Simple shaking

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Tim Laird is a CEO - chief entertaining officer. As part of his job description with Canadian Mist whisky, he's sharing distillery history, old-school mixology and bartending tips and tricks during an after-hours event at COSI.

What: Science Behind the Cocktail

When: 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 4

Where: COSI Columbus, Franklinton

Web: cosi.org

Many people get overwhelmed at the idea of making drinks for friends. What do you tell them?

Look at what you're starting with, and add flavors to it. It's like cooking. People get intimidated, but all of a sudden they start experimenting with it, and go, "Wow, I don't have to follow the recipe. I'm going to throw in my own spice, do this, do that."

What advice would you give a beginning bartender?

Starting out, I think it's important to measure. Here's the underlying secret to a great cocktail: balance. You're looking for sweet, savory and well-balanced. Follow the standard: one-and-a-half ounces of a spirit, three-quarters of ounce of a sour and three-quarters of ounce of a sweetener.

What are people doing wrong?

How many places do you go where you have this big sticky-sweet drink, and the first couple of sips are great, but after that, it's like, you can't eat two ice cream cones. You're done. You're going home. Then you taste one that's well-balanced, and you go, "Wow."

How do you wow them visually with a drink?

I think the best cocktails are those you go back in time with. Forget the bells and whistles of the dry ice and the liquid hydrogen. Don't be lighting your cocktail on fire. That's not good.

What about garnishes?

Some people have gone nutty with the garnish side of things. I've seen people try to put their eyes out with some of these palm fronds and sticks of things.

So what's your favorite garnish?

It depends on the cocktail. I love to use lemon twists; people forgot how great lemon twists are, that you can rim the glass with.

Chocolate Mist

This drink wins over whisky-haters, Tim Laird says

2 parts Canadian Mist

1 part dark creme de cocoa

1/2 part hazelnut liqueur

Shake all ingredients and strain into a martini glass rimmed with cocoa and sugar; garnish with a cherry.