Want to learn how to make cocktails but don't know where to start? Our beginner bartender tips for choosing the right barware and essential cocktail ingredients are just the tools you need to start mixing and serving party drinks. Whether you're shopping for a cute collection of cocktail glasses or delicious drink garnishes, here are the basics of becoming a cocktail whiz!
You can't make a delicious cocktail or mocktail recipe without the right ingredients. Here's a breakdown of the basic ingredients you'll need for mixing drinks.
Liquor: Once you decide on the cocktail drink recipes you want to make, stock up on the spirits you'll need. Some basic liquors include gin, rum, bourbon, brandy, whiskey, Cointreau, dry and sweet vermouth, tequila, Kahlua, scotch, and vodka. To expand your drink selection, consider buying a nice cognac and a couple of cordials such as Amaretto, Grand Marnier, Pernod, and triple sec.
Mixers: You'll also need cocktail drink mixers. Pick up tonic water, lime juice, orange juice, sparkling water, lemon juice, ginger ale, club soda, and cranberry juice. You might also need bitters, the ingredient that sets off the flavor of many cocktails.
Garnishes: Add pretty garnishes to your drink with limes, lemons, and oranges. Other basic garnishes include maraschino cherries, pearl onions, and stuffed green olives. Stock up on good spices and sweeteners to use in mixed drinks, such as salt, sugar cubes, superfine sugar, Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and cream of coconut.
Ice: One secret to making a great cocktail is using quality ice. Don't use regular freezer ice cubes, which can pick up flavors from frozen food. Instead, buy a bag of ice from the store to use in your drinks.
Before you start mixing cocktails, find stylish glasses to serve them in! We love scouring vintage and thrift stores for unique, beautiful barware.
Here's our guide to cocktail glasses you may want to start collecting, plus drinks you can serve in them.