Tips for remembering Cocktails

Remembering cocktails is one of the primary skills of a bartender. That and understanding that most of the classics vary slightly across bars and knowing the secret to making the best drink for your guests.

We all love the efficient bartender who puts them at ease, this is why knowing your drinks inside out, back to front, upside down and like the back of your hand is essential to your success and the success of your event.


There are few careers more exciting than bartending, which is why there are so many bartenders, ten-a-penny you might say.


I. Flashcards

Purchase a piece of card and cut it up into small pieves. As you study your cocktail information write down on the card the complicated mixed drinks.

Write one drink per card and the title on the other side of the card. Create a deck and flip through it until you have each in your memory.


Like this:





Mint Sprig


Build over Ice

- Clap 12 mint leaves - drop in glass

- Add 2 shots rum

- ½ shot lime juice

- ½ shot sugar syrup

- Stir

- Top with soda water, stir and serve with 2 straws



II. Bartending School

The best way to get drink recipes in your head is to mix them. Bartending school or barback experience is the way forward. Getting a bartending job is about confidence & experience.


In Bartending School you will learn all those handy hints and tricks indispensable to the professional bartender.

You will also learn about the history of spirits, drinking and cocktails, this knowledge separates the men from the boys in the world of professional bartending. Also knowledge of those obscure cocktails that don’t get ordered often is useful.

Examples of obscure cocktails are Rusty Nails and Old Fashioned’s.



III. Components of a Cocktail


Most cocktails contain:

- A Liquor Base

- A Liqueur

- Juice (or something juiceish)

- Garnish

Most cocktails are made in a similar way to this, see below:




White Russian


Blue Lagoon

Liquor Base:






Triple Sec

Coffee Liqueur

Triple Sec

Blue Curaçao




Lime Juice



Lemon Twist


Salted rim + Lime




IV. Most Cocktails are related & interlinked

It’s easy to top up your cocktail knowledge by just remembering these connections.




A Black Russian is just A White Russian with Coke instead of Milk.


The Sex on the Beach is essentially a Cosmopolitain with Peach Schnapps instead of Triple Sec and Orange aswell as Cranberry.


A Vesper is a Vodka Martini with Gin instead of Vodka.


Anything with Breeze in the name is Vodka and Cranberry with something else


  • Sea Breeze – add Grapefruit Juice
  • Bay Breeze – add Pineapple Juice


A Strawberry Daiquiri is a Daiquiri with… Strawberry!


A Raspberry Mojito is a Mojito with… look you could spend all day filling in the blanks or you could go and get mixing!


Go mix!

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