Cocktails Every Bartender Must Know

You could spend many years reading cocktail books or practicing bartending skills to learn all the basics of bartending.

Do you really need to remember a hundred cocktails in order to be a good bartender?

You don’t, of course.

In most cases, it would be futile to memorize hundreds of bartender recipe because you won’t actually make the cocktails you want.

This was exactly what I did when I first started in the industry. I tried to remember as many cocktails recipes as I could. I forgot most of the recipes because I had only made a handful of them. Only the ones I made consistently stuck with me.

So no. To be a great bartender, you don’t have to know 100 cocktail recipes. You will most likely only make 20-25 of the same cocktails again and again. Sometimes, even less. So you need to learn how to make those 20-25 cocktails well.

Let’s now take a look at 25 must-know cocktails that every bartender needs to know in 2022.

Aperol Spritz

The Aperol Splash is the first cocktail on this list. This cocktail was created in the 1950s but has only recently gained popularity.

Aperol’s recent revival is due to Campari, the company behind Campari, buying Aperol out. Then they began to market it. It’s now available all around the globe, especially during the summer months.

Ingredients:

Serve in a White wine glass

  • 2 shots Aperol
  • 2 shots Prosecco
  • 2 shots of soda

Garnish 1 orange slice

Method Combine all ingredients in a glass of white wine. Add ice cubes and gently stir. Add the Garnish.

Bellini

The Bellini Cocktail is an elegant Italian drink. It was invented by Harry Cipriani, head bartender and owner of Harry’s Bar in Venice, in 1948. Even though Harry’s Bar has changed ownership, Bellini’s are still enjoyed in Venice.

The Bellini is traditionally made with white peach puree. However, you can experiment with other flavors. There is no set recipe.

Serve in a Flute Glass

  • Peach puree: 1/2 shot
  • Serve with prosecco

Garnish : No garnish.

Method A Add the peach puree into a flute glass. Next, slowly pour in the prosecco. (If you pour too quickly, the prosecco may over bubble and overflow). Stir constantly to combine the ingredients.

Black Russian

The Black Russian was another of my first cocktails. This classic cocktail was first created in late 1940s. The White Russian version is the Dude’s favorite drink (watch “The Big Lebowski”) and it’s one you will make every night.

Serve in an Old Fashioned glass

  • 2 shots vodka
  • 1 shot coffee liqueur

Garnish: 1 cherry

Method Mix in an old-fashioned cup. Add the garnish.

Variations The White Russian variation is an alternative to the black Russian. This variation can be made by adding 1 shot of heavy cream to your Boston shake and shaking it in the shaker instead of pouring into the glass.

Bloody Mary

What would be the list of essential cocktails without The Bloody Mary? This drink is very popular at Sunday brunch, brunch, and lunch. People believe it helps with the hangover from the night before.

Bloody Mary is a controversial drink. Some people love it. Others hate it. It’s probably the hot sauce and tomato juice that causes this effect.

Bloody Marys are a liberal cocktail. It should be done that way. This recipe allows you to be creative and flexible. You can adjust the amount salt, pepper and Worcester sauce you use depending on your personal tastes. Your customers, too.

This recipe is only meant to be used as a guide. Nevertheless, this is the one recipe I have found to be most popular.

Serve in a Hurricane Glass.

  • 2 shots Vodka
  • 4 shots Tomato Juice
  • 1/4 shot of Fresh Lemon Juice
  • Three Dashes of Tobasco
  • Three Worcester Sauce Dashes
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Horseradish (optional, if possible)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste (celery salt is the best).

Garnish – 1 celery stick, 1 lemon wedge

Method Gently Mix the ingredients in a shaker until it is chilled. (Don’t shake or the tomato juice might foam). Mix in an ice-filled highball. Add the garnishes.

Caipirinha & Caipiroska

Similar to the Bloody Mary and the Caipirinha, I have found it to be a highly polarizing cocktail. It is loved by some, hated by others. Cachaca rum, the base spirit of Caipirinha and the reason it has polarizing effects, is something you should try. It is Brazil’s national spirit, and it doesn’t matter if you like its flavor.

The Caipiroska, a variant of the Caipirinha, is made with vodka and less cachaca. It’s more approachable. It is probably the most popular of the two cocktails.

The Caipiroska, like the Daiquiri is great to experiment with. You can create amazing variations by adding fruits, syrups, or liqueurs to the simple recipe.

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