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How to Make Delicious Cocktails at Home

It’s a simple thing to learn how to make cocktails at home. It saves a TON of money. Making cocktails at home is a very creative process that allows you to blend and present your drinks EXACTLY as you like them.

What are cocktails? They are yummy adult beverages. Otherwise known as mixed drinks. But all mixed drinks are not the same. Cocktails are mixed drinks with three distinct components that set them apart from other alcoholic drinks.

Where did the word cocktails come from?(It’s a bit of trivia but sets the stage for learning about them). What a strange name for an alcoholic drink. We are used to it now but have you ever wondered about the origin of the word cocktail? Who started this distinct group of adult beverages? And why call it that???

The answer: As in many things related to alcoholic drinks, the origin and history of the word cocktail is kind of funny and obscure. According to the Differsguide encyclopedia the origin of cocktails is all mixed up in Horse racing and electioneering in the late 1700s.

The word cocktail, as it relates to alcoholic drinks, officially arrived in print in 1803. It’s a fun read if you want to know how it all came about. Spoiler alert It refers to horses tails on the racetrack circuit back in the day.

What Are Cocktails?
Everyone has their favorite cocktail drinks

And the political aspect came a bit later when politicians learned pretty boozy drinks smoothed the way with constituents. Since then, entire schools of thought and even separate cocktail classifications have arisen.

Over time home adult beverage hobbyists have taken a less focused view. Home Wet bars and booze cupboards allow the creative spirit freedom.

If you want to build your own cocktails from scratch, here’s the method you need to legit make a cocktail. Without a degree. 🙂

It’s fun, can save you a TON of money, and gives you complete control over the flavor blends. you can choose Alcohol brands you enjoy and all the ingredients you add in.

Row Of Cocktails
So many choices!

When you go to your wet bar and stare at your selection of spirits and mixers… How do you know what elements are included when you want to put a cocktail together? How do you begin?… Read on.

What Drinks are Considered Cocktails?

Two ingredient Mixed drinks like Screwballs and Vodka 7 are not actual cocktails. But people use the terms interchangeably. I won’t tell if you won’t. 🙂 However, when making a cocktail. You need a third piece to get it correct.

A cocktail is two or more spirits mixed with a third element to create a pleasing mixed drink.


The result is a balanced three component drink.To create a cocktail, that third element might be a liqueur, juice or carbonated mixer like club soda or any soda pop.

What are the 6 basic cocktails? The six basic cocktails are the Martini, Old Fashioned, Manhattan, Daiquiri, Margarita, and Sidecar. But the sky is the limit when you make your own drinks.

What are The Seven Classic Cocktail? The Seven Classic Cocktail often considered to be the foundation of the modern cocktail canon and were popularized in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They are:

  1. Martini
  2. Old Fashioned cocktails
  3. Manhattan
  4. Daiquiri
  5. Margarita
  6. Sidecar
  7. Bourbon Sour or Whiskey Sour

What are the top five cocktails? It’s difficult to say what the top five cocktails are. Personal taste and popularity can vary greatly. However, some cocktails that are often considered among the most popular and enduring are:

  1. Martini: A traditional cocktail made with gin and vermouth.
  2. Old Fashioned: A traditional cocktail made with whiskey, sugar, and bitters.
  3. Margarita: A tequila-based cocktail made with lime juice and triple sec.
  4. Daiquiri: A rum-based cocktail made with lime juice and sugar.
  5. Manhattan: A traditional cocktail made with whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters.

These are most traditional ones and this can vary based on place and culture.

Here is a list of some popular Drinks you may want to make at home:

  1. Martini
  2. Old-Fashioned cocktails
  3. Manhattan
  4. Daiquiri
  5. Margarita
  6. Sidecar
  7. Bourbon Sour or Whiskey Sour
  8. Cosmopolitan
  9. Negroni
  10. Tom Collins
  11. Mai Tai
  12. Bloody Mary
  13. Long Island Iced Tea
  14. Piña Colada
  15. Moscow Mule
  16. Sazerac
  17. Champagne Cocktail
  18. Bellini
  19. Harvey Wallbanger
  20. Amaretto Sour

Note that this list is just to get you started. There are many more drinks to make. Find your favorites and learn how to make them at home.

How to Make Cocktails at Home:

The really great thing about cocktails is there are endless ways to make them. You can blend the alcohol spirits with any complementary mixers and additional seasonings you like.

And there you are. Once you are pleased with the result, you have a complete cocktail recipe. Garnishes can be part of the flavor mix. Or just a fun way to add textures and bring forward the ambience of the drink.

The success of a cocktail depends on your ability to blend a pleasing combination of flavors and textures. Like any recipe really. It’s all about how you like it.

For example: Here are two of my favorite whiskey cocktails. I created them using this basic rule of thumb and some sampling of flavors. They are both CRAZY popular cocktails on this blog and in my personal friends group.

Once you get the hang of it, making your own drinks is very simple to do and personally rewarding.

Create your own unique cocktail recipes. It is a GREAT way to use up liqueurs, mixers and spirits in your wet bar before they go bad.

I made the winter white rumchata cocktail as one of my holiday cocktails. its so elegant and looks fantastic on a dinner table as an aperitif. Au contraire, my jolly rancher vodka cocktails are a fun and informal group to serve at a small social gathering.

Making your own adult drinks at home allows you to more precisely work within your budget and pick your favorite brands. Fortunately most alcohol has a fairly long shelf life. If you keep the bottle well sealed. So buy the large economy size and save. 🙂

Control what goes in your drinks. Like to play with your flavor blends? Want a healthy Cocktail? Or extra indulgent yummy cocktail drinks like a peppermint Schnapps Milkshake? Make yours in your home bar as you like it. 🙂

Let’s begin.

