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 Tending Bar: A few quick tips

This article is a hodge-podge of information that we've gleaned from years of serving drinks and interviews with our favorite bartenders. If you have a tip to add to this list, please send it to us. We'd appreciate featuring your knowledge and citing you.

Quickly chilling a glass:
If you have a few minutes, it's best to wet a glass and put it in the freezer. If you're really in a hurry, though, you can fill the glass with ice and water to quickly chill the glass.

Mixing with Eggs:
When you shake a drink that requires an egg, use an ice cube. It breaks up the egg and helps it blend into the drink.

Prevent Dripping:
If you smear a clean piece of wax paper over the top of a bottle, the wax will form a tighter seal and make the bottle less likely to drip.

Ice:
The quality of the ice that you use to mix your drinks is as important as the quality of the other ingredients, as old ice or freezer ice carries with it certain flavors and smells. If you plan to be mixing drinks in any quantity, buy approximately one pound of ice for each guest that you anticipate will be drinking.  If you are unable to do this, then we recommend that you remove the odor from the ice by rinsing it with cold tap water.

Making Sour Mix and Sweetened Lime Juice:
Whenever a drink calls for sour mix or sweetened lime juice (like Rose's Lime Juice), you can substitute home-made sour mix or home-made sweetened lime juice for the store-bought kind to great effect. Sour Mix is made by mixing about eight ounces of lemon juice with two tablespoons of sugar.  Sweetened Lime Juice is made the same way, but with lime juice.

Blend any creamy drink:
Most shaken drinks which contain light cream can also be made as blended drinks.  To do this, substitute vanilla ice cream for the light cream and blend with moderate ice.

Develop a sense of style:
A large part of your effectiveness as a bartender is not your mixing ability, but instead your ability to tell a joke or perform a quick trick.  Every good bartender should know a trick or six and a few jokes.  Once you can tell one joke or perform one trick, eager bar-goers will happily share more with you.

Don't drink while mixing
Most bartenders became bartenders because of an interest in drinking and the strange alchemy that goes into mixing drinks. As a professional, however, you would do best to leave these habits behind and to focus on your work.

Next steps:  

This article is the sixth article in a ten article series designed to transform people new to drink mixing into competent bartenders.  Click for the next article in the series, Shots and Layered Drinks.

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