There is a lot of information on the internet describing how you should prepare cocktails. For instance, which is the best gin, how much ice should you add, when should you stir or when should you shake the cocktail, can you use diet soda and more.

In this article, we have a list of factors you should consider when preparing cocktails as a budding cocktail mixer.

Start With the Basics

One of the principles of making perfect cocktails is to stick to classic methods. With that said, there are modern classics, but they all have root in the older classics. The older recipes are simpleand once you learn them, you can add a twist to the recipes for a personal touch to your cocktails. Moreover, using a mixology set can help you with the basic preparation of cocktails and mixed drinks.

Alcohol Is the Most Important Ingredient

Most people have a notion that cocktails should be a naughty milkshake or a liquid pudding that disguises the alcohol. However, as a rule of thumb, at least 50 ml of the cocktail should be the base spirit, which is equivalent to a double shot topped up with bits and bobs.

Ideally, you should be generous with the alcohol and stingy with the bits and bobs. Professional bartenders add the alcohol to the cocktail shaker last to avoid diluting, over-sweeteningor souring the cocktail.

Ice Is the Second Most Important Ingredient

While some people are of the opinion that adding ice to a cocktail is a way of cheating them of a drink, ice is the second most crucial part of a good cocktail.

The ice has two purposes in a cocktail drink; it chills the cocktailand it partially dilutes the alcohol making it easy on the tongue and throat. With that said, you should use high-quality ice, preferably dry ice; otherwise, it will melt very quickly.

The ice cubes should poke above the alcohol line. However, you are at liberty to use as much ice as you want to control the flavor.

Mixers Are Not Necessary, But Nice To Have

Many are the times when you hear someone say that they have a bottle of rum, but they do not have a mixer as a reason why they are not making cocktails. Ideally, cocktails should be made from the freshest ingredients available.

This includes berries, mint, ice, lemons, sugar or syrup, eggsor any other ingredient that meets your fancy. However, diet sodas and concentrated fruit juices are in the grey area. For this reason, a mixer is not necessary. Besides, with a bit of practice, you can master the art of using two tumblers to shake the cocktail without incurring the cost of a mixer.

Keep It Simple

Searching for cocktail recipes on Google or YouTube can be daunting. Some self-proclaimed cocktail kings and queens use a tray of liqueurs and an orchard of fruitsand varieties of pisco. You should use the ingredients that you understand and no more than two or three in a single drink.

Strive For Balance

Whenever you embark on making a cocktail, you should aim for a harmonious blend of flavor such that there is no dominant sweetness, sournessor bitterness. The goal should be to make the cocktail taste good on the first sip; otherwise, it will not be a hit with your guests.

To achieve balance, taste the cocktail after you add every ingredient during preparation. This will save you time and money, just in case you make a weak batch.

Make It Look Nice

Other than the taste, a cocktail should look nice, which means that you should take time to work on your presentation. This includes adding a lemon zest twist or using frosted glass and other tricks of the trade.

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The presentation alone will make the person you are making the cocktail to feel special, even if it is yourself.

Only Shake Cocktails That Have Fruit Juice in Them

This is a simple rule that is more or less biding in cocktail making circles. There are two kinds of cocktails:

  • Aromatic cocktails that only have alcoholic ingredients
  • Sour cocktails that contain citrus fruits, an egg, cream and coffee, among other ingredients

The aromatic cocktails have more alcohol content and which gives them a bitter taste depending on the spirits used. This makes it necessary that you stir in the ice for even dilution and smoother texture.

Sour cocktails, on the other hand, have a tangy, fruity and creamier tasteand they ought to be shaken, not stirred. This results in more dilution, amalgamationand a slightly altered texture.

Both cocktails can be diluted with tea, champagne, water or soda, to form a third kind of cocktail known as long drinks.

All the Pieces Matter

Every ingredient that goes into the cocktail-making process plays a vital role in taste and appearance. The brand of rum, the lemons or lime, the syrup, you use will make a huge difference. Other than the ingredients, the kind of glass will make a difference in how guests and customers perceive the cocktail drink.

However, this rule is not cast in stone. Suppose you run out of bourbon and decide to use whiskey. Only the flavor will change, but with the right ingredients, you could make fabulous cocktails by switching up a few ingredients.


Making cocktails is both an art and a science. By learning the basics, you will figure out the science behind the art of making cocktails. With these tips, you are sure to be the life of the party or start a side business as a cocktail bartender.


Northern girl Laura is the epitome of a true entrepreneur. Laura’s spirit for adventure and passion for people blaze through House of Coco. She founded House of Coco in 2014 and has grown it in to an internationally recognised brand whilst having a lot of fun along the way. Travel is in her DNA and she is a true visionary and a global citizen.

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