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Holiday Gifts for the Mixologist

Last year, I put together a comprehensive list of important gift items for the Mixologist. It's still a good list, but this year, I decided to take a slightly different approach. Rather than list the basic necessities and repeat myself, I decided to write more detail about items I wish I had found sooner as well describe some of the coolest stuff on my wish list. Some of these items do fill the basic needs, but most of them are my favorites. With so many similar tools out there, it can be hard to decide what to buy without first having a chance to use them. Let my experience guide you.

Shaker Tins The most important item for making cocktails besides the ingredients is the shaker. I normally recommend a Boston shaker which is a glass and tin combo, but I upgraded to an all-metal shaker a while ago.

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BarSmarts™ Mixology Course

Whether you are a seasoned professional or someone just getting interested in mixology, I highly encourage you to check out the BarSmarts™ program. Led by the famed team of partners of Beverage Alcohol Resource (BAR), LLC, Dale DeGroff, Doug Frost, Steve Olson, F. Paul Pacult, Andy Seymour and David Wondrich, BarSmarts™ was designed exclusively for Pernod Ricard USA and aims to deliver the most comprehensive spirits and mixology education available.

Summit Sips is Now Certified I just completed the BarSmarts™ WIRED certification course and I thought I'd write a few words about this program. First of all, I have always been curious about bartender certification and I have a lot of respect for everyone in the trade that can successfully navigate a busy night behind the stick. Managing customers several bodies deep, staying on top of wait staff orders and keeping track of tabs and cash

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Holiday Gift Ideas for the Mixologist

For some people it's a burden and for others it's a joy—that time of the year when everyone is expected to exchange gifts. Whether or not you enjoy the holiday season there is one thing most of us agree upon: how frustrating it can be to try to come up with good gift ideas. Sure, there's amazing and expensive technology out there with plenty of fun gadgets that will be obsolete by this time next year, but how about a more traditional approach? Why not give a gift that will inspire or will teach, or will assist? I'm talking about useful gifts for the mixologist in your family.

A Shopping List I've written before about using good tools and technique with an emphasis on making the most of what you already own. That's fine for the rest of the year, but this is the perfect time to consider items

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So You Wanna Make A Great Cocktail

You can do it. I know you can, because I believe anyone can, provided they understand that the best cocktails consist of two basic elements:

Great ingredients Great technique—with the equipment you have

You won't resolve yourself to mediocrity once you realize that you're not required to own a multitude of special tools to get the job done. Of course, using top-shelf products and fancy equipment to build your cocktails can make things easier, faster and better—but getting good results using what's available is always the goal.

Is great technique a substitute for great ingredients? No. As you'll see, proper technique is closely tied to the equipment you are using, and rarely can it replace or mask a substitution or omission. Ingredients and technique are equally important, and as you face inevitable limits due to budget, space or availability, you'll need to understand how to use what you have and

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