Mixing cocktails is one of the primary skills in bartending. It requires patience and constant practice to master the various cocktail profiles you can be proud of in many cases.  

Suppose you’re considering starting a bartending career, mastering some summer cocktails, or learning about mixology or how to mix easy-to-prepare cocktails for your enjoyment. To familiarize yourself with the craft, you may also need to know some basic bartending knowledge and techniques, such as weighing sugar instead of measuring it. For that purpose, here’s an article to guide you. So, read on!

The girl bartender prepares a cocktail in the nightclub.

1. Classic Cocktails

Since classic cocktails have withstood the test of time and taste, learning their recipes can develop bartending skills. Familiarizing yourself with cocktails can teach you the basic principles and ingredients behind the mixes. And if you’re still a beginner, you may know the dos and don’ts in mixing through the classics.

Apart from these, starting with the classics can help soon-to-be bartenders learn what to add to adjust the sweetness or sourness of the mix. Additionally, they could instill discipline as some classic mixes may require advanced skills. You may even learn about the secret techniques that make classic cocktails stand out.

2. Ways To Keep A Balanced Drink

Always keep a balanced cocktail to make the most of it. When mixing similar spirits, you may need to base your decision on the ‘one-ounce each’ rule. If they have different alcohol levels and profiles, you may consider an ounce and a half-ounce of the weaker spirit and one-half ounce for the stronger one.

In increasing the sourness of brown spirits, such as dark rum and whiskey, you may need to use a lemon ideal for rum and whiskey cocktails. On the other hand, you may use lime for the white spirits, such as vodka and gin. After adding citrus and syrup to your cocktail, you may need to shake it more vigorously to mix it well and keep the flavors balanced.

Set of various cocktails with shaker on black background

3. Basic Techniques

Studying the basic bartending techniques could equip a learner with foundational bartending skills. Upon mastering these techniques, one could start learning more advanced mixes and can work with a variety of spirits. For the standard methods you may need to learn from, here’s a set of techniques:

  • Pouring

Pouring drinks could be divided into two types—using a jigger or not. The former is more accurate than the latter option but typically takes more time. On the other hand, not using the tool—otherwise known as free pouring—is ideal for big parties because it’s easier to do.

  • Muddling

Muddling is a technique where a bartender uses a muddler instrument to crush ingredients to extract juices, such as citrus fruits and ginger.

  • Shaking

Shaking is one of the most common mixing techniques. You may practice this for almost all of the mixes. You may need to shake a drink mix for around 10-15 seconds as a rule of thumb for the best results. Apart from basic shaking, you may also need to learn how to dry-shake. In this technique, you may add egg whites and cream while shaking the cocktail without ice to create a mousse-like drink.

  • Stirring

Stirring is similar to shaking, only that the former may need a metal rod and gentler pacing. In many cases, bartenders stir a cocktail for around 30 seconds for the best results.

  • Blending

You may already be familiar with this easy technique. You just need to throw all ingredients into a blender and mix them properly until they produce a thicker and fuller texture.

  • Garnishing

Garnishing is the process of adding something extra to make a drink more flavorful or more potent. You may place something on top of the cocktail or spray the scent of a citrus peel over the glass. You may also add sugar or salt, depending on your preference.

  • Rolling

Rolling is the line between stirring and shaking. In this process, you pour ingredients repeatedly from one vessel to another, ideally about 20 times. 

  • Straining

This process involves removing solid ingredients or residue through a strainer tool such as hawthorn and julep strainers.

Bartender in black apron and blue shirt sprays an orange peel in cocktail glass with ice at a bar counter

4. Cocktail Language And Tools

Learning to mix different cocktail ingredients to make the best drink may require studying the cocktail language and tools. It may include familiarizing yourself with the different jiggers, shakers, glasses, and condiments. The ingredients may also include cocktail terms, such as bitters, champagne flute, and flaming zest.

Wrapping Up

Mixing cocktails can be fun and fulfilling. However, it may take time and talent to learn the necessary skills to make the perfect mix. Fortunately, you may enroll in a top-notch bartending school to learn the basic and advanced bartending skills that could help you.

But before that, you may start referring to the insights given by this article. This way, you would know some basic things you must learn when mixing cocktails.

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