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14 Vodka Cocktails That Are Perfect for Summer

Sea Breeze

The Sea Breeze screams summer drinking from the name alone. All members of the Breeze drink family (Bay Breeze, Hawaiian Breeze and Cape Codder) are contenders for summer drinking, but the Sea Breeze stands out for its juicy, citrusy qualities. Like Harry, Ron and Hermione, the trio of cranberry juice, grapefruit juice and vodka belongs together. Kick back with a Sea Breeze or two this summer whether you’re poolside, at the beach or in your backyard.

The Essentials

  • Vodka
  • Grapefruit Juice
  • Cranberry Juice

Moscow Mule

Hanging onto a frosty copper cup full of crushed ice is a good way to stay cool in the heat of summer. It’s even better when you throw vodka and ginger beer into the mix. Moscow Mules are simple to make, but their spicy ginger and citrusy kick are anything but basic.

The Essentials

  • Vodka
  • Lime Juice
  • Ginger Beer

Harvey Wallbanger

It’s easy to mix some vodka and orange juice over ice to make an easy Screwdriver during the dog days of summer. That’s fine, but as you grab that OJ, also pick up a bottle of Galliano. A touch of the herbal vanilla liqueur adds a little something extra without complicating things too much.

The Essentials

  • Vodka
  • Orange Juice
  • Galliano

Vodka Soda

Don’t underestimate the Vodka Soda as a summer sipper. While you don’t want to be taking iced vodka shots in the middle of a summer day, the Vodka Soda offers something equally clean and straightforward—but it’ll last a little longer than a shot. Garnish it with a lime wedge for an especially refreshing twist.

The Essentials

  • Vodka
  • Soda

Melon Ball

Drink something that looks as fun as you want your summer to be. The fruity Melon Ball has a slight tang, and it’s crazy easy to drink. You can also easily scale it up into a pitcher-sized cocktail, making it a good choice for a summer party.

The Essentials

  • Midori
  • Vodka
  • Fresh squeezed orange juice

Chi Chi

Would a summer drinking list be complete without a frozen drink? Of course not. You might recognize the Chi Chi because it resembles its more famous cousin, the Piña Colada. The two are very similar, but the Chi Chi swaps out the rum for vodka, which lets the coconut cream and pineapple juice do all the heavy flavor lifting.

The Essentials

  • Vodka
  • Coconut Cream
  • Pineapple Juice

Lemon Drop Martini

Sweet and tart like a piece of candy, the Lemon Drop Martini is for a summer night that’s just starting to heat up. It’s a crowd pleaser and looks elegant yet fun, like an upscale party on the beach where you get to kick off your shoes.

The Essentials

  • Vodka
  • Lemon Juice
  • Simple syrup

Salty Dog

It’s summer, and thinking too hard can make us all a little salty. That’s why you should keep things simple and use easy upgrades to take your favorite drinks up a notch. The Salty Dog is just a Greyhound (grapefruit juice and vodka), but with the addition of a salted rim. That small modification makes all the difference, making the drink tart, refreshing and briney all at once.

The Essentials

  • Grapefruit Juice
  • Vodka
  • Salt

Vodka Gimlet

If refreshment is what you’re after, look no further than a Vodka Gimlet. A bright and tart Gimlet will make you come to your senses no matter how much sun you’ve taken in. To add some variety, opt for a citrusy bottling like Bedlam Vodka, or even choose a creamy one like Black Cow Vodka for something that is reminiscent of key lime pie.

The Essentials

  • Vodka
  • Simple Syrup
  • Lime Juice

French Martini

Admittedly, the French Martini is nothing that its name suggests. It is, however, a delightful tipple to drink in the summertime—especially if you’re in the mood for something a little stronger than a traditional summer drink. It’s a mix of vodka, pineapple juice and Chambord, a French liqueur made with black raspberries, honey, vanilla and herbs.

The Essentials

  • Vodka
  • Pineapple Juice
  • Chambord

Blueberry Cider Cocktail

A palate cleansing dry cider is the perfect topper to your new favorite summer cocktail. Created by Cat DiPaci at her store Beer Fridge in New York’s Lower East Side, it combines fresh ripe blueberries, vodka and lemon juice.

The Essentials

  • Blueberries
  • Vodka
  • Nine Pin Cider

Coconut Vodka Soda

While the Vodka Soda is fine and dandy, you can take it to the next level by turning it into a Coconut Vodka Soda. That touch of coconut water makes it go down all too easy on a hot day, especially when you use a silky vodka like Zirkova One or Russian Standard. True coconut water devotees can also double down and use a coconut vodka like Three Olives Coconut Water vodka.

The Essentials

  • Vodka
  • Coconut Water
  • Soda Water

Jungle Mule

Moscow Mule, meet the Jungle Bird. In the Jungle Mule, two favorites—one spicy and gingery, the other classic tiki—combine for a drink that will make you feel like you’re in the tropics.

