Shared Flashcard Set


Back To The Basics
Starting Out In Classic Cocktailing

Additional Bartending Flashcards





1. Boston Shaker- Shaker Tin & Mixing Glass. Forms air tight seal and is a classic way of shaking classic cocktails. Modern day use tin-on-tin.

2. Small Tin/Cheater Tins- Easy to seperate and no chance of breaking glass. Metal tin provides higher conductivity for a colder drink.

3. Mixing Glass- Used for mixing straight spirit cocktails. Guest should be able to see ingredients blend. Needs to be heavy and strong (yarai w/ a julep strainer)

4. Hawthorne Strainer- Used for straining from a tin.

5. Julep Strainer- Used whenever a cocktail is stirred in a mixing glass and needs to be strained.

6. Jiggers- Used to measure ingredients precisely ina  number of styles. Maintains consistency so balance and integrity of drinks are true.

7. Cardamaro Bottles- Bottle for freshed squeezed juices and pre-made mixers.

8. Droppers- Used for bitters and other ingredients w/ minimum usage.

9. Sprayers- Used for spraying ingredients such as vermouth or absinthe for coating glasses.

10. Speed Pourers- Used to regulate the flow of liquid poured.

11. Citrus Squeezers- Used to fresh squeeze juices a la minute.

12. Bar Spoons- Used for stirring and measuring small amounts of ingredients.

13. Chanel Knife- Used to cut twists from citrus and zest over drinks (long and stringy).

14. Potato Peeler- Used for creating large zests and extracting more oils. Also allowed for the extraction of the least amount of pith to be pulled from the cut (avoid bitterness).

15. Knife- Essential behing bar to cut garnishes, fruit, and various other uses (also need cutting board).

16. Muddle- Used when a drink requires muddled fruits and herbs and smashing ice in a lewis bag. Avoided lacquered wood.

17. Lewis Bag- Bag used for crushing ice and creating crushed or cobbed ice.

18. Tongs- Used for picking ice and garnishes from their bin/containers.

19. Matches- Used for lighting zests and drinks.

20. Marker and Tape- Used for labeling and marking bottles and containers.



- means "putting in place"

-Must have better drinks that don't take a lot of extra time

-Bar is like the kitchen line you must spend many hours daily setting up with ingredients for proper service

-Spoons to taste, straws to serve and must constantly taste juices, vermouths, and syrups for freshness

-DAILY BAR SETUP: Clock-In, Set up 3-compartment setup, juicing, stocking, bar cleaning, recipe checklist, polish glassware, ice, cocktail demo, polish glassware.


1. Proper Eye Contact- As guests enter bar, use eye contact to to acknowlege them and show you'll serve them as soon as possible.

2. Greeting- Give glass of water when slow with beverage napkin.

3. Drink Suggestion- Suggest one that fits season and mood. "Read the guest."

4. Drink Order- Make all drinks if front of guest. Ingredients should be w/in arms reach and if you must grab from the backbar do quickly and return promptly to its proper place.

5. Serving The Order- Reannounce the drink order when giving them their cocktail. Always serve w/ bevergae napkin and appropriate garnish.

6. Follow-Up- Check back witht he guest after their first sip and see how it tastes. Be attentive, but avoid hovering over the guest.

7. Presenting The Check- Keep running tab for all of the guests drinks. Always double-check the order to make sure all of the drinks are on there.

8. Good-Byes- Tell the guest you appreciate them for coming in and that you hope to see them again.


1. Building- All ingredients combined in the glass w/out shaking, stirring, or straining (can stir w/ swizzle stick or spoon if needed).

2. Stirring- Put ingredients in a mixing glass. Add ice last to have control of dilution. Hold bar spoon like a pencil in order to stir properly, rotating the bar spoon in your hand (average stir should be 15-20 seconds).

3. Muddling- Used to muddle wedges of citrus fruits to release flavors from the peel and pulp. Don't press too hard or you'll release bitterness from the peels as well as possibly break the glass (hardwood muddlers with a good finish the best).

