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drink-smart

Make the end of our

Bourbon's Journey

Just as refined as the beginning

While our bourbons are designed to bring an air of craft to any cocktail, a little technique can go a long way, as well. To help you learn the tricks and blending styles of our finest mixologists, we’ve created the handy guide below with six techniques to make you a better bartender.

Technique 1:

MUDDLING

When crafting many types of cocktails, from the Bourbon Smash to the Mint Julep, you’ll need to extract juice from fruit pulp and essential oils from herbs and citrus peels. In other words, muddling is a must. Before you begin, you’ll need a muddler—a small metal or wooden pestle resembling a miniature baseball bat. Next, start by combining your fresh ingredients at the bottom of a mixing glass. Then use your muddler to press them together, releasing the flavors and allowing them to mingle with your other ingredients once added.

Technique 2:

LAYERING

In recent years, layering has become more and more popular, like in the Black Cherry Cooler. To layer a drink, individually pour the ingredients in a shot glass in order from heaviest to lightest. To prevent them from mixing together, carefully pour over a barspoon (or teaspoon). Because ingredients differ in density, the layers will stay separate. However, before you begin, you’ll need to know how heavy your ingredients are in relation to one another. As a rule of thumb, the lower the proof of the alcohol, the heavier the ingredient is. For instance, grenadine (non-alcoholic) is heavier than Jim Beam Black® (86 proof/43% abv) which is heavier than Jim Beam® Bonded (100 proof/50% abv).

Technique 3:

SHAKING

Shaking came into prominence in the mid-1800s and has since become an undeniable trademark of cocktail society. Utter the phrase, “Shaken, not stirred.” and everyone who’s anyone will know exactly what you’re referencing. A less well-known tidbit is that there are many types of shakers—the traditional three-part cobbler shaker, the more modern two-part Boston shaker and the French shaker, to name a few. No matter which kind of shaker you choose, start by pouring in your ingredients and then fill the shaker a third or halfway with ice. Next, seal the shaker and shake rhythmically until the outside feels cold enough. Finally, strain the shaker's contents into the proper glass. Just remember not to shake carbonated ingredients, except for in special circumstances.

Technique 4:

BLENDING

This is a less common cocktail mixing technique, but some drinks simply can’t be made without an electric blender. Drinks calling for fresh fruit or ice pulp, like a Kentucky Margarita, should always be made this way. Simply add your ingredients to a blender with smashed ice. Then blend for about 10 to 30 seconds before pouring the blended cocktail directly into the proper glass.

Technique 5:

BUILDING

Ever made a Jim Beam®& Cola? That’s building, and it’s the simplest way to make a cocktail. To build your drink, carefully pour all the ingredients in the glass (generally over ice) and enjoy. Since carbonated ingredients like soda generally shouldn’t be shaken, cocktails involving them will usually use this technique.

Technique 6:

STIRRING

Stirring is a classic method for mixing cocktails like the Manhattan. To begin, pour your ingredients into a Yarai mixing glass and then fill the rest of the way with ice. Next, stir well with a barspoon until your drink is well chilled and mixed. And finally, strain your cocktail into the proper glass.

practice makes damn good drinks

Now that you know the basics, you're all set to begin perfecting your methods on our extenisve list of cocktails or, of course, to try your hand at inventing few drinks of your own