The Essentials

  • Vodka
  • Campari
  • Ginger beer

Peaches and Tea Punch

It’s hard to beat the experience of biting into a ripe peach in the dead of summer. Drinking a Peaches and Tea Punch and then biting into a ripe peach, though, that does the trick. The spiked iced tea is boozed up with vodka and peach schnapps, and then served up in a Mason jar filled with peach slices.

The Essentials

  • Vodka
  • Peach Schnapps
  • Lipton’s Iced Tea, to top
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The Only Wine Chart You’ll Ever Need

When you’re looking for an ideal wine you want something that offers the perfect level of sweetness, but just what does that mean?

Well, it’s going to be different for different people.

You can choose a bottle of wine with a very sweet rating on the wine chart or one with a bone-dry score, or maybe you like something a little closer to the middle of the pack. If you’re not sure, this is a good time to start looking at different types of wine and how they rank and then trying out a few options.

Bone Dry vs. Very Sweet

You may not think of a beverage of any kind as being ‘bone dry’ but if you’ve ever had wine categorized this way you might change your mind. Some wines are actually capable of sucking the moisture directly out of your mouth and make you feel like you’re nearly dehydrated.

Others are so sweet that you can feel the sugar coating the inside of your mouth. Of course, there are always those wines that fall somewhere in the middle or slightly closer to one side of the wine chart than the other. Only you can decide which way you prefer.

What Makes Wine Dry?

So, why does wine taste dry in some instances? Professional food scientists and wine writers have been looking at this for years, and they have come up with three different aspects of wine that decide whether it is dry or sweet, as to better place it in the wine chart.

These three aspects are the aroma, the tannins, and the acidity. Of course, sweet wines have these as well, but in different combinations. Tannins that are high will produce a more drying effect in the mouth when paired with high acidity and an aroma that is less sweet it will create the drying impact even more.

Some of the driest red wines that you can look for include a bold and bitter finish or savory flavors, like Tannat, Bordeaux, Aglianico or French Malbec.

Dry white wines include lemon and mineral flavors primarily and include options like Italian Pinot Grigio, Gavi, Muscadet, Vinho Verde, and Arinto. These wines will give you the bone-dry taste that you may be looking for, but keep in mind that we’re not kidding when we say they’re going to completely dry out your mouth and your taste buds while you drink.

wine-chart-grapges

What Makes Wine Sweet?

By the law of opposites, we know that if the bone-dry wine has high tannins, high acidity, and low sweet aroma, a sweet wine must have low tannins, low acidity and a great sweet aroma, right? Well, it’s just about that simple. Wines that taste sweet also smell sweet, and when you get a low level of acidity and a low level of the drying tannins, you’re going to get a glass of wine that tastes sweeter and sweeter, all the way up to that cloying sweetness of an exceptionally sweet wine.

If you’re looking for some of these very sweet wines you’ll find red wines that contain figs, raisins and dates are some of the best options. These include the Tawny Port and Vin Santo Rosso.

Very sweet white wines can consist of flavors of golden raisin, apricot jam, and fig. They include options like White Port, Passito wines, Moscatel Dessert Wine and Vin Santo. Each of these is going to give you the heavy flavor of sweetness that you’re looking for, and a great compliment to more acidic foods. Unless, of course, you’re really looking for as much sweetness as possible.

Balancing it Out

In the middle of the wine chart are options for off-dry or semi-sweet wines. These are great for those who want a little bit more balance but tend to lean in one direction or another. For red wines, you’ll find semi-sweet options that contain candied fruit and floral flavors, like Brachetto D’Acqui, Recioto Della and Valpolicella. I

n a white wine, you’ll discover off-dry wines with honeycomb and lemon flavors, like Chenin Blanc, Kabinett Riesling, and Torrontes. You’ll also find semi-sweet options that include tropical fruit and perfume flavors, like Moscato. These are going to give you a little more of the balance you may want for a dinner party or happy hour.

Finding the Flavor in the Wine Chart

Different aspects affect the flavor of a wine, as we mentioned in the wine chart. The tannin, acidity, and aroma of a wine will give it a distinct lean toward dry or sweet, so take a look here.

Tannins are related to the way that the wine feels on your tongue. They make the wine feel dry or not by changing the level of bitterness and astringency to the wine. For some, it doesn’t take a lot of tannins to recognize the effect, but others don’t have the same level of sensitivity.

Acidity is another area that you’ll notice a difference toward sweet or dry. That’s because higher levels of acid cut through sweet aspects of wine or anything else for that matter. If you have sweet, you want to add at least a little sour to balance it. Not enough and you get something very sweet; too much and you get something very sour, or acidic, which makes it taste drier.

wine-chart-white-grapes

Finally, the way something smells can play tricks on your mind. If it feels sweet, your body thinks that it must taste sweet and that works in favor of sweeter wines. And remember that you want to use a wine aerator when pouring red wine.

On the other hand, if it smells sour, you’re going to feel the sourness as soon as you take a sip. Your mind can play tricks on you in that way, or it can enhance the intended flavor of the end product.

