Cocktail - Full Guide And Recipes For Beginners

Cocktail - Full Guide And Recipes 

Cocktail is a mixed drink consisting of more than two alcoholic and non - alcoholic beverage. It contains liqueurs, bitters , syrups , juices , herb , spices , spirits.  A cocktail is spirit based. It is alcoholic mixed drink and can be simple to complex.

Categories of cocktails 

All cocktail can be broken down into two categories :-

1. Cocktails of the Aromatic type :- It uses modifying agents like  bitter or aromatic spirits , wine. 

2. Cocktail of the sour type :- It uses modifying agents a fruit juice typically , lemon or lime and sugar. Generally the sweet , sour and base are in ratio of 1 : 2 : 8 Ratio is recommended.

Also they can be classified based on :

1. Long drink cocktail : it is Composed of various alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages such as spirit, beer , liqueur, juices, syrups . The measure of drink is more than 120 ml and have less alcohol. They are served as refreshment in tall glasses. Example - Tequila sunrise ,  Singapore sling , Blue lagoon, screwdriver

2. Short drink cocktail :- The drink is taken in minimum quantity and served with or without ice. It has high alcoholic volume and usually served in old fashioned, shot glass. It is made of two Mixture. 

Components of cocktail /Structure of cocktail

Component of a cocktail is part of ingredients used for making mixed drinks . A cocktail is made of four components /structure to make it complete -

1. Base : Base is the foundation of any cocktail. It is made of single spirit such as Gin, Rum , whisky and makes up 75% of total volume. 

2. Modifying agent : It gives cocktail it's character and it's Function is to soft the raw alcohol base. Typical modifying agents are aromatic wines and spirits , fruit juices , bitters and smoothing agents such as sugar, cream, eggs , syrups.

3. Special flavouring and colouring agents : 
It includes liqueurs , cordials and non alcoholic flavour syrup which are used in place of simple syrup 

4. Garnishing agents : Garnish is the final touch to any prepared drinks done to make them look attractive and eye appealing . Various fresh fruits , flower , leaves can be used S Garnish. 


Creating cocktail can be straight forward or artistic. The method of making cocktails are -

1. Shaking : when a drink contains egg, fruit juice or cream it is necessary to shake the ingredients . Shaking is the method in which we use cocktail shaker to mix ingredients together and chill them. The main objective is to combine ingredients . 
Rules for shaking method-
  • Place ice cubes first in shaker because it will help to chill the shaker and cool liquid as we add. Use 4/5 ice cubes . 
  • Do not overfill shaker 
  • Shake vigorously and shake longer if drinks have more ingredients and egg , cream
  • Shake till cocktail shaker become frosty outside 
  • Pour the drink in right glass
  • Garnish.
2. Stirred cocktail :- They are not make in cocktail shaker and made in serving glasses with the help of bar spoon or swizzle stick by stirring. But be extra careful for carbonated drinks . 
Rules for stirred cocktail -
  • Select the serving glass
  • Fill two third with ice
  • Add mixers 
  • Stir and garnish
3. Building :- when Building a cocktail , the ingredients are poured one after another in glass . The ingredients are floated on top of each other and ingredients are not stirred but instead poured in carefully one after another. Bar spoon helps to pour easily and we should have knowledge about density and viscosity of liqueurs. 

4. Blending :- Blending is done in electric blender to blend all ingredients together. If shaking method is not applicable we go for Blending. Blending in blender is done with ice cubes and care must be taken if ice not used. 

5. Flaming :- it is the method by which a cocktail or liquor is set to fire / Set alight to enhance the flavour of a drink. It should be done with caution and only to enhance flavour though flaming looks cool . The liquor with high proof ignites. Do not add alcohol to ignited drinks and always extinguish a flaming drink before consuming . Heat a small amount of drink in spoon will cause alcohol to collect at tip which then can be lit.

6. Muddling :- we muddle /crush various ingredients to extract full flavour from them. Usually we muddle mint , fruits on muddler with pestle or bar spoon . 

Note : Shake cocktails when they include fruit juices, simple syrup, egg, dairy product ,cream liqueurs and stir cocktails that use distilled spirits or light mixers. Many gin and Whisky cocktail are stirred .

How to make a cocktail ?

  • Choose a type of spirit you want to use as base
  • Choose another type of alcohol to enhance the taste of spirit
  • Get a cocktail shaker and shake after measuring with jigger in ice cubes
  • Strain the liquid and pour in glass
  • Garnish 
Note : If your cocktail calls for ice after shaken use fresh ice in glass because fresh ice won't melt quickly so drink will not be diluted. 


