Bartending 101 - Mixing Techniques

CocktailMixingGet ready to shake stir and roll! Cocktail mixing is all about creativity and enjoyment for you and your guests. Learning mixing methods is often the first lesson at any bartending school and can easily be incorporated into your own skill set while entertaining at home. Here are the basic cocktail mixing processes our bartenders use and instructions on how to apply these techniques to make the perfect libation.


Building a cocktail is done by pouring the ingredients on top of one another in a serving glass. This is usually performed in the order the ingredients are listed in the recipe. This technique is often used for non-alcoholic drinks, but can also be applied for cocktails with carbonated ingredients such as a rum and coke. The carbonation from the soda naturally mixes the drink.


Probably one of the most well-known mixing techniques, blending is done with an electric blender. Drinks can be made in a blender cup with all ingredients, including ice. This technique is used to liquefy solid or fruit ingredients to a creamy consistency. This type of drink should not be watery or super thick; it should be smooth and thick and enough to hold a straw upright.


To roll a cocktail, a cocktail shaker and a pint glass are needed. The rolling process begins by filling a glass with ice and the cocktail's ingredients. The mixture is poured into the shaker and then poured back into the glass. This technique combines drinks while melting as little ice and air as other methods.


It's best to shake a cocktail when fruit juices, eggs or cream are involved. This technique will result in an eye-opening libation with a layer of froth on top. First, fill a shaker with the drink's ingredients. Next, seal, shake vigorously and strain into glassware or pour over fresh ice. When shaking a cocktail that requires soda, add soda at the end.


You've probably stirred a drink before, even if it was just your coffee. To stir a cocktail, fill a glass with ice and your drink's ingredients. Stir with a bar spoon and strain into glassware.


Layering a drink is an art form. Distinctive looking layered cocktails are achieved by slowly and carefully pouring one liquor over another. The effect of each liquor sitting atop each other is produced when liquor of varying densities are poured into the drink.


Soft fruits, mint leaves, sugar cubes and other similar ingredients must be broken up or muddled to release their flavors into the cocktail. Ingredients should be placed in a cocktail shaker and carefully crushed with a cocktail muddler. It's important not to press too hard; mint should be broken up and bruised, but not mashed into a soggy paste.