Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lesson 9: Two Liquor Drinks

Hello everyone! Welcome back to Free Online Bartending School.

In the previous lesson, we went over what a highball drink is. In this lesson, we will cover two liquor drinks.

Two liquor drinks are simply cocktails made with a liqueur and a liquor (or a mix).

Since we haven't gone over what a liqueur is, you may not know what a difference between a liquor and a liqueur is. I will go ahead and post a full detailed liqueur lesson in my next post. For now, just remember that liqueur is sweet alcohol, that has a lower alcohol percentage than a liquor.

The cocktails in today's lesson will all go into a rocks glass. Rocks glass is a short, stumpy glass. As with a highball, there are many variations of a rocks glass.

Here is a classic rocks glass.

Some have designs on it.

Others are squared shaped.

So as with highballs, remember that the drinks that we cover today must all go into a rocks glass.

Constructing a two liquor drink is relatively easy. Here are the steps to prepare one:

1. Grab a rocks glass
2. Fill it up with ice
3. Pour liquor
4. Pour liqueur
5. Garnish if needed

Remember when making a two liquor cocktail, pour the lighter liquor first, and the heavier liqueur on top of it. This will allow the liqueur to sink down to the liquor to let gravity do the mixing for you a bit. Liqueurs are always heavier than liquors since it has a lot of sugar in it.

Here is a nice video I found on YouTube constructing a White Russian, which is a two liquor drink.

As you saw the bartender in this video followed the construction steps described above.

With that in mind, here are some classic two liqueur drinks that you must memorize since customers order it a lot.

Vodka Based

Black Russian
1 1/2 oz. Vodka
1/2 oz. Kahlua

White Russian
1 1/2 oz. Vodka
1/2 oz. Kahlua
Float Cream on top

1 1/2 oz. Vodka
1/2 oz. Amaretto

God Daughter
1 1/2 oz. Vodka
1/2 oz. Amaretto
Float Cream on top

Vodka Gimlet
1 1/2 oz. Vodka
1/2 oz. Rose's Lime Juice
Garnish: Lime

Brandy Based

Dirty Mother
1 1/2 oz. Brandy
1/2 oz. Kahlua

Dirty White Mother
1 1/2 oz. Brandy
1/2 oz. Kahlua
Float cream on top

1 1/2 oz. Brandy
1/2 oz. White Creme de Menthe

Scotch Based:

1 1/2 oz. Scotch
1/2 oz. Amaretto

Marlon Brando
1 1/2 oz. Scotch
1/2 oz. Amaretto
Float Cream on top

Rusty Nail
1 1/2 oz. Scotch
1/2 oz. Drambuie

Tequila Based:

Brave Bull
1 1/2 oz. Tequila
1/2 oz. Kahlua

All right these are some of the most popular two liquor drinks. It's not a huge list, so it shouldn't be too difficult to memorize it all.

As always, I do recommend you go out and actually try making the cocktails for yourself to figure out what each of them actually tastes like.

Well, good luck studying, and till next time, Cheers!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Lesson 8: Highball Drinks

Hi everyone! Welcome back to Free Online Bartending School!

As I write this post, it is Friday. So Happy Friday to you if you happen to read this on a Friday! :)

Today, we are finally able to get to drink recipes. We have gone through a lot of fundamentals up until this point, and now, we will cover the actual cocktail making for you to start becoming a real bartender.

Today's lesson will focus on highball drinks. Highball drinks are some of the most popular drinks at a bar, and you will be making these drinks a lot as you bartend. Highball drinks are real simple drinks, usually combining a base liquor with one or two juices in a tall (highball) glass. They are also great party drinks, so if you're setting up a home party, you can set up your home bar to serve highball drinks, and that will be sufficient in most cases to make your party rock.

The reason why highball drinks are so popular is because of its simplicity. People tend to remember the name and taste of the cocktails. Also due to the simplicity, bartenders aren't able to screw it up, so you have quality control built in to it. Overall, highball drinks are refreshing, not too strong, and has great flavors for people of all ages to enjoy. For these reasons, you will get a lot of orders of highball drinks in your career as a bartender.

Here's a quick review on what a highball glass looks like.