No matter what type of wine you’re looking for, you can find it in red or in white, with a dry or a sweet option. You can also try out several different choices that lean in either direction. Sweet wines vary from semi-sweet to very sweet and dry wines differ from one off-dry all the way to bone dry. Just use the wine chart as assistance.

A wine vintage chart will visually show you the quality and traits of a specific region and year. These charts help you make good buying choices by showing you the best years and regions together. When you ask yourself if the 2018 Chardonnay from Napa or the 2019 is better, simply use a wine vintage chart to find out. The one that I find the best is by famous wine expert Robert Parker, you can find it here.

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Beginners Guide: Learn How to Start Your Bartender Career

Welcome to your entry to a career on bartending. Bartending is a well-known and fun work for those who love to socialize while making and mixing the best drinks. Being a bartender in the past was a profession of necessity for most people who use it as a secondary job, sideline or transition work. Today it is now a profession of choice though some still use it as a secondary job.

An overview of bartender jobs

Bartending as a job can be fun, but it also bestows responsibilities on its practitioners.  Bartender jobs are not just to about mixing and make drinks for customers. A bartender also opens and serves beer and other drinks that do not need to be combined. They are also taking orders from the wait staff or customers of the establishment that they are working.

What is a bartender training and what are the requirements to be a bartender?

A bartender training is not necessary to become a bartender However if you want to learn more about liquors and bar glassware as well hone your skills in garnishing and bartending techniques, then training is needed. Bartender training in some cases is necessary since some establishments, state, county or city requires a bartender who is certified and has a bartending license. The training can also teach you how to behave appropriately in different kinds of establishments. Refer to the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) board to pick the best and good bartending school.

The other alternative is to be a barback (for men) or a cocktail waitress (for women) at a nightclub or bar. These establishments have their bartenders who can train and teach you to be a bartender. After that, you can work your way up to become a bartender yourself.

The age requirement for bartending differs from state to state. These states require you to be of a legal drinking age that is mostly at 21 years old. For more specific info check the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Commission’s information board.

Other requirements to be a bartender are the following:

» Must be sociable and have a great personality that can connect with people.
» Good math skills to count money and give out the changes quickly.
» A good memory is needed to memorize the various mixed drinks that are ordered by a customer.
» Must have intimate knowledge of beers, liquors, wines and cocktails
» Can work with other fellow bartenders (if the bar needs more than one) and help them serve with customers
» Must be able to work under pressure and deal with the stress of bartending.
» Must possess good grooming.

Stating what type of bartender you are in a Bartender Jobs Description

When applying for a bartending in an establishment they might ask what kind of bartender you are. There are three different of bartenders and knowing what type you are will help you get the job. Some establishment needs a specific type, so this can be significant for you to know.

Show bartenders – They are the type that are found working in nightclubs and large restaurants. The city of Las Vegas and some resorts employ these types. A show bartender is more like a showman tossing, flipping and even setting drinks on fire.

Average bartenders – They are the usual type of bartender found employed in bars and restaurants. They are expected to serve the guests their food and make drinks for quickly.

Educated bartenders – They are the one is a bit more classy compared to the two mentioned above. They are the type that works in specialty shops and high-end restaurants serving food with drinks that can cost $100 at a minimum. They also possess a vast and extensive knowledge of drinks like bourbons, wines, whiskeys, and scotches.

  • Create and mix drink recipes for customers.
  • Collecting the money from customers whom you just have served drinks and food.
  • Make attractive displays on the bar by arranging glasses and bottles.
  • Checking and verifying a customer to see if the customer meets the age requirements to buy alcoholic drinks.
  • You must be capable of dealing with customers who are obnoxious and loud. You are expected to ask them to leave and remove them by force if they do not comply.
  • Cleaning the equipment, glasses, and utensils is one of your duties. You are also expected to do the same to tables, bars and work areas.
  • Balancing cash receipts
  • Preparing appetizers for customers.
  • Limit the problems and liabilities that is the result of a customer’s excessive drinking. Ordering a taxi or persuading the customer to stop drinking are just a few some examples.
  • Requisitioning or ordering supplies and planning the bar’s menu.
  • Supervising the other bartenders and the bar staff.
    Serve the customers dutifully and with enthusiasm.

Just remember to put specific details in your bartender jobs description when looking for employment.

Why do you need to get a Bartending License?

Most bartenders don’t have a bartending license, (the lack it, however, does not detract their effectiveness), but there are still good reasons to get one. There are some establishments, state, counties or city that requires a bartender to have one so having a license can save you some time and effort when trying to get a bartending job. Check the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Commission’s information board for the best bartending school to enroll. A bonus to attending a bartending school is that you get to enhance your skills and learn more about your bartending job.

