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Cocktails - How to Mix Your Favourite Cocktails

Updated on August 13, 2013


In this article, I'll tell you all you need to know about cocktails - how to mix your favourite cocktails, and in which glass to serve them, to impress your friends. I'm sure I don't need to tell you how to drink them!

Most people don't have a cocktail shaker in their home, but there again most bars use blenders nowadays. This is not only for speed, but a lot of today's cocktails use fresh fruits which need to be blended first.

I think most homes have a blender, or liquidiser, food processor of some sort. If not it's really not a problem, a brisk mix or whisk manually will do the trick too.

Most of the cocktails mentioned here are made with the spirits that most of you have in your homes normally. Some use the slightly less usual and harder to find liqueurs. Where possible, I'll suggest substitutions.

A Perfect Margarita

  Cheers! Enjoy!
Cheers! Enjoy!

Favourite Cocktails


2 parts tequila

1 part triple sec (or cointreau)

fresh lime juice

fresh lemon juice


You can buy Margarita mix already prepared in some shops, but less in the UK than in the USA.

This is most widely used in bars for speed, but you can make it yourself by squeezing fresh lemons and limes. Add a little to a saucepan, and heat enough to dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from the heat and add a little ice to cool it quickly. Add some more fresh juice and mix together, then use this to mix your cocktail. Instead of dissolving sugar, you can use sugar syrup if you prefer.

If making large quantities in the home, you can use home-made lemonade or old-fashioned or cloudy lemonade, with some lime cordial. Although not an authentic margarita, the taste is almost the same, in fact better when mixing by the pitcher, or large quantities. This way is actually more refreshing for a summer barbecue, when you want a very big, cool, long drink.

Margaritas are served with salt on the rim of the glass, and a lime wedge. They can be served 'on the rocks' or 'frozen' which means blended with crushed ice.


the original daiquiri is white rum, lime and lemon juice, sweetened as required. This would all be mixed over ice, then strained into a martini glass. Can also be served with the ice in a tall glass

Other alternatives nowadays are


Put your strawberries into a blender, or liquidiser and blend until smooth. Squeeze a little fresh lime juice, or cordial, and add the rum. This again can be served either way, tall over ice, or strained into a martini glass.


Exactly the same way, blend the bananas, add some fresh lemon or lime juice or cordial, and the rum. Serve long or short, as you prefer.

Here is where one of the more unusual liqueurs come into play. I think you can buy in most places 'creme de cacao' a liqueur made from cocoa beans. When you can't find this, you could add pure cocoa powder (not the sweetened hot chocolate mix) to your cream or milk, and extra of the first spirit in the cocktail, or add a little vodka, but not too much.

Two cocktails that use this creme de cacao are:


2 parts brandy or cognac

1 part creme de cacao

fresh cream or milk

As an after dinner drink, use thick cream, and serve in martini glasses, or small wineglasses, sprinkle with a little pure cocoa powder on the surface. For a longer drink, use milk and serve over ice in a tall glass.

Brandy Alexander as an after-dinner drink, has been around for years, and was the original inspiration for Bailey's Irish Cream Liqueur.


2 parts creme de menthe or peppermint liqueur

1 part creme de cacao

fresh cream or milk

Exactly as with the Brandy Alexander, cream for a short after-dinner drink, milk and ice for a long one.

Next, 2 well established, well loved classic cocktails:


1 part dark navy rum

1 part golden rum

1 part white rum

fresh lime juice


Orange juice

mix the fresh lime juice with the sugar, or substitute for lime cordial.

Mix everything well, or 'zap' briefly in a blender, and serve in a very tall glass over lots of ice, with a slice each of orange and lime on the rim.


1 part dark navy rum

1 part triple sec

1 part almond liqueur, Amaretto or similar.

1 of Lime juice or cordial

1 of Grenadine

Best blended, with 2 or 3 cubes of ice in the blender, and then poured, usually strained into a small glass, but often drunk as a long cool drink with ice.

Which to Choose?
Which to Choose?

More Cocktails


1 part Campari

1 part red vermouth

1 part Gin

This is stirred with ice, then strained into a martini glass. Add a cherry if desired.

