Recipe Index

Indian Cuisine

Photo Gallery

Hospitality Books

Cooking Basics

Dictionaries & Glossaries

Wine & Drinks


Indian Hotels

HM Institutes

Manufactures & Suppliers

Study Material





Breakfast and Brunch

Cafeteria Line

Delightful Desserts and Baked Goods

Healthy Eating

Main Course

Side Dishes


Get the latest in the world of culinary! Enter your e-mail to sign up for our newsletter.


What is a Cocktail?

Drinks akin to cocktails first appeared sometime during the 16th century, but cocktails, as we know and use the term, was first introduced by American bartenders in the 1920ies.

The reason the cocktail made it big in the happy '20ies, was the prohibition, when producing and imbibing of alcohol was made illegal. As good as all spirits available was of a rather dubious quality and tasted accordingly. Thus, the bartenders, accommodating as always, started to mix the spirits with various fruit juices and other flavorings to make it more palatable. Later, the cocktail lost its popularity most places, the United States being the main exception.

The last few years, however, the cocktail has reclaimed lost ground everywhere, especially in southern Europe and other places that are full of tourists. Cocktails usually consist of three different 'classes' of ingredients.

  • The first, the base, is most often some sort of spirit, like vodka, whiskey, or tequila. Occasionally, such as in many punches, some sort of wine is being used as a base.

  • The second, the main flavoring, is added to bring out the aroma of the base and to modify its taste. The main flavoring is often such as Vermouth, various fruit juices, wine, or even eggs or cream.

  • The third, the special flavoring, is added to enhance the taste of the base, and often also adds the color to the cocktail. Common special flavorings include Grenadine, Blue Curacao, and others.

Most cocktails are also decorated in some way, usually with fruit slices, orange peel, cocktail sticks, mint twigs, etc. (see section below).

Many different contraptions are manufactured for the making of cocktails. Some of these are useful, some can be definitely nice to have, and still others are totally and utterly useless. It is up to you to decide exactly what your cocktail equipment should be, but some things are essential.

First out of the essentials is the cocktail shaker. There are two basic types of shakers available. A European cocktail shaker is usually made out of metal, or glass with a metal top. It is, basically, a container which holds about half a liter, fitted with a top which closes tightly around the upper edges of the container. This top also has a smaller top, usually fitted with a built-in strainer, through which the shaken cocktail is poured. American shakers, however, consist of two cones about the same size. One is often often made of glass, and the other is metallic. These cones are held together to form a closed container, and the shaken cocktail is poured from either one. Most American shakers do not have built-in strainers, so if you use an American shaker, using a separate strainer is a good idea.

Measures, also known as jiggers, are also essential. Jiggers are most often made of metal, but glass jiggers are common, as well. The standard measurements of a jigger can vary widely, depending on where you are. In the recipes in the following articles, I will use a standard jigger of 30ml (appx. 1 fl oz).


In addition to the equipment mentioned above, you will find that things like these are nice to have, as well: Ice bucket, jugs, electric blender, bowls, etc. You should also have access to ordinary kitchenware, such as knives, corkscrews, chopping board, etc. You will also need stirrers (also known as swizzle sticks), straws, toothpicks, serviettes and cloths.

Cocktail glasses come in four different basic types:

  • First, there are the glasses known as rocks glasses, also known as tumblers. These glasses are usually short and broad glasses, with straight or slightly sloping sides. They normally hold about 125ml and are used for spirits with ice, fruit juices and short drinks.

  • Second, there is the highball glass. These glasses are usually of medium width, and are tall with straight or slightly sloping sides. They normally hold between 200 and 300ml and are used for long drinks with ice.

  • Third, the champagne glasses are of two different kinds. The most common, the champagne flute, is a tall and narrow glass with a stem. Champagne flutes have thin-glassed sides, and the long, tapering sides can curve both inward and outward. A champagne flute holds approximately 150ml. The second type of champagne glass is the less-known champagne saucer. The champagne saucer is a broad and shallow glass with a stem. The broadness and shallowness of the glass make the champagne loose its fizz quickly, and the glass is therefore less popular than it once was. It is still, however, in use, and such cocktails as the Margarita use exclusively such glasses.

