Eben Freeman, head bartender at Tailor Restaurant in Manhattan, spent more than 20 hours with us demonstrating how to make drinks for our cocktail video series. He discussed everything you need to know about making classic and modern cocktails, from straightforward martinis to his signature smoked-infused-Coke and bourbon cocktail (The Waylon).
Bartender Eben Freeman's Cocktail Recipes:
Eben's key tips:
Make Good Ice
Professional bartenders with ample budgets, and space, sing the praises of ice cubes made with a Kold Draft machine because they are colder, harder, and squarer than normal cubes, and melt slowly, too. Thus, they look more uniform (no chips) and won't dilute drinks too quickly. While most home bartenders can't buy a $1,500 (100-pound) machine, they can purchase molds to create similar cubes (at Amazon) and even spherical cubes (at the MoMA store). If nothing else, use large ice cubes instead of small ones to stall dilution.
Use Freshly Squeezed Juice
You know the difference between freshly squeezed OJ and bottled or frozen OJ? The former tastes perfect; the latter has a flatness to it or an artificial sweetness. Same thing is true in cocktails: Use freshly squeezed lemon, lime, or orange to get more aromatic and fresher-tasting drinks. And do not squeeze a batch and then store it for a few days, or even hours, because that freshness will fade quickly.
Muddle Mint Carefully
Mint drinks, like the Mojito and Mint Julep, are delicious and refreshing but most people make them wrong. Do not pound away with a muddler until your arm falls off. Too much muddling creates bitter flavors. Gently break the mint's skin to release flavor.
If you think bartending involves a simple mix and match of liquid ingredients, you haven't sampled Eben Freeman's cocktails at Tailor Restaurant in New York City. Not only can he make the perfect classic Manhattan, martini, and Margarita, but he's an innovator, too. He creates original infusions and shares the latest molecular gastronomy equipment with chef-owner Sam Mason. For more on Eben Freeman, click here.
Photos by Elizabeth Perrin
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