1 Jigger :- It is used to measure the drink in bar. It have two cones , large cone may hold 60 ml while smaller 30 ml.

2. Hawthorne strainer :- It is perforated metal device with coil or wire around it used for straining cocktail. 

3. Bar spoon :- Bar spoon is long and spiral which is essential for stirring and layering drinks. 

4. Speed pourer :- It helps to pour liquor very quickly and easily. They are placed above bottle of alcoholic beverages

5. Blender :- It is used for preparing frozen drinks like frozen maragritas . 

6. Ice cube machine :- Most cocktail recipe asks for ice . cocktail are served chilled. 

7. Cocktail shaker :- a cocktail shaker is a device used to mix beverage by shaking. There are three types of cocktail shakers-
Boston shaker, The cobbler shaker and the French shaker . Boston shaker is used more widely and consists of two part , metal bottom and glass or plastic mixing bowl . Cobbler shaker is made of steel and there is stainer on its top. It has three piece. French shaker have two part both made of metal

8. Tongs and ice bucket 

9. Carafe :- also called decanter is used for serving Alcoholic Beverages to customer in Hotel. 

10. Swizzle stick :- It is small stick used to hold fruit garnish or stir drinks.

11. Straws and coaster

12. Ice crusher , cork openers


  • Vermouth :- vermouth is an aromatized fortified wine flavoured with various botanicals herbs , spices , flower ,seeds. 

  • Cointreau :- Cointreau is a brand of triple sec produced in France . It is the heart of many cocktail and have 40% alcohol by volume.

  • Anisette :- it is anise flavoured liqueur mainly consumed in Spain, Italy , France . It is colourless and true Anisette is produced by means of distilled aniseed. It have high alcoholic content and powerful flavor when drank straight. 

  • Campari :- campari is an alcoholic liqueur considered an aperitif with 20 to 28% alcohol by volume.

  • Triple sec :- Triple sec is a variety of Curacao liqueur , an orange flavoured liqueur made from dried peels of bitter and sweet orange. Sec in French means dry.

  • Amaretto :- Amaretto is a sweet almond flavoured Italian liqueur. 

  • Kahlua :- Kahlua is a coffee flavoured rum based liqueur from Mexico introduced in 1936. It has 20% alcohol by volume

  • Malibu Rum :- Malibu rum is a flavoured rum- based liqueur made with natural coconut extract with alcohol by volume of 21% . There are 12 Malibu variations in the world market - Malibu Black( smooth coconut flavour with higher proof and less sweetness , Malibu red(blend of Malibu rum and silver Tequila), Malibu fresh ( combines freshness of mint with sweetness of rum and coconut), Malibu sunshine ( Malibu and twist of lemon and lime citrus flavour), Malibu sundae ( combine Malibu with rich flavour of chocolate ice cream), Malibu swirl( Malibu flavour with fresh strawberries and whipped cream) and there are also other 5 standard Malibu flavour- Tropical banana, pineapple , Mango,passion fruit and melon .

  • Frangelico :- frangelico is a brand of noisette(hazelnut) and herbs flavoured liqueur which is produced in Italy . It have 20% alcohol by volume. 
Recipe for some basic cocktails

1 ounce = 30 ml = small peg

1 peg = 6O ml = large peg

1 pint(UK) = 568 ml

1 pint (U.S) = 473 ml

1 Oz = 30 ml

Dash = 1/2 ml

1 teaspoon = 5 ml

1 table spoon = 15 gram

1. Vodka based cocktail :-

  1. Cosmopolitan


2 measure vodka
1 measure triple sec
1 measure fresh lime juice 
1 measure Cranberry juice
Twist of orange peel for Garnish

Method :-

  • Shake all liquid ingredients over ice untill well frosted

  • Strain in chilled cocktail glass

  • Garnish with orange peel

2. Vodkatini


1 measure vodka 
Dry vermouth large dash
Twist of lime peel

Method -

Pour vodka over ice in mixing glass

Add vermouth, stir well and strain in cocktail glass

Dress with twist of lime peel

3. The modern martini


1 ripe pomegranate
2 measure vodka

Method -

Spoon flesh of pomegranate in shaker and muddle

Add vodka and ice and strain well into iced Martini glass

4. Bloody marry 


Dash Tobasco sauce
Dash Worcestershire sauce
Ice cubes 
Vodka 2 measure
Tomato juice 6 measure
Lemon juice 1 teaspoon
Slice of lemon and celery stalk to garnish

Method -

Add Tobasco and Worcestershire sauce over cracked ice in a shaker and add vodka , add tomato juice and lemon juice 

Shake vigorously and strain into tall, chilled glass

5.Long Island iced tea


Vodka 2 measure
Gin 1 measure
Tequila Blanco 1 measure
Rum 1 measure
Lemon juice 1 measure
Coke to top.
Lime to decorate
15 ml sugar syrup

Method -

Shake the ingredients vigorously untill well frosted in ice and strain in tall glass , top with coke. Garnish with lemon wedge

6. Screwdriver 


Vodka 2 measure

Orange juice

Slice of orange to decorate

Crack Ice

Method -

Fill a glass with crack ice and pour vodka over ice and top up with orange juice

Stir well and dress with slice of orange

7. Black Russian 


Vodka 2 measure

Coffee liqueur 1 measure.

