Tips and Advice
The Bartenders Guide
The most frequently asked questions and the most useful tips all on this page.
This is the page I put helpful tips and interesting bits of knowledge on – it’s a small cocktail and web bartenders guide and the ABC of bartending. I’m sure it will help you to avoid embarrassing mistakes while mixing cocktails as well as provide you with some insight information. If you have additional questions regarding a cocktail or mixing in general, please feel free to email me anytime.
Some basic tips on cocktail ingredients
Q: What’s the best way to keep fresh mint fresh?
A: Keep fresh mint in the fridge rolled-up in a plastic bag and it will stay fresh for a longer time.
Q: Can I make sugar syrup by myself?
A: Sugar syrup can easily be made at home. Just put 1 part sugar and 1 part water in a pot, stir frequently and let it boil up until it has the desired consistency. Don’t let the syrup become too viscous since you still want to mix it with other ingredients. Let it cool down and then start mixing the cocktail! Isn’t as nearly as difficult as you thought it was, right?
Q: How long are liqueurs good for after opening?
A: Liqueur (15% vol. and up) can be kept at room temperature if they have 15% vol. or more. That’s why bartenders don’t need enormous fridges in their bars. There might occur marginal changes regarding the color of the liqueur but don’t worry too much about that.
Q: How long are syrups good for after opening?
A: Syrups are good for half a year after being opened. Make sure to put syrups in a fridge – at least on warm days. An unopened bottle of syrup is good for around three years.
Q: How much juice is there in oranges, lemons and limes?
A: Always try to use freshly squeezed juice. An orange has at least 1,5 oz (= 4,5 cl = 1 shot), a lemon at least 1 oz (= 3 cl), and a lime at least 0,5 oz (= 1,5 cl) of fruit juice.
Some small but important differences
Q: Watch Out! When lime juice is not the same as lime juice!
Don’t confound fresh lime juice with lime juice syrup. Lime juice is pure fruit juice, while lime juice syrup is lime juice + water + sugar. One of the most popular lime juice syrups is called “Rose’s Lime Juice” although it’s definitely a syrup!
Q: What’s the difference between Whisky and Whiskey?
A: The diction “whiskey” refers to the liquor from the United States and from Ireland. “Whisky” without the “e” corresponds to the liquor from Scottland, also known as “Scotch”. Manufacturers in other countries also use the scottish diction, e.g. “Whisky DYC” from Spain. And what about Bourbon? That is American whiskey, made out of corn.
Q: What’s the difference between Cherry Liqueur and Cherry Brandy / Cherry Brandy Liqueur?
A: Don’t confound cherry liqueur with cherry brandy (also known as cherry brandy liqueur). Cherry liqueur is a pure fruit juice liqueur. Cherry brandy is a mixture of fruit juice liqeur and kirsch.
Q: What’s the difference between soda, sparkling water, carbonated water and seltzer water?
A: It doesn’t matter how the water is called that you use for mixing drinks as long as it is plain water into which carbon dioxide gas has been dissolved (that process is referred to as carbonation). You will find soda, sparkling water, carbonated water, seltzer water and mineral water.
Depending in which country you purchase the water, regulations exist on the exact labeling of the water (e.g. “mineral water” has to have a certain amount of minerals etc.). But as long as you don’t want to become a nutrient expert you won’t have to worry about such regulations when mixing a cocktail.
Q: What’s the difference between Cognac and Brandy?
A: Only those brandies can label themselves as Cognac that are from a specific area in France. Therefore every cognac is a brandy, but not every brandy is a cognac. If it comes to mixing cocktails, it doesn’t really matter if you use a brandy or a brandy from that specific region in France.
Some basic tips on the equipment necessary to mix cocktails
Q: What glasses do I really need?
A: In order to mix all the cocktails on cocktaillounge.net you will only need 4 different types of glasses: a longdrink glass, a tumbler, a cocktail glass and one for the hot winter cocktails.
A regular highball glass holds around 10 oz. (= 30 cl). Cocktails in a highball glass are served with straws and ice cubes or crushed ice. e.g. the Cuba Libre. For some cocktails you might prefer a hurricane glass instead of the longdrink glass. It also holds around 10 oz. (= 30 cl) and has a rolling form. A tumbler holds 5 to 7 oz. (= 15 to 20 cl). Cocktails in a tumbler are generally served with straws, ice cubes or crushed ice. e.g. the Caipirinha. A cocktail glass only holds 2 to 3 oz. (= 6 to 10 cl) Cocktail in a cocktail glass are generally served without straws and without ice. e.g. the Martini Cocktail. A glass used for winter cocktails can stand high temperatures. If you don’t have a glass for hot liquids use a mug instead.
Find pictures, selected recommendations and more info for cocktail glasses on this page.
Q: I don’t have an ice crusher – what can I do?
A: In case you don’t have an (electrical) ice crusher you can still have crushed ice for your cocktails. Put the regular ice cubes in a towel, and hit on it with a hammer or similar object until the cubes brake into little pieces.