Highball Glass

It's basically a tall glass that's a bit skinny. There are many variations to the theme. Here are some more pictures of a highball glass.

This is a skinny one.

Another skinny one with a heavy bottom.

This one has a different shape. One of an old school classic cocktail glass.

And lastly a curved highball glass.

So as you can see, there are many variations to what a highball glass looks like. The drinks that we will cover today will all need to go into an highball glass.

It is going to be your responsibility to remember that all the drinks we cover today must go into a highball glass.

This is very important because a customer will expect you to serve the drinks we cover today in a highball glass. If you don't serve it in a highball, they may feel ripped off, which translates into a) won't tip you as much, and/or b) just won't come back to you for seconds. So remember that the drinks we cover today must go into a highball glass.

Constructing a highball drink is pretty easy. The steps are:
  1. Grab a highball glass
  2. Fill it up with ice
  3. Pour base liquor
  4. Fill it up with juice, soda, or mix
  5. Serve
Here's a video on how to make a highball drink.

The bartender on the video makes an actual Highball Cocktail which is Whiskey and Gingerale. The point of the video is to show you the methods of making a highball drink.

Now that you know how to make a highball drink, here are some recipes for you to memorize.

Highball Cocktail Recipes

Vodka Based:

1 oz. Vodka
Orange Juice

Fuzzy Navel
1/2 oz. Vodka
1 oz. Peach Schnapps
Orange Juice

Melon Ball
1 oz. Vodka
Orange Juice
Float 1/2 oz. Midori

Harvey Wallbanger
1 oz. Vodka
Orange Juice
Top with 1/2 oz. Galliano

1 oz. Vodka
Grapefruit Juice

Salty Dog
1 oz. Vodka
Grapefruit Juice
Salt on Rim

1 oz. Vodka
1/2 Grapefruit Juice
1/2 Orange Juice

Cape Cod
1 oz. Vodka
Cranberry Juice
Garnish: Lime

1oz. Vodka
1/2 Cranberry Juice
1/2 Grapefruit Juice

1 oz. Vodka
1/2 Cranberry Juice
1/2 Pineapple Juice

1 oz. Vodka
1/2 Cranberry Juice
1/2 Orange Juice

Sex on the Beach
1/2 oz. Vodka
1 oz. Peach Schnapps
1/2 Cranberry Juice
1/2 Orange Juice

Bloody Mary
1 oz. Vodka
Bloody Mary Mix
Garnish: Celery, Lime, Lemon

Vodka Tonic
1 oz. Vodka
Tonic Water
Garnish: Lime

Moscow Mule (Modern Version)
1 oz. Vodka
Garnish: Lime

Vodka Red Bull
1 oz. Vodka
Red Bull

Tequila Based:

Gold Driver
1 oz. Tequila
Orange Juice

Tequila Sunrise
1 oz. Tequila
Orange Juice
Top with 1/2 oz. Grenadine
Garnish: Cherry

Tequila Sunset
1 oz. Tequila
Orange Juice
Top with 1/2 oz. Blackberry Brandy
Garnish: Cherry

Freddy Fudpucker
1 oz. Tequila
Orange Juice
Top with 1/2 oz. Galliano

Rum Based:

Rum and Coke
1 oz. Rum

Cuba Libre
1 oz. Rum
Garnish: Lime

Whiskey Based:

1 oz. Whiskey

Scotch and Soda
1 oz. Scotch
Soda Water

1 oz. Seagram's 7
7 Up/Sprite

Whiskey Water
1 oz. Whiskey

Gin Based:

Gin & Tonic
1 oz. Gin
Tonic Water
Garnish: Lime

All right, these are usually the most popular highball drinks that you will need to memorize to become a bartender. As mentioned before, customers will ask you to make these cocktails a lot. So be sure to memorize all the recipes so that you will be able to make it quick. You should not have to refer back to your bar book to check back on the ingredients for these cocktails.

To memorize, I've used index cards when I was starting out. Or I would just continuously write them down on a piece of paper, which seemed to have helped me. Whatever your style of memorizing, use it now to memorize these drink recipes.

