Cocktail basics for beginners.

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 If you want to make a cocktail, there are some basic things you need to know first. So many people try to make advanced cocktails before they’ve learned the basics, and they wonder why they don’t look right, why they’ve gone cloudy or why they’ve set themselves on fire.

I’ll be as brief as possible because I know you want to get to the good stuff.


If you are serious about doing this, you’ll need different kinds of shakers:

Standard: These have a built in strainer.

Boston: Two flat-bottomed cones.

You’ll also need a mixing glass, a corkscrew, blender and a juice extractor/strainer.

A long handled spoon.

Fruit knife.

Tea towel.

Glass cloth.

Hawthorne strainer.

Tongs for ice,


A single measure is 25 millilitres/ 2.5 centilitres.

1 teaspoon = 1/6th measure.

25ml=1 measure 50ml=2 measures 75ml=3measures 100ml=4 measures.


 You can either break the ice cubes down with a hammer or pick (wrap the ice in a clean tea towel and then hit with the hammer)

Or, you can buy a decent blender, not all blenders can cope with ice, but you can buy ones that are specifically made for the task.


Drinks will not always ignite straight away, the top layer of the cocktail needs to be a sprit (at least 40%) Try heating up a plastic handles bar spoon of the spirit that is in the cocktail. Do this above the glass, ignite the spirit and gently pour it into the glass.

DO NOT put the glass anywhere near your face, do not bend down to get a better look at the drink to make sure it looks right. If you have loose sleeves or cuffs, roll them up so that they do not catch fire. You may laugh at this part, but I have seen someone set their sleeves on fire.

Do not let the cocktail burn for too long (3 minutes maximum) the glass may crack and someone might burn their lips on the glass.


To shake, half fill the shaker with ice cubes, add the ingredients and shake until the outside of the shaker is cold. Pour through the built in strainer.

Do not shake or strain crushed ice, this will clog the strainer. Drinks with crushed ice are meant to be unstrained.


“Stirring and straining”, half fill a mixing glass with ice cubes, add the ingredients, stir with a bar spoon, place a Hawthorne strainer on top and pour the liquid into a glass.

Unstrained: Use only one glass of ice, and pour the entire contents into the glass.


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