Things to know when learning bartending recipes for mixed drinks

New Bartenders and Mixed Drinks

New bartenders are more diverse than the seas of mixed drinks they’ll serve throughout their lives. Some want to dive right in and start bartending at the biggest, busiest nightclubs before they even realize that a screwdriver is not just something greasy at the bottom of their father’s toolbox. Others want to memorize all the drinks known to mankind before they tiptoe behind the bar of local low-key restaurant, praying their martini recipe lives up to all their customers’ expectations.

Yes, it would be nice to get a cool bartending job instantly (without any prior bartending knowledge) and start counting the big tips right away. It would also be nice to be so perfectly prepared that your customers and the bar owner won’t know how they ever survived without a bartender like you, but–like my buddy Siddhartha says–find the middle path.

No, I’m not trying to convert you to Buddhism—and I’m not even trying to convince you this way is the only way. I’m just saying this worked for me and plenty of other bartenders I know, so it can’t hurt to let experience guide you.

To Memorize or Not to Memorize: That is the Question

Listed below (and above) are links to mixed drinks I’ve categorized for easier browsing. As tempting as it is, don’t try to memorize all the mixed drink recipes–not right away, anyway. (You’ll drive yourself crazy and you’re less likely to have fun that way.)

Instead browse our bartenders’ mixed drinks recipes, then your read your friends’ and family’s favourites. If you have the opportunity, invite your family and friends over and make some of these mixed drinks. If this sounds too expensive ask everyone to bring a particular liquor/liqueur/garnish to lower the expense. Have fun while showing off that you’re one of our hottest bartenders in training. (Send a picture of you mixing drinks and we’ll happily post it on www.hottest-bartenders-guide.com.) You may even discover you can make more drinks by slightly changing an ingredient in a mixed drink recipe.

These mixed drinks, the ones you make and discover on your own, will be the easiest mixed drink recipes for you to remember–provided that you were sober when you make them. (And, as one of our hottest bartenders in training, you should always be sober when serving drinks!)

Things to know when learning bartending recipes for mixed drinks

Learn More by Comparing Drinks

Now that you know how to make a few mixed drinks browse through our bartenders’ hottest drink recipes again and see if there are any other mixed drink recipes that are similar to the ones you now know. Note the similarities and remember the slight differences. (For example, what’s similar in a Brown Cow and a Chocolate Popsicle? How are Tom Collins and John Collins different—other their first names?)

You don’t even have to make these mixed drinks—just don’t try to memorize all the recipes. Find similarities in the drinks and you’ll remember the recipes easily.

What About the Other Mixed Drinks?

Always be open to mixed drinks you may not know well, or don’t think you would like. Browse the bartenders’ mixed drink recipes and find a mixed drink that you didn’t think you’d ever try. Look at the recipe and try to imagine what it would taste like.

Make it and taste it.

Did the drink live up to your expectations?

At least once a week, make sure you try one new mixed drink. If you discover something you like—great! If not, think of how you can make it better and fiddle with the drink recipe. Does your new and improved mixed drink recipe have a name? You may have accidentally made another pretty well-known mixed drink. Or is it an original recipe? If so, congratulations! You’ve created your very own mixed drink. Give your drink the sexiest name you can think of like sex on the beach (or something unexpected—like broken down golf cart) and if it tastes as good as it sounds, you may even be able to start a trend.

That’s what the hottest bartenders do—they’re trendsetters who aren’t afraid to shake up their drinks.

Okay, now that we know you know most of your stuff, it’s time to do a little research.

Spy on Your Future Employer (or a Similar Establishment) Without Looking Like the Creepy Drunk at the Bar

Order a mixed drink and, if possible, watch how it’s made. Note the bartender’s actions. Is he fast? Does she spill a lot? Is he stingy with his cherries? What are the most common mixed drinks her customers are ordering—and how is she making them?

Make a mental note of everything you see and think of how you would do it. If you think you make better mixed drinks, don’t tell him that unless you want tamper with your chances of working there in the future. Instead, chat with the bartender. Casually ask (during the slow peaks) what mixed drinks are most often ordered and find out if their recipes differ from yours.

When you have all the information you need, thank the bartender and leave a really big tip. (After all, this person took the time to help you out and tipping big is the least you can do. Also, you want this bartender to remember you as the cool person they served, so they can recommend you to their boss when the next bartending job is available.)