Are you ready to take your cocktails to the next level? Enjoying wine or craft beer at home is an easy task. Take a glass, pour it, and enjoy. But, this is not the same with cocktails. If you are a cocktail fanatic and want to enjoy your favorite libation at home, you need to have a little know-how of the cocktail world. Crafting a cocktail is a fine art. But, don’t let it deter you from enjoying it while sitting at your home. Learning how to craft cocktails is not a daunting task. It just needs immense love for the drink, a few basic tools, a little information, a handful of tips, and a cocktail guide.
Remember - “Focusing on the smaller details is the secret to emulation of drinks!”
Whether you are new to the world of cocktails or are here just to hone your crafting skills, you definitely get something to learn from this cocktail guide. In this guide, we break down the basics into different sections. We quizzed our experts and tried to curate all the information that you need to learn to build a delicious cocktail. Keep this handy and minimize the chances of creating something gross.
It’s time to strip it back to the basics of cocktails to enjoy something great every time. Review this cocktail guide and shake up your cocktail game!
Let’s Dive In!!!
Cocktail 101: Guide For Cocktail Fanatics
1. Get Familiar To The Bar Dictionary
2. Myths About Cocktail You Might Not Know About
3. How To Pair A Glass Of Cocktail And Food?
4. Basic Bar Gears For Cocktail Lovers
5. Ultimate Bar Techniques For Mixing Drinks
As you discover bars and cocktails, you will find certain terms and words that you might not be aware of. Some of these terms are common to understand, while others are complicated and require little explanation. Learning such vocabulary will help you understand your glass of cocktail better. Hence, we have added the Bar Dictionary to our Cocktail guide. Here is the bar and cocktail lingo:
1. Mixed Drink- Any beverage that contains more than one ingredient.
2. Dash and Splash- Both of these terms are measurements in the bar. A dash is usually 1/32 of an ounce, and splash is larger than it.
3. Mixers- Ingredients that are added to mix drinks. Mixers are mostly non-alcoholic.
4. Garnish- Any ingredient that is used for making a drink more adorable and eye-pleasing.
5. Well- Section where house liquors are kept. Liquors from this section are used when drinkers don’t specify the brand.
6. Call Drink- When you ask for a drink of a specific brand, it is known as a call drink.
7. On the rocks- As per the bar dictionary, rocks mean ice. So, “on the rocks” are the drinks that are served over ice cubes.
8. Top-Shelf- Expensive and superior quality cocktails. All the best brands of drinks are termed as top-shelf.
9. Back- This term is used in several situations in bars. Word “Back” is used for drinks served alongside the main drink. “Backbar” are the liquors that are kept on the shelf just behind the bartender. However, “Back bars” are used for bartenders who are working in the bar for training to become a professional bartender.
10. Stick- The term “Stick” is used for two different meanings in the bar. People use the word “The Stick” to describe the bar, and “Stick drinks” are the ones that are muddled by the tool.
When you immerse yourself in the world of cocktails, you’ll get a lot of advice which makes learning a daunting process. Most of these suggestions are misconceptions that add to the confusion and questions that we have regarding cocktails. But now, you can sit back and relax. Here in this cocktail guide, we have mentioned some of the common myths that people have. Take a look at this cocktail guide, get rid of all the confusion, and enjoy a glass of cocktail on your vacation as well as while sitting at home.
1. If you are drinking a cocktail, you should like it: This is one of the most common myths that people have in the world of cocktails. Just like we do not enjoy having all the food items, we are not required to like all the cocktails. Even if it is considered to be the best, it might happen that you won’t like it and that’s OK. If you like it, enjoy it! You don’t need to drink it just for the sake of people.
2. Mixing cocktails is complicated: Most people think that cocktails are hard to mix. But the truth is — only some cocktails are hard while others are quite easy to create. If you know the correct technique, have the right gears, know the basics of cocktails or have a cocktail guide, then mixing them will be easier for you.
3. Ice cubes in a glass of cocktail are just ICE: Ice is one of the most underrated ingredients of the cocktail. Whenever you enjoy cocktails on leisure travel or make one for you, ice is always used. People think that ice is just for cooling the drink, but it adds dilution to it, which helps maintain balance. It softens the drink and blends the flavors, which enhance the taste.
4. The more expensive a cocktail is, the better it tastes: If you think expensive cocktails always taste better, then you should ask any bartender. In reality, it all depends on the drinker’s taste whether he/she likes the drink or not. The price of the drink does not have any reflection on the taste.
5. Soda doesn’t play a huge role: If we talk about drinks on a cocktail guide, we can’t skip the soda. It is one of the most crucial ingredients that can amplify the taste or can ruin it. Hence, it is suggested to use a fresh bottle of soda, of good quality, and in the right quantity.
Creating a healthy relationship between food and drink makes the meal more enjoyable. When it comes to pair food with a drink, Wine is the first word that strikes our minds. But have you ever thought — why just wine? With the expansion of the alcoholic world, people are looking out to pair food with cocktails and beer too. If you too want to enhance your cocktail’s taste, read the information stated below in this cocktail guide.
Undoubtedly, food pairing is a daunting task when you are working with the glass of a cocktail because of the complexity of the flavors. But, with little knowledge and understanding, you can produce excellent results. Enjoy some tips on our cocktail guide for food pairing.
1. Think of your taste buds while pairing. Flavors of cocktail should complement the dish without overpowering or competing with it.
