Monthly Archives: September 2013
Every good party starts with a good cocktail. We may be bias but that sounds true enough. Creating a great cocktail is as easy as following a good recipe and having a few simple tools on hand. With a few dollars and one trip to the store, you can have everything you need to whip up the kind of cocktails your friends will be begging you to make time and time again.
- Good measuring cups – Great drinks come from accurately measured ingredients. We recommend this one.
- Shaker – We prefer the Boston shaker style. If you buy the large side of the shaker, you can use one of your home pint glasses to shake up a great Bees Knees among other great cocktails.
- Spoon – Some recipes call for a barspoon of this or that. Others, like a good martini, require you to stir not shake. Bar spoons have a spiral handle to help you stir like a pro.
- Strainer – Necessary to keep the ice out of your drink after shaking.
- Fine strainer – To strain out those little bits of mint, you’ll need a good fine strainer.
- Muddler – Helps extract the juice and flavor from things like mint and peppers. Necessary for a great Pepper Delicious.
- Mixing jar – When a cocktail is stirred not shaken, you need something to build your cocktail in that allows for straining and straining.
David Wondrich, Cocktail historian, Esquire cocktail columnist, and author of Imbibe! and Punch is quoted in saying this about the newest trend in home entertaining: the flowering punch bowl, “the greatest social beverage of all time,” that “now more than ever we need beverages that promote friendship.” He calls punch “more gentle than cocktails”, its preparation “easy and utterly pleasurable.” The punch bowl is communal, ideal for a group or festive gathering, less laborious than individual cocktails, and a hell of a lot more fun. As Dave states in the book’s preface: “most of punch’s stories are of warm fellowship, and conviviality, and high-spirited gatherings afloat on oceans of witty talk” — not to mention a few “battles and brawls.” –sfbg.com
He has one heck of a vocab, as he should, but to say that in Arthur lingo, I would say Punch as a cocktail category has overflown in the spirits industry, from the swankiest clubs, impossible to find speakeasies, to the home bars of bloggers, enthusiasts, and party hosts. How many bottles of wine have you opened for your friends when they come over for dinner? I’m not saying I’d ever turn down a nice glass of rose any day, but imagine the look on your guests face when you offered them instead a homemade glass of gin punch!? It’s easy, and fun, and helps in eliminating any awkwardness of introducing new friends.
You can find many great, easy to make recipes here, after you’ve mastered making the punch, you can get started on fancy ice. I mean, why not? Here’s some fun and easy ways to make your punch bowl even more enticing!
Why? Punch is made to sit around a bit, not forever, but long enough to serve all your guests as they make their appearances. To help with not diluting your punch to quickly and maintaining all the flavors you worked so hard on blending together a large ice block allows the punch to stay cold and melts slowly.
Pick a Vessel: there are many ideas, some more functional, some more whimsical…all you need is space in your freezer and a couple days to wait.
-Deli containers or Tupperware: all work just fine, and sizing shapes to fit your bowl is relatively easy.
– Small igloo: makes larger cubes, you can freeze and cut smaller cubes out of one big block. For clearer ice you can cut the bottom of the cube off or not allow it to freeze completely. This does take about 3 days.
-Bunt cake pan: create an ice ring easily with decorative molds found easily in your closest thrift store. In fact, create ice cubes from any mold pan wonderfully.
-Water balloons: turn a balloon inside out to avoid powder, and fill with water. If possible hang in your freezer with clothes pins to create a beautiful tear drop shape.
-Orange juice cartons: fill and freeze, easy to tear off carton after the ice block is formed
Martha Stewart that Ice! : Decorating, coloring or even flavoring your homemade ice cubes is super simple. Add cut fruit, fresh flowers, juices for color, bitters, or food coloring to any of the above molds by simply adding them into the water before freezing. To hold them at the bottom of the mold just add bigger, heavier ice in the water to keep weight on your decorations, then just flip it over before placing in punch bowl! The options are endless.
Good luck and happy ice making!!!
*Brooke would like to thank Facebook, and all her crazy punch making friends
Getting ready for a party takes a lot of work. From cooking to cleaning and all that’s in between, it all takes time. If you want to serve a great cocktail but don’t want to spend your party behind the bar, we have a few tips that will help make serving delicious drinks a whole lot easier.
- Make things ahead of time. Simple syrup, as well as most other syrups, can be made a week before your party. Mix them up, put them in an airtight bottle and stick them in your fridge until you’re ready to make your first drink. We recommend labeling your syrup containers with the made on date. This will help you know when it’s time to make a fresh batch.
- Use fresh juice. When it comes to citrus, the fresher the better. You’ll want to juice your lemons and limes no earlier than the day of the event.
- Batch it. You can’t mix everything ahead of time but there is a lot that you can do the morning of your party. If your cocktail calls for something with bubbles (soda water, tonic, champagne) you’ll have to add that right before you serve your guest a drink. Most everything else can be combined in advance. To keep things straight and delicious, keep a list of whats going into your batch. Then, cross it off as you add each ingredient.
- Add water. That might sound crazy but if you plan on just pouring the cocktail form the batch you’ve made ahead of time, you have to add the water in that shaking the cocktail would have provided. To make up for not shaking, all batched cocktails should have 10% added water to the total volume of your batch, unless you are diluting with soda water.
- Refrigerate. Once the party starts, pull out the batched cocktail, pour, serve and enjoy.