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Throwing and rolling a cocktail?

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DanielDSM Posted: 19 Feb 2012 3:53 PM

I'm happy to shake my Sidecar within an inch of its life to make it cold and laugh at me.

I'm happy to stir my Martini so it remains crystal as a chandelier.

However, other than risking my carpet in my home bar - is there a technical reason, other than theater, that one would roll or throw a cocktail? It would seem that, if aeration were the desired goal, shaking would work.

[Stranded on an island essential cocktails: Sidecar, 3:1 Dry Martini with 2 olives, my own Neo Old Fashioned.]

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Rolling a Bloody Mary mixes the ground pepper and sauces as if shaken without foaming the tomato juice.  Otherwise, my bar has just started throwing Negronis.  I'm still trying to work out why, too.

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Quick test... My posts have been error'ing out lately.

[Stranded on an island essential cocktails: Sidecar, 3:1 Dry Martini with 2 olives, my own Neo Old Fashioned.]

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Posts 198

Ah, good.

 

Okay, yah, so I can see not wanting to make a Bloody Mary frothy. I don't drink them, personally, so I probably won't be able to test the difference between - but is stirring a Bloody Mary not sufficient?

Also, I should say that if the answer is "theater" that's great with me. As a home enthusiast I don't have to be pragmatic in how I prepare cocktails. A busy bar likely needs to consider speed and efficiency.

I must say, I enjoy the theater of it all. For some that means spinning and flipping bottles even though that's not my style (it takes all kinds to make a world and that's great). However, I like certain rituals that may not be technically-necessary but as for throwing a cocktail - my carpet doesn't need me risking that.

[Stranded on an island essential cocktails: Sidecar, 3:1 Dry Martini with 2 olives, my own Neo Old Fashioned.]

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Well, in addition to the rule of always shaking cocktails that have opaque ingredients, I've also heard of shaking cocktails when you are using ingredients of different gravities and viscosities.

 

In the Bloody Mary (Or if you prefer and should try if you haven't, the Red Snapper - the gin cocktail) you have very light spirit and spices such as the pepper, salt, celery salt, bitters, Worcester sauce, Tabasco with heavy components like the juice and perhaps horseradish.  

If you build this drink, stir it briefly and serve, you will either float the spices on top or flatten them on the bottom.  Conventional method would suggest a shake, but as tomato juice foams unappetisingly when shaken, if you're using cold juice a quick throw back and forth mixes the ingredients fine.

 

Regarding theatre; it can be quite the opposite.  A roll could be putting the drink in a shaker, popping the lid on and turn it over 360 degrees.  Not very exciting at all.  

The last time somebody called me "Jerry Thomas" he was taking the piss: And quite rightly so; I'd just spilt the cocktail sticks all over the garnishes!

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Posts 40

Hi Daniel,

I'm actually writing an article on the subject, I will post the link once it's up. Like you, I'm not feeling like risking the carpet of my home bar, so I asked a couple of pros who practice the cuban method...

They claim the advantage is that you aerate the drink without watering it down too much and that for dry or bitter cocktails, it makes it more falvourful, more complex. One of my contacts says it works wonderfully for a Negroni: it opens up the flavours of the Campari. I never tried it so I can't comment. In Barcelona, there are a few places throwing most clear cocktails. I guess you'd have to try them side by side to really notice the difference between the methods if any, but the cocktails I tried (a Liberal and a Harvard) seemed "bolder" to me.

Obviously, the people I talked to also admitted the main thing was that it got the client attention and was a very elegant technique. One of them even told me he made a point of always making the "drinks of the week" using the cuban method so that people would notice it and ask for them.

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Posts 198

Thank you both for the feedback!

Okay, I'm going to have to cave-in and just do it. The weather is nice/r outside so I'll do this routine out on the deck and report back my rookie impressions.

What cocktail do you suggest trying this with - and it needs to be something I can make as my home bar is essentially 3-4 bottles deep of the basic spirits and I have around 45 bottles total. No Campari, or Chartreuse, Navy Strength, etc.

[Stranded on an island essential cocktails: Sidecar, 3:1 Dry Martini with 2 olives, my own Neo Old Fashioned.]

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DanielDSM:

Quick test... My posts have been error'ing out lately.

