We were at a charity event last week for Planned Parenthood, and they had a cocktail competition. I figure you can always learn something from the pros, so I hung around the bar (that’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it!) Sure enough, I learned a great tip!

Take the spring from a stainless steel bar strainer (thanks to Dan Kaiser of wonderful JoLē Restaurant in Calistoga, who loaned us his to try it--can you believe we didn’t have one!?!) and add it to your shaker when you’re mixing a frothy cocktail like a Ramos Fizz--you get twice the foam with half the shaking--a miracle!

Another trick with a cocktail shaker that I learned from watching Alton Brown: add a couple of ½” stainless ball bearings (well washed, of course) and make your vinaigrette in the cocktail shaker. The ball bearings help to bring the emulsion together faster and better than almost anything else.