  • Fourth is the group known as cocktail glasses. These are the classic cocktail glasses; stemmed and with sharply sloping sides, making it Y-shaped when seen from the side. The classic cocktail glass holds about 90ml and is best suited for short, strong drinks.

In addition to these glasses, some drinks, such as the Pina Colada, have special glasses. Unless you are really serious about mixing your cocktails, you don't really need to buy such glasses. Use glasses you already have instead. There are also other glasses available that will work just fine with cocktails. Use your imagination, but remember that plastic glasses (or shakers, jugs, mixing glasses, or other such equipment for that matter) should NEVER be used with cocktails, as it will make the cocktail taste of plastic. A cocktail is supposed to have a refreshing taste, not to taste like the inside of a used plastic bag.

Mixing a Cocktail

Not all cocktails are made in the same manner. Just as the ingredients may vary, there are several ways in which to mix a cocktail. The most frequently used methods are the following:

  • Shaking: The cocktail is mixed by hand in a cocktail shaker. The shaker is first filled three quarters with ice, preferably cubes, as crushed ice will tend to melt and dilute the cocktail. The ingredients are then poured on top of the ice, in order of alcohol content (highest first). When shaking a cocktail, hold the shaker in both hands, one hand on the top and the other supporting the base of the shaker, and shake vigorously. When water has begun condensing on the outside of the shaker, the cocktail is sufficiently chilled, and the cocktail should immediately be strained into the glass. In general, shaking creates a colder cocktail than stirring does, but also a cloudier one.

  • Stirring: The cocktail is stirred with a glass or metal rod in a mixing glass, before the cocktail is strained into a glass. As with shaking, crushed ice should not be used, and water condensing on the outside shows that the cocktail is finished.

  • Blending: An electric blender is used to mix fruit juices, alcohol, fruit, etc. Blending is an excellent way of mixing ingredients which do not blend easily in any other way. Blend the cocktail till it has reached a smooth consistency. If the recipe requires ice, add crushed ice last, but be careful not to add too much, as the cocktail may be watered down. Blending is a much disputed method of mixing a cocktail, and in general, blending should be avoided unless the recipe demands it.

  • Building: When building a cocktail, the ingredients are poured into the glass in which the cocktail will be served. Usually, the ingredients are floated on top of each other, but occasionally, a swizzle stick is put in the glass, allowing the ingredients to be mix


Decorating Cocktails

Almost all cocktails are decorated in one way or another, most often with some kind of fruit, but no matter the exact decoration, cocktail sticks are almost always invaluable. Cocktail sticks come in two types; Wooden and plastic. Wooden sticks are most often used, and are suited for just about any kind of cocktail, but they cannot be reused. Plastic sticks, however, should be carefully used, as they tend to give the cocktail a slightly artificial appearance. Unlike wooden sticks, plastic ones can be reused, but should be carefully washed and boiled first.

Cocktail sticks are, whatever the type, used for spearing slices of fruit, cherries, and just about anything else you care to decorate your cocktails with. Straws are also essential and go well with highballs. Straws should not be reused. The traditional cocktail garnish is, however, the red Maraschino cherries. These are used in just about any kind of cocktail, and are now also available in green, yellow and blue. In addition to this, slices of fruit, strips of orange or lemon peel, mint twigs, etc. can also be used.

One often used method of decorating cocktails is that which is called frosting. Frosting leaves an edge of sugar, salt, cocoa, or any other fine powder, on the rim of the glass. There are several ways to frost glasses, and one of the most frequently used of them is this: Rub the rim of the glass with a slice of orange or lemon, then submerge the rim in sugar or salt (or any other powder), just so that it lines the top of the rim. Other methods use egg white or other substances for 'gluing' the powder to the glass. For a more colorful frosting, use small drops of food coloring in the powder. With some cocktails, such as the Margarita, frosting is a 'standard' decoration.

Tips and Tricks

·         1/2 oz. of liquor is equal to 1 count, assuming you are using a pourer on your bottles. To measure 1 1/2 oz. of liquor, count "1001...1002...1003" as you are pouring. After a while, you should be able to do it by eye.

·         To make highballs, fill glass two-thirds full of ice before adding liquor. Always pour liquor in before the mixer. Do not stir drinks containing carbonated mixers.

