By Colleen Graham, About.com Guide
As you begin your journey in the world of cocktails you'll most likely come across many recipes that ask you to shake this and muddle that along with a few other common bartending techniques. These methods are the commonly required in the majority of cocktails. With a little practice, by making drinks for yourself and friends, these drink preparations will become second nature.
- 5 Steps to Better Cocktails
- Basic Shaking Tips
- How to Stir a Cocktail
- How to Blend Cocktails
- When to Shake and When to Stir
- Chilling Glassware
Just like any trade or craft, there are words that are specific to mixology that you will come across often. Some of these terms take on a completely different meaning than when they are used outside of the bar and may be confusing when first experienced. Learning their "spirited meanings" will help you get along in a career or in your experiences as a bar and lounge patron.
There are a few essential tools of the trade that are necessary for every serious and aspiring bartender. A cocktail shaker, bar spoon, muddler and jigger are just a few devices that will help you create the best drinks possible. The tools used in bars do not have to be ordinary either, there are many designer and novelty bar sets and tools available to fit every personality.
- Essential Bar Tools
- The Best Cocktail Shakers
- 10 Non-Essential Bar Tools
- Novelty Cocktail Shakers
- Best Bartending Guides
- How to Use a Speed Pourer
- Before You Buy a Blender
- Holiday Gifts for the Home Bartender
- 10 Great Electric Juicers
Once you have the basics of bartending down you can begin a deeper study of the craft. When put into practice these small bits of knowledge will help you produce cocktails that are a step above the ordinary and help you achieve drinks equal to those professional bartenders mix up. Also, there are a few articles here that will help you manage the stock of your bar because a good drink begins with good ingredients.
- Measuring "Parts"
- The Order of the Pour
- How Many Shots are in a Bottle?
- The Shelf Life of Liquor
- Will Alcohol Freeze?
- The Importance of Ice
- Specific Gravity Chart for Spirits
- Creating a Drink Menu
- Eco-Friendly Bartending
- Fruit Flavor Combinations in Cocktails
- Herbs and Spices in Mixology
There are five liquors, or distilled spirits, that are either sipped straight or are used to create the base for the majority of cocktails and mixed drinks. Each of these liquors (brandy, gin, tequila, vodka and whiskey) have defining qualities which distinguish them from all other alcoholic beverages and are often used as the base for many liqueurs, or cordials.
- Essential Spirits to Stock a Bar
- Learn Your Liqueurs
- Guide to Flavored Vodka Brands
- Profile of Sake
- Distilled Spirits Reviews
- More About Spirits
Mixers and Homemade Liquor
If you've ever been in a bar you know that there are many bottles behind the counter that bartenders, seemingly unconsciously, pull out, pour from and return to a designated place. What is in all those bottles? What is needed to stock a bar? And what could be contained in those long, unmarked plastic bottles with a curved spout, that seem to accent many drinks (sour mix, simple syrup, etc)? Those questions are answered as you explore this section of bottles you'll find behind many bars.
- All About Bitters
- Infusing Vodka & Other Spirits
- Dry & Sweet Vermouth
- Simple Syrup - Plain and Infused
- What is Gomme Syrup?
- Agave Nectar
- Make Your Own Sour Mix
- Spa Nectar
- Homemade Amaretto Liqueur
- Hot Buttered Rum Mix
- Lime Cordial
- How to Make Grenadine
- Understanding Sodas
- More Homemade Ingredients
Garnishes & Drink Embellishments
Not only does the liquid of a cocktail need to taste great, but the presentation should be spectacular and you'll find that many drinks depend on a particular garnish served in a certain way. Garnishes are not just there for looks, they typically add subtle flavor to drinks or are on the glass's rim to allow the drinker to add the fresh zest, juice or essence according to their own personal taste.
- How to Cut Orange Garnishes
- How to Cut Lime Garnishes
- Video: Cocktail Garnishes
- Video: How to Cut a Lemon Spiral
- All About Marachino Cherries
- How to Rim a Glass
- Whip That Groove
- Fun Finishing Touches
- Drink Markers to Fit Any Party Theme
- The Bartender's Garden
Depending on the local market and type of establishment getting a position as a bartender can be as easy as an interview and a little initiative or as hard as years of working your way up the ladder of an establishment's ranks. Bartenders are truly multi-talented, they must make great drinks, manage cash and multiple orders at once, play counselor, mediator and sometimes "the bad guy" when dealing with patrons and so on. It is a difficult, yet rewarding, career that can be a great opportunity financially and personally if you have the right knowledge and personality. Good luck!
- 10 Service Tips for Bartenders
- Popular Drinks Every Bartender Should Know
- Best Bartending Guides
- Bartending Schools
- Is Bartending School Worthwhile?
- BarSmarts Wired: Online Training