Video: Cocktail lesson at Stratford’s Print House
- Credit: Archant
James Bond likes his shaken not stirred, but just how easy is it to make the perfect cocktail? That was exactly what I was about to learn at Stratford’s Print House bar.
Assistant manager Tom Lovett was on hand to show me the ropes, mixing up a Tommy’s margarita (tequila, lime and agave syrup) to get started.
“It’s best to keep things simple,” he said. “Most cocktails have three ingredients, one part sweet, one part sour and two parts alcohol.”
Behind the bar, I was put through my paces to see whether I could create a Lucky Lily - with Tom’s guidance, of course.
My first job was to crush down pineapple and grind in some black pepper for the sour element, then add a drop of agave syrup for the sweet.
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Once I’d put in the tequila and some crushed ice, it was time to shake it up.
The proper shaking technique, I was told, was to shake it over your shoulder, so if any liquid came out it would go behind you and not over the customers.
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“There are different types of cocktail,” Tom explained. “There are shaken ones, like the margarita, and there are ones mixed in a crushed ice bath.
“The tiki ones, like the Lucky Lily, are much newer, then you’ve got stirred cocktails as well.”
Before straining it, Tom showed me how to test it by dipping a straw into the drink and putting a thumb over the end to suck up a tiny amount of it.
“If there’s something not quite right, it can be fixed before giving it to the customer,” he explained.
With no further mixing needed, it was time to pour it into a glass through a strainer - and take a celebratory sip.
“Some people say they want a cocktail but they don’t know what they want,” said Tom. “We find out what alcohol they like, what flavours they like and try and mix something up for them.
“There’s a lot of experimentation with cocktails, but if you stick to the basic principle of sweet, sour and alcohol it usually works.”