4. Shaking- Build ingredients in glass portion of a shaker. Pour ingredients into metal portion of shaker and double strain into a glass w/ fresh ice or straight up (if no strainer, use gap method). Always shake away from customer. When using tin-on-tin or the glass, tap the side of the tin in order to release the seal. There are other forms of advance shaking (ex.- Japanese Hard Shake)

5. Straining & Double Straining- Hawthorne (w/ tin), Julep (w/ yarai mixing glass), and double/tea (for removing smaller ice particles).

6. Rolling- Pour contents back-and-forth between 2 mixing glasses.

7. Swizzle- Used for mixing a cocktail w/ a swizzle (4 branches) used for agitating the drink. Made w/ crushed ice and can also be mixed w/ a bar spoon.




*Must practice daily and vigilantly to be efficient in your pours*


1. Free Pouring- Must grip the bottle firmly w/ good handling, have a strong count, use a good check bounce, and double check your glass to make sure it is poured correctly.


2. Jigger Pouring- Jiggers are used for consistency to see that the cocktails are poured correctly and exactly the same way every time. Don't ever angle a jigger, as this makes the process useless. You must measure quickly and use your wrist to pour the contents into the mixing glass. Move the hand quickly and flick the wrist. This method is best to avoid spillage and pourage.


1. Shaking- Must shake if there are juices, creams, citrus or other heavy ingredients (exs.- Corpse Reviver #2, Ramos Gin Fizz, Margarita, etc...)

-Shakes and completely chills, dilutes, and aerates in about 15 seconds. After this, drinks stops changing radically and reaches relative equilibrium. Creates slightly lower temperature than if done with stirring.


2. Stirring- Done when there are spirits and fortified spirits only, drinks w/ basic sugars, and contain carbonated beverages (ex.- Manhattans, Sazeac, Negroni, &Mojito).

- Doesn't cause aeration or chagne texture and has slightly higher temperature than if shaken.

-Must have adequate ice and a proper mixing glass. Must moce spoon in a circular motion around the edge of the glass. Stir about 15 seconds and the strain with a julep strainer (James Bond was wrong).






*the Manhattan Project*

-The impast of dilution and temperature ona  classic drink. 2 manhattans, stirred, no ice: leave one in the fridge, and let the other sit and stir right before pulling the other out of the fridge.


Fridge: Harsh, out of balance, very cold.

Stirred: balanced, good temperature, complimentary flavors. Ice brings water and cold temperature to the drink.


Dilution: No maginc number of dilutino percentage. different dilution rates for different drinks (roughly 25%-60% dilution). Ice size and shape help with control. Should be conscious of your ice like your conscious of everything else in the drink.


Temperature: Goes beyond preference. Temperature will change flavor of the drink. Lower temperatures bring out sweetness and tone down harshness of the drink. Shaken drinks (-9 degrees celsius) and stirred (-3 degrees celsius). Surface area determines the temperature of the drink. Carbonated beverages will break down down ice faster.


Texture: Temperature and dilution change the viscosity of the drink. Colder the drink, the thicker the texture. Warmer the drink, the lighter the texture.







Size: Be aware of ending liquid measurement. Most classics fit in 5 1/2 oz. size glassware. Not filling drink with uneeded filler* you are not shorting them*


Proper Glass Shape: Proper glass shape is important for mental aspect.


Garnishing: Always use correct garnish. Focus on what garnish imparts in terms of look and taste. Only garnish if it was with the original (ex.- cherry in corpse reviver) or if guest for some reason requests a different one. When adding citrus, make sure it is just enough and not too much. Crushed ice drinks are served with straws and no drink should be tough to drink. Want to use garnishes which can better compliment flavors already present in the drink (ex.- manhattan with orange, lemon zest, or maraschino cherry vs. regular cherry).


-Selection of your base spirit in the cocktail will help you consider the overall flavor with the compliments. Bring out spirit of the base with a complimenting cast of characters.


-Strong refers to 80 proof or higher. Alcohol by volume in relation to the drink is also a big issue.


- abv. of about 12-20% generally bring in a balance. *Think beer and wine in terms of alcohol by volume*


-Most drinks off-balance below 11% and above 22%. More ingredients you add to the drink, the harder the balance will be.