Recommended Tools for Bartenders:

Mixing drinks and opening bottles require tools that a bartender must use. Bars usual provided their bartenders the needed tools and equipment, but sometimes they don’t provide everything. At best the bartender tools you’ll be getting are basic. Before you start working as a bartender try to get the tools and equipment you need. Here a list of those tools:

  • Corkscrew (wine key)
  • Boston shaker
  • Can opener
  • Hawthorne Strainer
  • Funnel
  • Bar spoon
  • Pour spouts
  • Muddler
  • Citrus zester
  • Fruit press
  • Mesh tea strainer
  • Knife
  • Bottle opener
  • Ice scoop

Some of these tools are available from any store, but I recommend buying from stores that specifically provides bartending equipment and tools.

What is flair bartending?

Flair Bartending is a combination of entertainer and server. A bartender who does this type of bartending juggles mixers, ice and bottles as well toying around with flammable liquors. The bartender also does the occasional magic tricks. This kind of showmanship tends to attract the attention of customers resulting in more tips and regulars who will order more drinks. The can also get land the practitioner a bartending work in more glamorous clubs along with a higher pay. Some establishments in New York, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles have flair bartenders working for them.
Note that while this can be fun and bring in bigger tips or payment for drinks you must be skilled to do all the juggling. You could end up with broken glasses and bottles along with the potential of causing an out-of-control fire due to those flammable drinks.

How much do bartenders make from customers tips and their salary?

The question “how much do bartenders make” depends on how good the tips are and the wage that their employers give.
The amount of money from tips varies depending on how good the bartender is. A skilled bartender with a good people personality can attract more customers and bring in more cash paid for drinks. Note that the tips received from customers’ compromise half of their income that includes their wages. This alone gives lots of motivation for bartenders to improve their job.
Money from wages also varies. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the best-paid bartender earns $32,780 while the worst-paid ones earn $16,400. The hourly wages that can be at an average $10.46 also affect the income bartenders make.

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5 Tequila Cocktails To Advance Your Bartending Skills

As tequila continues to make inroads into U.S. cocktail culture, more and more people are discovering its amazing versatility and complexity. They’re realizing that while the Margarita is a classic cocktail for a reason—it’s delicious and brilliantly simple—it’s by no means the be-all, end-all for tequila. The ancient agave spirit comes in several forms, from blanco to reposado to añejo, and it can be sipped neat or on the rocks—as well as mixed into a much wider variety of cocktails than previously given credit for.

Here are five such drinks, in ascending order of difficulty (though none of them is too difficult). Master these to further stoke your passion for home bartending and progress on your journey of tequila knowledge. Our list starts with two classics, followed by three originals that showcase the underappreciated flexibility of Mexico’s storied national spirit.


Blanco Margarita

Cocktail origin stories are notoriously hazy, perhaps none more so than the Margarita’s. There are at least four different version of the tale, and they involve a Hollywood-worthy cast of characters, from a Tijuana bartender and a beautiful dancer to a Dallas socialite and a wealthy hotelier. There’s even a rendition involving the famous singer Peggy Lee (“Fever”). There are also a number of ways to make this classic. The best, in our opinion, is to keep it simple, use a quality blanco tequila, and elevate it with agave syrup instead of smothering it with orange-flavored liqueur.


    The Essentials

  • Blanco Tequila
  • Fresh Lime Juice
  • Agave Nectar

Earth and Sun Paloma

Fun fact about this drink: the Paloma—and not its more famous counterpart, the Margarita—is the national cocktail of Mexico. With good reason: the sweet, tart, and crisp accents of the grapefruit soda combine beautifully with the earthy flavor of the reposado tequila, making for a uniquely flavorful concoction. It’s also a snap to make. Check it out (and avoid any grapefruit sodas sweetened with corn syrup).


    The Essentials

  • Reposado Tequila
  • Fresh Lime Juice
  • Grapefruit Soda (to top)

Sonoran Oasis

Think of this as the Paloma’s sophisticated older cousin who’s studied abroad and come back with a little worldly experience and added dimension. It’s an ideal companion for interesting conversation in a shady spot on a scorching hot afternoon.


    The Essentials

  • Reposado Tequila
  • Fresh Lime Juice
  • Grapefruit Soda

Santa Fe Sunset

Show off some bartending chops by using the unexpected combination of Champagne and tequila in this advanced yet still easy-to-make sipper. It’s a vivid creation that tastes as good as it looks, and puts the underappreciated adaptability of tequila front and center.

    The Essentials

  • Blanco Tequila
  • Fresh Blood Orange Juice
  • Champagne

Puerto Vallarta

The Mexican resort town of Puerto Vallarta sits on the Pacific Coast in the state of Jalisco, the heart of tequila country. This adjustable formula makes for a sensational beachside tipple, while also adding an excellent, uncomplicated entry to your repertoire of tequila cocktails.


    The Essentials

  • Blanco Tequila
  • Fresh Pineapple Juice
  • Fresh Lime Juice
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Up Your Bartending Game With These Advanced Techniques

So, you’ve mastered the basics of cocktails. You can shake, stir and strain a drink with ease. You can skewer and twist and zest garnishes in a jiffy. You can float, swizzle, express, dry shake and double strain too. Congratulations, you passed Bartending 101.

