Be Your Own Mixing Pro: How to Start Making Drinks at Home

Be Your Own Mixing Pro: How to Start Making Drinks at Home

Do you want to learn how to mix drinks but aren't sure where to begin?

A crash course in bartending is just what you need if you want to delve deeper into the world of mixing drinks at home.

Even though there is a lot to take in at once, you may go at your own pace and none of it is difficult.

Your upcoming cocktail recipes can be better than any you've ever created with a few essential tools and a few helpful hints.

Without further ado, here are our top tips for home bartending, including the types of glassware, cocktail tools, and essential cocktail mixers!


Basic Bartending Gear

Without a few key tools, making a tasty cocktail is impossible.

Don't be sucked into the hype of aesthetics and expensive kits; instead, concentrate on investing in solid necessities to consistently mix up a variety of delicious cocktail recipes.

Cocktail Shaker

Cobbler Cocktail Shaker

cobbler cocktail shaker

Cocktail shakers come in two common varieties.

The three-piece Cobbler embodies the quintessential gift for home bartenders. You've probably gotten this as a gift, but you should really be looking for the other cocktail shaker.

Due to the metal-on-metal design, it is challenging to open the components when they are cold, whether for cleaning or reuse.

Additionally, the strainer's design causes slow strains, and if the cocktail recipe contains any muddled components, some pieces may fall through the large strainer holes and into the beverage.

Boston Cocktail Shaker

The Boston shaker comprises a mixing glass and a shaking tin. They're reasonably priced, and even if the mixing glass breaks, you can quickly replace it.

It is necessary to have a separate strainer with a Boston, but this gives you the opportunity to choose one that suits your needs exactly.


boston cocktail shaker

What about those Boston shakers made of 100% metal?

They're becoming more and more common among professional bartenders and often consist of one larger and one smaller tin, but they are not beginner-friendly.

When you use a mixing glass, you can see what you're doing as you and watch how the cocktail ingredients react as you shake.

You won't have the transparency of glass when using an all-metal Boston shaker, which could make you more prone to errors.

Bar Spoon

bar spoon rye whiskey

Even the tallest mixing glass may be reached with a bar spoon's long neck, and the spoon's twisted design allows it to spin freely in your stirring hand as it glides around the glass.

A regular teaspoon makes stirring much slower and more awkward, and it might not even reach the bottom of a glass.

Try and get a bar spoon with a coiled design rather than a smooth shaft. The spiral design reduces resistance in the glass when stirring drinks without adding too much air to the beverage.

The spiral also helps you layer drinks directly into a serving glass. It also prevents bubbly ingredients, like club soda, from fizzing up and out of the glass.

You should also get a bar spoon with a little weight to it. Once you learn how to stir, you'll quickly discover that a decent, weighty spoon handles most of the work.


tequila cocktail

You want a consistent outcome every time you follow a recipe, right?

There's no way you'll free-pour the perfect amount of tequila, triple sec, and lime juice every single time unless you're very excellent at it—and very few beginners are.

Jiggers are the common, hourglass-shaped stainless steel measurement cups that you've probably seen in numerous bars.

These are affordable and simple to find. But be careful; jiggers come in a variety of different volumes, and you should be aware of the units you're using.

Luckily, these jiggers are inexpensive. You may purchase a few and test out which one you feel most comfortable with when making cocktails at home.


cocktail glass

You have to get that cocktail out of the shaker and into your serving glass as soon as possible, preferably without the muddled ingredients and ice cubes.

We recommend the Hawthorne strainer, a flat disc with a coiled spring attached. Typically, Hawthornes are used to filter shaken drinks from the mixing tin.

The shaker's spring allows you to regulate the flow of liquid, and this device normally performs a great job of keeping crushed ice, citrus pulp, and pieces of muddled components where they belong—in the shaker.

Make sure your strainer covers a majority of the vessel's top. While some strainers are attractive, they allow beverages to spill out the sides.


cocktail ingredients

Fruit, herbs, and spices are delicately mashed for drinks using the muddling technique.