Calculating Cocktail ABV: (Volume of Strong x ABV%/ Sum of Ingredients) x 100


*When we refer to weak we are referring to water, juice, and fortified wines such as vermouth that are below 20% abv. The intention of this ingredient is to subtly compliment the drink with light flavors and stretch the drink for optimal solution*

-Weak portion of the drink is directly related to dilution. Helps bring the ingredients into harmony by stretching the intensity out (individually, all ingredients are pretty intense, but together, they complement each others flavors).


-Ideal % for weak ingredients range from 25%-60%. Straight spirit  drinks understandably taste better w/ higher % weak to bring into balance. 


Flavor In Your Weak Ingredient

Be aware of what the weak ingredient brings into the balance as well (cranberry juice acidity, sodes aeration and effervescence, etc...)


*Select a weak element that brings complimentary flavors to your other ingredients. It can bring additional aweetness, acidity, bitterness or savoring components, temperature, and texture that may throw off the balacne*


***Refer to page 21 of the manual for weak ingredients and what they bring as far as flavor***

Sour (Citrus/Acid)

*Not all classics include sour ingredient, but a lot do*


*cocktails that taste too sweet will come back into balance w/acid & vice-versa*


-Can come from lemon, lime, OJ, Grapefruit, yuzu, etc...they contrain citric acid. There has also been an increasingly growing trend to use gastriques such as fruit and vinegar syrups and house make lemon-lime cordials.


-Acidity can also be introduced via sparkling wines, vermouths, and ciders. Some citrus liqueurs as well (some bring sweetness as well). There are also malic and tartaric acids. Malic and acids bring a softer sour flavor than citric acids (pears & apples). Tartaric acids are in grape-based products. Also acetic acids found in vinegar. 



-Acid can also be introduced via garnishing. Zests add oils, but no zest. Wheels and wedges add acids.


*refer to page 22 for juice mellowing chart*


-Have to juice fresh lemons and limes everyday before your shift. Be sure to use good judgement for expected juicing. Check reservations and be mindful of conventions and events in the area.  Be sure to save the juices in glass bottles (use old wine bottles). Store in ice or refrigerate at low temperatures. 

Sweet (Sugar/Brix)

Many ways to add sweetness (sugars, syrups, agave nectars, purees, liqueurs, spirits, sodas). Don't want to add too much sweetness. Can often judge how sweet something is through its viscosity. 


*refer to pg. 23 in manual for sweetness chart*


How To Make Simple

-Can be made in a variety of ways depending on the amount of sugar and how long you cook it. Different ratios are used to help determine the thickness and sweetness of the syrup. If under the gun, heat can be skipped. Usually go with 1:1.


Flavored Syrups

Can be made adding liberal amounts of herbs, fruits, and spices. Taste during the process and pull the syrup when the optimal flavor is achieved. Check for thickness and add a little alcohol to prevent bacteria growth. *Can also macerate alcoholic ingredients with herbs and spices and then create syrups like falernum* *Also orgeat*


Types of Sugars & Sweeteners

1. Confectioners (Powdered Sugar)- made up of much finer particles than granulated sugar and contains about 3% corn starch (to prevent caking). This type of sugar is used to lightly coat mint leaves in a traditional mint julep.


2. Honey- Honey is best used in a syrup behind the bar. Raw or processed honey is very thick. Best to dilute honey syrup with water. Provide flavors that are slightly nutty, orangish and brighter than other sweeteners. 


3. Maple Syrup- A thick sweetener that can make drinks really sweet really quickly. The deep notes of caramel work well with barrel aged spirits.  Good for a twist on a mint julep or old-fahsioned.


4. Brown Syrup- Consists of sugar crystals in a specially prepared molasses syrup with controlled natural flavor and color components. When making brown sugar syrups, the flavors will be more round and have a thicker viscosity.


5. Demarara Syrup- Sugar named after Demarara river in Guyana.  Provides rich flavors that work will with whiskey and barrel-aged syrups. 


6. Agave Nectar- Comes in either pure agave nectar or diluted form.  Will bond well with other ingredients as it is very viscous. Be careful when using agave nectar because a little goes a long way. Most popular cocktail using agave nectar is Tommy's Margarita.


7. Bar Sugar- Sugar you find in most kitchens.


8. Molasses- Most rum is made from molasses. To remove the molasses layer on raw sugar, The sugar is dissolved and then seperation is done via a centrifuge and carbon filters to yield a water white sugar syrup and thick dark-molasses.


