The ART of the Bar Cart . The Science of the Cocktail
Palm Beach Luxe
A shiny brass or gold bar cart exudes Palm Beach glamour. Pair it with a martini or an elegant cocktail from a household name like Buccan or the Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa.
(1) West Elm Gold bar cart; $399; Available at West Elm, Palm Beach Gardens
(2) Jonathan Adler Cheval bar cart; $1,950; Available at Jonathan Adler stores nationwide, jonathanadler.com
(3) Palm Beach Lately Sunshine state cocktail napkins; $42; Available at shop.palmbeachlately.com
Buccan’s Watermelon Martini
1 1/2 oz House vodka
1/2 oz Simple syrup
1/2 oz Lime juice
8 Cubes fresh watermelon (approximately a full pint glass of fresh watermelon)
Build in mixing glass; combine all ingredients. Add ice, shake and strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with one cube of watermelon on rim.
Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa’s Blueberry Lavender Lunatic
1 Lemon wedge
3 Pieces of basil
8 Fresh blueberries
1 oz Lavender water
1 oz Honey syrup
2 oz Leblon rum
1 oz Cranberry juice
Combine ingredients; shake. Garnish with lemon.
classic Mad Man
Silver and glass never go out of style. Stock a polished metal bar cart with clear glassware to make a ’60s-era cocktail that’s just as delectable today.
(1) POTTERY BARN Brooke bar cart; $499; Available at Pottery Barn at The Gardens Mall
(2) POTTERY BARN Saddle leather bar tool set; $59; Available at Pottery Barn at The Gardens Mall, potterybarn.com
(3) POTTERY BARN Speakeasy bar tools; $49; Available at Pottery Barn at The Gardens Mall, potterybarn.com
(4) POTTERY BARN Library clear glassware, set of 6; $48-$99; Available at Pottery Barn at The Gardens Mall, potterybarn.com
(5) WILLIAMS-SONOMA The Beckett bar cart; $999; Available at Williams-Sonoma at The Gardens Mall, williams-sonoma.com
“This drink, which presents the classic Cosmopolitan in a new, elegant and sexy way, has become a classic at Daniel Boulud’s restaurants. The floating ice ball with an edible orchid inside provides the ‘wow’ factor, which is always a hit among our guests.” – Mariya Kovacheva, sommeliere at Cafe Boulud
CAFE BOULUD WHITE COSMOPOLITAN
2 oz Vodka
1 oz Elderflower liqueur
3/4 oz White cranberry juice
1/2 oz Lime juice
1 Orchid ice ball
In a shaker, combine all liquid ingredients with some ice. Shake and then strain into a carafe. Place the orchid ball in a martini glass. Serve it as you pour the content of the carafe over the ice ball.
HMF’s The Redhead
2 1/2 oz Charbay Meyer lemon vodka
1/2 oz Solerno blood orange liqueur
2 oz Cranberry juice
Top with fresh lime foam
Lime foam ingredients:
1 cup Lime juice
2 tbsp Sugar
1 sheet Gelatin
Combine the vodka, orange liqueur and cranberry juice. Then, combine the lime juice and sugar in a pot and bring to a boil. After boiling, drop the gelatin in until it disappears, stirring constantly and then let cool. The gelatin must be prepared with cold water before dropping into the pot. Top the drink with the fresh lime foam.
The Science of the Cocktail
The Cooper’s David Bouchard gives us the lowdown on making the best cocktail, and stocking the best bar cart in town.
What’s the key to a good cocktail?
Balance. Knowing your ingredients and what each guest likes to drink are the keys to success. Often, someone will ask what’s my favorite cocktail. Although I have one, it may not be the right drink for that particular guest. Instead, I ask them what they like (gin? vodka?) and then I am able to customize their perfect cocktail.
What are the makings of a great bar cart and liquor cabinet?
Mixing up a great cocktail at home starts with the appropriate tools. Every cart should include a mixing glass. My favorite go-to is a Boston shaker, which includes a mixing tin and a pint glass. Use a Hawthorne strainer with a Boston shaker. When diluting your cocktail, reach for a glass and a julep strainer, which is perfect for trapping ice. I also recommend a jigger (to measure), a long bar spoon (to stir), a citrus peeler (for garnish), a tea strainer and a muddler.
When it comes to tipples, always have a good vodka handy (Reyka is my current favorite). I like to have at least two bottles of gin (I prefer Hendrick’s), three rums (silver, spiced and aged) and lots of tequila. Whiskey falls in the category where it’s easy to go overboard. Stick with two styles of this liquid gold: rye and bourbon. Try Old Overholt Rye and Buffalo Trace Bourbon. Both are great juice for great value.
Is there a science to making a great cocktail?
There are three factors that go into the making of a great cocktail: ice, technique and ingredients.
