Published on May 28th, 2014 | by Jackie


Flavor Balance in Cocktails

By Jackie Armstrong

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I was fortunate enough to be able to attend a seminar led by Philip Duff at the Saveur Test Kitchen, Equilibrium: Mastering Flavor Balance in Cocktails . Everyone in the class had their own little cocktail station setup so that we could follow along. As we made different cocktails we discussed a lot of the concepts that contribute to a balance of flavor in cocktails (things like dilution or synergy). I loved that the class also featured Pallini Limoncello, since a lot of people know what limoncello is, but don’t necessarily know how they would use it in cocktails at home.


cocktailclass2We made a pretty straight forward gin martini. One of the best parts of the class was getting to taste the same drink made by the other cocktail makers around me. What a difference it makes in taste when you are off on the amount of an ingredient. We also used varied methods for our lemon garnish. I only used it on the stem of my glass. That way there was no lemon in the actual martini, but you picked up on the scent each time you took a sip. If you put the lemon zest directly in the martini, you can taste how it changes the flavor profile of the drink in comparison.

Stir ingredients with ice, strain into martini glass. Garnish with lemon zest (as you like!)

2 1/2 oz gin
1/2 oz dry vermouth
3 dashes orange bitters

cocktailclass3Rasberry & Balsamic Crush

My favorite drink that we made was the raspberry and balsamic crush. We made the drink twice. The first time we added sugar in small amounts until the taste of our drinks became “too sweet”. We made the drinks a second time using equal parts sugar and balsamic vinegar. The balsamic vinegar really cuts the sweetness of the drink. You are left with a cocktail in which you can definitely taste the balance of flavors (especially if you know what it tastes like when there is a sweetness overload).


Half a glass full of lemon & lime triangles
5 raspberries
1 tbsp sugar syrup
1/2 oz. Pallini Raspicello
1 1/2 oz vodka

Muddle the lemon, lime and raspberries. Fill the glass with crushed ice. Add vodka and Raspicello. Churn ingredients (we swizzled).

PLB (Pallini, Lemonade, Bitters)

We didn’t make this drink in the class, but I wanted to share the recipe since it makes a great use of your Limoncello! Combine Limoncello, lemon juice and sugar syrup with ice + shake. Strain into glass filled with ice. Top with club soda.

2 oz Pallini Limoncello
1 oz fresh lemon juice
1/4 oz simple syrup
club soda

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