·         To make cocktails, low balls, and other shaken or stirred drinks, fill shaker half-full of ice. For low balls, fill the glass about half-full of ice before pouring drink.

·         Most shaken drinks which contain light cream can also be made as blended drinks, substituting vanilla ice cream for the light cream.

·         To make blended drinks, first fill blender half-full of ice. If necessary, add more ice as you are blending.

·         Always keep fruit juices and other mixers refrigerated.

·         In fruit drinks, e.g. strawberry margaritas always use fresh fruit, not frozen Bar terms.




When using a cocktail shaker there is one golden rule to remember. Always put the ice in the shaker first, and the liquor last. This is to ensure that all ingredients are properly chilled by the ice when they are poured over the ice, and by adding the liquor last you reduce the chance of dilution.


A drink that is stirred instead of shaken will retain its clarity and be free of ice chips. Drinks based on clear liquors, like a Martini, should always be stirred and not shaken (don't listen to James Bond when he order his Martini "shaken, not stirred").
When stirring a cocktail you should stir it enough to mix the ingredients, but not stir it too much. If you stir too much the ice will begin to dilute the liquor. A general rule is that 10-15 stirs will be sufficient for proper mixing.
A drink containing carbonated beverage(s) should be stirred gently and briefly to retain the sparkle.


Instead of stirring, you can shake the drink. This will mix the ingredients more than stirring, but will also result in a less clear drink. Drinks that contain ingredients that are hard to mix, such as cream, fruit juices and eggs, should be shaken vigorously to ensure that the ingredients has been well mixed.


Use an electric blender to mix fresh fruit, liquor, juices and ice instead of using a shaker. Not too popular everywhere, but perfect for making frozen cocktails or to blend ingredients that are otherwise impossible to mix.


The purpose of floating is to keep each ingredients in the drink in separate layers that do not mix with the others. This will create a drink with separate layers, and this is why floating often is referred to as layering.
The easiest way to float one liquor on top of another is to use a demitasse spoon, holding it over or in the glass and slowly trickle the ingredient over the back of the spoon.


Muddling is a simple mashing technique for grinding herbs, such as mint, smooth in the bottom of a glass. You can use a wooden muddler that you buy in a bar supply store or buy a bar spoon with a muddler on the end. It crushes the herbs, much as the back of a soup spoon might, without scaring the glass.


To frost a glass, first dip it in water and then put it in the freezer for half an hour or so. Also note that metal and silver mugs and cups will frost better than glasses.

Standard Bar Measurements (US)

1 part


any equal part

1 dash/splash


1/32 ounce

1 teaspoon (tsp)


1/8 ounce

1 tablespoon (tblsp)


3/8 ounce

1 pony


1 ounce

1 jigger/bar glass


1 ½ ounces

1 shot (*)


1 ½ ounces

1 snit


3 ounces

1 wineglass


4 ounces

1 split


6 ounces

1 cup


8 ounces

1 pint (pt)


16 ounces

1 quart (qt)


32 ounces

1 fifth


25.6 ounces (1/5 gallon)

1 gallon (gal)


128 ounces


Metric Conversions

1 fluid ounce (oz)


29.573 milliliters

1 quart (qt)


9.4635 deciliters

1 gallon (gal)


3.7854 liters


1 milliliter (ml)


1/30 ounce

1 centiliter (cl)


1/3 ounce

1 deciliter (dl)


3 1/2 ounces

1 liter (l)


34 ounces


Other Measurements










4/5 Quart


1/5 Gal.


25.6 oz


750 ml


25.5 oz

Pint (pt)


1/2 Quart


16.0 oz


500 ml


17.0 oz



8.0 oz


200 ml


6.8 oz



64.0 oz


1750 ml


59.7 oz



32.0 oz


1000 ml


34.1 oz

(*) A "shotglass" is usually 1.5 ounces, but sometimes 2 ounces with a measuring line at 1.5 ounces. You can also buy (in US) "short shot" glasses or "pony shots" which are 1 ounce. Pony shots are usually used with martinis, manhattans, and rob roy.

Setting up a bar

Basic set of tools

When setting up a bar, you will need quite a lot of equipment. The following is a list of basic bar equipment you should have in your bar to allow you to make most drinks. You may also want to take a look at the list of additional equipment that will make life behind the bar a bit easier too.

