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The tricks of the trade

Frosting your glass

This is a simple technique which will give a "chique" look to all your cocktails!

To do this, pour lemon juice into a bowl and some granulated sugar onto a small plate. Wet the rim of each glass in the lemon juice and then dip it in the sugar. Some classic cocktails like Margaritas require the traditional "sugared" frosting to be replaced with salt. Remember also to substitute lemon with a syrup, or coloured liqueur for a colourful frosting. For the more creative amongst you, you can also use cocoa powder, or powdered coconut in place of sugar. 

Flaming a cocktail

This is an ideal technique to create a spectacle and impress.

Two techniques can be used to flame your cocktails:

- In the glass: place the most alcoholic ingredient on top. Next, heat the surface of the glass using a lighter until the liquid ignites. 
- In the cocktail shaker: pour in your spirit, light it using a lighter then, at the same, pour it on your cocktail. This method is the simplest and most spectacular as the spirit ignites very quickly.

Making a layered cocktail

Layered cocktails generally require a little patience and training, but they are very eye-catching. To use this technique, start by sorting the ingredients from the heaviest to the lightest. To do this, remember that the sweeter a liquid is, the heavier it is and conversely, the more alcoholic a liquid is, the lighter it becomes.  Next, pour them carefully, one by one, on top of your cocktail. Use a teaspoon, or similar utensil to do this.

Making a "smoking" cocktail

Carbon dioxide ice enables you to make mysterious cocktails and score some points with your guests! To design your smoking cocktail, put together your mix without ice so that it stays lukewarm, pour it into a cocktail glass then throw in some carbon dioxide ice cubes before serving.

This technique is not dangerous as it does not involve highly chilled water vapour. As with flaming, you should nevertheless take care not to pick up chunks of ice with your bare hands.

Zests

Lemons, oranges, as well as grapefruit, are 'star' citrus fruits for your decoration techniques. Rich in flavour, these fruits are most commonly used for their zest.  
To use them in your drinks, remove a small piece of the skin from your fruit using a peeler, or a knife. Try to avoid taking the bitter pith which is best avoided in your cocktails. To match beauty with efficiency, try using a zester-denter. You can also squeeze the zest above your glass to liberate the aroma of the citrus fruit in your cocktail. You can then let some of the peel float in your glass to maximise the flavour. Don't forget to remove it when serving.

Fruit-filled ice cubes

Sliced, or simply placed on the rim of the glass, fruit is often used as a cocktail decoration. Today, they are showcased in a different way thanks to the development of "ice fruits". This technique consists of 'trapping' small whole fruits in ice cubes giving you cherry, strawberry, litchi ice cubes, etc.

Making "ice fruits", which have maximum impact at the time of serving, is actually great fun. To do this, place some small fruits in an ice cube tray then fill it with water taking care to completely cover the fruits. Next, place the tray in your freezer for at least 1.5 hours  then remove your "ice fruits" and throw them into your glasses just before serving your drinks.

The cocktail shaker

The cocktail shaker is an essential piece of equipment for barmen. It enables mixtures to be chilled and helps to keep different ingredients in suspension, if required. Spirits, fruit juices, syrups as well as ice cubes all go well together in a shaker. As with a good many utensils used by barmen, the cocktail shaker has evolved over the years and today, there are three main types: the Boston shaker, the Three-Piece and the Continental shaker.

The Boston Cocktail Shaker

The Boston shaker is the most commonly used model in the United-States and seems today to be the preferred cocktail shaker among the professionals. Consisting of two pieces (a cup and mixing glass), it is in fact the most airtight of the three cocktail shakers. Indeed, when cold, the mixing glass attaches itself to the cup making it completely hermetically sealed.

Why do the professionals like it so much?:
- Consisting of two parts, the Boston shaker is the most airtight of the three types of cocktail shaker.
- It is also quick to use and to wash which is important for the experts.

This shaker does however require an additional stage that the other shakers do not.
It is recommended to use a sieve to filter the mixture.

The 3-Piece Cocktail Shaker

While the Boston cocktail shaker is the one most used by professionals, the Three-Piece shaker is the one most used by the general public. The reason is simple: you don't have to use a sieve to filter the mixture. This is what distinguishes it when compared to the other two cocktail shakers.  It consists of 3 parts: a cup, a middle section with built-in filter and a cap. Its composition however, causes a greater dilution of the drink when ice cubes are added. It is also less easy to rinse than the Boston cocktail shaker, making the latter more popular among bartenders. Once closed, the cocktail shaker is shaken in the same way as the other two, but you only have to remove the cap and pour the drink into a glass when it is ready to be served.

A glass from the far North for a glacial cocktail

The choice of glass is of prime importance when making this cocktail. As essential as the decoration, if not more so, the glass is part of creating the ambiance of this drink.   
Here's how to create an icy cold ambiance.

Cocktail recipe for: Blue Ice
- 4 cl of vodka
- 4 cl of lime nectar
- 3 cl of blue Curacao
- 1 cl of Canadou cane syrup

Pour all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker, shake well and serve in a short flared glass.
To go with this cocktail so evocative of the Arctic, Caraïbos has chosen the Helsinki 719/26 (Durobor) glass for its 'hammer-beaten' appearance to remind us of ice.