Also, if you have the luxury, I would recommend you go out and make these cocktails for yourself to get an idea of what each of them tastes like. It does help to understand how each cocktails taste so that you will be able to make it well for your customers.

A point to note here is that with a variety of highball drinks that exist in the market today, not all have the same volume. Some highball glasses are smaller in volume compared to others. Smaller glasses will mean stronger drinks since the proportion of juice to alcohol will be less. Play around with the glassware that you will be using to get the best consistency for your cocktails.

The point of this lesson is memorization. Memorize all of these cocktails and its ingredients. These are the most popular drinks when it comes to bartending, so it is worth your time to do so.

Once you've memorized it, you can start to practice making it on the home bar that you have setup in Lesson 7: Home Bar Setup for Practice.

Okay, good luck studying, and until next time, Cheers!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lesson 7: Home Bar Setup for Practice

Hello everyone!

I hope you all are having a great day, and welcome back to Free Online Bartending School.

Today, we will cover the home bar setup so that you can actually practice being a bartender.

One skill of the bartender is to be able to memorize all of the ingredients in a cocktail. The other skill is to actually make the cocktails in a speedy manner. As I touched briefly in a previous post, you will need to be able to make six cocktails in one minute. That is the minimum you have to do to pass bartending school.

I will start to post cocktail recipes in a future post, but before that we will need to setup a bar at your home to actually practice making the drinks.

If you have the luxury of attending a bartending school, this is the kind of setup you will be able to practice in. They create a setting with a real bar feel, so it is very nice to be able to practice here to get a good understanding of a real bar.

If you're not as fortunate to attend a bartending school, or you just want to save a few bucks, I'm going to show you how you can go about setting up your home bar for practice. I found a picture below to see what your ultimate home bar setup may look like.

Of course, at this time, we're not going this far out.

You are more than welcome to go out and buy the entire set with the money you save from not attending bartending school. But if you're like the most of us, you probably don't want to spend more than $20 to setup and practice with your home bar.

So here are the bare minimum you would need to purchase (or find) to practice your skills to become a bartender.

The essential step will be to set up your speed rack and items around it. These are the "stuff" you will need to get in order to setup your own home bar for practice.

Setting Up the Speed Rack and the Items Around it for Practice
  • Empty bottles - It will be great if you can get empty bottles of the actual base liquor - from Vodka to Vermouth. If you got a buddy who drinks a lot tell them to save the bottles for you. You can also try going to a local bar, and asking the bartender if they can save the empty bottles for you. Since bartenders usually throw away the empty bottles, they maybe happy to save them for you. If all else fails, you can use larger water bottles like the one for SmartWater. You'll need to save 15-20 bottles to setup your home bar with.

  • 2 Liter Bottles - Since we are unable to mimic the speed gun, we will need to substitute that with a two liter bottle of coke, sprite, tonic water, and soda water. If you ever bartend outside, at a home party, or at a casual event, you will be using two liter bottles to bartend with. So this should be sufficient for you to practice at home.
  • Speed Pourer - Speed pourers are an essential part of being a bartender. You will need to become comfortable with them, so getting these are a must for a bartender starting out. The problem is where to buy them. Grocery stores and liquor stores do sell speed pourers, but tend to be overpriced (2 for $6.99). The best prices I saw were on eBay, and you can buy a dozen for about $8. You should be okay with just getting a dozen at this point.
  • Food Color Set - You will need to get food coloring to add color to the water that you will be filling your empty bottles with. Basically the point of color is to mimic the actual bottle of alcohol in order for you to get a real feel. Bartending schools usually use fake colored water so that their students can practice making drinks with. You will need to do the same to practice at home.

  • Colored Sponge (Yellow, Green, and Orange) - You will need colored sponge to mimic the cut fruits for your drinks. Basically, a yellow sponge will mimic a lemon, green sponge a lime, and orange sponge an orange. Cut it into to small pieces for you to be able to throw into the drinks. The size of the sponges should be similar to the size of an actual cut lemon, lime, or orange. After cutting them, place them separately into small bowls for storage and use.
  • Cups - It will be great if you can get all the different shapes and sizes referred in my glassware page. You maybe able to find them at a local 99 cent store or at a local Goodwill. Of course, if this is too much of a hassle, we can try it out by using plastic cups. As a bartender, you will have situations where you will be working with just plastic cups (like a pool event), so you should be able to practice with them. If you're going with plastic cups be sure to get the tall one and also the short one since you will need both.

