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What do I need to make a Cocktail?

Well, it's understandable you are asking that question if you are new to the world of cocktail mixology. There are so many terms being thrown about, so many pieces of equipment that you don't know anything about or how to use them. Well, look no further, The Cocktail Store has narrowed what you need down to just 5 categories. These are the 5 core categories, of course we could tell you to buy every piece of equipment going but that won't get you anywhere at the start. It's best to get starting off on the right foot first and then go deeper into the world of cocktails once you have built a solid foundation. We hope you find this useful.

1. Equipment

Firstly, you need to make a decision about which shaker you are going to use. There are 3 types of shaker, each shaker has its own usability level (1=Easy - 10=Hard). We have tried our best to highlight the key differences and difficulties of each shaker below.

Ease of Use:6/10
Tips:Make sure one side of the glass is flush with the inside of the shaker (so the glass is at an angle - NOT straight in).
Purchase?Boston Kits
Ease of Use:2/10
Tips:Make sure when you fit the strainer and cap that its on tight or you're going to get wet.
Purchase?Cobbler Kits
Ease of Use:4/10
Tips:Again, just make sure the top half of the shaker is tight with the bottom half.
Purchase?French Kits

OK, so you have now chosen your shaker. Now comes the main pieces of equipment that you need to go with it. Lets start with the main equipment needed if you decided on the Boston shaker or the French shaker.

Equipment:Hawthorn Strainer, Muddler, Spoon and Jigger
Brief Explanation:

The Hawthorn strainer is used to strain ice and solid ingredients away from your cocktail shaker so that you don't get any unwanted treats in your drink.

The muddler allows you to muddle fruits and herbs (like a Pestle) for your cocktail, releasing vital flavours to make your cocktail taste great.

Your spoon allows you to do a number of things including taking measurements, churning your drink, stirring your drink and depending on the type of spoon you have (check here for the different types) you can layer or even muddle your ingredients for your cocktail too.

Finally your jigger is used to measure your spirits and mixers. We prefer this type of jigger highlighted in the diagram as it provides two measurements in just one tool. This allows you to quickly measure single/half measures or single/double measures (depending on the jigger).

Purchase?Boston Kits or French Kits

If you decided on the Cobbler shaker, the only difference with the equipment you need is that your kit doesn't require a Hawthorn strainer.

2. Recipe

Now that you have made a decision on your equipment, the next step is what cocktail to make. There are thousands to choose from so we're sure you won't be stuck for choice.

Here at The Cocktail Store, we have a database of over 5,000 cocktail recipes, so take a look here and you will be sure to find something you'll enjoy.

3. Spirits & Mixers

You have your equipment, you have your recipe and now you need your spirits and mixers. If you're planning on making a lot of cocktails, say for example you're having a cocktail party, be sure to have at least treble the amount of mixers compared to spirits, as the larger volume of liquid in a cocktail is usually made up from the mixer.

We have some great cocktail syrups at The Cocktail Store and we're soon to be stocking some fantastic specialist alcohols, so be sure to pop back every now and again to sample some of the hidden gems amongst the spirit world.

4. Ice

One of the most important ingredients to any cocktail. This is usually the one most people forget about as they think a tray in the freezer will be enough. Sadly with cocktail making a fair amount of ice is required. Here in the UK, bags of ice can be bought from any supermarket for 1 (just make sure you get it home quick!).

An important tip to always remember when making multiple cocktails is to never use the same ice twice. Once you have shaken your cocktail, disgard the ice as when you make your next cocktail (even if it is the same cocktail) you will get the full flavour out of the cocktail with fresh ice.

5. Glass

Finally, this is the last ingredient you need to drink the perfect cocktail. The glass is highly important as it provides the right volume and therefore the right balance for the drink (the glasses aren't just used to make the cocktail look good). For example, the martini glass has a wide drink surface area so that when you drink it, you can capture the essence of your cocktail.

Most cocktail recipes you come across should highlight the correct glass to use when making your cocktail. We sure do on our recipes here at The Cocktail Store. Take a look at our cocktail recipes.

One final tip is to always chill your cocktail glass by filling it with ice cubes prior to starting to mix up your cocktail. This way when its time to pour your cocktail, remove the ice cubes and you will have a nicely chilled glass.