2. Try pairing the cuisine as the spirit’s origin, for example, pairing Japanese drinks with Japanese cuisine. By doing so, your pairing will never go wrong.
3. Watch for the alcoholic content in your drink and pair the food accordingly.
4. Explore pairing before you experiment at a party. For this, you can try your cocktail with certain food items else use the restaurant experience. You can ask the waiter for recommendations with the cocktail, and then you can take notes.
The final and most important tip on this cocktail guide is to keep on pairing. Only after a few experiments will you understand the art of pairing. Remember — nothing can teach you better than your experiences.
Some Examples Of Pairing:
1. Gin based cocktails — Seafood and Fish
2. Whiskey — Red meat or Pork
3. Vodka — Smoked fish and Chocolate desserts
Recommended Article: Snacks That Goes Perfect With Cocktails: Time To Rock The Party!
If you want to craft a cocktail for yourself, then you need bar essentials. You don’t need to have a full-fledged bar; having a few essential tools and items will help you mix and prepare some great drinks. Michael Gaines said it right — “With this small investment, anyone at home can create a great classic cocktail and even experiment with their own recipes.” If you are looking forward to enjoying your favorite cocktail at home, here are the bar essentials you will need. However, you can customize the list given below on this cocktail guide as per the drink you want to enjoy.
1. Essential Liquors
Liquors are the foundation of any cocktail. No matter which cocktail you want to craft, you must have a few bottles of base liquors in your home bar. Having a good collection will make it easy for you to grab a glass and enjoy your drink any time. Here on this cocktail guide, we have some of the prominent liquors that you need to prepare a cocktail.
2. Required Liqueurs
Don’t confuse Liqueurs with Liquors. Liqueurs are the flavoring agents in cocktails. They are distilled spirits that help to define a glass. There are ample liqueurs that you find in the market. However, you can start with a few basic ones that are mentioned in this cocktail guide and then gradually add more to your bar stock.
- Irish Cream Liqueur
- Dry and Sweet Vermouth
- Coffee Liqueur
- Orange Liqueur
- Maraschino Liqueur
- Galliano L'Autentico
3. Non Alcoholic Mixers
Another bar essential that you need for preparing a delicious glass of cocktails is Non-Alcoholic Mixers. These mixers are required for enhancing the flavor and adding volume to the cocktail. Non-Alcoholic mixers are the common ingredients that you can easily find in your kitchen. So, check the list on the cocktail guide and grab the mixers to prepare a cocktail at your home bar.
- Fruit Juice
- Sugar & Water Syrup
4. Bar Gears
Next on this cocktail guide, we have Bar Gears. Even if you have all the liquids with you, you can’t prepare a cocktail without gears. They help to mix the drinks and make a perfect cocktail out of them. Here are some of the important gears that you need to add to your home bar.
- Cocktail Shaker
- Drink Muddler (for extracting flavors)
- Jigger (for taking measurements)
- Cocktail Glass
- Bar spoon
- Bottle Opener
Tip: To purchase the bar gears mentioned in this cocktail guide, you must look for three factors: Price, Durability, and Effectiveness. You can purchase some amazing gears from Leisure.com. Check out the website and enjoy a great drink while sitting at home.
The last addition that you need in your home bar is Garnishes. They are used for the final touch that not only adds to the beauty of the glass but also splashes a hint of flavor to it. Although not all cocktails that you prepare need garnishes, only some of them need. Adding garnishes takes the drink from ordinary to outstanding. Here are some of the garnishes that you need:
- Lemon wedges
- Granulated Sugar
Once you have all the ingredients and gears, you should mix up a drink. Do you know HOW? When you read the cocktail guide or recipes, crafting a drink seems self-explanatory and easy — just shake, stir, and pour! But let us clear your doubt; it is not. While making a cocktail, there is a specific technique for everything. Techniques matter a lot while preparing a delicious glass of cocktail. Although these techniques are super easy, using them will uplift the taste of your cocktail.
Here on this cocktail guide are some of the common bartending techniques that are used in the majority of cocktails.
The first technique on the cocktail guide is Shake. Ingredients of cocktails call to be shaken to improve the drink. However, you can’t use this technique on all cocktails. Only the ones that have juice or high-flavored ingredients are meant to be shaken.
Drinks that are mainly liquor or that are directly poured into the glass are required to be stirred. Although stirring is a simple technique that we have been doing since childhood, when it comes to cocktails, you are required to pay special attention to it.
No matter whether you are shaking or stirring your drink, you need to strain it before serving. This helps to remove the broken ice that you have used while mixing. So, you must strain your drink and serve it with fresh ice cubes.
When you mix a cocktail with two vessels and toss it from one to another, the technique is called Rolling. This amplifies the taste and enhances the flavors.
This is a little more advanced technique than others. In layering, you float a liquid ingredient on top of one another. To do this technique, you need to keep one of your hands steady and pour the liquid slowly with another hand. Trust us; this produces a fantastic drink.
Next on the cocktail guide, we have a bartending technique that helps to bring out the true essence of the drink. For this, a bar gear - muddler - is being used. This technique is used to integrate herbs and fresh fruits into the glass of the cocktail.
If you are someone who craves frozen drinks, then this is the technique for you. Using this technique will do wonders and convert the drink from chunky to a soupy cocktail.
To spruce up the cocktail and add flavors to it, the rimming technique is being used. For rimming, salt and sugar are generally used, but you can have fun by adding unique ingredients.