Time for the next level.  

There’s a lot left to learn, grasshopper. These techniques—from doubling up on jiggers and shakers, to sabering Champagne, to tapping a keg—will take you to the next level of drink mastery.

Use Two Jiggers at Once

Doubling up your jigger hand may seem like a small change, but it can vastly speed up your drinks when you’re making cocktails en masse for a party of impatient drinkers. Hold a larger jigger—a 1- and 2-ounce jigger preferably—in between your thumb and forefinger, and use it by turning your whole hand. Hold a smaller jigger—preferably a .5- and .75-ounce jigger—between your forefinger and middle finger, and use it by rotating only those two fingers in a seesaw motion. This leaves your other hand free to hold a bottle and means the correct measurement is literally never out of reach.

Double Shake

Shaking two shakers at once isn’t much different from shaking one, but it does take a bit more confidence in your technique. Make sure you have a firm grip on both shakers, placing your thumb, ring and pinky fingers on the bottom tin, and your forefinger and middle finger on the top tin. Everything else is a matter of style—you can tap the tins together for a bit of flair, shake them together in a tricep extension motion or alternate like a piston.

Double Shake

Throw a Cocktail

Throwing a cocktail from one shaker tin to the other isn’t just a flashy move out of Cocktail. In fact, the garish display of coordination is a perfectly balanced mixing technique, somewhere in between rough shaking and delicate stirring. Begin with both shaker tins above your head and the strainer in place as usual. Then, as you pour, lower the catching tin to your midsection. Once fully poured, return the liquid to the original tin and repeat a few more times until well mixed.

Flame Cinnamon Sparks Over a Cocktail

Flaming cocktails get plenty of attention in a crowded room, but if you want to put on a real show, you can make a cinnamon fireball appear over a drink. Float some high-proof booze (usually 151) on top of a drink, light it safely, then sprinkle cinnamon on top. The falling spice will ignite into a cloud of sparks that appears explosive but is actually relatively contained. You can either sprinkle the cinnamon from above (again, carefully), or shake at the flame from a slight angle from a spice shaker.

Make an Ice Sphere

Making a perfect ice sphere doesn’t require any fancy technique or special skills. It just takes the right tool and dedicated practice. Pick up a proper three-pronged ice pick and go to work at an ice block slightly larger than the sphere you want, chipping away at every corner you see until you are left with a round ball. Pro tip: Pour a bit of water over the finished ball to smooth the rough surface.

Make an Ice Sphere

Pour Two Drinks at Once

Double your cocktails; double your fun. If you look closely at your Hawthorne strainer, you’ll notice there’s a gap in the middle separating two distinct channels for the liquid. Lining this gap up with the lips of two glasses sitting side by side allows you to pour a single tin into both cups at once.

Saber a Bottle of Champagne

It's unlikely you'll ever truly need to slash open Champagne with a sword, but if you're ever presented the opportunity, know it is one of the greatest visceral joys of this life. Keep the blade angled down at a 45-degree angle against the seam of the neck, and swing through like a golfer. Just don't go popping every bottle this way, otherwise you'll go from party hero to saber-happy weirdo.

Reverse Dry Shake

If you've mastered the dry shake for fluffy eggy cocktails, you can graduate to this more obscure practice. Simply reverse the order of standard and dry shakes. Shake the liquid ingredients with ice, strain the mixture into the smaller shaking tin or mixing glass, dump the ice, add egg white, and shake again. Julie Reiner of Clover Club fame prefers this method to make the bar’s eponymous cocktail, giving the drink an extremely large frothy head.

Reverse Dry Shake

Properly Tap a Keg

Tapping a keg is one of those skills you never think to learn until you absolutely need it. Worse yet, the stakes are high, with a beer geyser as penalty if you mess up. Don't worry; just follow the coupler lugs to line everything up. And whatever you do, make sure the tap is disengaged before you screw it in.

Open a Beer With a Chef Knife

You can Macgyver your way into a bottle of beer with just about any household object, but—short of an actual opener—the most likely tool in your bar arsenal is a knife for slicing garnishes. Don't go stabbing away at the cap, though. Instead, use the spine of the blade to pry up the prongs of the cap, then use the forefinger of the hand holding the bottle as a fulcrum to lift the cap off.

Hard Shake

This move is so difficult, there’s supposedly only one person in the world who can do it right: its inventor, master bartender Kazuo Uyeda. Mere mortals can only half replicate his majestic, impeccable shaking technique, which achieves perfect dilution and aeration—at least, according to Uyeda. But if you follow our detailed instructions you might come close.

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Basic Drinks to Know Before You Try Bartending

Every bartender should know how to prepare a variety of drinks in order to run a bar successfully. There are a number of bartender recipes for basic cocktails that customers commonly order, as well as important drink mixing techniques. Learn how to make these drinks, and you'll be well on your way to being prepared to work as a bartender!