Optional Items:
  • Bag of Ice and Ice Scooper - Ice would be nice to have to be able to practice with since having it around will help you understand how much ice to put into a drink, and how ice will affect the volume of the cocktails. However, since this is an additional expense, you may want to save it for a final exam you will give yourself. The best scenario in this case is if you have an ice maker at home. Many refrigerators do come with an ice maker feature, so if that's the case, start cranking it up to make a lot of ice for you to practice with.

Bartender's Tools to Get

The remaining are tools of the trade that you should get as a bartender. I would recommend getting all of it, but if your budget is tight, get the jigger, then the shaker. A bar mat is nice to have is not an absolute necessity. Refer to my page on Basic Bar Tools to understand what each one of them are.
  1. Jigger
  2. Shaker
  3. Bar Mat
So to review, here is your shopping list of things to get:

Shopping List
  • Empty Bottles (15-20 minimum)
  • Two Liter Bottles (4 of them)
  • Speed Pourer (A pack containing a dozen)
  • Food Color Set
  • Colored Sponge (One of Each: Orange, Yellow, Green)
  • Plastic or Real Cups (Tall and Short - 5-10 each should be fine)
  • Optional: Ice and Ice Scooper
  • Bar Tool: Jigger
  • Bar Tool: Shaker
  • Bar Tool: Bar Mat
With all the things from the list above, you will be able to set up your home bar to practice with.

  1. Clean the empty bottles. Label it if you're using water bottles. Fill it up initially with water. Then add color to the water that mimics the real color of the liquor.

  2. Place speed pourers onto the bottles. Line up the bottles in the order of the speed rack using: "Very Sexy Girl Bartenders with Tight Trousers make Radical Bartender."

  3. The speed rack should take up 10 bottles. Use the remaining bottles to setup for the ice bin.
    -Orange Juice (Orange)
    -Cranberry Juice (Red)
    -Grapefruit Juice (Pink/Yellow)
    -Pineapple Juice (Yellow)
    -Sour Mix (Green)
    -Grenadine (Red)
    -Pina Colada Mix (White)
    -Cream (White).

    To make a white colored water, we used water with paint primer, but this isn't recommended in a home setting. If you can find white food coloring, that would be best. If not, just use clear, or define a color for yourself.

  4. Clean the 2 Liter bottles and fill them up with water. Color the water accordingly.

  5. Cut up the sponge, and place them into a bowl.

  6. Set up your cups and ice. If you have a bar mat, set that up. Place your jigger and shaker on it.

  7. You are striving to mimic a real bar setting. Of course, this won't be 100% possible, and you will need to improvise a lot in order to save money. The best practice at this point will be to imagine yourself hosting a home party, and how you will setup that bar.
You may want your bar to look like this:

But something like this is sufficient too:

All right, so this will conclude this lesson for now. I'm sure there will be a lot of questions and unclear points about this lesson, so feel free to ask me using the comments feature. I will try to answer them as soon as possible.

Also, if you have better methodology with regards to this lesson, please be kind to share that with us. This is one of those lessons that needs improvement, feedback, and contribution from others to make it work for everyone.

So till next time, good luck studying and collecting these "stuff." We will start to cover cocktails to memorize starting next lesson.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Lesson 6: Base Liquor - Part 3

Hello everyone! Welcome back to Free Online Bartending School.

This is the Part 3 of the three part series covering the base liquor in the "well" or the speed rack.

Please check back to Parts 1 & 2 if you haven't already read through them yet.

For those students who are continuing on from the previous lessons, we have been going over the characteristics of each of the base liquor in our speed rack. We've been covering the mnemonic:

"Very Sexy Girl Bartenders with Tight Trousers make Radical Bartender."

