1. Accurate Measurements
Like baking, cocktailing requires precise measurements. You may have seen bartenders free pour spirits into a mixing glass, but their bottles often have speed pour spouts attached to control the flow, allowing them to measure by counting. Don’t go dumping high octane booze into your glass all willy nilly. Get a proper jigger and use it..
2. Shake, Shake, Shake!
Take your time with each drink, and give it the 30-second shake it requires for proper aeration and dilution.
3. Always Use Fresh Juice Where You Can
There’s a reason prepackaged citrus juice containers resemble grenades—they’ll blow up your cocktail with their artificially tart flavor. Do your body and your palate a favor, and squeeze some real fruit instead. And don’t just stop at lemons and limes; fresh pineapple, grapefruit and orange juices will vastly improve any fruity cocktail.
4. Knowing When To Shake And When To Stir
Unless a drink includes juice or eggs in the mix, there’s no reason to shake it. In the same way, stirring when you ought to shake won’t give your drink the right frothy, ethereal texture.
5. Glassware Matters
For every type of cocktail, there’s an ideal type of cocktail glass: Coupes keep your precious Martini in the glass instead of all over the floor. Hurricane glasses hold an unholy amount of a glorious, slushy sugar bomb. Highballs allow for a generous pour of fizzy tonic in your Gin & Tonic. If you lack the cabinet space (or budget) to outfit your home bar with all species of glasses, start with lowballs, highballs and coupes, which will see you through the vast majority of beverages.
6. Never Underestimate The Usefulness Of Bitters
“What difference can a few dashes make?” wondered the allegorical contrarian. A lot, dear figment. Bitters may be dashed into a cocktail in minute quantities, but their power far surpasses their liquid weight. Plus, bitters are integral to several eternal classics, like the Angostura in a Manhattan. Make sure your bar is stocked with Angostura bitters at the very least, then dash with confidence.