So how do you become a cocktail pro short of enrolling in Bartending School? Easy: by learning the simple art of mixing drinks and balancing flavors—all it takes is a little practice. Mix and taste your own cocktails often (what’s not fun about that?) and soon you’ll be a cocktail queen. Here we’ve broken down everything you need to know, from the tools to the garnish, in order to make fabulous concoctions of your own. And we’ve included a classic recipe at the end for you to try.

The right stuff.
The first step to making your bar a go-to cocktail counter is having the right tools. You wouldn’t try to take a shower without shampoo and conditioner right? The following glasses and gadgets will take your get-together from frat party to très classy.

 

  1. Cocktail sticks: Use to spear fruit or olives and add decorative flair to your drinks.
  2. Pony-jigger: Use for correct alcohol measurements—to balance the flavors and strengths of a cocktail. It’s silver and has a small and large shot glass on each end.
  3. Shaker: Use for mixing various alcohols and juices together and with ice.
  4. Straws: Use short straws for small glasses and longer ones for highballs.
  5. Cocktail glass: This is what you would use to serve a Martini or a Cosmopolitan. It holds around four ounces of liquid.
  6. Highball glass: Use for tall drinks, like a Long Island Iced Tea. This should hold 10 ounces of liquid.
  7. Old-fashioned glass: A short glass with a heavier base. This is what you’d use to serve a gin-and-tonic. It should hold around six ounces.