Bartenders reveal secrets to help you buy, enjoy best drink - CBS46 News

Bartenders reveal secrets to help you buy, enjoy best drink

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Ian Cox, Beverage Manager at Wrecking Bar Ian Cox, Beverage Manager at Wrecking Bar
Tokiwa Sears, One Flew South Tokiwa Sears, One Flew South
Kellie Thorn, Empire State South Kellie Thorn, Empire State South
Shanna Mayo, Leon's Full Service Shanna Mayo, Leon's Full Service
ATLANTA (CBS46) -

What happens if cheap green beer isn't your drink of choice on St. Patty's Day? Let's face it, cocktails are expensive. You want to enjoy what you're drinking and get the best bang for your buck. CBS46 went straight to the experts for answers.

"You have some of the best bartenders in Atlanta," Brittany Chardin, VP Southern Region of U.S. Bartenders Guild said.

Bartenders Ian Cox at Wrecking Bar, Tokiwa Sears at One Flew South, Kellie Thorn of Empire State South and Shanna Mayo from Leon's Full Service, solidified their spot at the top by being the best in a barcraft competition at Taste of Atlanta. 

"I love making people happy, really," Sears said.

They gathered at Wrecking Bar Brew Pub to let us in on their secrets.

"You're taught really to shake cocktails that have juice in them and stir cocktails that are all booze, all liquor," Cox said.

The cocktail artists believe being a satisfied customer comes from the quality of a drink, rather than just the amount of alcohol. Some call that the 'length' of a drink, or how long the flavor sits in your mouth.

"You're going to enjoy it, you're going to savor it. Then people don't mind a $10 cocktail or $12, its quality," Sears said.

Conserve your money by learning about your personal tastes at home in your own bar. The basic ratio for any cocktail is 2 to 1 to 1: two ounces of alcohol, to one ounce of tart, to one ounce of sweet. Thorn recommends simple cocktails to start.

"Things like a classic daiquiri. It's just like rum and sugar and lime juice. It's a very simple and clean cocktail, and you find that those are really approachable things for people," Thorn said.

While Sears believes in the old fashioned.

"Meaning spirit, sugar, bitters and water. Very simple, straight to the point. You don't mask your spirit, you soften it a little," Sears said.

Once you've developed your personal taste, try experimenting. Bar specials are a good start. Bartenders have gone to the trouble to learn, perfect and present their specials, and are invested in your satisfaction.

"We can help you know what spirit to go into based on what your wine or beer preference are," Thorn said.

But in this day and age of wanting to ask for 'bartenders choice,' it may be more valuable to stick to what you know you like. Bartenders often prefer savory, unusual flavors.

"If your goal is to go out and have some tasty beverages and enjoy your evening, then it's about going out and enjoying each one of those drinks. And if you ask us to make something we like that you wouldn't necessarily like, there's no value in that for you," Chardin said.

Looking for the best buy instead of the best taste? There's an app or two for that. Gotime lists happy hours by city, while Drinkowl allows you to filter by drink type.

Here's another tip. Don't be afraid to ask for a suppressor. That's a drink with not as much alcohol. It will allow you to enjoy yourself without getting out of control. That can be just as advantageous and worth every dime.

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