The most important cocktail techniques

Cocktail techniques

A quick guide to the most important cocktail techniques.

The perfect cocktail needs the perfect ingredients but also the right cocktail techniques. The different cocktail techniques sometimes seem a little difficult to understand but no worries…

After going through this cocktail techniques survival guide you’ll easily master them all.


Shaking is definitely the most used and best known cocktail technique. It is used to mix cocktails fast and rigorously.  It is also a technique was quickly cools down the drink before serving. But watch out, not all cocktail can be shaken.

The shaking process consists of different steps. First fill a shaker until half with ice cubes or crushed ice. Add the ingredients to be shaken. Shake until some frost forms on the outside of your cocktail shaker. Use both hands to shake. You best put one hand on each side. After the shaking strain your drink into a glass.


Many cocktail and drinks are blended with ice. They are blended with ice until they reach a smooth consistency.  Often the identical recipe is used as the original cocktail but a scoop of ice is added before blending it in a blender. Just take care not to add too much ice. It will dilute the cocktail. The blending technique is used for making frozen cocktails or smoothies. The frozen daiquiri or the frozen margarita are well known signature cocktails of the blending technique.


Building is probably the easiest technique. Basically it means nothing more than putting the ingredients together in the right order.  You just need the right ingredients. You then put them together in the right order. Just make sure the measurements are correct.

Double straining

This technique is used to avoid little parts of fruit to slip into your cocktail. For instance when pureed fruit is used. It can also be used to prevent small parts of ice to get into your cocktail. Your strain your cocktail normally but strain it through another fine strainer.

You can also use a shaker with built-in strainer together with a Hawthorne strainer.


Through muddling we try to get the out the flavors of fruits or herbs. This is done by using a unsharpened tool like the muddler. For some cocktails it is important to muddle well, especially when you muddle fruits. Otherwise the juice and flavors will not come out. On the other hand it is sometimes more than enough to muddle gently. An example of this is the mojito cocktail. You just muddle the mint leaves gently otherwise they break up and give a sort of bitter taste to you drink


Stirring is the technique to use for cocktails which need to be mixed and cooled but without losing their clarity. Often the cocktail will be stirred in a mixing glass with some ice and afterwards strained into the cocktail glass.

The bar spoon is the best tool for stirring your cocktail. Depending on the recipe you should be stirring hard or gently. This technique ensures that there will be no air bubbles or little ice fragments in your drink.


Layering is the art of putting spirits on top of each other creating different layers in one drink. It is of course important to float the lightest ingredients on top of the cocktail. There are different ways to create the layers. One way is by using a spoon and putting it on top of the first layer with its round side up. Then pour the next spirit very gently over the spoon creating a new layer. Another way is by putting the bar spoon in the center of the glass. Make sure the rounded part is down and facing you. Make the spoon rest against the side of the glass when you pour the next layer into you cocktail.

These are the most important cocktail techniques. You’ll see it is not so hard to master them. And don’t forget, it is at least even important to respect the right measures and order of the different ingredients.


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