And its liquors:
  • Vodka
  • Scotch
  • Gin
  • Bourbon
  • Tequila
  • Triple Sec
  • Rum
  • Brandy
  • Dry Vermouth
  • Sweet Vermouth
We've covered up to Triple Sec in yesterday's lesson. In Part 3, let's go over what rum, brandy, dry vermouth, and sweet vermouth is.


Rum is a liquor made from sugarcane. When we think of rum, we think of the Caribbean, and pirates drinking them.

Rum is a very popular liquor due to its sweet flavor. It is also very versatile and easy liquor to mix due to its flavor profile (light, sweet, not too strong). In addition, there has been a huge commercial success with rum in the past 10 years. You will see all kinds of rum in today's market such as:
  • Light Rum
  • Dark Rum
  • Spiced Rum
  • Coconut Rum
  • Flavored Rum

The spiced, coconut, and flavored rum have been relatively new additions in the bartending world.

There are usually two types of rum connoisseurs.

One type of connoisseur are the real rum drinkers who like to drink rum straight up or on the rocks. These rum tend to be very well made, and are usually very expensive to buy. They are aged, barreled, and cherished on its own. The connoisseurs like to drink their rum with a cigar, similar to a well made scotch or brandy.

The other type of connoisseur is the more general type, who like to enjoy the more commercially made rums. This type of connoisseur will usually mix their rum in a cocktail. Popular cocktails such as rum and coke, Mojito, and Mai Tai comes to mind. They will use rums like the light rum made by Bacardi, dark rum made by Myer's, spiced rum by Captain Morgan's, coconut rum made by Malibu, or flavored rum again made by Bacardi.

As a bartender starting out, your focus will be targeted toward the second type of connoisseur. Unless you work at a Ritz Carlton in Florida, its pretty rare to see a huge variety in premium rum at a bar. You will more than likely work with stuff that are more readily available, which are second types of rums that I've described above.

Popular cocktails made using rum are the following:
  • Mojito & Flavored Mojito
  • Pina Colada
  • Mai Tai
  • Cuba Libre (Rum and Coke with lime)
  • Blue Hawaii
  • Strawberry/Mango/Peach Daiquiri
  • Hurricane

The cocktails above are all very flavorful and all are very popular. You will be making these cocktails 80% of time when using rum.

Popular rum brands in the United States include:
  • Bacardi
  • Myer's
  • Mount Gay
  • Captain Morgan
  • Salior Jerry's
  • Parrot Bay
  • Malibu
You will find most of these at your bar. Also, lately, many of the brands above have come up with a variety of flavored rum, so you will also need to get familiar with them too.

Overall, rum is a very popular base liquor, and you will be using it very frequently when you work as a bartender.


Brandy is a liquor made by distilling wine. It has a similar characteristics and taste profile as a whiskey though tend to be a little lighter, and more aromatic. If I were to categorize the taste profiles of scotch, bourbon, and brandy, it may look like this:

Stronger > > > Lighter
Bourbon > > Scotch > > Brandy

In the U.S., you will encounter two types of brandy. American brandy and cognac.

American brandy in general seems to be less valued than cognac. They tend to be inexpensive compared to a cognac ($8.99 American Brandy vs. $89.99 Cognac) You will see people mixing American brandy with mixes like egg nog, soda, or water to drink it. From my experience, older gentlemen (60s and above) like to order cocktails made with American brandy.

In contrast, cognacs are valued as a premium liquor, and often times are drank on its own with a snifter. Some premium bars will serve the cognac with its special device to warm it up to get its aromas flowing out.

Brandy, with its flavor similar to whiskey is not very easy to mix. This is especially true for a high priced cognac, where its probably better to drink it on its own.

Representative cocktails using brandy include:
  • Egg nog and brandy
  • Sidecar
  • Brandy Alexander
  • Singapore Sling
  • Brandy and soda
Though these are the representative cocktails using brandy, it isn't as popular as a Vodka or Rum cocktail. You will likely not be making too much cocktails using brandy, but this will depend on the bar you work at.

Popular brands of brandy include the following:

American Brandy
  • Christian Brothers
  • E&J
  • Korbel
  • Martell
  • Remy Martin
  • Hennessy
  • Courvoisier

Some of the premium cognac are extremely expensive, so remember not to spill it, or worse drop the bottle. I remember when I was working, I was selling shots of Remy Martin XO for about $35 a shot. The bottle pictured below of the Remy Marting Louis XIII is a whopping $1699.99 per 750ml bottle. Of course, at a bar, it will be even more expensive. It's a status symbol for some.

