Thursday, August 19, 2010

Lesson 3: Mixes

Welcome back to Free Online Bartending School! I'd like to thank you personally for sticking with me through the couple lessons that I've posted so far.

In this lesson, I would like to talk about the bar mixes that you must become familiar with. Bar mixes are used for almost 80-85% of the cocktails that you'll make, so it is a fundamental knowledge that you must have.

It really does help to go out and try tasting all of the mixes so that you have a good understanding of what each mixes tastes like. After some time, you start to figure out what mixes will blend well with what. This will help to either remember what goes into which cocktail, or even better, create your own cocktail.

Some of the mixes below will be very fundamental. Things like coke and 7Up, you're probably drinking as you read this. But I wanted to point them out to you since they are mixes that you will be using as a bartender.

So, here we go, try to memorize all of them, or better yet, go out and try it out so that the knowledge will become part of you.

Bar Mixes

Orange Juice: Probably the most frequently used juice of the four juices. Orange juice is popular and versatile so you tend to use it quite frequently. A popular orange juice drink is a Screwdriver. You also use orange juices with other juices to make many different variations.

Orgeat: This is a red, brown, or a clear mix with an almond flavor to it. Orgeat syrups can be found at a coffee store often to make an almond latte. In the bartending world, it’s used frequently for tropical drinks like the Mai Tai. However, I’ve found that in most real life situations, it’s actually more popular to use the liqueur version with almond flavor in place of using orgeat. Creme de Noyaux is the version with alcohol in it. It tastes very similar to orgeat, just with a bit of alcohol in it. Who doesn’t want more booze in their Mai Tai?

Passion Fruit Juice: Passion fruit juice and other nectars can be used at bar that like to offer a little extra to its customers. A standard hotel bar may not carry this kind of juice. However, due to its thickness and taste, passion fruit go very well with rum to make an awesome tropical drink. Nectar also has a place, where you often see the use of a Peach Nectar mixed with champagne to make a Bellini.

Pina Colada Mix: A Pina Colada mix will be used to obviously make a Pina Colada with. It is a mix with pineapple and coconut, and it’s a thick white mix. You’ll usually need to mix pineapple juice on top of the mix to make a good Pina Colada.

Pineapple Juice: Pineapple juice is often times mixed with other juices to make a cocktail. Some of the popular ones are cranberry & pineapple and Pina Colada as described right above. They are rarely used by itself to make a cocktail. Pineapple juices usually come in a can, so you’ll need to replace it into a juice container. They do tend to go bad pretty quickly so keep your eye out for its freshness of it all times.

Quinine Water or Tonic Water: Tonic water is pretty commonly used in a bar to make Gin & Tonic or Vodka Tonic. It’s a simple refreshing drink that is very popular. Tonic water tastes like soda water with some sweetness and a tang. You can drink tonic water alone, and it actually tastes very good. Most bars will have tonic water come out of the automatic beverage dispensers.

Rose’s Lime Juice: Rose’s is actually a company name that makes other mixes, but it is well known for its sweetened lime juice. You use Rose’s Lime Juice to make Gin Gimlet or Vodka Gimlet with, a popular drink. Rose’s Lime Juice has a lime taste to it and is extremely sweet. Kamikaze is another drink that uses the Rose’s Lime Juice.

Seltzer Water or Soda Water: Soda Water is used quite frequently when making a cocktail. Some of the popular ones are Brandy & Soda or Whiskey & Soda. Mojito also uses soda water to give it that extra fizz. Soda water is available through the automatic beverage dispensers.

7 UP: Like cola, 7 Up or Sprite is used quite frequently when making cocktails. 7 & 7 is a popular 7 Up drink. You can always substitute it with Sprite. An Electric Iced Tea also uses 7 Up to give the extra fizz on top of the enormous amounts of alcohol in it.

Sweet & Sour: Sweet & Sour mix is probably the most popular mix you will use as a bartender. This is an extremely versatile mix where you can use it for many drinks. Mix it straight with a liquor to make a Midori Sour, an Amaretto Sour, or a Whisky Sour. You can use it for margaritas and daiquiri. It is a very popular mix that you will be using each and every day as a bartender.

All right, so that concludes this lesson on the basic mixes of bartending.
You will be dealing with many of the mixes above once you start bartending. A drink recipe will call for these mixes, and you need to know what they are. You should also know how the mixes taste so that you can imagine what the final cocktail will taste like. Getting familiar with all of your ingredients is the key to success as a bartender.

OK, I hope you study hard, and get these mixes under your belt. Also as I mentioned earlier on this post, because these mixes tend to be relatively low cost, I do recommend you go out and buy them at your local grocery store or at an online store so that you can get yourself familiar with them. It makes a world of difference to know what each of the ingredients actually taste like and look, so consider that as an educational expense to become a great bartender. I’m thinking if you have $20-30 to spare, you can get most of the mixes.

All right, my next lesson will be on garnishes, so until then, good luck and study hard!


Lesson 2: Basic Bar Tools

Lesson 4:

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