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Mixed Drink Cocktail

 Tending Bar: Learning Cocktail Recipes

Most mixed drinks have predictable ingredients. This article focuses on tricks to make several stirred cocktails and their variations. There is also an article with highball cocktails that we recommend you peruse.

Basic Stirred Cocktails:

These drinks should be served in a chilled cocktail glass, unless they are ordered 'on the rocks' or 'with ice.'  If you're serving the drink with ice, first fill a lowball glass with modest ice and then add the ingredients of the cocktail to the lowball glass. Click for more information about mixing cocktails.

The few tricks that you'll want to learn are in bold text, while the rest of the list should be self-explanatory:


The classic martini has about 6 parts gin to 1 part vermouth, garnished with a single, pitted, green olive..  The following drinks are variations on this theme:


If somebody asks for a drier martini, mix it with about 12 parts gin to 1 part vermouth.


An extra-dry martini can have as little as no vermouth.


A Fifty-Fifty martini is half gin and half vermouth.


A Gibson is a martini garnished with a cocktail onion.


A Vodka Martini substitutes Vodka for Gin.


A Tequila Martini substitutes Tequila for Gin.




The classic Manhattan is made with 3/4 an ounce of sweet vermouth, 3 ounces of blended whiskey, and a dash of bitters. Garnish all Manhattans with a cherry.


Prepare a Manhattan with dry vermouth instead of sweet vermouth.


Build a classic Manhattan with Rum instead of Whiskey.


A Rob Roy is a Scotch Manhattan - create a classic Manhattan with Scotch instead of Whiskey.


A Comfort Manhattan is made with Southern Comfort instead of Whiskey.




2 oz. Brandy, 2 oz. white créme de menthe.


Substitute Vodka for Brandy.


Substitute Amaretto for Brandy.

Shaken Cocktails:

This is the final portion of our online course - and it's the most complex. It's also information that you may or may not need.  Because of this, we havne't listed any drinks here that we're not sure that you'll need to know. Instead, we recommend that you identify the categories of drinks that you think will be the most appropriate to your situation and study those.



2 oz Whiskey, 1 oz. Sour Mix.
Garnish with a cherry and an orange slice.
Serve in a sour glass.


Substitute Rum for the Whiskey in a Whiskey Sour..


Substitute Vodka for the Whiskey in a Whiskey Sour..


2 oz. Whiskey, 1 oz. Sour Mix, 1/2 oz. Grenadine
Garnish with a cherry and an orange slice.

Depending on whom you will be mixing drinks for, you may also want to learn recipes for popular shot drinks, martinis, or coffee drinks. There are a number of important cocktails which we haven't mentioned in these articles. We recommend that you also learn these classic drinks.


Next steps:  

This article is the conclusion of our ten article series designed to teach beginners how to be competent mixers of drinks. The syllabus (and links to all ten articles) can be found here If you've read all ten articles, click here for your final exam.  



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