Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Glass Preparation - Chill, Rub, and Drizzle like a pro

I already blogged previously about all the different types of glassware. If you need help deciding which and what kind of glasses you need to serve your cocktail, check it out.

After choosing the glass, prepping it to poor the best libation would be your next step. So the right question at this point would be  

"Do all cocktails need glasses prepared?" 

For me, the answer is pretty simple. If your mouth is touching the glass or if you are using short straws, then prepping is a must. Cocktails served on highball glasses don´t need any preparation.

These are done before pouring the cocktail, for Garnishes, check out my next blog.

Chilled Glass

If you have enough freezer space, you can either chill your glasses before hand by putting them in the freezer for at least 10 minutes or just filled them up with ice cubes for a few minutes. Purist will literally kill me for saying this but if you chilled them for about 5 minutes only, you could use that same ice to shake or stir your drink.If you are a bartender and have no time to prep or you ran out of glasses, you might need to add some water to your glasses to speed up the process. Needless to say, Don´t use the ice water to shake your drink, seems obvious but I have seen some people doing it. Yes, Angelica, I am talking to you... Don´t do it unless you want a painful death by fanatical members of the IBA.

Granted, martini glasses look very cute and enticing with a nice rim, but seriously only a few drinks really call for a sugar, salt, chocolate or caramel rim. 

Salt Rim
After you have chilled your margarita or martini glass, rub a lime or lemon wedge outside the glass rim, Have a saucer or a bowl filled with a couple spoon fulls of salt, preferably use Kosher Salt or Sea Salt (this one might need some muddling). Hold the glass by the stem upside down, parallel to the saucer, While doing a rotating motion with your fingers by the stem, dip the glass into the saucer, Shake off the excess over the bowl or the sink. I usually hit the glass on the side a couple times to be sure any excess salt have been shaken off. 

Robert Hess recommends to rim only half side of the glass, since a few people don´t really like salt rims, but I think asking before pouring is a safer bet. Train your bartenders to ask the customer´s preferences in this regard.

Sugar Rim

It basically the same procedure use in the salt rim, but instead of Salt you use Powdered Sugar. First a little explanation. Powdered Sugar is known as Icing Sugar, as well as it is Confectioner´s Sugar and it is 10X Sugar too. But in most cases bartenders will have only regular sugar to rim their glasses (In such case, just pout your mouth for about 10 seconds and proceed to drink)

Caramel Rim

You need to find a quick way to make caramel. Keep reading this blog and you will find how to make caramel (See it under Drizzling) to make a caramel rim for a martini glass in about 50 seconds. Once you have a the caramel nice and warm, rim the border quickly on it. It will solidify in a matter of seconds. to avoid spills, after rimming it, turn the glass parallel to the table and rotate it in your fingers, in that way it will solidify and any drop that falls will stay in the rim.

Not a common practice and this is only my personal preference. But I have created some straight up versions of common cocktails (Mojito martini, Moscow Mule Martinis) in which cases I prefer to rub the rim or even the inside of the glass with the ingredient that portraits the most evident fragrance. 

Peppermint rub
I use this when preparing Mojito Martinis or Passion Fruit Mojito Martinis, Rub 2 to 3 peppermint leaves inside a chilled martini glass, until they leave a soft trace in the glass.Don´t over do it, because you want to leave a fragrance but not the leaves´sap.

Lime/Lemon Zest
Again, not you average practice, but I prefer to rub a coin size chunk of lime/lime zest inside the glass and around the riom when I am pouring Kamikazees, Lemon Drops, or any citric predominant flavored martini. 

Orange Peel
Manhattan, Vesper, Bond Martinis might gain some fragrance and a little bit of a bite when a small size orange peel is rubbed around the rim.

There are 2 different ways to drizzle chocolate, The easy one and the other one

The easy one is go to your local grocery store and purchase one of the local Chocolate Ice Topping Syrups, be sure to use one that is not too liquid, instead of opening the tip with scissors, use a needle or a tiny, pointy object that won´t open a big hole. Move your hands quick over the glass to make fine lines. Keep it refrigerated until the next party. 

You have two options. Use The ice topping Caramel Syrup or you can Make Caramel-Drizzle Topping: Heat together equal parts of sugar and water (About 3 spoons of each) in a microwaveable container for 25 seconds in your microwave oven, until the sugar is completely dissolved, stir and put back for another 25 seconds or stop it when the mixture is turned light golden in color. Keep an eye on it, your don´t want it to turn black or to be scortched. Using a wooden spoon, drizzle the caramel over the glass in a zigzag pattern, drizzling back and forth. Let stand to harden.

Strawberry Drizzle (Option 1)
4 cups fresh or frozen strawberries
1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup orange juice
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice.
Heat in a sauce pan until mixture boils.
Puree and let it cool down. Refrigerate until needed.
 Strawberry Drizzle (Option 2)
Use Ice Cream Strawberry Topping for drizzling. 

White Chocolate Drizzle
3 oz white chocolate pieces
1 tsp. vegetable oil
Melt them in a small saucepan over very low heat. Spoon into small plastic bag,
squeezing to one corner. Snip off corner; drizzle over frosted glass. Keep refrigerated. Microwave for 20-30 seconds if the drizzle solidifies or you could warm it on a Baign-Marie!.

You could try frosting, rubbing or drizzling but keep in mind that more not always means better. Balance and flavor is always the final goals when you are mixing cocktails. Enjoy and keep me posted if you want me to add some other ideas when prepping your glasses.