Mixing A Cocktail
mixing a cocktail

How many Shots are in a Cocktail?

When mixing your own cocktail recipe begin with the base spirit. Consider how much alcohol it requires for the batch size you are creating. Consider also how strong you want your drink. If you enjoy adult beverages but don’t want them to get you overly drunk, pay attention to how you build them.

  • Your average 750 ml bottle of liquor yields about 16-1 1/2 oz. shots.
  • The balancing element of your drink is usually a liqueur or juice (often a fresh squeezed citrus) in the amount of 1/4 to 3/4 oz/cocktail.
  • The Final element is the seasoner. The amount varies with the recipe. Usually you just fill the glass. But this will impact flavor.
  • So more or less ice next time? Dilution is an issue for a slow sipping style drink. it’s most annoying to get halfway through your drink and notice it has lost most of the flavor as the ice melted. Factor dilution into your recipe.

Your drink is either mixed or stirred or made in a blender.

Basic stirred cocktails are built from the base up.

Stirred cocktails are those built right in your cocktail glass. They are not shaken. Here’s the method.

  • Choose your glass. Fill it with ice, if using, first.
  • Pour ih the base alcohol over the ice.
  • Add your balancer spirit directly into your glass.
  • Top off the glass with your seasoner. This is your soda, juice, club soda, coffee or whatever you are adding to finish your cocktails. However, for hot drinks you usually begin with the hot element. Then add in the other components as you build the drink. Our example is the Irish coffee.
  • Stir the drink, garnish and serve.


Shaken drinks use a shaker to mix some or all of the ingredients of the recipe. Here are a few tips:

  • You want the contents of the shaker throughly combined and very cold. This is especially important for drinks served with no ice.
  • NEVER shake a carbonated liquid in the shaker. Or you will have a foaming fountain of a mess in the kitchen. And a flat drink for your trouble.
  • We shake to mix flavors and bring the temperature of the cocktail down so it is quickly chilled. Carbonation is always poured in last after the drink is strained into your glass.

To shake a cocktail: Add ice into your shaker. Add the spirits into your shaker. Now Shake it vigorously until the shaker gets very cold.

There is more than one way to shake a cocktail. We pictured two popular methods above. Many of our cocktail recipe videos will show you how to shake a cocktail with one of these methods.

Rather than take a side on the best method of shaking a cocktail, we say, use whatever method you choose and shake until the shaker is uncomfortably cold.

Now strain the shaker contents into your glass and fill it with your seasoning component. This can be any soda, champagne or juice to fill the glass.

The seasoner can be adjusted to your taste. When you’re making a new cocktail recipe do the taste test. Is the drink too strong or too weak? Are you happy with the flavor balance?

This is when you tweak the drink. Adjust the flavors and your recipe is ready for your notebook of your very own personal homemade Drinks recipes. 🙂

Find All Of Our Cocktail Recipes Here

Mistletoe Margarita Mixed Drink
Mistletoe Margarita is a beautiful blender drink. Perfect for your Thanksgiving cocktails and Christmas parties drinks list.


You will need a blender that will easily crush ice to make a frozen cocktail like our Mistletoe Cranberry Margarita. These are simple to make in batches for parties. Our recipe shows you the complete process.

Blended drinks don’t have to be frozen. Just Whir together your ingredients that need blending.

TIP: Save any carbonated ingredients to pour into the glass separately at the end.

Our cocktail section has a good line up of classic cocktails, champagne cocktails, rum cocktails, and fruity cocktails. Check them out and get ideas for making your own signature cocktail recipes. Its so fun and rather easy to do.

Cocktail Garnishes Bar
Garnishes can be many things


Garnishes set the mood. Non edibles, Fruits vegetables, even candy make great garnishes. If you look through our cocktail section we have oodles of different garnished drinks to inspire you.

Read our post on cocktail garnishes to give you even more ideas on how to present your drinks.

Garnishes are optional for many drinks, but not all. Some garnishes are so integrated into the drink recipe due to tradition or because they actually are part of the drink experience, like margaritas and the famous salted rims with lime.

However, garnishes add a lot to presentation. With a proper garnish your drink can look cool and refreshing, Icy, or warm and cozy. Festive, romantic, classic or rustic.

We enjoy garnishes. They are endlessly fun to do.


Part of the fun of creating your own alcoholic drinks is collecting glasses the fit the vibe of the drink.

Cocktail Party Table

You will need a glass that holds 6 to 12 oz. of liquid for a basic cocktail. That depends on if you are using ice and how much ice you use.

The Glass can be as basic as a mason jar, or elegantly classic in style. Stemless Martini, Long stemmed Martini glasses come in various styles or choose the elegant Coop glass.

Need a short glass? Whiskey glasses in various styles lend their own ambience to your drink. Need a tall glass. The tom Collins Highball Glasses are a good choice.

Make sure your glass will hold the contents of your cocktail. Do the math.

How many shots are you using? How many ounces of all three components do you need? Add them up and plan for the extra room ice and garnishes require.

Garnishing Strawberry Daiquiri
Serve with garnishes of your choice.

Now you’re all fired up to create your Own Delicious drink Recipes. Here is a short list of tools to help you out.

  • For Blender Drinks you will need a blender that can blend ice
  • Shaker set with a bit of all you will need to shake and assemble your own drinks.
  • Various Cocktail Glasses-discussed and linked above.
  • Garnish helps-are reusable and generic enough to fit many occasions

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How To Make The Perfect Cocktails At Home-Pin Image
What are cocktails? They are yummy adult beverages. Otherwise known as mixed drinks. But all mixed drinks are not the same.