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Want To Become An Ace Mixologist? Here Are 5 Cocktail Recipes You Definitely Need To Know

mixologist cocktails

If you’re new to the cocktail game, then acing the basics is where it’s at. Understanding the art of balancing flavours with the intrinsic characteristics of spirits is integral. Before you get intimidated, remember that you don’t have to be an expert to learn to spot the little details. All it takes is being a good observer with a curious palate and an affinity for learning.

According to the 2018 book Cocktail Codex, which you can consider the seminal introduction to all things cocktails for beginners and connoisseurs, there are only six cocktails that are the basis of all others: the daiquiri, old fashioned, whisky highball, flip, and sidecar. The authors, Alex Day, Nick Fauchald, David Kaplan, and Devon Tarby, contend that by understanding the core (the primary flavour), the balance (of sweet, salty, bitter, and sour), and seasoning, you can come up with a plethora of combinations and variations.

The principle here is the same as cooking anything—once you have a grasp on the basic knowledge of how fat, heat, salt, and acidity interact with each other to give you a cohesive end product, you’ll be able to experiment and create your own delicious dishes.

Here are the 5 cocktails that you need to know to become an ace mixologist and open the doors wide enough for you to create your own wild concoctions:



When a daiquiri is made correctly, it’s dry—neither too sweet nor acidic—and smooth, with none of the ingredients overpowering each other. The key here is to achieve harmony.


60 ml White rum
20 ml Freshly squeezed lime juice
2 bar spoons of superfine sugar


Cocktail shaker
Chilled cocktail glass
Bar spoon


Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker and stir till the sugar has completely dissolved. 

Then add ice and give this mixture a shake until well-chilled. 

Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and enjoy.

Old Fashioned

old fashioned

The Old Fashioned, perhaps the most well-known and simplest cocktail to make, relies on three key ingredients, and of course, ice. The sugar softens the harshness of the whisky, while the aromatic bitters balance out the sweetness and add complexity.


45 ml Bourbon or rye whisky 
1 sugar cube
A few dashes of Angostura bitters
Few dashes of plain water 
Orange peel or zest for garnish


Bar spoon for stirring
Peeler for orange zest or peel 
Old fashioned glass


Place the sugar cube in an Old Fashioned glass and saturate it with a few dashes of the bitters. Then add a few dashes of plain water. 

Muddle this mixture until the sugar cube is dissolved. 

Add a large cube of ice, followed by 45 ml of whisky. 

Garnish with an orange peel.

Whisky Highball

whiksy highball

Any type of whisky without any Infused spices or botanicals—Irish, bourbon, Japanese, or rye—works well in a highball. Stick to water, soda, or even ginger ale for a sweet touch as mixers. Use a highball glass for optimal results; anything larger will dilute the taste, while anything smaller may saturate the flavours.


60 ml Whisky 
120 ml Soda, water, or ginger ale 


Highball glass


Fill your highball glass with ice. 

Pour 60 ml of whisky into it, then top it up with your choice of mixer.


flip cocktail

Flip may seem like an adventurous drink because of the presence of a whole raw egg, but it’s delicious when made correctly. Another version, called the Porto Flip, includes port wine, cognac, and heavy cream in the ingredients. It's unlike anything you've ever had, so do give it a shot.


60 ml Brandy, rum, whisky, or gin
15 ml Simple syrup
1 fresh egg




Shake all the ingredients with ice first and strain into a glass. 

Pour it back into the shaker without any ice. Give the mixture a dry shake to thoroughly emulsify the egg and give the drink a creamy texture. 

Strain into a coupe or martini glass.


sidecar cocktail

The sidecar is a bright, balanced, and glamorous drink, thanks to the combination of cognac, orange liqueur, and lemon juice. Each ingredient complements the others, resulting in a pleasant flavour profile that makes it hard to stop at just one cocktail. The drink tends to be on the drier side, so some bartenders opt to serve it in a glass rimmed with sugar for added sweetness.


50 ml Cognac
20 ml Orange liqueur 
20 ml Fresh lemon juice


Cocktail shaker
Chilled cocktail glass


Pour all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. 

Give this mixture a good shake until the shaker is frosty. 

Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Optionally, rim the glass with some granulated sugar. 

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