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Become a Cocktail King (Part 2)


Continuing from last week’s article: Become a Cocktail King (Part 1)

The Nuts and Bolts of Making a Cocktail

Those few individuals that feel the urge to make their own cocktails, do so to inject a bit of their own creativity into the drinks the serve or feel they can do the classic a little better- or have been living under a rock for the past 20 years and suddenly decided that Tom Cruise and his bar-juggling antics are the best thing since female Swedish prostate examiners. Being both artists and connoisseurs, the amateur “cocktailer” is probably going to make a better tasting cocktail and also give more of a show doing so. However, be on the look out for shattered glass shards flying at your face during the “show”.

How to Shake

Fill your cocktail shaker halfway up with ice cubes. Add spirits, liquers and mixers without over filling. Put the lid on an shake for approximately 10-20 seconds, then carefully undo the lid and strain the contents into a serving glass.

How Many Drinks per Bottle

The average shot used for cocktails is around 45mls. Therefore your standard 750ml bottles equates to approx 16 drinks. However, those frugle scamsters at bars and hotels will serve you a standard 30ml shot.

How Many Cocktails

If you have your sights set on a cocktail party, it’s a good idea to limit the variety of cocktails you’re able to be prepare – this will ensure enough ingredients are available. Allow around 3-4 cocktail per person over a 2 hour period – a few more if you plan on having some heavyweight binge drinkers.

8-15 guests: work on 2-4 cocktail varieties.

15-25 guests: work on 3-4 cocktail varieties.

25-50 guests: work on 4-5 cocktail varieties.

Cocktail Tips

  • Don’t be a cheapskate, buy good quality booze and mixers.
  • Keep your Vodka and Gin refreshingly icy by storing it in the freezer.
  • Clean and polish your glasses, and handle by the stem to avoid grubby paw prints
  • Measure your ingredients to get the right ratios
  • Always use FRESH fruit, especially for citrus garnishes and drinks.
  • Always have shed loads of fresh, clean ice on hand. (crushed too if needed)
  • Food and cocktails go together like Maradona and the Devil’s Dandruff – serve lots of both.
  • For the “virgins” and lightweights: also include some non-alcoholic cocktails.

Cocktail Glasses

Cocktails are meant to look extravagant so don’t disappoint anyone. The better it looks the better it will taste. For classic cocktails (i.e. Martini or Manhattan) thin-lipped, transparent glasses are ideal. Cocktails are meant to also be fun and creative so use glasses and garnished that reflect your own style and tastes.

Keep glasses impeccably clean and polished, nothing oozes beginner like grubby glasses. Keep glasses chilled, by placing in the freezer (alongside your Gin and Vodka) or swirl a few ice-cubes around before drying, and serving. Stemmed glasses will help keep the drink chilled as the warmth from your hand is kept at a distance.

Brandy ballooon or goblet

Holds 200-300ml. A generous size and shape ideal for sophisticated brandy-based cocktails or frothy, heavily garnished concoctions.

Champagne flute

About 150ml. A tall, elegant shape, perfect for sparkling that need to hold their bubbles.

Champagne saucer or coupe

About 150ml. Rarely used these days for fine champagne or sparkling wines (the bubbles are quickly lost) but a distinctive shape shape and excellent alternative to traditional cocktail glasses.

Cocktail or Martini

About 90ml. The classic shape for a classic cocktail such as Martini or Manhattan. Larger sizes up to 300ml are available for more exotic drinks that include various liqueurs and juices as well, allowing room for garnishes.


About 200-300ml. A tall, stright-sided glass designed for refreshing long drinks and often suitable for non-alcoholic drinks. The tallest versions are sometime called a Collins, after the cocktail of the same name.

Old Fashioned

About 120ml-125ml. A short glass best suited to drinks ‘on the rocks’ (that is, served with ice cubes) such as Scotch, though they can also suit fruit-juices and softdrink based cocktails.


About 210ml-300ml. A tall, elegant glass, often V-shaped, suitable for beer, pilsener, or drinks mixed with sparkling wine.

Shot Glass

About 30ml-60ml. Very short, thick glass suitable for a shot of alcohol; the preferred glass for “shooters”.

Wine Glass
About 150ml-200ml. A red wine glass tends to have a larger bowl and hold more than the white wine glass. Shapes and sizes vary enormously. The stem is ideal because it means the hand does not touch the bowl of the glass, so the contents stay cold.

Hopefully you found some interesting ‘shots’ of advice here that you can put to good use at your next cocktail party. Making your own cocktails is both fun and impressive to watch and can add a bit of interactivity between you and your guests – and also, asking her what cocktail she’d like makes the perfect ice-breaker. But be sure she helps out by chopping up some garnishes, crushing ice or by ‘fiddling with your muddle stick’.


About Author

Lover of gadgets, men's culture, cool stuff, Earl Grey tea and all things manly. An optimist in his prime. When he's not keeping the wheels turning at Mantality HQ you'll find him trawling the web, and visiting trade shows to find the newest and coolest gadgets. During his down time he's usually with his 2 dogs, on the golf course, cycling or basking in the literary company of Oscar Wilde, Bret Easton Ellis or Martin Amis whilst drinking espresso strong enough to strip paint.

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