Frontier Psychiatrist

Frontier Mixology Vol. 21: A Man Walks Into a Bar…

Posted on: September 24, 2010

Hopefully by now, Frontier Mixology has featured some cocktails that have captured readers’ fancies.  Perhaps some of you, however, have been stymied in your attempts to make these cocktails out of concern that your home bar is not up to snuff.  Hogwash! What’s needed to make great cocktails at home is rather modest.  How then does one equip and stock a basic home bar?  The first thing to understand is that almost every drink is either shaken or stirred.  Leaving Commander Bond aside for the movement, the choice is based not on the drinker’s personal tastes — although it can be — but rather on the drink’s components.

The rule is simple: if there’s citrus, syrup, or (gasp!) an egg, the drink is shaken with ice, otherwise the drink is stirred with ice.  Thus, the Jack Rose is shaken, but the Brooklyn is stirred.  So, what this means is that all you really need is (1) a way to stir drinks, and (2) a way to shake drinks.  Here’s the list of all you’ll need… with links!

For stirred drinks:

+ Pint glass (you can usually get one for under $2 at home stores)

+ Bar spoon (also used to measure small amounts of liqueurs)

+ Strainer (a julep strainer is best)

For shaken drinks:

+ Decent cocktail shaker (known as a cobbler-style shaker)


+ Small measuring device (the stainless steel one from Oxo is the best)

+ Cocktail glasses that aren’t too oversized (no more than 6 oz., get at a restaurant supply store)


+ Small cutting board, paring knife, and vegetable peeler for cutting off swaths of citrus peel for garnish.

+ Juice squeezer

That’s it!  With this basic set up, plus ice you’re good to go.  To make sure that your cocktails stand out: (i) use fresh-squeezed juice; (ii) measure amounts carefully; and (iii) stir/shake cocktails for a goodly amount of time with fresh, cold ice.  People think that if you know what you’re doing, you don’t need to measure. 

This is absurd and patently false.  Especially if you’re mixing at home, where you don’t make the same drink a hundred times in row, and so don’t know exactly how far up the glass ¾ oz. of liquid will reach.

With these few tips and a bit of simple equipment, you’ll be able to have some friends over and mix up a batch of great cocktails.  Or, drink alone — we’re not here to judge.  Word of advice: don’t take orders, just pick one drink and make it for people.  If they don’t want the drink you picked, screw it and simply give them a beer or a glass of wine, they’ll still be happy.

Drink up,


4 Responses to "Frontier Mixology Vol. 21: A Man Walks Into a Bar…"

I see what you did there with the pint glass link 🙂

[…] all ingredients; shake with ice; strain into a chilled cocktail […]

[…] cocktails is “What basic liquor should I get?”  Good question.  We’ve already covered the basic hardware for setting up a home bar; this week’s post will focus on the necessary software.  Many of you no doubt have a motley […]

-:- I am very thankful to this topic because it really gives great information *:,

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