6 Easy Ways To Learn Cocktail Recipes In A Jiffy

How-To Guides

Barman preparing 3 different cocktails

Do you feel embarrassed for not knowing every cocktail recipe? Learning thousands of cocktail recipes can seem frustrating and a little scary too. 

But the truth is that even the best bartenders had their fair share of trouble when they started. Ask any professional bartender out there, and they’ll have loads of embarrassing stories to share when they started their journey. 

Here’s What You Need To Do

Without the right measurement and a perfect recipe, your job as a bartender can become challenging. But this doesn’t mean that you should quit your dream job only because you find it hard to memorize recipes. We compiled a list of steps to help you learn cocktail recipes fast and take your bartending game to the next level.

1. Flashcards to recall recipes in a flash

Remember the time when our teacher used flashcards to help us learn things?

Growing up, we forgot how imperative those flashcards were in our learning journey yet, and they’re still equally important. This might seem a little exaggerated, but flashcards are the most tried and tested way of learning recipes.

All you need to do is take a small square piece of the card sheet. Write the name of the drink on one side and the ingredients on the other side. Make sure to write the exact quantities as well to get the recipe entirely right.

Pro Tip: Instead of flashcards, you can also keep a small pocket diary with all the cocktail recipes.

2. A Mnemonic device for every drink 

Barman garnishing 4 cocktails

I’ve used this technique a lot growing up. And trust me, it’s a lifesaver. Back in school, whenever I had difficulty remembering something, I would make a word or phrase out of it. It has always worked out for me since then, and even today, it’s a perfect savior.

For instance, for making ROB ROY try creating a phrase like “ Angry Grant’s sleeping.” This basically stands for:

There you have it, your very own phrase for the perfect recipe of ROB ROY.

Pro Tip: Try making funny phrases as they are easier to memorize and quite fun to recall.

3. Perfect jingles to set the mood

Being a bartender is all about loving what you’re doing. It’s about having fun at the moment and creating a memorable experience for your customers. However, you still need to double-check that you don’t fumble and bumble with the ingredients while having fun. 

So, how about creating an exciting jingle for every drink. It works precisely like mnemonic devices, except that now you’ll be singing a sweet song while you make those fantastic cocktails for your customers.

Sounds like a fun plan, right?

4. Practice, practice, and practice

Remember the proverb “practice makes a man perfect”?

Well, for a bartender, this is the best piece of advice you would ever get. Apart from all the tricks and knacks you’ll learn, let me tell you that there’s no easy way around. There are no shortcuts and no hidden secrets for becoming a great bartender. The only recipe for becoming a perfect bartender is by doing it over and over again. 

But as a beginner, you have to learn how to make the cocktail first, and after that, it’s only Repeat, Repeat, and Repeat.

5. Keep the family together

A Group of Friends Having a Toast

Of course, your family can help you learn the cocktail recipes, but that’s not what we mean here. 

With hundreds of cocktail recipes and thousands of ingredients, memorizing every formula can get daunting. One easy way to do so is learning cocktail recipes by associating them with the right cocktail family. 

Yes, you read that right. Cocktails do have families, too, based on how much they relate to each other. Most of the fancy cocktails are just upgraded versions of the basic cocktails. Therefore, associating them with one family can help you learn a lot of recipes more easily. 

All you need to do is understand their family tree and see how they are related to each other. 

6. Upgrade your knowledge

Remember the saying, “Learning should never stop.”

When it comes to bartending, this is a golden rule to remember. With the customers always

seeking something new, the bartender must keep his cocktail game strong. To be on the top of the game, one needs to learn continually and upgrade his knowledge.

However, I wouldn’t suggest you register at a fancy cocktail learning institution. Having so many online cocktail classes available just a click away, you don’t need an institution to help you. You should definitely check my all-time favorite online cocktail class at Spin and Shake. They have some really cool tricks to help you grow as a bartender.

In the end, remember, it’s about you!

A good bartender is all about the impressive cocktail he makes. Not knowing a recipe can be embarrassing as a bartender, but it’s much more than that. It’s not only about upsetting your customer, but above all, it’s about you. 

It’s about you not being able to give 100% to a job that’s your passion. It’s about you not being able to enjoy what you’re doing. And, it’s about you doubting yourself, not knowing how amazing you can be. So, leave all the second thoughts behind, and let’s start over. 

Try these cool tricks to learn cocktail recipes fast and work out a way that works best for you. Good luck!


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