The Fundamentals of Mixology

Mixology is, in essence, the art of making cocktails. The skill comes in knowing which flavors to mix-and-match and which ingredients create which textures in your drinks. Practice makes perfect, but there are some key rules to keep in mind to strike that balance just right.

There are three things a cocktail needs in order to work: a spirit, something bitter, and something sweet. The exact ratio is something to experiment with and will be different depending on your tastes (and your guests’ preferences – remember to check what strength they prefer before mixing!), but here’s a good place to start: 3 parts spirit, 2 parts bitter, and 1 part sweet.

Your ingredients come down to three basic types, too. First, your spirit of choice. Second, the modifier, which is the addition that has the most influence on the overall taste and texture of the drink. And finally, a flavoring element, like cocktail syrups or grenadine. Most cocktails need all three to really liven up your palette.

Lastly, you’ll need a few key pieces of equipment to help your ingredients really shine:

  • A shaker for – you’ve guessed it – mixing your ingredients together
  • A strainer to prevent large pieces of ice or fruit from getting into your glass
  • A jigger to measure the different liquid elements with accuracy
  • A muddler to mash fresh ingredients and draw out their flavor
  • Some elegant glassware for serving your creations in style

Armed with these key guidelines, your equipment, and your favorite spirits, you’re ready to start making beautiful concoctions for evenings with friends. We recommend starting with these classic crowd pleasers; they’re perfect for getting your mixology juices flowing.

Sweet and Strong: Old Fashioned

Ingredients:

  • Whisky
  • Angostura bitters
  • Sugar syrup
  • Orange peel

How to Craft:

  • Combine a spoonful of sugar syrup and a couple of dashes of bitters in a glass and stir.
  • Add bourbon – around 50 ml – and ice, then stir.
  • Garnish with a twist of orange peel and serve in a rocks glass.

Fresh and Zingy: Mojito

Ingredients:

  • White rum
  • Mint leaves
  • Sugar syrup
  • Lime juice
  • Soda water

How to Craft:

  • Clap around 10 mint leaves between your hands to draw out the flavor, then add to a highball glass.
  • Add around 2 teaspoons of sugar syrup, the juice of one lime, a splash of soda, and around 50 ml of rum and muddle together.
  • Add ice and muddle again.
  • Add more ice, a little more soda, and two mint sprigs to garnish.