Sweet and Dry Vermouth

I'm going to cover sweet and dry vermouth together since they sort of serve similar purposes. Vermouth is a fortified wine, which means wine added with a liquor (like brandy), herbs, and fruit peels. So they have a different flavor profile and longer shelf life than a wine - about one year.

Vermouth serves its purpose at a bar for almost just one purpose. To make a Martini - for dry vermouth. And to make a Manhattan - for sweet vermouth. I have never served Vermouth straight to a customer.

Since Martinis and Manhattan are popular drinks, Vermouth has its place in the speed rack. You will likely be making a lot of them as a bartender.

Popular cocktails using vermouth are:

Dry Vermouth:
  • Martini
  • Gibson
  • Bronx

Sweet Vermouth:
  • Manhattan
  • Rob Roy
  • Bronx

Popular Vermouth brands in the United States are:
  • Martini & Rossi
  • Gallo
  • Boissiere
  • Noilly Prat

If you are buying vermouth for home to practice with, it maybe wise to buy the smaller bottles since I have never used up an entire 750ml bottle of vermouth at home. You will need to drink a ton of Martini to use it all up.

Okay, so this finally concludes our three part series on the base liquor. Be sure to get a good understanding of each of the base liquors since you will be working with them throughout your bartending career. As mentioned many times, I do recommend you going out and buying a small bottle of each of the base liquors to taste it out for yourselves. By doing so, you should get a better understanding of how each of the liquors have their places in the bartending world.

I appreciate you sticking through so far in our journey to train you to be a bartender. In Lesson 7, I hope to cover the home practice set up in order for you to start your actual training. So be sure to grasp all the fundamental concepts that I've laid out so far. We will now start to put these concepts into practice starting from the next Lesson.

Well, until next time good luck studying, and Cheers!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Lesson 6: Base Liquor - Part 2

Hello! Welcome back to Free Online Bartending School!

We're going through a three part series right now on base liquor. If you missed Part 1, I would encourage you to check it out before reading through this post.

So now, to continue on from what we've covered yesterday, let's go back to our mnemonics.

"Very Sexy Girl Bartenders with Tight Trousers make Radical Bartender."

And again, this is a mnemonic to remember the order in which the liquors should line up in the speed rack.
  • Vodka
  • Scotch
  • Gin
  • Bourbon
  • Tequila
  • Triple Sec
  • Rum
  • Brandy
  • Dry Vermouth
  • Sweet Vermouth
We went through what vodka, scotch, and gin is yesterday, let's go over what a bourbon, tequila, and triple sec is today.


Bourbon in its simplest term is whiskey made in the United States. It gets its name from Bourbon County in Kentucky. So just keep that in mind, bourbon is whiskey made in the USA.

Scotch is whiskey made in Scotland. And brandy will be whiskey made in France (sort of). Let's keep things simple for now.

There are other technicalities of making it officially bourbon - such as the amount of corn to be used to make the whiskey. And other things as how the color must be added - via charred oak barrels. But in this phase of things, it's just important to know that bourbon is whiskey made in the USA.

With that in mind, what are the taste characteristics of a bourbon? Bourbon is usually sold at a higher proof than other liquors. Like the picture above for the Wild Turkey, which is sold at 101 proof or 50.5% alcohol. Normal base liquor such as vodka and gin are at about 40% alcohol or 80 proof. So you can see that bourbons tend to be stronger in alcohol content than other liquors.

Bourbons usually are pretty strong drinks since they are made in the USA. I found this quote from Yahoo Answers describing what a bourbon tastes like:

"If you dipped some burnt toast in water with some liquid smoke and a tiny bit of molasses

Added alcohol

that would be the flavor.

It is an acquired taste."

Basically, the flavor profile is that it's pretty strong. I personally have images of cowboys drinking shots of bourbon at a saloon. Sort of a man's drink. It's one of those drinks you would have to get hammered when you're having a bad day.