  • Bottle opener

  • Corkscrew

  • Can opener

  • Measuring cups and spoon set

  • Bar spoon with long handle and muddler on the end

  • Juice squeezer

  • Electric blender

  • Cutting board and a sharp knife

  • Ice bucket with an ice tong

  • Mixing glass

  • Shaker and strainer

  • Bottle sealers

  • Towels

  • Boxes/jars to store garnishes in

  • Glassware

You will have to buy new supplies of the following equipment regularly.

  • Cocktail napkins and coasters

  • Swizzle sticks

  • Straws, both long and short ones

  • Cocktail picks

  • Sugar and salt (for coating rim of glasses)

Additional equipment

In addition you may wish to buy some other equipment to make things a bit easier and to be able to make additional drinks.

  • Ice crusher, preferably electric

You can crush ice manually, but with an electric crusher, it will be a whole lot easier than using a hammer.

  • Wooden muddler

  • Ice pick or chipper

  • Vegetable peeler or a twist cutter for fruit peels

  • Ice scoop

  • Funnel

  • Nutmeg grater

  • Glassware

When operating a bar, whether it be in-house or a business, you need to have certain types of glasses. The right glass can enhance the drink you are serving, making you look even better. You really do not want to serve wine in a coffee cup, a cocktail in a beer mug, and you definitely don't want to serve an Alabama Slammer in a sherry glass. Get the point?

Different glasses

Glass accidents

When you are around any bar, home or business, you need to be concerned for yourself and your guests. Here are a few tips about accidents and what to do:

  • Always use an ice scoop and not the glass itself. Tiny slivers of glass always chip off when dipped into an ice well and your glasses become unclear after a while

  • If you accidentally break a glass near ice, always throw away all the ice. When glass shatters, pieces go everywhere. You really don't want pieces of glass in your drink.

  • Never take a hot glass and add ice into it. This can cause the glass to shatter due to thermal shock. Be careful about this.

  • Mechanical shock occurs when you clank two glass together. One of the glasses will almost always break.

If you carry the glasses by the stem or the base you avoid fingerprints where people drink from, and you will have more support carrying the glass.

The History of the Cocktail Shaker [Shaker 1]

Antecedents of the cocktail shaker can be traced to 7000 BC in South America where the jar gourd was valued for its use as a closed container. Ancient Egyptians in 3500 BC knew that adding spices to their grain fermentations before serving made them more palatable. A forerunner of the cocktail? Well, archaeologists have yet to find a hieroglyphic list of cocktail recipes inside the Great Pyramid of Cheops. But we do know in 1520 Cortez wrote to King Charles V of Spain from the New World of a certain drink made from cacao, served to Montezuma with much reverence, frothy and foaming from a golden cylinder.

By the late 1800s, the bartender's shaker as we know it today had become a standard tool of the trade, invented by an innkeeper when pouring a drink back and forth to mix. Finding that the smaller mouth of one container fit into another, he held the two together and shook "for a bit of a show."

At the turn of the century, New York City hotels were serving the English custom of 5 o'clock tea and it was a short leap to the 5 o'clock cocktail hour with shakers manufactured for home use looking very much like teapots.

In the 1920s martinis were served from sterling silver shakers by high society while the less affluent made do with glass or nickel-plated devices. The Great War was over and sacrifice was replaced by a euphoria marked by party-going and a frenzied quest for pleasure. The mixed drink and cocktail shaker was powered by Prohibition. People who had never tasted a cocktail before were knocking on speakeasy doors. The outlaw culture had a powerful pull. Flappers with one foot on the brass rail ordered their choice of drinks with names like Between the Sheets, Fox Trot, and Zanzibar, liberated more by this act and smoking in public than by their new voting rights.

[Shaker 2]The International Silver Company produced shakers in the form of the Boston Lighthouse and golf bags, as well as, traditional shapes. There were rooster- and penguin-shaped shakers, and from Germany zeppelin and aeroplane shakers. Many of these shapes were not entirely capricious. The rooster, or "cock of the walk," for example, had long served as a symbol for tavern signs. The penguin with its natural "tuxedo" symbolized the good life. The Graf Zeppelin had become the first commercial aircraft to cross the Atlantic - an 111-hour non-stop flight that captured the attention of the world.