9. Raw Sugar- Raw sugar will provide a dark and deeper flavor in your syrups (96-98% sucrose w/ a thin layor of molasses covering it). A dark, thick syrup containing sugar, water, plant material, minerals, and other non-sugars.




Spice (Bitters/Spice)

*Refers to flavoring agents such as bitters, vermouths, spices, and  other elements taht may add a savory umami flavor to the drink*



Bitters have become a key ingredient now! Can help bring many drinks to balance. Don't necessarily make drinks bitter. Could be the missing element that bring all the other ingredients together. Think of bitters more like your spice rack. Can bring out flaovrs of other ingredients, but too much could be bad. 


*Refer to chart on page 25 in manual*


(A Pinch of salt added to your cocktail can negate bitterness and bring out savory notes of the drink. Remember though, just a small pinch)


Potable Vs. Non-Potable

Potables- Stuff like fernet, campari, aperol, jagermeister, zwack.

Non-Potable- Ango, Peychaud, Regan's, Fee's, Bitter Truth.



Some cal for freshly grated spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, allspice. 



-Can do via citrus peels with too much pith or broken mint leaves.


Balancing With Bitters

When balancing a cocktail with bitters there are a few helpful tips: 1. 1-2 dashes can bring a drink that is too sweet or too sour to balance.

2. More than two dashes may be adding a lot of bitterness, which in some cases can add a pleasant profile to the drink.


3. Stoppers on most bitters bottles are good, but are not very accurate when it comes to measuring (add to dropper, tin, jigger).


Making Bitters


*Bitters are infusions of alcohol and spices that then are cut with water to bring to a desired proof. Some sugar or other emulsifier is added to the mix to make it thicker. Generally wormwood or gentian root will be the main source of bitterness in these tinctures. *



-All bitters are made with alcohol and have a high % abv. Add alcohol to a drink (Used to be able to purchase under 21, but not anymore. 

Ice (Temperature & Texture)


-Talked about the importance of ice in controlling dilution


-Now, look beyond dilution and see how the degree of temperature and texture play a roll in the balance/ taste


Example: Manhattans Made Differently


1. Manhattan 1: A diluted and stirred manhattan that has not been chilled by ice or by means of refrigereation. Even though proper dilution has been added back w/ room temperature water, the manhattan will seem harsh and flat. 


2. Manhattan 2: A shaken manhattan. Thicker and colded than the other two. Will seem one dimensional and will not be able to discern some of the flavors. 


3. Manhattan 3: Properly stirred w/ optimal dilution. Balanced, with proper dilution being able to properly discern all nuances and flavors. Texture will be light and lend itself to the delivery of flavor. 


*The warmer the drink, the more you will be able to sense the alcohol flavor*


*The colder the drink, the thicker the texture and sweeter the drink, muting some flavors such as alcohol content*

In The Spirit
-Alcohol is produced via fermentation. Three ingredients required for fermentation: water, sugar, and yeast. During fermentation, the yeast eats the sugars and produces the by-products of ethyl alcohol and CO2. The fermentation is then heated and vapor is captured to produce a distilled spirit. 
The Magic of Distillation

-Been evidence that the chinese in 250 A.D. had stills during the Han Dynasty. Wasn't till the late 700s we saw the first written development of stills in the Middle East. In 776, Abu Musa Jabir Hayyan who was also known as Al Jabir invented the alembic still. Yet it wasn't until 1830 that Al Kindi distilled a digestible elixir from the new creation. By 900, disitllates were being used to deliver medicine by Persian alchemist A Razi.


- Moores introduced distillation to France and Spain by around 1000 (beginning of Europe's love for distilled spirits. Robert of Chester (an English alchemist) translated the Moores writings into Latin, and responsible for the further spread of this technology.


-13th century you can see writings of distilled spirits across the globe. 1250, Albert of Magnus was documented as experimenting with alcohol. Marco Polo wrote in his documents that he had made findings of Arrack made from sugar palm juice in Indonesia on his return home from Beijing.


Organic Fermentable Products

Can be derived from any fermentable organic matter. Must have natural sugar content that has been concentrated. Extracted by mashing or grinding and then cooking to bring out the sugars. With the addition of yeasts, you can then convert these natural sugars into alcohol. 