Drinks Every Bartender Should Know: 12 Basic Cocktail Recipes

1. Martini

A classic martini is a thing of beauty. Dry, chilled, and aromatic, it uses just two ingredients, gin and vermouth (plus ice and garnish). Once you've mastered the classic version, you can try simple variations, such as a vodka martini or a dirty martini.

2. Bloody Mary

The Bloody Mary is having a moment right now with popular versions containing an array of food garnishes, using bacon flavored liquors, or featuring lots of spice. However, before you can fly, you need to learn to walk, so it's important to learn how to make a classic Bloody Mary with tomato juice, vodka, and some spice. Once you've mastered that, you can start to embellish as your creativity takes over.

3. Old-Fashioned

Made with sugar, angostura bitters, and whiskey (usually bourbon or rye), a good old-fashioned never goes out of style. It's a supremely balanced drink with deep and complex flavors. Once you have the classic mastered, you can start to experiment with some fantastic new ingredients, such as a maple bourbon or flavored bitters such as orange, chocolate, or cardamom, to create new, exciting flavor profiles.

4. Gin and Tonic

Simple, refreshing, and lightly bitter, a classic gin and tonic combines two ounces of aromatic dry gin with four ounces of tonic water and a squeeze of lime juice. It's a great, fizzy summer cocktail, and you can easily vary it with a squeeze of another citrus juice (grapefruit is tasty) or by experimenting with gins that have different aromatic profiles.

5. Kamikaze

The classic kamikaze is a cold, sweet-tart combination of vodka, lime juice, and triple sec that's perfect for sipping. Learn the basic recipe, then try to fancy it up a bit, for example with fresh blackberries.

6. Lemon Drop

Lemon drops are the Johnny-come-lately of martinis, but they're quite popular. With a sweet, tart, lemony flavor, this chilled and shaken cocktail is reminiscent of the candy after which it's named. Want to fancy it up? Drop an actual lemon drop candy in as a garnish, or add some fresh berries.

Classic lemon drop cocktail

7. Long Island Iced Tea

This isn't your grandma's sweet tea. Long Island Iced Tea has been around for a while because it packs such a powerful boozy wallop with five different types of liquor including gin, vodka, rum, tequila, and triple sec or Cointreau.

8. Tom Collins

A Tom Collins is another classic gin cocktail that remains popular, particularly in summer months when people are looking for a refreshing drink. Made with gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and soda water, it's aromatic, fizzy, sweet, and lemony. Learn the classic, and then add one more drink to your repertoire to create a less aromatic vodka Collins, which is a Tom Collins made with vodka in place of the gin.

9. Manhattan

A Manhattan is a classic martini's darker, sweeter, slightly more complex cousin. Made with rye, sweet vermouth, and bitters, it's been a popular classic for decades.

10. Margarita

Sometimes the only cocktail that will suffice is a tart margarita. The classic version is made with lime juice, triple sec or Cointreau, and tequila on the rocks in a salt-rimmed glass. Master the classic before you expand to blended margaritas or fruit flavored versions like a strawberry margarita.

11. Daiquiri

Like the margarita, a classic daiquiri is a drink that is served on the rocks, although it is also popular blended and frozen. This sweet, tart, and refreshing cocktail contains lime juice, rum, and simple syrup. Master the classic, and then expand into frozen and fruity versions, such as strawberry or banana.

12. Gimlet

A classic gimlet is another gin cocktail is made with gin, lime juice, and simple syrup. It's tart and sweet with plenty of pucker power. Once you've mastered the gin gimlet, you can easily vary it by replacing the gin with vodka to make a vodka gimlet.

Gimlet cocktail

10 Popular Drinks Bartenders Should Know

Along with the basics, a good bartender knows how to make the classic versions of the most popular cocktails that are the most commonly ordered in bars around the world.

1. Mojito

The Cuban mojito cocktail is growing in popularity for its sweet, minty, refreshing flavors. Learn the classic recipe and technique first (below) and then branch out to add other flavors such as tropical juices or berries.

Ingredients

  • 10 mint leaves
  • 1/2 lime, cut into wedges
  • 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
  • 1 1/2 ounces white rum
  • Ice
  • Club soda
  • Additional lime wedges and mint sprigs for garnish

Instructions

  1. Add the mint leaves, lime wedges, and sugar to a cocktail shaker. Muddle.
  2. Add the rum. Shake to mix.
  3. Pour into a rocks glass half filled with ice. Add the club soda. Stir.
  4. Garnish with lime wedges and mint sprigs.

2. Negroni

A traditional negroni is a thing of beauty; it's a flavorful blend of gin, Campari, and vermouth. It's also one of the most popular cocktails in the world, so if you're behind the bar, you'll likely encounter it sooner rather than later.

Negroni cocktail

3. Whiskey Sour

Next to the old-fashioned, the whiskey sour is the world's most popular whiskey cocktail, so it's important that a bartender learns this blend of whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup.