Ice is important because it chills and dilutes. If the drink is shaken and served over ice, we shake only to chill. For drinks that call for crushed ice or eggs, I recommend a “dry shake,” or shaking your mixer without ice. For a single-spirit drink like whiskey, which is served “on the rocks,” use 2-inch by 2-inch molded cubes. It’s an elegant detail your guests will enjoy long after the party has ended.
Technique is important. In terms of shaking versus stirring, all “straight spirits” should be stirred, whether it’s a Manhattan, Negroni, Martini, Sazerac or an Old Fashioned. If your ingredients are “clear,” then stir. Shaking allows your ingredients to mix evenly, and incorporates air into the drink, essentially bringing it to life. As the famous bartender Harry Craddock said, “… a shaken cocktail should be served immediately and consumed quickly while it’s still laughing at you.”
For ingredients, choose from a variety of options. For a daiquiri, it’s all about the sugar-to-lime ratio to balance the drink’s sweet and sour notes. White rum will give you a brighter cocktail, while quality, aged rum will give you a richer finale.
Why does the glass matter?
The glass should be appropriate for the drink. You’re not going to serve sparkling wine in a martini glass. We “eat with our eyes” first, so the glass should be elegant. Skip the 10-ounce to 12-ounce martini glass in lieu of a simple 8-ounce glass.
What makes a craft cocktail different from another drink?
For me, the craft lies in the passion to make every drink not only delicious, but truly memorable as well. There’s something about watching the way a cocktail is made by someone who truly cares about the type of ingredients they use, and also the way it’s served.
Your favorite cocktail?
The Pisco Sour. It’s an iconic Peruvian drink made from Pisco (Peruvian brandy), sugar, citrus and egg white. For garnish, drop a few dashes of Angostura bitters onto the egg white foam. It’s a beautiful and delicious drink, and the aromatic bitters play wonderfully with the brightness of the Pisco and citrus.
The Cooper’s Cielo Rosa
2 oz Pisco
1 oz Vanilla simple syrup
1 oz Lemon juice
6 Raspberries (3 reserved for garnish)
1 Egg white
Separate egg white into a mixing tin. Add berries and muddle. Add remaining ingredients and dry shake with no ice for 10 seconds to emulsify ingredients. Add ice and shake vigorously for 45 to 60 seconds. Double strain into a cocktail coupe glass. Garnish with three drops of Angostura bitters and mix artistically with a cocktail straw or pick. Gently place skewered berries on the drink. Sip and enjoy.
The farm-to-table concept doesn’t just apply to food. Take a clean-lined, wooden bar cart and jazz it up with fresh berries and local ingredients to create the perfect craft cocktail.
CENTURY FURNITURE Hartman mobile bar cart; $1,167; Available at all Excentricities locations
Meat Market’s Blackberry Sage Smash
2 oz Absolut Elyx vodka
3/4 oz Boiron blackberry puree
3/4 oz Lime juice
3/4 oz Simple syrup
4 Sage leaves
4 Dashes of Scrappy’s Cardamom Bitters
Topped with Fever-tree Ginger Beer
Smack four leaves of sage. Add four dashes of cardamom bitters and add to mixing glass. Add remaining ingredients (save ginger beer). Shake and strain over crushed ice.
Top with fever tree ginger beer. Garnish with a sage sprig and blackberry.
Deep Blu at the Wyndham Grand’s Nitro Caipirinha
Avua amburana cachaça Simple syrup Lime juice
Place lime quarters in the bottom of mixing glass, add the sugar or syrup and muddle, extracting the juice and the oil in the skin from the lime quarters. Chill a cocktail glass with cracked ice. Add cachaça to the mixture in the mixing glass with ice and mix well. Pour the entire contents of the mixing glass into the chilled rock glass, and serve. Add liquid nitrogen to the mix, folding the cocktail into a good consistent slush. Garnish with edible flowers. Serve in a coupe glass.
An all-weather wicker cart, or colorful console, pairs nicely with a tropical margarita or an amber-colored Mai Tai.
(1) POTTERY BARN Palmetto all-weather wicker bar console in black; $374; Available at Pottery Barn at The Gardens Mall
(2) SOCIETY SOCIAL The Worth Rattan bar cart; $625; Available at Society Social, shopsocietysocial.com
TOMMY BAHAMA Signature Mai Tai
1 part Light rum
1 part Orgeat syrup
1 part DeKuyper Orange Curacao
3/4 part Sour mix
3/4 part Pineapple juice
3/4 part Lime juice
1 part Dark rum float
Build in shaker. Top with shaved ice. Garnish with Orchid.
Brio Tuscan Grille’s Patron Berry Rita
2 oz Patron Silver
3/4 oz Wildberry syrup
1 oz Lime juice
1/4 oz Simple syrup
3-4 Basil leaves
3 oz Club soda
1 Basil leaf for garnish
Add the Patron, wildberry syrup, lime juice and simple syrup to a mixing glass. Add ice and place basil leaves on top of the ice. Shake with a mixing tin. Add club soda while still in the mixing tin. Strain into a specialty glass over fresh ice. Garnish with a basil leaf.