Yeasts & Their By-Products


Beer, wine, and liquor are all the the fermentation by-products of sugars that are soncumed by yeast, mostly saccharomyces (in the case of beer, usually S. Carlsburgiensis. They are unicellurlar organisms that reproduce asexually via budding or fission. Fermentation can be summarized as: Yeast+Sugar=Alcohol (ethanol) & CO2.


*The type of yeast can determine the end flavor of the fermented alcoholic beverage*


When introducing yeast to a cooked mash, it largely depends on the type of spirit desired & distiller to determine what type of yeast is used. Time of fermentation largely depends on the yeast and their fermentation environment ("When it's done, it's done"). Some types of spirits such a bourbon use proprietary jug yeast which has been propegated for almost 100 years (different types though: tequila uses airbourne yeasts). The alcohol will become toxic when it reaches a content of 14-18% though killing the yeast cells who produced it.



-The seperation of liquids based on their different volatiles. Four basic parts: 1. boiling liquid 2. evaporation 3. condensation 4. concentration. One of the most basic examples of distillation is in a boiling pot of water in which boiling water vapor condenses on the lid of a pot. Alcohol will vaporize between 172 deg. & 212 deg. farenheit



A measure of how much alcohol is contained in a beverage. To ensure an alcoholic beverage had not been watered down, it was "proved" by dousing gun powder on it and then tested to see if the gunpowder would ignite. Many a cowboy was proved wrong and payed the price.


Alembic & Continuous Still

Although there are various forms of distillation including vacuum and freezing methods, pot/alembic (batch or coflow) & continuous stills are most prevalent in the present.  These two methods help better understand the end flavor, viscosity, and look of the spirit. Pot Stills: Distillation to a lower proof, more flavor, and more volatile substances are present. Continuous Stills: Distilled through multiple distillations in one run. Higher proof and removal of more volatile substances.


Alembic/Pot Still Method

Generally produces a better flavored distillate than continuous still. Leaves more flavoring congeners in the spirit. The still itself will also impart some flavor (copper pot still elaves a phenolic flavor). Essentially only disitilling once. Retains more congeners w/ a higher concentration of volatile substances. First run will contain an alcohol with about 25-35% abv. At this point will be added on a second pass through the pot still or through the continuous still.


Continuous Still

Creates multiple distillation w/in one run to concentrate the distillate and obtain a cleaner/ more pure distillate. Works by using various plates to re-condense the vapor being heated and re-distilled as it reaches the next plate. *First continuous still was patented by Jean-Baptiste Cellier Blumenthal. 1817 Johann Pistorius added a mash pre-heater. 1831 Aeneas Coffey perfected his complex patented still*


*refer to page 32 for pictures of stills*



Heads, Hearts, & Tails

*Must pay very close attention to the cuts for these*


1. Heads: Most volatile portion of distillate which comes off first. congeners such as aldehydes, esters, and nitrogenous (illicit components). Heads will be discarded or possibly be added back to next run. If distiller is careful with the temperature, may be able to minimize the heads (more volatile congeners [fuse oils which include acetones and esters which contribute to hangovers])


2. Hearts: Has the least not-wanted volatile substances. Most desired. Most reputable disitillers will only use the heart for bottling or mellowing.


3. Tails: Third cut that occurs. Increased amount of higher boiling point components such as higher alcohols and furfurol. If distiller is not careful in making proper cuts, can ruin overall taste of final product (furfurol in this [used in rocket fuel & bitter taste]).


Aging/Mellowing Techniques


Maturation in stainless steel tanks, neutral woods, oak, and other types all have one express purpose of rounding out flavors. Can be done artificially using glycerin, caramel, and other stabilizing ingredients.


*Eeryone has their own unique methods for aging and mellowing*


Barrel Aging: Depends on type of wood, toasted or charred, and to what extent. Length of time, size of barrel, and storage area are all factors.


2. Oak: Since alc. is a good natural sovent, it will pull vanillas, tannins, and flavors of wood when aged. Most are either toasted or charred.


3. American Oak: Used for bourbon and other American whiskies usually charred or toasted. Generally re-used for scotch or tequila after dumping American whiskies.