4. Moscow Mule

The classic Moscow mule is all over cocktail menus these days along with popular variations that add berries, fuit juice, mint, and other ingredients. Learn the classic, and then creatively branch out.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lime, cut into wedges
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 6 ounces ginger beer
  • Ice

Instructions

  1. Squeeze the lime wedges into a mule cup or rocks glass.
  2. Add the vodka, ginger beer, and ice. Stir.

5. Sazerac

The sazerac cocktail was invented in New Orleans, and it remains a popular cocktail, particularly in the United States. It's a unique blend of rye, bitters, and other aromatic ingredients.

6. Amaretto Sour

The sweet and sour amaretto sour remains a popular bar drink. It's easy to make with three basic ingredients: amaretto, sweet and sour mix, and lemon-lime soda garnished with a simple cherry.

7. French 75

This classic cocktail has been showing up on cocktail menus a lot in recent years, so it's helpful to know how to make it.

French 75 cocktail

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ounces gin
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 3/4 ounce simple syrup
  • Champagne or sparkling wine
  • Lemon peel for garnish

Instructions

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker half full with ice.
  2. Add the gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Shake to chill.
  3. Strain into a Champagne glass. Fill to the top with chilled Champagne.
  4. Garnish with a lemon peel.

8. Sidecar

It may sound old-fashioned, but the sidecar is another classic drink enjoying a renaissance. It's a simple drink made with Cointreau, cognac or armagnac, and lemon juice.

9. Cosmopolitan

The pink-tinted Cosmopolitan is considered a typical girly drink, but it's got great sweet and sour combination of flavors that makes it a popular and commonly ordered cocktail bartenders need to know.

10. White Russian

The white Russian is one of the most popular Kahlúa drinks because it is sweet and creamy. Chances are you'll be asked to make at least one of these cocktails your first night behind the bar. You'll probably also want to know how to make a Black Russian, which is also quite popular.

4 Basic Cocktail Formulas for Bartenders

Classic cocktails like sours, fizzes, and others all have basic formulas you can follow. When you work with the different formulas but switch ingredients, you can create an array of really interesting cocktails with your own personal flare.

Bartender mixing a drink

Sours

Sour cocktails, such as whiskey sours, margaritas, and others, follow a simple formula:

  • 1 part sweet (such as simple syrup, agave nectar, or liqueur)
  • 1 part sour (such as lime or lemon juice)
  • 2 parts strong (a distilled spirit)
  • Shake with ice

You can alter this in many ways. The sky's the limit once you understand the basic formula. For example:

  • Change the sweet to a liqueur such as Chambord or Luxardo cherry liqueur.
  • Change your simple syrup to an infused syrup to alter flavor profiles.
  • Add fruit or herbal flavors to a basic sour by shaking the cocktails with some fresh fruit or herbs before straining, such as raspberries or mint.

Fizzes

Fizzes are mostly sours with some club soda added. For example, a gin fizz follows the classic 1:1:2 ratio for sweet:sour:strong, but it then adds a few ounces of club soda at the end, stirred. The formula for a fizz:

  • 1 part sweet
  • 1 part sour
  • 2 parts strong

Shake with ice and strain over ice in a rocks or highball glass. Stir in:

  • 2 to 4 parts fizzy
  • Fizzy might include club soda, sparkling water, or even flavored soda although you'll want to adjust sweetness if you're using a sweetened soda by adding less of your sweet component.
  • You can add herbs and other ingredients as well. A mojito is an example of a fizz that has mint added.

Old Fashioneds

Most people know about making an old-fashioned with whiskey, but you can make it with other brown liquors (such as Cognac or dark rum) as well. The formula:

  • 2 to 3 dashes bitters
  • 1 sugar cube
  • Splash of soda water

Muddle these three ingredients and add:

  • 2 ounces brown spirit

Stir and strain into a rocks glass.

  • Try using different flavors of bitters, or even a splash of absinthe.
  • Use different types of sugars or flavored syrups.

Martini Style Cocktails

Everyone knows a classic dry martini is gin and vermouth, but the Manhattan and vodka martini are both variations on the classic. The basic formula:

  • 4 parts strong (a distilled spirit)
  • 1 part fortified (a fortified wine)
  • Stirred with ice and served straight up

With the basic formula in place, you can experiment in the following ways:

  • Change dry vermouth for other fortified wines such as Sherry or Port.
  • Use different spirits, such as cognac, armagnac, or a smoky Scotch.
  • Use sweet vermouth instead of dry.
  • Play around with the 4:1 ratio; the original martini actually was more likely a 1:1 mix of gin and vermouth.
  • Add a few dashes of various types of bitters such as orange bitters to enhance and change flavors slightly.

More Bartender Basics

Ready to branch out? There are plenty of great basic bartender cocktails to learn.

