Why You Need a Little Spray Bottle on Your Bar Cart

Photo:  Brent Hofacker (Shutterstock)
Photo: Brent Hofacker (Shutterstock)

Rinsing a glass with a strongly-flavored spirit before you pour your drink gives the cocktail a whisper of flavor without obscuring the star ingredients. Absinthe, Scotch, and herbal liqueurs like Campari and either color of Chartreuse are all good rinsers but, as Food52 points out, the act of rinsing is just a tad wasteful. Rather than a swirl and dump, mist. Keep a little spray bottle of your favorite rinser on your bar cart for moments when your cocktail needs an edge.

For me, that little bottle is often filled with Scotch, which adds a complementary smokiness to a savory dirty martini, but I’m thinking about adding a second little spray bottle for Campari, because summer is coming, and nothing anchors a fruity porch-pounder like a whiff of bitter, burnt orange. (Honestly, if Campari wasn’t so sticky, I would spray it on my wrists and behind my ears.)

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If you like your margarita on the dryer side, you can spritz your glass with Combier, Cointreau, or Curaçao, rather than mix it into the cocktail, or you can add a little smokiness with a mist of mezcal. You can even add dimension to cheap sparkling wine by spritzing your flute with elderflower liqueur, cassis, or crème de violette.

Size-wise, think “travel,” not “cleaning.” A 30- or 50-milliliter spray bottle works well, and they often come in multipacks, so you can create a veritable army of misters. You can use either clear or amber bottles, just make sure to wash them first, label and date once filled, and keep any vermouth-like spirits refrigerated to prevent oxidization.

When you’re ready to make your drink, pop the glass in the freezer for a few minutes to chill, then give it a couple of sprays of your favorite rinsing spirit. Mix your drink as usual, strain it into your spritzed up coupe, and enjoy.

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