Hayley Dixon, national spirits specialist for Proximo Spirits and a love of all things tequila, tells FEMAIL that raising a drink is simple

The bartender reveals how to improve your cocktails at home with a very simple trick

The bartender reveals how to improve your cocktails at home with a simple trick – and it will leave your guests very impressed

  • A bartender revealed how to improve cocktails at home with simple tricks
  • She says smoking a drink, using cinnamon, is simple and very effective
  • She also recommends using fruits and herbs to add flavor to simple syrup.

Hayley Dixon, national spirits specialist for Proximo Spirits and a love of all things tequila, tells FEMAIL that raising a drink is simple

One of Australia’s top bartenders has shared his tips for making sophisticated cocktails at home, including how to smoke a drink for a perfect old fashioned.

Hayley Dixon, national spirits specialist for Proximo Spirits and a love of all things tequila, told FEMAIL that raising a drink is simple.

And you can use things you already have at home, including fruit, rosemary, and cinnamon.

When you smoke a drink, you have to choose what you want to smoke it with – wood chips, cinnamon or rosemary.

‘When smoking a drink, it’s best to have a completely flat plate or board (no wood obviously). This allows you to ‘seal’ the glass when you place it upside down and will provide a more intense smoke flavor,” she said.

The glass also needs to be wet, swirling ice around will do the trick, as it gives the smoke something to stick to.

“If you have access to a small blowtorch, just break off a cinnamon stick and create a little ‘heap’ to light. This will allow you to fill the full glass and save you from wasting an entire cinnamon stick,” she said.

However, lighting the end of a cinnamon stick and popping it under the glass once you’ve blown it works too.

The method is the same for specialty wood chips and rosemary, she said.

The next thing people can do to make their own fancy cocktails is to perfect their sugar syrup.

“If you have any herbs or fruit that look a little less worn instead of throwing them away, add equal parts water and powdered sugar to a saucepan and mix them together. If you’re using citrus fruits, only the peels work well,” she said.

‘Simmering times vary depending on what you are using, but generally around 15-20 minutes will suffice. Filter everything and bottle.

Hayley says you can take old homemade fads to the next level by smoking your own glasses

Hayley says you can take old homemade fads to the next level by smoking your own glasses

This can be added to tequila and sparkling water for an “easy highball”.

It’s also possible to whip up fancy cocktails for plenty of guests — without them having to wait, she explained, recommending guests to “pre-batch.”

‘If you’re making a shaken cocktail, pre-mix your ingredients, but don’t skip the shake! This will give your cocktail the much-needed aeration and dilution and keep it chilled before serving.

High-alcohol cocktails should be diluted a little so that they are ready to drink as soon as they have been put on ice.

Ms Dixon is also a proud advocate of her favorite spirit and says it can easily replace whiskey or vodka in your favourites.

“Tequila is an extremely versatile spirit because you can easily swap it out for the traditional base. The flavor palate of 1800 Silver is ideal for any gin or vodka drink, substitute any lighter style whiskey for 1800 Reposado. 1800 Anejo offers a deeper, richer flavor and can be swapped out for a scotch,” she said.

Ms Dixon shares her advice following an explosion in cocktail culture across Australia over the past 12 months.

What are some easy cocktails to make at home?

Old Fashioned Cinnamon Smoked

INGREDIENTS

50ml Anejo tequila

10ml agave syrup

Angostura orange bitters two dashes

Angostura Bitters two dashes

A cinnamon smoked glass

Garnish: orange zest and cinnamon

METHOD

1. Add all ingredients to ice-filled mixing glass 2. Stir until combined and cooled 3. Add ice to double-rocked glass and stir until glass is cold using a lighter or torch and place a chilled double ice cube glass on the end once it begins to smoke 6. Once filled with smoke, invert and immediately fill the glass with ice again 7. Strain the cocktail into the glass grated cinnamon

Tequila Coffee

INGREDIENTS

30 ml silver tequila

10ml Pedro Ximenez

10 ml dark cocoa cream

15ml coffee liqueur

5ml simple syrup

15 ml cold filter coffee

45 ml sweetened vanilla cream

Garnish with grated coffee bean

METHOD

1. Add all ingredients, minus the cream, to a mixing glass filled with ice 2. Stir until diluted and chilled 3. Strain once into a chilled coupe glass 4. To using a bottle of “sauce”, float the cream on top of the drink 5. Garnish with a grated coffee bean

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