  • If it's summertime, you'll want to be prepared with some basic blender cocktails.
  • Designated drivers get thirsty too! Learn some easy alcohol-free mocktails.
  • When winter rolls around, help your patrons beat the chill with some warming winter cocktails.
  • Learn how to make low-calorie and low-carb cocktails for patrons watching their waistlines.
  • Celebrate the tropics with Caribbean cocktails and tropical drink recipes.
  • Work with trendy ingredients to make cocktails from currently popular products such as Fireball cocktails and RumChata drinks.

Bartenders Need to Master Basic Cocktail Recipes

Every bartender needs to know how to make a nice selection of classic cocktails. From there, he or she can expand in repertoire to include creative variations on the basics before moving on to less commonly ordered drinks in order to offer skilled bar service.

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What Is Molecular Mixology?

Where Science and Cocktails Meet

Molecular mixology is the practice of mixing drinks using science to manipulate ingredients on the molecular level.   It was inspired by molecular gastronomy (a phrase coined around 1988), which employs similar techniques with food.   In both food and drinks, the purpose is to manipulate states of matter to create new flavors, mouthfeels, textures, and visuals that enhance the experience.

When Did Molecular Mixology Start?

 
The practice of molecular mixology was widespread in the late 2000s and early 2010s.  

What Is Molecular Mixology?

  It was during a boom in the modern cocktail scene when bartenders were not only reviving many forgotten classic cocktails but also reimagining favorite drinks. At the time, there was a focus on spectacular effects in the cocktail world, and molecular mixology fit right in.
Popular techniques of molecular mixology include:
  • the use of foams,
  • liquid nitrogen,
  • gels,
  • mists,
  • heat,
  • solidifying liquids,
  • and much more.
  Many bartenders and establishments throughout the world feature or specialize in molecular mixology, just as restaurants specialized in molecular gastronomy.
Often touted as somewhat gimmicky, it could, with the absence of discretion, be overwhelming for some drinkers.
 

What Went Wrong With Molecular Mixology?

Since the early 2010s, it has mostly fallen out of favor.   Bartenders and drinkers left the spectacle behind in pursuit of refined taste and more straightforward drinks with a sophisticated balance of flavor. Some still pursue it, though it's largely viewed as a fad that may one day see another revival.
 

Ingredients and Techniques

At the heart of molecular mixology are a bunch of processes and ingredients that sound like they belong in a science lab rather than a bar. For example, calcium lactate and sodium alginate are used to make edible cocktail spheres using a process called spherification.
  1. Molecular mojito spheres are one popular example, and they're essentially a geeky take on jello shots.
  2. Another common process is emulsification, which uses an emulsifier to bind two liquids that don't usually mix, such as fats.
  3. Cocktails may also feature suspension, in which an ingredient like xantham gum thickens a liquid so it will suspend within another liquid.
  4. Nitrous oxide canisters were also quite popular and employed to create luscious flavored foams on top of cocktails.
  5. In a more straightforward approach, liquid nitrogen or dry ice creates ice-cold drinks that smoke. Great care needs to be taken with these techniques because ingredients at such extreme colds can burn a drinker's throat and internal organs, and no one should consume dry ice.
Among the ingredients applied in molecular mixology are
  • calcium chloride,
  • gum acacia,
  • xantham gum,
  • soy lecithin,
  • gelatin,
  • and other gelling agents like agar-agar.
  Some of these are somewhat common ingredients used to adapt standard recipes for specialized diets, including gluten-free baked goods and vegan dishes.
 

Practice Exercise #1.  - Molecular Mixology

On a basic level, you can freeze a cocktail into a large ice cube or ball so the drink is formed as it melts in your glass.
 

Practice Exercise #2.  - Molecular Mixology

A similar technique uses a syringe to inject a cocktail into a semi-solid piece of ice. With these, you will have to find a balance between the alcohol content and its freezing point. It's possible with a high concentration of mixers and a long enough freezing time. A deep freezer reaches lower temperatures than a refrigerator's freezer, and that helps as well.  

Practice Exercise #3.  - Molecular Mixology

You can also play with advanced layering and combining ingredients.   With extreme densities to create cool in-glass science experiment-like effects. A simple example of this concept is found in the jellyfish cocktail with cream swirling around in a blue sea. Some combinations, however, will not work. The cement mixer is a retro shot that plays up science-gone-wrong when Irish cream and lime juice are combined.
At the height of the molecular mixology craze, Forbes captured a number of impressive cocktails that bartenders created in "Do-It-Yourself Chemical Cocktails." One fun option from that collection that anyone can do involves a mister filled with high-proof rum and bitters. It's sprayed to flame cherries and caramelize the sugar they're coated in. The Small Screen Network was a good source for molecular mixology as well, and many of the videos are archived on YouTube. One of particular interest showcases Robert Hess and Jamie Boudreau making cocktail caviar for the aviation cocktail.
There are also a few molecular mixology kits available at online retailers. From companies like Molecul-R, these can be a fun and safe way to play with some of the basic theories without making a significant investment in special equipment.
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