out with you so don’t let your dreams of being Tom Cruise in Cocktail get in the way of entertaining your guests. When in doubt - keep things simple.

Get A Book

If we’re being honest; you can only learn so much from a blog post. Get a cocktail recipe book and keep it behind your bar. If someone asks for a drink you have never heard of, just flip open the book and start mixing. Another fun game is to randomly pick and page and make the drink you land on. You don’t need to memorize every drink that anyone has ever ordered. Just have a good recipe book handy and consult it when you need to. One of our favorites is The Bar Book by Jeffrey Morgenthaler, it'll have you whipping up your own masterful drinks faster than you can say Oleo Saccharum.

Become The Master of the Bar

Most people don’t put much effort into being a great mixologist at home. The fact you’re even reading this means you are probably better than 80% of wannabe mixologists. Have fun, always keep learning, and be a great host - that’s all you need to be a great mixologist!

3 Drinks That Will Take Your Labor Day Party to the Next Level

Labor Day Party Drink Recipes

If you’re having a party on the Labor Day long weekend then we don’t need to tell you that you have taken on a great responsibility. This is the last long weekend of the summer. Labor Day is everyone’s last opportunity to wear flip flops before they trade them in for close toed shoes or, even worse, boots. Of course, this doesn’t apply as much if you live in one of those beautiful places where Canadians and migratory birds go in the fall.

Having some great drink recipes ready to go for your Labor Day long weekend party is your number one priority for throwing a Labor Day bash that will make people forget the weather is about to get so cold it could literally kill them. Here are some of our suggestions to serve at your Labor Day get-together:

Passionate Tequila Sunrise

Instead of giving summer a tearful goodbye, why not celebrate everything awesome about summer? This tasty twist on the classic Tequila Sunrise is like what it would taste like if you could distill sunshine and add booze.

Make a Tequila Sunrise (tequila, orange juice, and grenadine) but add a splash of passion fruit syrup to give it a flavorful twist. You could also sing the Eagle’s classic song, Tequila Sunrise, but then you’ll realize that is kind of a depressing song and not fit for an upbeat Labor Day party at all. If tequila isn’t your kind of drink, try substituting rum instead. Now you’ll feel like you’re sitting on a beach in the Caribbean.

Secret Sweet Tea Recipe

Nothing says summer like sweet tea. Nothing says party like whiskey. Combining the two only makes sense. You’ll want to make a big jug of this because once people have a sip they’re going to want a whole lot more. First, make the sweet tea. If you’re lazy then you can make some store-bought iced tea crystals. We don’t judge around here. Now, add some soda water, lemon juice, ginger syrup, and whiskey. Start with a small amount of whiskey and work your way up from there based on taste. Serve over ice with a slice of lemon and you have a sweet tea beverage perfect for your Labor Day party. If you’re not a big fan of whiskeys like Jack Daniels: try a Canadian Whiskey. They aren’t aged as long and should taste a little sweeter - perfect for this recipe.

Prosecco Punch

Don’t whine about the end of summer… Wine about it! Also… Don’t tell that joke at parties unless you enjoy uncomfortable silence. This cool, blended beverage is the perfect summer patio drink. In a blender, blend together some pineapple juice, pineapple chunks, and a splash of ginger syrup. You can leave this in your fridge until party time. Once your guests arrive, add a bottle of prosecco. The result is a refreshing, bubbly punch! The best part about this recipe is that you can add whatever you want to make it your own. Experiment and have fun!

This Isn’t Goodbye Forever, Just Goodbye For Now
 

Summer isn’t going away forever. It will be back next year - same time as always. Yes, the winter months can feel long and never ending but there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Make sure you give summer a proper send off with drinks that will have your guests talking until the snow melts!

The Curious History of Orgeat

History of Orgeat

If you ever ordered “what that person got” at the bar because it had that tiki vibe to it, odds are the bartender served you up some iteration of a Mai Tai.  And odds are you loved that weird combination of rum, Curacao liqueur, lime juice, and some intriguing syrup base you can’t put your finger on.  It’s tough not to—Mai Tai literally means “good” in Tahitian.

But that syrup—what exactly was that?  If your bartender was worth their tip that night, they hooked you up with something known as orgeat syrup.  It’s a mashup of almonds, cane sugar, and flowery water.  The tantalizing almond taste is particularly memorable to folks, as is the constant fight over how to actually pronounce the word “orgeat.” (I mean, is it or-GEE-at?  Or-ZHAT?  Does anyone else other than me care?  Life is such a mystery.)

Most people know orgeat because of one man who loved a good aventure: Victor Jules Bergeron Jr.  Back in the 1930s, Victor started up a rustic saloon across the street from his parents’ grocery store.  He called it “Hinky Dink’s,” an homage to his favorite World War I jam, “Hinky Dinky, Parlez-Vous.”

A few years after Victor opened the doors of Hinky Dink’s, he ventured down to some Caribbean islands to refresh his spirit.  About halfway through his journey, he encountered rum-based cocktails—a total gamechanger for the American drinking scene at that point.  Right after he got back to the States, he incorporated high-quality daiquiris, mojitos, and planters punch into the Hinky Dink’s menu.

But something still felt off.  Victor traveled down to Hollywood for some further inspiration, and in doing so discovered a burgeoning tiki bar called Don the Beachcomber.  After dining at this South Seas-style joint and meeting the owner (aptly named Donn Beach, of course), Victor remade Hinky Dink’s into the now famous Trader Vic’s.  Along the way of this transformation, he and Donn introduced the world to the Mai Tai; and, like any good pair of competing capitalists, the two bickered for decades as to who really came up with the drink.  

Victor and Donn traditionally get the credit for introducing the world to orgeat, but this sweet, balanced mixer predates their tiki bars by a long shot.  Hell, it even predates the Prohibition era.  

Cocktail historian (yeah, that’s a real thing, what a world) David Wondrich places orgeat as far back as the mid-19th century. Orgeat stakes its claim to one of the most famous pre-WWI cocktails in the world: the Japanese Cocktail.

According to Wondrich’s research, it was tough to justify anything other than a bit of sugar, lemon peel, bitters, absinthe, maraschino, or curacao in your cocktail before 1860.  Wondrich says the Japanese Cocktail was “one of the first ‘evolved’ cocktails on record, where the additional ingredients are more than a dash.”

Ironically, the Japanese Cocktail didn’t come from Japan, nor did it have any Japanese ingredients.  Its birth back in 1860 was intended to honor the first Japanese diplomatic trip to the United States.  Some guy named Tommy had a passion for his cocktails, introduced them to his new Japanese friends, and the rest is history.  

No matter how far orgeat goes back in our history, it’s never been a better time to add it to your next batch of cocktails.  Whether you need it to stave off 50 rabid customers at your bar or impress your friends at the next deck bash, it’s the perfect little sweet and balanced aftertaste that drink needs.  And hey, what do you know—we have some pretty on point Original Orgeat ourselves.  Test out our authenticity, love it, and tell your friends all about this super relevant cocktail history you now totally know about.