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Seven rules to create cracking cocktails

Want to get creative with cocktails? You need to know the rules in order to break 'em. We got the DIY dictums from bar manager Ian Rudall of Bar 62 at 62 The Bank in Barnstaple
Bar 62 The Bank cocktails

Want to get creative with cocktails? You need to know the rules in order to break ’em. We got the DIY dictums from bar manager Ian Rudall of Bar 62 at 62 The Bank in Barnstaple

The Rules

Be fussy about your ingredients

‘Use quality ingredients and not too many of them,’ advises Ian. ‘Less is more. There are a lot of bad products on the market which can ruin a drink (and it’s not just the cheap ones either). We’re very selective about which spirits, liqueurs and mixers we use and we’d suggest you are too.’

Infuse your own syrups and spirits

To add a new element to a drink, Ian recommends infusing your own spirits. ‘We make all our own syrups which create a pure and pervasive flavour,’ he says. ‘Popular ones include our butter and popcorn infused bourbon (pictured) and the peach foam used in our Peaches & Cream.’

Know your ratios

Although Ian tweaks the ratios of the liquids used in each cocktail, he says you can’t go too far wrong with his 3S starter formula:

2 parts Strength (alcohol)
1 part Sweet
1 part Sour (lemon, lime)

‘This works perfectly for our short cocktails and just as well with our long cocktails, which are generally topped with a mixer of around two parts again. This perfect ratio doesn’t let any one ingredient overpower the drink.’

Know your method

Shaken or stirred? There is a difference. Ian decides which method to use based on the ingredients of each drink: ‘If you’re mixing a delicate combination of non-carbonated ingredients, as we do for our Mezgarita, we’d recommend stirring so they gently dilute and mix together,’ he says. ‘A cocktail such as our Cinema Sour, which is made using egg yolk, requires a double shake (once dry with no ice followed by a wet shake with ice) to ensure all the ingredients bind together before straining.’

Don’t be scared of ice

According to Ian, in most cases the more you use the better. ‘If too little ice is used, the drink will dilute too quickly and taste weak,’ he warns. ‘To get the right balance we recommend using plenty of ice for a short sharp shake or a gentle stir. Most people think that adding more ice will water down the drink, but it actually has the opposite effect as more ice will keep the temperature lower when stirring and shaking.’

Choose the right glassware

Making a cracking cocktail is only half the story; there’s an art to making it look sensational too. According to Ian, choosing great glassware is the fun bit. He says, ‘Take into account whether your drink will be served over ice or not, with a straw or not, and what the volume will be after dilution. As a general rule of thumb, drinks should only be served with a straw if they are served over ice. We like to think outside the box and serve some of our drinks in unique glassware: our Bright Spark is served in an imitation lightbulb.’

Go ‘grammable garnish

‘Get creative with your garnish but don’t deviate from what’s inside the glass,’ advises Ian. ‘Everything we use is reflected in the drink, whether it’s our own dehydrated fruits, foams, edible flowers or sweet treats.’

Bar 62 is open Monday to Saturday, 5pm until late. Cocktail masterclasses can be booked for parties of all sizes.

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