Crack ice

Method -

Pour vodka and coffee liqueur over ice in small chilled glass and Stir well.

2. Gin Based Cocktails :-

1. Singapore sling


Gin 2 measure
Cherry brandy 1 measure
Lemon juice 1 measure
Grenadine 1 TSP
Club soda
Crack ice
Lime peel

Method -

Shake the gin , cherry brandy , lemon juice and grenadine vigorously over cracked ice untill well frosted 

Fill a chilled glass with ice and strain cocktail

Fill up with club soda and garnish

2. Slow comfortable screwdriver


Sloe gin 2 measure
Orange juice
Cracked ice 
Slice of orange

Method -

Shake the gin and orange juice over cracked ice untill well frosted and pour in chilled glass. Dress with slice of orange.

3. Martini


Gin 3 measure
1 TSP dry vermouth
Cracked ice 
Green olive

Method -

Pour the gin and vermouth over cracked ice in mixing glass and stir well.
Strain into chilled cocktail glass and garnish with cocktail olive 

4. Oasis 


Gin 2 measure
Club soda
Blue Curacao 1 measure
Wedges of lemon.

Method :-

Shake ball the ingredients over ice untill well frosted. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon wedges

5. White lady 


Gin 2 measure
Triple sec 1 measure
Lemon juice 1 measure
Crack ice

Method -

Shake the gin , triple sec and lemon juice vigorously over cracked ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass.

3. Tequila based cocktail 

1. Tequila sunrise


Tequila 2 parts
Cracked ice 
Orange juice
Grenadine 1 measure

Method -

Pour Tequila over cracked Ice in chilled high ball glass and top up with orange juice . Stir well and now pour grenadine slowly.

2. Shady lady


Tequila 3 measure
Apple brandy 1 measure
Cranberry juice 1/2 measure

Method -

Shake all the ingredients over ice untill well frosted and strain in chilled cocktail glass.

3. Wild night out


White Tequila 3 measure
Cranberry juice 2 measure
Lime juice 1 measure 
Crack soda 
Club soda

Method -

Shake the first three ingredients over ice and fill a chilled high ball halfway with cracked ice and strain the cocktail .add club soda

4. Rum based cocktail

1. Cuba libre


Ice cubes
Rum 2 measure
Lemon juice 1 table spoon
Coke to top

Method -

Add ice and lemon juice . Now add Rum and top up with coke

2. Daiquiri 


Ice cubes 3/4
Rum 2 measure
Lemon juice 1 tsp
1 tablespoon grenadine

Method :- 

Add ice cube , lemon juice and rum in shaker with grenadine, strain and serve.

5. Whisky based cocktail

1. Manhattan


Angostura bitters a dash
Rye/ Canadian whisky 3 measure
1 measure sweet vermouth
Cracked ice

Method :-

Shake all the ingredients over cracked ice in mixing glass and mix well

Strain in Chilled glass and decorate with cherry.

2. Whisky sour


2 measure blended Whisky
1 measure lime juice 
1 TSP sugar syrup

Method -

Shake all the ingredients well over ice and strain in cocktail glass garnish with slice of lime

3. Godfather 


Cracked ice
Scotch whisky 2 measure
Amaretto 1 measure

Method -

Filled a chilled high ball glass with cracked ice and pour whisky and amaretto and stir it.

4. The new Yorker


Jack Daniels 2 measure
Fresh lime juice 1/2 measure
Grenadine 1/2 measure
Twist of orange peel

Method -

Shake the first three ingredients over ice untill well frosted and pour in Chilled glass with orange peel/slice.

5. Brandy based cocktail 

1. Rolls - Royce 


Brandy 2 measure
Orange juice 2 measure
Triple sec 1 measure

Method :-

Shake all the ingredients over ice and strain in chilled glass

2. Side car


Brandy 2 measure
Conitreau 1 measure
Lemon juice 1 table spoon

Method -

Pour Ice in glass, add lemon juice and brandy and Cointreau . Now stirred it .

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