Bartender Bootcamp

How Eben Klemm makes master mixologists


Eben Klemm wants you to make better drinks, and he'd like to show you how. A bartender's bartender, Klemm spends his days training mixologists for major restaurant groups, helping bar staff develop strong skills and great creative instincts. With The Cocktail Primer, he aims to distill the most important of these lessons and offer not just a collection of drinks, but a compendium of theory and technique.

If you've ever wondered how to best set up your home bar (hint: start with your supplies in an arc), or where to grasp a bottle to get a good pour, Klemm's got your back.
In addition to a breakdown of the building-block concepts behind the iconic drink categories -- martinis, simple and complex sours -- Klemm offers terrific insight into how to get the details right, including great garnish ideas:

How To Burn an Orange Peel
Eben Klemm, The Cocktail Primer

Burning an orange peel is a show-offy technique that adds the flavor of burned citrus oil to a drink and imparts an aromatic note with a slight orange nuance.

Cut a thumb-size slice of fresh orange peel, retraining as much of the white pith as possible. Strike a match and hold it one hand. Hold the shorter end of the orange peel between the thumb and forefinger of hte other hand and gently brush the flame against the orange peel.

Hold the still-lit match (or another one, if the first one is about to singe you) about 2 inches above the filled cocktail glass and hold the peel a similar distance over the match. Pinch the peel, releasing the oils. If you've done this correctly, the spray will ignite in a rather satisfying burst. Sometimes there is even a nifty little woosh.

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  • Snooth User: gr
    Founding Member Hand of Snooth
    6339 1,074

    Eben's a great guy. He presented the "Science of Stirring" seminar along with Dave Arnold (from the Culinary Institute) at Tales this year. Cf,

    He skipped a step in those flamed orange twist directions, though: wash & scrub the wax off your citrus, otherwise you'll get a spurt, rather than a ball, of fire.

    Sep 03, 2010 at 11:21 AM

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