Can You Master These 3 Mixology Basics?

Bartender preparing mint julep cocktail with mixology basics

As a beginner mixologist, the first thing to do is learn those all-important mixology basics. 

Bartenders and seasoned mixologists may impress with their bottle-spinning flair and someday, we’ll be able to show-off with these kinds of tricks too. 

To begin with, though, let’s start with the essentials we need to know and practice to be able to pour a perfectly mixed drink.

After all, it’s the drink that’s most important here. A mixologist is only as good as the last cocktail they made.

What are the most basic skills in mixology?

Contrary to popular belief, becoming a pro mixologist is hard work!

It takes time, patience and lots of practice. In the same way that we might learn more about cooking to improve our skills and the meals we serve, mixing drinks that are the right taste and texture as well as presenting them to look as appetising as we can, is the ultimate goal.

A good mixologist...

1. Is familiar with cocktail-making tools

They say a good workman never blames their tools but in mixology, not understanding the tools we need to use, or failing to use them correctly, can be the difference between a delicious Daiquiri and an ice-filled slush.

The first thing to know as a new mixologist is the tools you will need and what they are used for. For example, the most common cocktail-making kits usually include:

If you don’t know what each of these tools is yet, head to our Mixology 101 series to find explainer blogs.

2. Can make drinks from memory

The simplest, beginner-friendly recipes are easy to memorise and the best mixologists understand that it’s essential to know at least some of these by heart. 

It means that when you’re preparing drinks for guests at your backyard barbeque or dinner party, you don’t need to keep checking a recipe book or app. 

Although, downloading an app is definitely one of the best ways to learn mixology recipes in the first place! Here’s a list of great recipe apps we pulled together recently.

To get started, popular cocktails that are simple to make include:

  • Mojito
  • Cosmopolitan
  • Old Fashioned
  • Moscow Mule
  • Strawberry Limoncello Spritzers

Maybe start with learning some basic vodka cocktail recipes, or brandy cocktails for those winter nights.

3. Understands how ingredients complement each other

A great chef can merge flavours, add pinches of excitement and uniqueness to a dish by understanding how ingredients do or don’t work together.

It’s the same with mixing drinks.

A basic skill of mixologists is not just knowing how to mix ingredients but why these ingredients are right together.

Of course, it’s a skill to develop over time as we become more comfortable with mixology. 

Nonetheless, the basics are something we need to know in case we ever need to substitute an ingredient because we forgot to pick it up in our weekly grocery shop.

There are so many combinations and pairings possible, the best place to start if you’re a beginner, is this handy guide from Spruce Eats.

Let’s not forget that mixology is both an art and a science (there’s even a Periodic Table of Mixology!). So learning the basics means honing our skills as an artist and our scientific knowledge and understanding of the drinks we prepare.

Are you confident you’ve mastered these three mixology basics? Congratulations if so! The next step is becoming so advanced you could become known as an industry expert

If not, use the links in this blog to help you hone the basics and if you’re in search of a high-quality cocktail kit to practice with, you can buy yours today on Amazon.

READ NEXT: How to Become a Mixology Expert: 5 Ingredients for Success