Daniel... appears to be a server problem that I haven't been able to fix. I think if the server array shifts you from one server to another between writing and submitting your post, it looses track of your login status. I make a point of copying my posts to the clipboard before posting "just in case". This shouldn't happen, but the server guys seem clueless as to why it is.

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François Monti:

...They claim the advantage is that you aerate the drink without watering it down too much and that for dry or bitter cocktails, it makes it more falvourful, more complex...

Which is easy enough for them to say, but perhaps more difficult to qualify? I think some experimentation is in order with some blind tastings (as you indicate). Here is how I might suggest going about it.

Since the Negroni was mentioned, perhaps start with that. Combine enough ingredients to make six. This way you know all are using the same recipe.

Have six identical glasses (if they are opaque, so much the better). Label them (with something removeable) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6... and then shuffle them arround.

Portion out enough for two drinks into recepticals for Shaking, Stirring, and Rolling.

Have one person mix up the drinks and portion them into the glasses and on a slip of paper record which glass had which drink. Then they shuffle the glasses around.

They leave the room, and another comes in and carefully removes the numbered tags, and replaces them with alphabetical tags. Recording which letter replaced which number. Then they shuffle the glasses around again.

Now sample all of the drinks. You are trying to do two things. First match up the two drinks which were made in the same fashion, and second identify which two you like the best.

Once all decisions have been made, work out which glass held which method. If you couldn't match the drinks together, then i probably doesn't matter which ones you thought you liked better, because the difference wasn't big enough.

-Robert

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Do you have Fernet Branca? A Hanky Panky would be a nice candidate.

But In Barcelona, in the three bars where I saw guys throw cocktails, I had a Manhattan, a Martini and a Harvard. It looks like they prepare almost any alcohol only cocktails that way.

I interviewed an bartender from Argentina and he told me that when he started in the business (20 years ago), he was taught the technique (they call it "a la cubana", over there) and told to use it only for Cuban cocktails -- Mary Pickford, El Presidente, etc. So it would seem even cocktails with juices are acceptable, although maybe it was just a wrong interpretation on the part of the argentineans cantineros (it's a cuban technique so they assume they have to use it for cuban cocktails although maybe bartenders in Cuba were shaking their Mary Pickfords and rolling their martinis?). Maybe we'll learn more if (when?) good books get written on the cuban golden age...

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Posts 40

Very thorough, Robert. I guess it's the only reliable way, as I would think there is a lot of self-suggestion on the parts of the bartenders who favour the technique (may the same be said about the hard-shake?). So your suggestion seems a good way of going at it. Personnaly, I doubt we'd be able to really match the drinks.

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By the way, I know a few people on here did go to Boadas. I'm looking for a good photo of a bartender throwing a cocktail (Boadas is obviously one of the places were you would see this, but photos made in any other bar would suit me fine). If you have anything, please let me know. It would need to be one of your personal photos, I don't want to have copyrights issues. It's to publish online with the piece I'm writing.

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I went to Boadas many, many, years ago. And I got a fairly good shot of them tossing a drink which you can see here:

http://drinkboy.com/Bars/Bar.aspx?itemid=2

It's fairly small there, but I have a full size "somewhere", but no idea where it would be at the moment. I'll see if I can find it.

-Robert

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Robert, thanks a lot for the photo. They decided to go with another pic, but your help was very much appreciated.

The article is here: http://www.havana-cocteles.com/cuban-roll

There are some editing issues beyond my control (a few spaces missing here and there).

Obviously, it's not an in-depth feature, it's a short piece for a somewhat corporate website.

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Posts 198

Daniel... appears to be a server problem...

Robert, Thank you for the information and workaround - I appreciate it.

Regarding my desire to test variables of rolling or shaking against what might be a particular drinks' standard method (shake/stir) I'm probably not the best test pilot. I've lamented on here that I'm going to just have to get an order together from DrinkUpNY.com and order my Campari, Chartreuse, etc.

To that end I don't have the ingredients to really test a drink that would demonstrate any real diversity in preparation techniques. Even if I did my untrained palette would need time to get used to these new spirits that I'll be getting so I can better articulate any differences. I'll need to get to know the drinks first before I can tell the differences, if any, created by mixing methods.

Very good advice, though, about conducing this experiment - I'm anxious to have at it when I can.

[Stranded on an island essential cocktails: Sidecar, 3:1 Dry Martini with 2 olives, my own Neo Old Fashioned.]

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