Such ingenious designs were all the rage, cocktail shaker skills and drink rituals were as important in the Jazz Age lifestyle as the latest dance steps. Colorful cocktails with sweet mixes stretched out the supply of illicit alcohol and helped disguise the taste of homemade hooch. While gin, easier to duplicate than rye or scotch, became the drink of choice and the martini society's favorite.

But the real popularity explosion of cocktail shakers occurred after the repeal of Prohibition in 1933. Now they were featured frequently on the silver screen, shakers and accoutrements part of every movie set. Stars were constantly sipping cocktails when they weren't lighting each others' cigarettes, both de rigueur symbols of sophistication. Nick and Nora Charles, the delightfully sodden couple that poured their way through endless martinis in The Thin Man series, knew how to shake a drink with style, as did the tens of thousands of Americans who shook, swirled, and swilled cocktails by the shaker-full in the years following the repeal of Prohibition. Movie fans watched Fred and Ginger dance across the screen, cocktail glass in hand, and wanted their own symbol of the good life to shake themselves out of the Depression that gripped the country.

[Shaker 3]The Art Deco movie set aesthetic was perfect for the Depression-driven cocktail shaker. To meet popular demand, machine age factories, geared for mass production, began turning them out in droves. Fashioned from the high-tech materials of the day, chrome-plated stainless steel shakers with Bakelite trim replaced those of sterling silver and were advertised as "non-tarnishing, no polishing needed." The great glass companies, such as Cambridge, Heisey, and Imperial, leaped into action. Stunning etched and silk-screened designs were created, often in brilliant hues of ruby or cobalt. Industrial design was at the height of popularity and superstar designers such as Russel Wright, Kem Weber, and Lurelle Guild created streamlined modern masterpieces, many in the shape of the new deity of architecture, the skyscraper. If there is a definitive classic it would have to be the sleek 1936 chrome-plated "Manhattan Skyscraper serving set" by master industrial designer Norman Bel Geddes, sought by collectors of today as the perfect mix of form and function.

By the end of the decade, shakers had become standard household objects, affordable to all. Every family had at least one shaker on the shelf. There were now cocktail shakers in the shape of bowling pins, dumbbells, town criers bells, and even in the shape of a lady's leg. The cocktail party had influenced fashion, furniture, and interior design. Coffee tables were now cocktail tables, and the little black dress, designed by Coco Chanel, went from fad to fashion, and is now an institution.

At the beginning of the 1940s, the Depression ended, but not in the way most had hoped. It ended on December 7, 1941. The golden era of the cocktail shaker was over, and America's involvement in World War II began. All metal went to the war effort. Companies that once made cocktail shakers, now made artillery shells. After the war, few thought of the shakers. We were in the atomic age, thinking of jet-propelled airplanes, a thing called television, and new cars with lots of chrome.

In the early 1950s, a brief renewal of interest in cocktail shakers occurred when new homes featuring finished basements, called "roc rooms," were equipped with bars. But the push-button age had taken the fun out of mixing drinks. Shakers came with battery-powered stirring devices. Worse yet, electric blenders became popular; drop in some ice, add the alcohol of your choice, a package of "redi-mix," flick a switch and.... Gone were the rites and rituals, the showmanship, the reward for effort. Small wonder, then, that these elegant stars of the 1930s were forced into retirement.

And there they sat - in attics and closets nationwide - waiting to be recalled to life. Over 50 years have passed now, and one can faintly hear the clink of ice cubes as shakers are, once again, a symbol of elegance.

Stocking your bar

You cannot make drinks out of the equipment, so you'll probably want to buy a selection of liquors and mixers too. It is impossible to make a list that "fits all" without including every possible liquor in the World, but here are a few guidelines on what to buy.

You should always choose your bar stock to suit your guests. Young people often prefer the more exotic drinks, so you will need various fruit juices and flavored liqueurs instead of the darker liquors (like whiskey) older people often prefer.

It is likely you will experience requests for drinks you cannot make, but that happen to almost every bar now and then. You can add new liquors to your bar stock later, and should learn how to mix what you have in the meantime.

A well stocked bar should have the following, but you should consider the number and type of guests you expect before buying.

