Behind the Bar Like a Pro
Stir the mixture gently using a spoon
There isn't a formula for how long one should stir a drink because some mixtures will demand just a few stirs while others might take a little longer. The safest way is to taste your cocktail to find out if it’s ready. For hygiene (and God's) sake, taste it with a straw, not with your finger. Usually, the stirring shouldn’t take longer than ten seconds.
Finding the right balance
Always use professional measures that will allow you to control the quantity. Never add anything without measuring. 5 ml of syrup or even a splash of spirit can change your cocktail drastically. When following recipes, be very precise. This isn't chemistry, but a few drops too much or too little can ruin a great mixture. When creating your own drinks, remember to start with small amounts. You can always add more, but you can never take it away. Also, once you are happy with your preparation, you should be able to recreate it any number of times.
Lime and lemon are not the same and can't be substituted for each other.
Shake It Properly
Use large shakers that can hold more ice inside. The whole purpose is to throw ice and the drink from one side of the canister to the other. First, place all your ingredients and top it up with plenty of ice. Close it and shake it, pressing the shaker from both ends from time to time, so it doesn’t open accidentally. How long should one shake the mix for, varies from drink to drink, and will take a little time experimenting. Usually it shouldn’t be longer than few seconds.
More ice, less dilution means a MUCH BETTER TASTE.
They Key to Muddling
You muddle to extract flavours from various herbs, fruits, spices, kernels or vegetables. Some ingredients are ready to use like orange marmalade and let you go straight to shaking. Others will require pressure to release flavours and aromas. Place whatever you want to muddle, on the bottom of a glass or a shaker piece, and crush it firmly with a muddler, giving it a little twist while pressing.
You need to strain immediately after shaking or stirring so you don't dilute the drink further. This simply means separating the already mixed cocktail from the used ice. To do so, bartenders use various types of strainers that hold the ice and let the drink flow through. Some of the drinks will require fine straining. This means that on top of your regular strainer, you would be pouring your drink through a fine strainer (very similar to a tea strainer). Fine strain cocktails are the ones that don't have unwanted particles of fruits, spices or veggies.
Carefully select ingredients
Make sure you use only fresh fruits or vegetables. Try to avoid ready-made syrups. Homemade ones are easy to make and taste way better. Whenever possible use pressed juices instead of canned ones.
The better spirit you use, the better drink you will make. So don’t cheapen out.
Don't ruin it's taste by adding too much alcohol.
Classics have survived through decades because they are fool-proof drinks. It doesn't mean everybody will like them, it means most people have had them. Which makes them the best way to learn about the right balance.
Shake it Properly
There is no golden rule to ratios of various ingredients. Every person is different and some like it heavier while others like it sweeter or sourer. What matters is the person who drinks it, enjoys it. Keep in mind that if you decide to put some flavours, they shouldn't overpower others but all of them should complement each other, and all of them should create a harmonious blend.
Some drinks require the use of a blender in order to extract and mix all the flavours to create the right consistency. Place all your ingredients in a blender along with ice and press the button. In this case you need to be careful with your ice, as it will become part of you drink and too much of it, might ruin the preparation.