Keep Cocktails Balanced By Tasting The Fresh Ingredients Every Time

Just like in life, the key to a great invented drink or a perfect classic cocktail is balance. A master mixologist can weave even the most disparate elements into a tasteful blend. When it comes to making a cocktail that's not sickly sweet or so sour it makes your lips pucker, you must contemplate the different flavors of a cocktail. There's sweet, sour, bitter, and salty as well as umami, or a savory flavor you might not have considered. You should also consider the strength of the alcohol as well as the temperature at which you serve the drink. 

With so many different elements, you might think that there's a certain formula to making the perfect balanced cocktail. However, mixing a cocktail is more like cooking than baking, an art form versus a science. Fonda bar manager Juan "Sonic" Ramirez says that fixing the perfect cocktail requires experimentation and constant refinement. In an exclusive interview, he told Mashed, "Like with any dish and any cocktail, constant revisions and tasting of the ingredients are key. Some days fresh lime juice may be sweeter or more tart. Understanding this and not assuming that ingredients will always be the same is one key to successfully executing and balancing drinks consistently."

Refining the perfect cocktail

Have you ever wondered why your cocktail may taste better at a bar rather than prepared at home? It's not only because bartenders are masters of their craft, it's also because they're not trying to stick strictly to a standard recipe. A good bartender worth their Scotch will be able to adapt a drink to fit the drinker's tastes by tweaking or changing certain ingredients in the mixture. As such, they're able to find that balance that you may be missing in your homebrew. 

Ramirez would probably agree that the quality of your ingredients also matters when developing the perfect cocktail. Ideally, you're creating a drink where all of the ingredients complement one another. So, it's important to recognize what you're putting in a drink and how it might taste when combined together. Likewise, as Ramirez mentions above, you should constantly consider the variations of your ingredients and their effect on the drink.

While spirits like vodka and whiskey should mostly stay consistent, you needs to be cautious when using fruit and citrus, as fruits change as they ripen. If you need to balance out sweetness or bitterness, it's also helpful to have some salt and sugar on hand. Just remember to experiment and have fun with it.