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Food & Drink

Booze and Bar Resolutions for Drinkers, Tenders and Owners

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

You actually don’t need a vest to make a good cocktail—but, apparently, it helps

Stop asking for Crown Royal at cocktail bars: I can’t disclose which cocktail creator brought this to my attention, but file this tidbit under bartender pet peeves. Is there anything particularly special about this Canadian whiskey blend, or a specific sense of pride that goes along with ordering this at a bar? Any self-respecting cocktail purveyor will carry Ranger Creek’s line of Texas whiskeys. Ask for these across the bar to show off your local hooch prowess.

Take a class: A personal resolution for this writer is to beef up her cocktail knowledge. There’s something rather intimidating about the whole process. (Or maybe I just don’t own very many form-fitting vests?) One of the ways to demystify cocktail making is checking out area classes for demonstrations and hands-on practice. Of course, with the San Antonio Cocktail Conference around the corner, I’d suggest one of the many daytime seminars (Mixology 101: Build Your Own Signature Cocktail sounds tempting). More intimate settings include Wednesday classes with cocktail guru Olaf Harmel at Blue Box ($25 per class with cocktails), or Gustology sessions in Alamo Heights ($38 per class with cocktails).

Stock your bar: Some may be able to glean cocktail wisdom with the occasional class, but there’s nothing like getting your hands dirty. While I’m not suggesting running out and buying a bar cart, I do recommend getting the essentials: shaker, muddler, strainer, different size jiggers, peeler, one great bottle of your favorite spirit, bitters and fresh citrus. Try mastering one or two cocktails per month and make sure to ask your favorite bartenders for tips. You’ll either impress your friends with your newfound skills or at least be able to whip up a decent nightcap after a long day at work. Here’s to ordering a cocktail with a confidence in 2014.

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