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How to Become
a Better Home
Bartender

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Every great cocktail bar has a great bartender. One who knows countless recipes off by heart and can skilfully craft an incredible drink without batting an eyelid. This can take years of practice but there are some simple tricks that will immediately help you on your way to becoming a great home bartender. 

We’ve collected together some expert tips from the very best, so you too can become a top quality mixologist. After all, a range of well-made and great-looking drinks can transform a good party into an awesome party. 

How do I become a good bartender at home?

The first step is to get the bartending basics under your belt. To do this, you’ll need the standard bartending kit: a shaker, a strainer and a stirring spoon. You can go for either a Boston shaker, which many professional cocktail-makers use, or a cobbler shaker to start. 

A Boston shaker looks like two large cups, and can take a bit of skill to slam together before shaking, whereas a cobbler shaker has a built in strainer and is easier to secure, making it a great addition to any beginner’s bartending tools. Whether you’re doing this for guests or simply for fun, it’s a good idea to stick to basic bartending equipment until you figure out what works best for you. 

Once you have a shaker, you’ll need a stirring spoon. This is longer than your typical utensil and shaped like a coil in the middle, which gives it an easier grip when spinning ice around in your bartending glasses. From here, it’s a simple case of mixing together spirits and ingredients according to your favourite recipes. A great place to start is with an Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe as it’s an all-time classic but surprisingly easy to make.

How can I improve my bartending?

Just like any other skill, the best way to get better is with practice. Bartending for beginners means that you’ll need to understand what makes a good cocktail and become familiar with the equipment required to make it. Start by practising how to shake and stir and aim to get everything to the right temperature when you mix in your ingredients before trying to level up your skills.

Once you’re feeling confident, try out some more advanced techniques with exotic ingredients like those used in eye-catching cocktails such as The Guadalupe. It’s worth remembering that once you understand the basics of mixing and pouring, the next step is presentation. 

Almost every great cocktail has a garnish that elevates it from a simple drink into something more memorable. Keep practising and soon you’ll be coming up with your own original creations as you start to realise what ingredients work together and how to decorate a drink properly. You can even try literally mixing things up by replacing ingredients with others that you think will work. After all, every good bartender has a signature drink, why shouldn’t you?

Can you make a good living as a bartender?

Living the bartender life isn’t for everyone, but for those that choose to go down that route it can be everything you’ve dreamed of and more. Nights behind the bar are never dull, thanks to new customers through the door every night, regulars who become friends and a huge and varied stock of ingredients that’ll never get boring.  

The rapport between bartenders and customers can be something truly special too, formed over a favourite drink, a memorable night or an impressive performance. If you truly have a passion for the art of cocktail-making, there are awards and competitions held across the world. It’s possible to become recognised locally, nationally or even globally, just by sharing your ideas and showing off your skills. And nobody would ever guess that you first started out making a simple drink at your home one evening. 

Shake things up

If you want to become a skilled home mixologist, there’s no time like the present. The tools you need to get started are cheap and easy to find and you can invite your friends around to help make practice even more fun. 

Bit by bit, you can build up from a quick, three-step Rob Roy to producing your very own in-depth menu of inspired drinks. You’re only limited by your stock and imagination so use your creative energies to come up with that dream drink. Once you do, be sure to share it with the world.

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