4. French Oak: Cognacs and other French brandies are finished in French oak. Imparts a lighter flavor than American and has tighter grains in the wood.


5. Wine Cask Finished: Some scotches commonly finished in previously used wine barrels (sherry, madeira, port). Creates multiple dimensions of flavor lending from what the barrel previously contained.


Other Flavorings

1. Natural Flavoring: Gin, aquavit, absinthe and natural flavor base liqueurs are good examples of natural-flavored spirits. These natural flavors are added before, during, or after distillation usually. Also use caden-head which uses a trap door packed with natural organic products between the swan neck and the condenser of a still that captures natural oils.


2. Stainless Steel: works very much like neutral wood. Allows time for spirits to round out and mingle without adding any flavor. 


3. Artificial Flavoring: Variety of ways artificial flavoring may be added to spirits. Generally flavor extracts, concentrates, and essential oils from flavor houses. Generally bought from flavor manufacturers and addes in concentrated small quantities to large batches of products.


4. Caramel: commonly addes ingredient to immitate barrel-aging.


5. Glycerine: Commonly used to mellow out spirits and give them a silky texture.



  • Distilled to high proof to pull any residual flavors from the base-product
  • Can be made from any fermentable substance
  • Is literally colorless, odorless, and tasteless by law in the U.S.
  • Flavored vodka is the only exception which is generally produced by just adding highly concentrated flavors.

-Can be made from any fermentable substance, but generally made from grains or potatoes. In U.S. described as neutral spirits, so distilled, or so treated after distillation with chracoal or other materials, as to be without distinctive character, aroma, taste, or color.


-It is distilled many times most commonly in a column still. Often reach 190 proof, with water added back to bring to desired proof and clarified with carbon to clarify out the remaing congeners. Some subtle differences in flavor depending on the brand. Originated in Eastern Europe, and most popular spirit consumed in U.S. since 1970s.


Neutral Flavored Spirits


1. Fermentation/Base Selection: Can be distilled from any fermentable/organic product. Generally organic base will be region specific.


2. Distillation: Given colorless, odorless, tasteless, usually ran through column stills with high abv. Few distill in pot stills.


3. Water: Mostly all 40% abv and w/ over half of all the liquid being water. Water source is important. Most modern vodka producers use reverse osmosis water as their pure water source.


4. Filtering: One of most important components to make tasteless. Different methods, charcoal being the main one.


5. Flavoring: Generally added after the filtration process. Most craft distillers distill by way of aceration or Caden-Head method.  Used for almost 200 years and not a new development.


6. Bottling & Marketing: This is usually one of the most important aspects for sales and marketing of vodka. Look of bottle and marketing approach to consumers is imperative to the success of the brand. 


Juniper Spirits


*Most gin distilled in efficient column stills. Most high-proofed, light-bodied, and clean w/ a minimal amount of congeners and flavoring agents. Essentially a natural or artificially flvored neutral spirit*


1. Distilled & Compound Gins: Most produced soaking juniper berries and botanicals w/in the base spirit & then re-distilling or vice-versa. Different producers have different blends. Compound gins made by adding extracts that have been derived from organic compounds.


2. Caden-head Method: The final distillation has the alcohol vapor waft through a vapor chamber referred to as a caden-head where juniper berries and botanicals are suspended. Vapor gently extacts oils and botanicals on its way to the condenser. Creates unique complexity. 


3. Terms:


A. Distilled Gin: Gin distilled w/ macerated botanicals. 


B. Botanicals: A substance obtained from a plant and used as an aditive. 


C. Maceration: Soaking botanicals in a maceration which pulls the natural oils and essences. Some cases, before or after distillation. maceration implies soaking. infussion implies heating.


D. Caden-head- Located between condenser and final distillation exit. Has an air-tight seal w/ basket in which botanicals lay. Avoids pulling the bitter elements from the base. 


E. Compound Gin- Flavoring neutral grain spirits w/out re-distilling the final maceration.


Juniper Expressions

A. London Dry Gin- Born from British beginnings. Dry, bold, and dominant juniper flavor. Includes, Bombay, beefeater, and tangueray.


