Methods of making cocktails

There are many different ways to make cocktails, with each method having its advantages and disadvantages. Some cocktails require a combination of methods, but how to do it will be described under each cocktail.


This is the easiest method, you know it already, this is just the “professional” name for it. The method is to pour on top of a glass filled with ice, e.g. as in a Gin & Tonic, where you pour gin into a glass filled with ice, then fill it up completely with tonic.


This is when you pour a liquid on top of a drink at the end, where one of the benefits could be to create a "bleeding" effect on the cocktail. An example of where the technique is used is a Bramble, where Crème De Mure is poured on top at the very end.


This is just the reverse of the technique above, here you don't put the liquid on top, but try to make it sink to the bottom. A classic example of this is a Tequila Sunrise, where you try to get the Grenadine to reach the bottom, and form that nice "sunrise". The technique is performed by pouring carefully along a straw so that the liquid is directed along the straw to the bottom of the drink.


This method involves a barspoon that you use to “churn” the contents of the glass in order for it to be mixed properly. The technique is often used in cocktails with crushed ice, e.g. in a Mojito where the mint leaves doesn't just end up in the bottom.


The technique deals exclusively with leaves, such as mint leaves. Instead of grinding mint leaves beyond recognition, this technique is used, where you simply place the leaves in one hand and give them a firm clap with the other. That way, the flavor from the leaves is still released, but at a more appropriate level. In addition, the problem of leaves getting stuck in straws when they are simply patted is also out of the question, and aesthetically, a whole leaf in the drink also looks way better.


The method is used for cocktails such as the Mint Julep, where a sugarcube is soaked with an aromatic bitter and then muddled together with a harsh sparkling water. This is the slow and elaborate method of making these cocktails, as what you essentially do using this method is make sugar syrup in the glass. However, the technique looks very good behind the bar.


This method is best known from the Mojito, where you press lime wedges and cane sugar together with a mortar. The method is used to mash the juice from berries, citrus fruits, etc. so that it becomes part of the cocktail. In addition, you usually also want to churn after muddling so that you don't end up with a fruit salad at the bottom of your cocktail.

Shake and strain

Here you pour all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker, fill with ice, shake and pour the cocktail into the glass, where you strain the ice. As a general rule, you keep shaking until condensation forms on the outside of the cocktail shaker. The trick is to cool the cocktail while oxygenating and diluting it a little.
Long Island Iced Tea is an example of a cocktail that needs to be shaken before being topped off with cola.

Shake and fine strain

The method is exactly like "shake and strain" with the same benefits. However, this method differs in that an even finer strainer is used, so that even the smallest ice flakes are sorted out and you are left with a clear and clean cocktail. This is the method for cocktails such as the Cosmopolitan.

Dry shake

This technique is usually only used for cocktails that contain egg whites, which applies to many with "sour" in the name (for example Whiskey Sour).
Instead of shaking the cocktail with ice, you first choose to just shake it without it (just the liquids). What happens when you shake the ingredients together without the ice is that the proteins in the egg white coagulate and form a lot of foam. This foam is going to make a nice layer on top of the cocktail when poured. You can read more about the use of eggs in cocktails here: eggs in cocktails.

Remember that ice cubes are usually what cause your shaker tin to contract and thus stay together. Therefore it is quite easy to spill your cocktail all over the place when dry shaking. Be careful.

Stir and strain

This method is probably best known from James Bond, because he always asks for a stirred cocktail. Here, the cocktail is stirred in a mixing glass filled with ice until the desired dilution and temperature is achieved. The cocktail is then poured into the cocktail glass, where the ice is sorted out using a Julep strainer. As I may have revealed earlier, this is the method for e.g. to make a Dry Martini.


This method is the one where you lay the ingredients in layers so that you can clearly see the difference between the layers. An example of this method is the shot B52, where the colors from the bottom become black, light brown, and transparent at the top. The layers are made by using liquids of different density, but also by pouring slowly onto a spoon so that the liquid can slowly lie on top and not mix with the layer below.


The name speaks for itself. Here you take all the ingredients in a blender and then blend them together, usually with a lot of ice, so that you get a viscous liquid. The liquid must be thin enough that you can drink it through a straw, but still thick enough that a straw can stand vertically. A well-known example of such a drink is the Piña Colada.