Bartending 101 – Basics

There are a few basics when it comes to bartending and making cocktails.

First you always want to have the essential equipment for yourself or your home…..or wherever else you may want to make drinks.

Bar Tools:

Cocktail Shaker:  Now this can be a 3 Piece Shaker, or two piece, whatever you are comfortable using.

Mixing glass:  It can be pint glass or go nuts and get a Yarai Japanese mixing glass.

Hawthorne Strainers

Julep Strainers

Bar Spoons:  These vary from basic spoons that you can buy for a few bucks to a $70 Japanese spoon with a fork on the end for picking up garnishes.

Peeler/Channel knife:  Any basic vegetable peeler for your garnishes will work fine, but if you want to go flashy, go for it!

Muddler:  Get as crazy with these things as you want to, just make sure it can do its job.

Jiggers:  OXO make some nice plastic and metal measuring cups that go up to 2 oz. and as little as .25 oz.  They’re easy to clean and use, highly recommended.

Juicer:  Hand juicers are simple enough to use and cheap.  Everyone loves fresh juice in a cocktail!

Pour Spouts:  Optional if you want to use them, it really depends how fast and how many drinks you want to make.



Fresh Juice:  Lemon, Lime, Orange, Grapefruit are great starters.

Simple Syrup:  Usually made in a 1:1 ratio of cane sugar and water.  You can always use other types of sugar if you want different flavors; Brown, Demerara, Caster.

Spirits:  This is most definitely up to you.  I’m not one to tell you how to make your cocktails.  There’s no scientific technique or secret recipe to it.  Everyone knows what they like and prefer and I’m more than happy to keep it that way.

Glassware:  Once again, up to you.  Use antiques or drink from your palms, just make sure you enjoy your creations!

Garnishes:  Olives, cherries, peels, zests, flowers.  Anything works, it just adds to the presentation, color and aroma of your drink.

Bitters:  3 Basics anyone should have; Angostura, Peychaud’s and Orange and you can make any classic drink or flavor a new one.


These are just a few recommendations on how to get your own home bar started and some basics to making some drinks for yourself or some friends.  Next time I’ll talk about some classic cocktails and how to get into using seasonal ingredients in your own creations.


~ by myamericandram on July 17, 2012.

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