B. Plymouth- Brand and style. Can only be made in Plymouth, England. 100% wheat-based spirit & doesn't include bitter botanicals found in other gins. Soft, earthier, and clean. Much lighter juniper than London dry (D.O.).


C. New Western Dry- Experimental style coming from the West over the past decade. Has higher citrus notes and unusual cotanicals with toned down juniper. 


D. Dutch Gin/Genever- Godfather to modern gin. A blend of wines which yield a completely different flavor profile than modern gins. Usually consumed neat in two styles (Jonge w/ max 15% malt wine and Oude w/ minimum 15% malt wine) and rich style called Korinwijn made w/ minimum 51% malt wine. 


E. Old Tom- Very popular in the early 19th century. Sweetners added to hide impurities from poor distillation. Went out of style when continuous distillation became more popular. 


F. Sloe Gin- A liqueur made by steeping wild sloe berries found in the hedgerows across the English countryside in gin and sweetener.


G. Common Botanicals Used & Modern Gin:

Main two ingredients are juniper berry and neutral grain spirits. Herbs and spices can then be added before and after-distillation. Common botanicals include coriander, orange peel, angelica root, and cardamom. Interesting ingredients such as sarawak pepper, cucumber, rose petals, and rangpur lime, and even iris are some of the ingredients used in some New Western Style gins. 


Sugar Cane Spirits


  • Distilled from sugar-cane or process by-product molasses
  • Classified by style, region, distillation, and aging
  • Large majority of all rum on market is made from molasses


Rum, Rhum, & Ron


Rum is the catch-all phrase for sugar-cane spirits (also rhum agricole and cachaca). Cachaca Brazilian, Rhum is French, Ron Spanish, and Rum is Caribbean.


In U.S., rum is classified as spirits distilled from fermented sugar-cane juice, syrup, molasses, or other suger-cane byproducts at less than 95% abv and bottled at least 40% abv.


Sugar cane is grown in tropical areas throughout teh world. The sweet juice of the plant is extracted by pressing hard stalk in a mechanical mill.


Some use juice, some use molasses, but large majority are actually  made from using molasses.


Sugar Cane Expressions

1. Rhum Agricole: Made from freshly-squeezed sugar-can juice and distilled to 70% abv. Just because a spirit is from sugar-cane juice, doesn't meen it is rhum agricole. In Martinique, there is a Rhum Agricole designation.


2. Cachaca (Industrial & Artisan Brands)- Made in Brazil and distilled between 38-54% abv. In Brazil, rum is a spirit made from molasses, but in U.S. Cachaca is now legally recognized in its spirit classification. Industrial brands such as Pitu (huge factories) and Artisan brands such as Cachaca. Over 3000 producers in the country.


Rum Classification

A.White Rum- Generally light-bodied and distilled from molasses.  Usually opaque or clear and have a very subtle flavor profile. Some most popular aged. May be aged in oak to create a smooth palate and filtered via carbon to remove any color. 


B. Golden Rums- Amber Rums, generally medium-bodied. Generally, the have spent many years being aged in oak casks.


C. Dark Rums- Full-bodied, rich, caramel-dominated rums. Produced mostly from pot stills and aged in oak casks fror extended periods. Richest are consumed straight up. 


D. Spiced Rums- Can be white, golden, or dark rums. Generally flavored w/ flavor concentrates and essences. Some through maceration or distillation of spices. Vanilla, allspice, clove, and cinnamon.


E. Anejo & Age-dated Rums- Aged rums from different years/batches mingled to insure a consistent flavor from year to year. Some label the youngest year, some label the oldest year. 


Rum Production

When distilling rum , the choice of the still can have a profound affect on the final product. All come out clear, but the addition of caramel and barrel-aging determine the final color. Since caramel is essentially burnt sugar, it can be said only natural flavoring agents are added.


Lighter rums are highly rectified (continuous stills). May be aged for small amount of time and then charcoal-filtered (similar to rum). 


Heavier rums usually distilled in pot stills. Similar to those used to produce cognacs and Scotch Whiskies. Less "efficient" than column stills and some congeners carried over w/ alcohol. Some brands of rums are made blending pot and column still distillates (similar to Armagnac production). 



