Free shipping over $100 for members! ($150 for guests) Not a member? Sign up now.

Master The Basic Cocktail Techniques

Master The Basic Cocktail Techniques main image

  • Written by:
    Vacu Vin


If you’re a beginner in making cocktails then this will help you along in the world of preparing cocktails. To prepare delicious cocktails, you need to master the basic cocktail techniques. In this post, we will cover 10 important techniques.


Shaking with ice is one of the most common cocktail techniques. Start by placing ice cubes in a cocktail shaker. Add all the ingredients that are needed to the shaker. Shake hard and firm for 10 seconds. When the frost is noticeable on the outside of the shaker, your cocktail is ready to be poured in the correct cocktail glass. And don’t forget to smile when you shake, even when you can’t open the shaker on your first try.


Straining is done to prevent small pieces of fruit pulp, clots or other unwanted ingredients to be poured into your cocktail glass. Place the cocktail strainer on your shaker before pouring. In some cases, you’ll see that the drink will be poured out through a sieve. This is called double straining.


A bar spoon is used to stir carbonated cocktails that are prepared in a glass. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail glass and with a bar spoon, it’s possible to stir the flavours together with the ice until the outside of the cocktail glass is cold as well.


Cocktails that are built are usually served straight up with ice. In this case your “building” the cocktail up by pouring multiple ingredients in the glass with ice cubes or crushed ice, stirring is not necessary.


When fresh fruit is incorporated in a cocktail, a blender is normally used. Start blending slowly until it’s one nice fluid liquid. If you would like to blend a mango or pineapple and it does not liquefy properly, add some lime juice or a small amount of water. Well-known cocktails that are blended are the Scroppino and Piña Colada.


A muddler is used to muddle or squash fruit in a cocktail glass. Often in combination with sugar (cane). Well-known cocktails that are muddled are the Mojito and Caipirinha.


Layering is done when the presentation of a cocktail drink needs to be made and served in layers. This creates a beautiful effect that increases the appeal of a cocktail even more. Pour the ingredient on the flat side (top side) of a bar spoon to create a layered cocktail effect.


When a cocktail has a foam head, it’s most likely made with egg whites. This is possible when the egg white is separated and added to the cocktail. Shaking the egg white after the cocktail is made and adding it to the cocktail is called a dry shake. Adding egg white to your cocktail does not sound very appealing, but it does add that creamy flavour to your drink. Well-known cocktails with an egg white foam head are the Whiskey Sour and Pornstar Martini.


Adding flavour to the rim of a cocktail glass gives a cocktail an extra flavour dimension. A flavoured glass rim is added before pouring a cocktail in the glass. Salted or sugared rims are most common. First, you apply a sticky fluid to the rim, ensuring that the salt or sugar sticks to the rim of the glass. You can do this with lime. However, this works even better with cane sugar water or grenadine. After this is properly applied, dap the rim of the glass in some salt or sugar.

A cocktail glass rim can also have a chocolate, coconut flake or your favourite BBQ sauce (in case of a savoury cocktail). Well-known cocktails with a flavoured rim are the Margarita and the Strawberry Daiquiri.


Flair tending is a cocktail technique that stands in a league of its own. It actually has nothing to do with preparing cocktails. However, if you can flair tend, you’ll be the centre of attention on every party. It’s pure entertainment. But be careful not to spend too much time on the show compared to preparing the cocktail.