A cocktail muddler is a tool similar to a pestle that helps fresh ingredients release their essence, giving your drinks complexity and the ideal amount of flavour.

They come in a wide array of materials, from stainless steel to bamboo, so find out what works best for you!

Check out how to use these tools! [mixology techniques article]



The appearance, shape, substance, weight, and balance of the glass have an impact on how we perceive and consume the liquid that it contains.

The glass is almost as important as the drink that it contains.

That said, you only really need four distinct types of glasses to mix most cocktail recipes in a well-equipped home bar:


Cocktail Glass

cocktail glasses

To serve any drink that is "straight up," such as the Martini or Manhattan cocktail, you'll need either a traditional V-shaped Martini glass, a coupe glass or a Nick & Nora glass.

It is advised to use a smaller 12 glass so that it is nearly full when it is served. Any bigger and you'll appear to be being frugal.

Never serve ice-filled cocktail glasses. Instead, get a chilled glass to keep the drink cold.

Highball Glass

collins glass

The highball glass, which comes in a variety of shapes, is crucial for pouring cocktails over ice with a fizzy top-up, such the Gin & Tonic or Tom Collins.

Aim for a smaller size than you might be accustomed to because the larger the glass, the more you’re likely to dilute the cocktail.

Tumbler Glass

cold glass

The tumbler, often referred to as a "Rocks" or "Old-Fashioned" glass, is a manly, short, thick-bottomed glass that gives you the impression that you are holding a drink of importance (or at the very least, something with a lot of alcohol in it!).

They are necessary for pouring classic cocktails like an Old Fashioned or a Negroni Cocktail and are rarely filled to the brim.

Champagne Glass

cocktail garnishes

A champagne flute glass is great at preserving the carbonation in a fizzy cocktail. It is essential for serving cocktails such as the Bellini.


  • Wine glass

  • Brandy glass

  • Shot glass

  • Hurricane glass

  • Port or Sherry glass

  • Toddy glass

  • Margarita glass


Essential Mixers and Sweeteners

proper cocktail mixer

Simple Syrup

Since simple syrup is sugar in a liquid state, it is simpler to mix into many drinks.

DIY your own simple syrup by boiling, then simmering equal parts water and sugar in a saucepan until syrupy. It can also be flavoured with minimal to no additional work.

Be careful not to overcook the mixture!

Cocktail Bitters

Bitters are concentrated flavour enhancements, and just a dash or two will amplify the taste of many cocktails.

Citrus Fruit Juice

Freshly-squeezed lime juice, lemon juice and orange juice will instantly enhance the taste of any drink.


A pomegranate-flavoured syrup that's essential to many a great cocktail, including Tequila Sunrise.

Sparkling Water

Countless mixed drinks rely on a type of soda, whether straight soda water, tonic water or sweetened sodas.

But there's an easier way to get your bubbly cocktail ingredients!


SodaStream: Your Ultimate Partner for Making Drinks at Home

club soda

Save the environment while simplifying your shopping list and taking care of your health with SodaStream!

You can alter your homemade bottle of sparkling water with our drink syrups to substitute the soda in cocktail recipes.

With our sparkling water makers, you can get carbonated water in just 3 seconds - easier and healthier than heading to the store and getting canned sodas!

More than just providing convenience, getting a SodaStream machine will be a life-transforming decision for the better.

You control exactly what goes in it - the amount of sugar, the flavour, and you can rest assured that there are no harmful additives.

Having trouble figuring out how to use your homemade sparkling water for cocktails? Get started here! [Classic Cocktails with Sparkling Water article]

With your own SodaStream, you'll surely be ready for your next cocktail party!

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Sparkle Note

Using non-SodaStream cylinders is not a good idea. All our CO2 cylinders are quality tested when refilled. SodaStream gas cylinders should only be maintained and refilled by SodaStream. Unauthorized refilling of cylinders by third parties could be risky. SodaStream only warrants the safety of cylinders refilled by us, and SodaStream is not responsible for products of any other company or brand, which may damage the Sparkling Water Maker and void the warranty.