With such strong flavor profile, bourbon tends to be pretty difficult to mix. This is because you will always get that bourbon flavor into the drink. Your customer has to be a bourbon drinker, or they will probably not enjoy its taste, siting it as too strong.

As with scotch, I would recommend drinking bourbon on the rocks or neat since it was probably made to be enjoyed that way.

Representative cocktails made with bourbon are:
  • Mint Julep
  • Old-Fashioned
  • Bourbon Sour
Mint Julep is a classic cocktail that is associated with The Kentucky Derby. It is similar to a Mojito, and it mixes mint, sugar, and bourbon to make it. The Old-Fashioned is a very good bourbon cocktail combining mashed up orange, cherry, sugar and bitters with bourbon. I personally like to enjoy an Old-Fashioned when I go to a classy bar.

Representative brands for a bourbon in the United States are:
  • Wild Turkey
  • Jim Beam
  • Maker's Mark
  • Early Times
Be sure to go out and try some of the bourbons above to see what it tastes like for yourself.


Tequila is a liquor made from agave plants, and is very popular due to it's taste, ease of drinking, and of course the popularity of the margarita.

Agave plant is a cactus like plant, but when you roast it, it turns very sweet. Tequila is made by fermenting the agave juices and distilling it. If you ever get a chance to go on a Mexico Cruise, there are tequila factory tour excursions that are very informative and fun to go on.

Here is a link to the Tequila Factory Tour that I went on couple years back.

Tequila itself has a very sweet flavor. This is especially true for higher end tequila made from 100% Agave Plant. Lower end tequila mixes pure 100% agave with potato based liquor to lower the cost of making them. This does take away from the overall flavor of the tequila a bit, and it will taste harsh if you decide to drink it straight. However, I have found that even lower end tequila tastes good as long as it's made into a margarita.

Representative tequila based cocktails are:
  • Margarita
  • Cadillac Margarita
  • Blended (Frozen) Margarita
  • Strawberry, Mango, Melon, Peach Margarita
  • Blue Margarita
  • Tequila Sunrise

Basically, a margarita is a good cocktail to make with a tequila. It is usually one of the best sellers at any bar.

Representative tequila brands in the United States are:
  • Jose Cuervo
  • El Jimador
  • Sauza
  • Patron
  • Corazon
There are many, many more tequila producers in Mexico, but the brands above, we tend to see all across the bar in the United States.

Tequila is a great party drink as well since it isn't too harsh to have shots with. Be sure to offer your customers a piece of lime and salt when you give them a shot of margarita. That extra touch will make you look like a true professional, and you'll likely make more in tips.

Triple Sec

Triple Sec is said to be a liqueur made from dried peels of bitter oranges. However, quite frankly, I do not pick up on much of the orange flavor. It is used primarily as a sweetening agent, and I like to think of triple sec as sweet sugar syrup with alcohol in it. I think this mentality will help more than thinking of triple sec as an orange liqueur.

Triple Sec is used very frequently in cocktails as a sweetening agent. Representative cocktails that use Triple Sec are:
  • Margarita
  • Cosmopolitan
  • Long Island Ice Tea
  • Kamikaze
  • Lemon Drop
There are also many other cocktails that you Triple Sec as a sweetner. Since it doesn't have a strong flavor to it, aside from it being sweet, it is a versatile liqueur and you will use it frequently.

Popular Triple Sec brands in the United States are:
  • Hiram Walker
  • Bols
  • Cointreau
  • DeKuyper
There is also a blue version of Triple Sec called Blue Curacao. It basically tastes the same, just that the Blue Curacao is blue in color and used for cocktails like the Blue Margarita, Blue Hawaii, or Adios Motherfucker.

The Blue Curacao is a very cool liquer to play around with since you can make visually impressive cocktails with it.

Okay, this wraps up the Part 2 of the Lesson 6: Base Liquor. Again, I would recommend you go out and actually trying out these liquors to understand what each of them tastes like.

And if you haven't already done so, be sure to read up on Part 1 of this lesson as well.

Well, I will finish up the this lesson tomorrow with Part 3 of this topic.

Good luck studying, and cheers!


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