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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Dash it all! How to mix consistently great cocktails

When it comes to classic cocktails, dashes are another area that causes confusion in Salt Lake City and around the world.  The next post gave you the straight dope on how to convert the measures used in classic cocktail books like the Savoy Cocktail Book (1930) and “Barflies and Cocktails by Harry and Wynn” (1927).  This time we’ll cover dashes.  A dash implies a quick flip of the wrist to inject just a bit of an ingredient into the mix, but bitters bottles have plastic stoppers that limit their output to a few drops, while a liqueur bottle could easily put out a lot more.  If you research your collection of cocktail books and search the web, you will find a dash defined to be (in teaspoons) 1/12, 1/8, 1/6, and 1/4.  So what is a cocktailian to do?  Especially if you would like to produce consistently delicious cocktails?  Well, part of the answer lies in the example above: use two different measures for a dash.  Use a smaller one, say 1/8 teaspoon, for bitters and a larger one for liqueurs etc. (try 1/4 teaspoon).  So here’s what the Utah Mixologist has been using:
            Dash of bitters             1/8 tsp
            Dash of others             1/4 tsp

Please be aware that there may be recipes where you might want a larger dash.  For example, when a recipe that includes over five or six ounces of ingredients calls for a splash of something, it probably means more than 1/4 tsp.  As always, you might want to modify these measures as your cocktail mixing skills develop to get just the taste you want.  Remember: if you modify a recipe and get it just the way you like it, write it down.  My bar includes a sheaf of printed recipes with my modifications written on them so I can reproduce them later.  And finally, be sure to have fun while working on your cocktail recipes, but always drink responsibly.

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