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The Detail's In The Stir

Find you favorite bar that serves well made cocktails and order something that requires the bartender to stir it
A Bianco Negroni Please

I cannot emphasize this enough: "the devil is in the details when it comes to the stir of a cocktail." Imagine this scenario:

I found myself seated at the bar of a chic Italian restaurant in Southern California.

As I perused the menu, my eyes wandered over the selection of spirits behind the bar. After taking in the atmosphere, I returned to the menu to contemplate my drink options. Craving a strong cocktail with hints of citrus, floral, and spice, I decided on the Negroni Blanc. I have a soft spot for a well-crafted White Negroni, especially with a unique twist. Upon placing my order with the bartender, I watched as the mixing process unfolded. Gin, White Aperitivo, Blanc Vermouth – all in equal parts. The ingredients, accompanied by 1" ice cubes, were gently stirred in a mixing vessel. A bar spoon, two counter-clockwise stirs, and then strained into a rocks glass with a large ice cube. The first sip revealed a lukewarm, unbalanced drink – not the refreshing, harmonious cocktail I had envisioned. Grabbing a straw, I gave it a 12-second stir, and like magic, the bitter and citrus flavors came alive. The drink now cooler and more inviting, I ordered another, witnessing the bartender replicate the same process. It dawned on me that it all came down to training. I wasn't upset; a simple adjustment rectified the experience, leading me to reflect on similar occurrences at my own establishments. Inconsistent feedback on spirit-forward cocktails prompted me to scrutinize my team's technique, pinpointing the issue during a trial of specific drinks. The discovery? The improper stirring technique. This highlighted the significance of mastering the art of stirring a cocktail. The ideal duration typically ranges from 12 to 15 seconds, depending on the ice and ingredients used. Checking the cocktail at the 10-second mark allows for adjustments in temperature, balance, and dilution without the risk of over-dilution. Achieving the perfect balance is crucial, and with practice, it becomes second nature. Stirring is a precise process that blends ingredients while chilling the mixture, ensuring no aeration when executed correctly. Bartending is a continuous learning experience, so embrace the journey of improvement and enjoy every moment. Cheers!


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