  • Gin (dry)

  • Vodka

  • Rye (or Canadian whiskey)

  • Bourbon

  • Scotch whiskey

  • Rum (light)

  • Vermouth (dry and sweet)

  • Tequila

  • White and red wine (dry)

  • Beer (lager)

  • Cognac (or other brandy)

  • Different liqueurs:

    • Advocaat (somewhat like brandy eggnog)

    • Amaretto (almond)

    • Anisette (anise)

    • Benedictine (herbs)

    • Chambord (black-raspberry)

    • Chartreuse (herbs)

    • Contreau (oranges, like curaçao)

    • Crème de Cacao (cacao)

    • Crème de Cassis (blackcurrant)

    • Crème de Menthe (mint)

    • Crème de Violette (lavender)

    • Crème Yvette (violets)

    • Curaçao (oranges)

    • Galliano (herbs and spices)

    • Godiva (chocolate)

    • Goldwasser (herbs and spices, flecked with gold leaf bits)

    • Grand Marnier (champagne and curaçao)

    • Irish Mint (whiskey and cream)

    • Kahlúa (coffee)

    • Kümmel (caraway)

    • Mandarine Napoléon (tangerine)

    • Midori (melon)

    • Ouzo (anise)

    • Peter Heering (cherry)

    • Prunelle (plum)

    • Sabra (orange and chocolate)

    • Sambuca (wild elderberries)

    • Southern Comfort (peach)

    • Strega (orange and spices)

    • Tia Maria (coffee)

    • Triple Sec (oranges, like curaçao)




In addition to the liquors, you will need different mixers, flavorings and garnishes.

  • Club soda

  • Tonic water

  • Ginger ale

  • 7-Up or Sprite

  • Cola

  • Juices:

    • Tomato juice

    • Orange juice

    • Pineapple juice

    • Cranberry juice

    • Grapefruit juice

  • Bitters

  • Grenadine

  • Maraschino liqueur

  • Worcestershire sauce

  • Tabasco sauce

  • Milk

  • Coffee

  • Heavy cream

  • Cherries (maraschino)

  • Green olives (small)

  • Cocktail onions

  • Lemons, limes and oranges

  • Sugar, salt and pepper.

Fruited Ice Cubes

Suggested Fruits                                          Beverage
Lemon slices                                              Iced tea
Strawberries, raspberries,                                Lemonade
lemon or lime slices 
Pineapple chunks; grapes;                                 Punch
strawberries; raspberries;
maraschino cherries;
mandarin oranges; orange,
lemon or lime slices 
Lime slices, strawberries,                               Ginger ale

To make fruited ice cubes, fill an ice-cube tray halfway with water; freeze until firm, about 1 1/2 hours. Place one or two pieces of desired fruit in each section of the tray. Fill with water; freeze until firm, about 1 1/2 hours. If desired, substitute lemonade or a light-colored juice for the water.

Gravity Chart

When making layered drinks, also known as a Pousse Cafe, you'll need to know which ingredients are heavier than the others. The technique is simple; the heaviest liquor is poured into the glass first, and the lighter ones are layered carefully on top with the lightest one on top.

This table lists some common liquors, along with their Specific Gravity that is the weight of the liquor relative to water. Higher values indicate heavier liquor.




Southern Comfort









Green Chartreuse






Peach liqueur


Dark amber

Sloe gin


Deep red




Peppermint schnapps









Midori melon liqueur



Rock and Rye



Apricot brandy



Blackberry brandy


Dark red

Cherry brandy


Dark red

Peach brandy


Dark amber




Yellow Chartreuse









Orange Curacao



Triple sec



Tia maria



Apricot liqueur



Blackberry liqueur


Dark red



Light brown

Blue Curacao



Cherry liqueur


Dark red



Golden yellow

Green Crème de Menthe



White Crème de Menthe



Strawberry liqueur



Parfrait d'Amour



Coffee liqueur


Dark brown

Crème de Banane



Dark Crème de Cacao



White Crème de Cacao





Dark brown

Crème de Almond



Crème de Noyaux


Bright red




Crème de Cassis




©2006 Cookery India Terms Privacy policy Advertise with us
Site Requirements :
Internet Explorer 5.5+ or Netscape 5.0+, Flash Player 5.0 & Real Player 8 Basic

Designed & Developed  By :-Splash Design Studio, Jaipur