After mastering basic mixology skills, the world of cocktail creation can expand dramatically. Several advanced techniques allow mixologists to experiment with flavours, textures, and presentations, creating a unique drinking experience. Let's explore some techniques: fat washing, smoking, and infusion.
Fat washing is a technique used to infuse the flavours of fats into spirits, adding a rich, savoury depth to your cocktails. This method leverages the fat-soluble properties of alcohol, which absorbs the flavour compounds present in fats. The process involves mixing a spirit with a type of fat—like bacon fat or butter (our favourite is to use bacon from Ramsay’s of Carluke after ) —then freezing the mixture to solidify the fat before straining it out, leaving the spirit infused with the flavour of the fat. The result can be a cask-aged gin imbued with the smoky essence of bacon for our take on an Old Fashioned or a butter-infused rum for a unique twist on a Hot Buttered Rum cocktail.
Smoking adds theatrical flair to cocktail service, but it's not just for show—it also infuses the cocktail with a distinctive smoky flavour. This can be done in a couple of ways: by smoking the glass before pouring in the cocktail or by smoking the cocktail itself. The choice of wood for smoking, such as hickory or applewood, can add different subtle flavours. A smoked Plum Gin Negroni can transform the drinking experience, introducing a new complexity to these classic cocktails.
Infusion is a simple technique that can yield impressive results. It involves steeping ingredients in a spirit to extract their flavours. While fruits, herbs, and spices are the most common, more adventurous mixologists can experiment with ingredients like chilli peppers, coffee, or candy. The key is to choose flavours that complement the spirit's character, not overpower it. Remember, patience is vital in infusions, as it could take a few hours to a couple of weeks to achieve the desired flavour intensity. Our limited edition Clyde Valley Plum Gin is a great example of an infused full-strength gin.
These advanced techniques can open up a world of possibilities for mixologists, creating unique and memorable cocktails. However, the most important thing to remember is that the best cocktails are made with technical skill, creativity, passion, and an understanding of the balance of flavours. So, feel free to experiment with these techniques and create your own signature cocktails.
In the world of mixology, there's always something new to learn and try. As you embark on this journey beyond the basics, remember to keep pushing the boundaries and enjoy the process.