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When the sun is shining what's better than sipping an ice-cold cocktail and relaxing in the garden? The great news is that with the right equipment and a technique they are surprisingly easy to create yourself at home.
Build: the easiest method is to just place the ice in the glass add a measure of alcohol and finish with a mixer and garnish.
Shake: a cocktail shaker makes it easy work to mix your cocktail and chill it quickly, hold the shaker and shake it with both hands and shake it like you mean business. When the condensation forms on the outside it's ready, use a strainer if you need to remove the ice before serving.
Stir: there is a special method to this, not to stir as you would a cup of tea, but to use a bar-spoon that reaches the bottom of the glass then roll around the walls of the glass to get maximum mixing.
Muddle: this is used to bring out the oils and juices in the herbs, fruit and any spices you may be using. With the end of the muddler in the palm of your hand press down and make a quarter twist, then repeat until all ingredients are mashed if you don't have a muddler a pestle, or a wooden spoon or even a rolling pin would work.
Sugar syrup is used in many cocktail recipes, but don't worry if you don't have any to hand, just make your own by stirring two parts granulated sugar into one part water. Heat gently and stir until dissolved. Cool before using.
Freeze slices of fruit or even herbs frozen into ice cubes are easy to make and add some elegance to your cocktail. For a hint of extra flavour twist a slice of grapefruit, lemon, lime or orange over your drink to release the oils before dropping in.
To add a signature flourish and for an instant hit of flavour, you could decorate the rim of your chosen cocktail glass, try salt, sugar, fine cocoa powder or icing sugar or if you want to make it really fun, you could get some coloured sugar or even make. your own. In a small resealable plastic bag, combine sugar and a few drops of food colouring. Seal bag and shake to tint the sugar. Allow the sugar to dry on a flat surface for 15-20 minutes before using.
How you mix your cocktails makes a difference to the end result, stirring is for cocktails that are purely alcoholic and retains the liquids silky quality, it also ensures that are no bubbles that would make the drink look cloudy. Shaking is for cocktails containing cream, eggs or juice or muddled fruit as it ensures the ingredients are well mixed and introduces tiny bubbles.
Most of all sit back relax and enjoy.