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The Cocktail College Podcast: Techniques: Sugar and Sweeteners

“Cocktail College” is brought to you by Mr Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur. Listener, do you want to know the secret to a great Espresso Martini? It’s not the vodka — though the vodka does matter — but no, it’s the coffee liqueur. And do you wanna know the secret to a great coffee liqueur? It’s coffee. That might sound like a no-brainer, but until Mr Black came along, people weren’t really talking about that. People weren’t pulling their own espresso shots in the morning; they didn’t care about things like where their espresso came from or when it was roasted. But this is what sets Mr Black apart: It’s made with the finest Arabica cold brew, and you can really taste the difference. And I’m not just saying that because we’re partnering with Mr Black today, I’m saying bartenders have been telling me that for years. Seriously, I remember when it first came along and everyone was recommending it. I was like, “I gotta try this thing.” When I did, I got it. The funny thing is, that was years before Espresso Martini mania. Here we are, and guess what? Mr Black is now available nationwide. Head to to find the closest retailer to you.

There’s only so much volume in a cocktail glass, which means it’s imperative to pack as much flavor as possible into that limited space. This entails using quality spirits and modifiers, seasoning with the right bitters, not over-diluting, and, of course, selecting the right sugar. It blunts the heat of alcohol, tempers the acidity of citrus, and contributes texture to any cocktail.

Simple syrup is so often the go-to for bringing sweetness to drinks. Its preparation is just as “simple” as the name suggests, and given its neutral profile, it doesn’t interfere with other ingredients. But are we missing an opportunity there? According to today’s guest, the answer is an emphatic yes.

On this episode of “Cocktail College,” we’re joined by Austin Hennelly, bar manager at Los Angeles’s Kato, for a masterclass on one of the four fundamental components of cocktails: sugar. If you’re stuck in a simple syrup rut, you’re absolutely missing out on a massive flavor opportunity, as Austin explains it, taking up valuable real estate with flavorless refined white sugar and risking over-dilution with the ingredient’s water component. What should you do instead? The answer is also… simple. Tune in for more.

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Austin Hennelly
Tim McKirdy

The article The Cocktail College Podcast: Techniques: Sugar and Sweeteners appeared first on VinePair.

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