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It's Cocktail Time! Making Ice & Bartender Worthy Drinks

Home Drink Recipes Cocktail

Its party time and if you're one for entertaining then this guide to bartending will help you create drinks your guests will never stop talking about. Set up your home bar with cheer worthy glasses, a built-in or portable ice maker so you don't run out of ice, and plenty of flavorful snacks to accompany those drinks.

What does it take to be a bartender? What immediately comes to mind is fast hands. Immediately following is great flavor mixing. Mixing the perfect drink isn't as easy as you think. In fact, people spend months in Bartending School learning the art of making drinks people will enjoy. Some other important factors might include ambiance, selection, and service.

A Few Facts to Get Started

Distilled spirits have romanced mankind for centuries. The Spaniards produced tequila while exploring Jalisco state, Mexico in the 17thcentury. They cooked and distilled the juice obtained from the Blue Agave plant. Jose Cuervo was given rights by the king of Spain to mass produce tequila.

Originating in the Caribbean, rum is made from sugarcane byproducts such as molasses and sugarcane juice through the process of fermentation and distillation. Produced in San Juan, Puerto Rico more than 100,000 gallons of rum a day is churned out.

Vodka, is Russian for water and also known as "hot wine." It's distilled from grains and potatoes and has no real flavor on its own. With an alcohol content between 40-55% vodka is typically consumed as a shot in the afternoon or evening followed by a salty snack like fish, pickles, jellied meat or sauerkraut.

One of the first produced whiskies is Scotch Whiskey, made and refined in Scotland. In America, one of the best known, popular whiskey is Jack Daniels. Jack Daniels filtered his whiskey through charcoal and 10 ft. of sugar maple charcoal, changing it out often to produce a consistently better flavor.

Home Drink Recipes Glasses
Bartending Like a Pro

Some of the basic bartending techniques include: shaking, straining, stirring, muddling, blending, building, layering, and flaming. Each technique is used for a specific kind of mixture and provides the kind of affect that makes your drink extra special.

Stock your bar with the appropriate glassware including: a shot glass, a cocktail glass, a Collins or highball, an old-fashioned, a red wine, white wine, and champagne glass, and a brandy snifter. With these elements, you're sure to provide all of your guests with an ideal beverage.

Every home bar needs measuring devices. You can't feign professionalism if you're not measuring drinks properly. For this you need the following: Double jigger, measuring spoons, speed pourers, and a graduated shot glass.

Other home bar necessities include: Waiter's wine opener, bar spoon, blender, ice bucket and scoop, and a pitcher.

Another factor includes garnishes. Although these are mostly used to provide a finished appearance, they are complementary and will make your drinks look terrific. Some common garnishes include: wheels, slices, and wedges made from various fruits and vegetables.

If you plan on serving beer like amber ale or pale ale, then try the following appetizer to serve with it.

Tempura Vegetables


  • About 6 cups vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 cup light beer or amber ale
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • About 1 lb. precut vegetables, such as peppers, mushrooms, and broccoli florets from the salad bar or a stir-fry mix
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons whole-grain mustard


Heat oil in a wide pot over high heat until it reaches 350° on a deep-fry thermometer. Reduce heat to low. Whisk flour, beer, salt, garlic powder, and cayenne together in a medium bowl. Working in 2 batches and using tongs, drop vegetables into batter and then into oil. Fry until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Mix mayonnaise and mustard together and serve on the side

Garlic Shrimp


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound large (16 to 20 per lb.) shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


Melt butter in a large frying pan (not nonstick) over high heat. Add shrimp and cook on one side until bright pink. Turn shrimp over and add garlic. Cook until completely pink, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add lemon juice and salt. Arrange on a plate and drizzle with pan juices.

Planning on a Martini? Try the reverse Martini and serve an appetizer at the same time.

Home Drink Recipes Martini

Reverse Martini with Olives


  • 8 ounces Cerignola or other green olives, drained
  • 1 cup gin or vodka
  • Splash of dry vermouth


Combine all ingredients in a bowl and chill until ready to serve.

Try another take on the Whiskey Sour


  • 6 tablespoons orange marmalade
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. bourbon or rye whiskey $
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Ice


In a pitcher or 2-pint measuring cup, dissolve orange marmalade in 3/4 cup hot water. Stir in bourbon and lemon juice. Fill six 8- to 12-oz. glasses with ice and pour 1/3 to 1/2 cup cocktail mixture into each glass, making sure each serving gets some of the orange peel that settles at the bottom of the mixture.

Serve marmalade sours immediately.


Pair it with these delicious Sausage Mushroom Caps


  • 24 medium-size button or cremini mushrooms (about 1 lb. total)
  • 1/3 pound seasoned bulk pork sausage
  • 3 tablespoons seasoned dried bread crumbs
  • About 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 24 flat-leaf parsley leaves


Preheat broiler. Rinse mushrooms. Scoop out stems with a small spoon and save for another use.

In a small bowl, mix sausage with bread crumbs. Mound sausage mixture in mushrooms, then place, filled side up, in a rimmed 10- by 15-in. baking pan.

Broil 6 to 7 in. from heat until sausage is well browned, about 5 minutes. Lift mushrooms onto a platter, brush with oil, and top with parsley leaves.

Pisco Sour


  • 1/4 cup (2 oz.) pisco (see notes)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon pasteurized egg whites


In a blender, whirl 3 ice cubes, pisco, sugar, fresh lime juice, and egg whites. Whirl until smooth (you'll no longer hear the ice cracking against the side of the blender) and serve straight up in a martini glass with a dash of aromatic bitters and a wedge of lime.

Peruvian Pantry: Pisco. A brandy distilled from several different grape varieties grown in South America, it is the national drink of Peru and comes in many styles--from smooth and sippable to rough and fiery. (Chile also produces pisco, although Peru contends that the Chilean version is not real pisco but a Chilean brandy that needs its own name.) Pisco became popular in California during the Gold Rush, when Peruvian miners there extolled its virtues to fellow fortune-seekers.

This drink goes well with Deviled Eggs with Smoked Salmon and Two Mustards

Home Drink Recipes Garlic


  • 1/4 cup creme fraiche
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard or Cognac Mustard
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard or Seeded Agave Nectar Mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 green onion, minced
  • 2 ounces smoked salmon, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 large hard-cooked eggs, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon finely snipped fresh chives


Stir together creme fraiche, mustards, garlic, lemon juice, cayenne, paprika, green onion, and smoked salmon in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Scoop out egg yolks and put in a bowl. Mash yolks with a fork and stir in creme fraiche mixture.

Spoon yolk mixture into eggwhite halves and sprinkle with chives.

All recipes and suggestions courtesy of: Sunset Magazine

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