A classic, delicious aperitif.


The Dry Martini cocktail is not the dry Martini that comes in the green bottle, although this vermouth is added in a small amount.

For the perfect Dry Martini you need a good London dry gin (doesn't mean it's made in London but its a type of gin)

Beefeater or Sapphire are good

It is mixed in a jug or pitcher full of ice, and is almost all gin, with just a touch of dry vermouth. In each martini-glassful of gin, should be only about a teaspoonful of vermouth, if you want a classic Dry Martini. But of course you will make it to your own taste.

Once it is chilled, it is then strained and served in a martini glass. Add a green olive, and enjoy!

Exactly the same drink, but served with a small cocktail onion, instead of an olive, is known as a GIMLET.

Another cocktail which requires an unusual spirit is the Caipirinha, from Brazil, which uses Cachaça, a Brazilian rum.

It is sweeter than other rums, so you could substitute, and add more sugar, but it will never taste the same.



fresh limes


normally made in the glass with a pestle, to pound the limes, it can be made in a blender, but again the taste won't be the same. You would squeeze the juice from a lime and mix with sugar, then put a few pieces of lime in the glass, and press with the pestle several times, to crush the peel and release the zest.

Pour the rum over this, add the sweetened juice, and some ice.

Decorate with a wedge of lime on the edge of the glass, and enjoy.

Later, somebody invented the CAIPIROVKA which is a Caipirinha but with vodka instead of rum. Maybe because they found the Cachaça hard to come by, or maybe they just liked vodka !

But it has proved very popular too.


the Mojito from Cuba, is also made using the pestle in the glass (if you don't have a mortar and pestle in your kitchen, you can substitute the pestle with the handle of a kitchen utensil or another rounded object that will fit in the glass and you can use to 'pound' the limes)

Havana club, a Cuban rum, or another good rum, will make the best Mojito. You need;


fresh limes

fresh mint leaves

soda water

With the pestle, pound the mint leaves in the bottom of the glass to extract juices, but leaving some pieces of leaf.

Cut half a lime into five or six pieces, add these to the glass and pound a little more, to extract the juice from the lime, and also to crush the peel and extract the zest. Add sugar, (Cubans use 3 to 4 teaspoons, but I find this very sweet. Two is plenty, probably a bit much, but make it to your taste) Over this, pour a generous serving of your rum and stir well. Add ice, and top up with soda water. Serve with a sprig of mint on top, and a wedge of lime on the edge.


2 parts vodka

1 part triple sec

lime juice

Cranberry juice

This one also is mixed over ice, then strained into a martini glass. Mix the spirits with just a little squeeze of lime juice, the rest cranberry juice. Serve as is, or with a cherry or slice of lime.

Delicious Sangria
Delicious Sangria

Spanish Sangria

Sangria is the most popular drink in Spain and is very easy to make at home.

The classic Sangria recipe is .served in a one litre pitcher filled with ice and fresh fruit; usually lemon and orange slices, but you can add whatever you like. Pour in:

2 shots Gin

2 shots Brandy or Cognac

2 shots Triple Sec or Cointreau

about one teaspoon of grenadine or similar sweet syrup, according to taste

Fill to around 3/4 with red wine and top up with orange and lemon sodas.

There is also Champagne Sangria, or Cava Sangria, which use the same recipe but substitute champagne or cava for the red wine.

You can use different spirits if you wish, but these are the classic choices, Gin for dryness, brandy for body and triple sec for fruitiness. It is not advisable to use whisky as the taste would overpower everything else; otherwise you can change around as you wish. i.e. white rum or vodka instead of gin, and any fruit liqueur in place of triple sec.

I hope these cocktail recipes help your parties go with a bang!

There are so many wonderful cocktails out there, each one as delicious as the next, depending on individual tastes. These are just a few of the most popular, most requested cocktail recipes.

There are some easy recipes for beginners, as listed in the below mentioned hub, but course you can always invent your own; just experiment with your favourite spirits and liqueurs, and mix them with whatever juice or mixer you have at home, and see what you can come up with. You may surprise yourself, you may even invent a future classic!

Related Hub: Cocktails for Beginners - Easy Cocktail Recipes


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