Brendan is a mastermind when it comes to creating his cocktails so we asked him to share with us the best tips and tricks of the trade so you can become an expert as well.
What are the 3 most important things for creating the perfect cocktail?
The things I think are most important in creating a cocktail are…
1) Balance. No matter what combination of ingredients you use, balance is key. Take your time mixing ingredients and make sure to use a careful hand with citrus, sugar and bitters. They are essential ingredients in a quality cocktail but too much can make a cocktail too sweet, sour or bitter.
2) Shaking vs. Stirring. Shake all cocktails with citrus or juices to make the cocktail come alive with texture, a quick chill and dilution. Stir cocktails that are all spirit based (i.e. a Manhattan). Stirring a cocktail with a little syrup added is fine.
3) Quality Ingredients. Quality ingredients make for better cocktails. Don’t cheap out on bad spirits. The most expensive won’t make the best cocktails either. And fresh juices and citrus is key.
What is your favorite bartender trick?
My favorite bar trick is probably flaming a twist of lemon or orange peel. People, even millions of years since man discovered fire, still are wowed by a little burst of flame.
What are your favorite trends in the realm of cocktails?
As for trends in the cocktail world, I love that Baltimore is catching up on the cocktail scene and that cocktail savvy guests are veering away from vodka. It’s so bland and one dimensional. Only what you mix with it adds flavor and character to a cocktail. Gins, Whiskies, Tequila, Brandy, Mezcal, Rums and so many cool cordials along with an army of bitters to choose from are making cocktails so exciting to play with. And there is so much more all the time.
A big thanks to Brendan for his wonderful input. Want to experience his expert creations first hand? Join us for our “Up in Smoke” Secret Supper on May 18th.