Agave Distillates (El Jimador cuts the giant plant)


  • Distilled from Agave, tequila is only produced w/ the Blue Webber Agave
  • Tequila is made in only 5 designated states in Central Mexico
  • Tequila is one of the most highly regulated categories of spirits in the world.

-Often, all are referred to as just mezcal. All tequila is mezcal, but not all mezcal is tequila. Tequila is a type of mezcal from one of the 5 designated states in Mexico (Jalisco being the #1 region). Made exclusively from blue webber agave. Many  governing bodies which determine origin, production and packaging. 


-Other mezcals predominantly from Oaxaca in Southern Mexico. These are made from different types of Agave or maguey. Also heavily regulated produced in certain states from different types of  agave. Most notably different for its smokiness, taste, and smell. This results from the unique cooking methods of the agave (roasting them in the ground). One other major type of mezcal produced solely in the state of Chihuahua from a type of agae called Sotol.  Only a few Sotol producers who distribute in the U.S. 



Determining Factors in Final Agave Spirit Bottling

  1. Agave Type
  2. Elevation
  3. How pinas are baked
  4. How sugar from the agave is extracted
  5. How fermented
  6. If agave filters now fermented along w/ suagr or not
  7. King of still
  8. Barrel-type
  9. How Long

The Agave Spirit Process


  1. Growth of the agave
  2. Harvesting
  3. Cooking
  4. Milling
  5. Fermentation
  6. Distillation
  7. Aging (if applicable)
  8. Bottling

A. 100% Blue Agave- All high quality tequila falls into this category.


B. Mixto- "Mixto" or "Joven". If it doesn't say 100% agave, it's a mixto. Mexican law requires that all tequilas must contain at least 51% agave (in mixtos, the remaining 49% are neutral grain spirits, caramel coloring, and sugar).


C. Gold (Oro)- Un-aged "blanco" tequila, blended with rested or aged tequilas, caramel coloring, sugar-syrup, glycerin, and/or oak extract added so as to resemble aged tequila. 


Aging Designations


A. Blanco- Can be aged up to 60 days. Clear w/ little or almost no time in wood barrels. Retains most characteristics of agave plant (purest expression of distiller's craft). Produced from second distillation of fermented musts of agave plant. Clear and can travel straight from distillation to bottle. Retains most vegetal characteristics of agave plant. Nice good tequila intro. When brought down to bottle proof, ready for sale. 


B. Reposado- Aged in oak barrels from 2-12 months.  Sweetness of agave and oak flavors of barrel, depending on size and composition of barrel. Some in new barrels, some in old bourbon barrels, and some in barrels of previous vintages.  All these factors contribute to wonderful spectrum of flavor. Can be aged in barrels or Pipones. 


C. Anejo- Aged in oak barrels (600 litres each) from 1 to 3 years. Anejos are deeply hued with a variety of complex flavors and textures.


D. Extra Anejo- Rarest and most expensive. Minimum 3 yrs, 600 litres, and used to mainly be reserved for the tequila maestro.



Grape & Fruit Distillates


Grape & Fruit

  • Brandy (from brandwine, derived from Dutch brandewign- "burnt wine"). is a spirit produced by distilling wine of grape, fruit or pomace.
  • One of broadest categories stretching through a wide variety of sub-genres & styles.

- Brandy is the distillate from either grape or fruit that is generally between  36-60% abv. No determined base in bottling label (ex. blackberry brandy). This is in refernce to the grape distillation.  Most quality brandies undergo double-distillation.


-The king of all brandies are cognac w/ specigic AOC. Grown in Charente, Charente-Maritime, some places in Deux-Sevres and Dordogne, France. Double-distilled using pot stills. Made up 90% from grape vaieties of Ugni Blanc, Folle Blanche, & Colombard. Must be aged in French oak barrels at least 2.5 years after distillation. 



Other Types of Brandy


A. Pisco- South American brandy. Developed by Spanish settlers in the 16th century. Takes its name from pottery in which its aged and name of site in which its produced. Continues to be produced in winemaking regions in Peru & Chile. Right to produce & promote has been on of legal disputes between Chile & Peru (has the best). 


B. Armagnac- From Gascony region of France. Most likely produced by Moores in the 12th century and around in 15th century. Unlike Cognac which was locatedon the Charente River w/ easy access to trade routes, it was originally a local drink. 

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