Mad Men party ideas from the experts.

Cast of Mad Men

Cast of Mad Men

With the Mad Men final season upon us, we can’t decide whether to mourn or celebrate. On one hand, what some consider the best series of the last decade is ending, leaving an empty spot in the cerebral cable drama landscape. On the other hand, it’s one final chance to pull out all the stops, so there’s sure to be an endless stream of TV excitement. As the season premiere gets closer, we want to offer some guidance on how to throw an exciting Mad Men cocktail party. Since the series takes place over many years of Don Draper’s life, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by dozens of Mad Men episodes to look toward for inspiration, but we’ve extracted these cool party ideas to make your soiree a success.

Atmosphere

Dinner Party on Mad Men
Creating a swinging 60s atmosphere can be tricky. People today are so serious, and have a hard time tapping into their inner free spirit. Create mood lighting with low wattage and colored bulbs. You don’t need to buy new lamps, just swap out red, yellow, and orange party bulbs to give the space a warm, incandescent glow. Consider renting a fog machine to re-create a smoky haze. Next, find things around your house that have geometric shapes, and use them to decorate your party zone. Square flower pots, modern art prints, and even fish bowls can give your party space the sleek lines and retro feel of a scene from Mad Men. Finally, you’ve got to have great carpet. Place a colorful rug in the middle of your party space, or better yet, the biggest piece of shag carpeting you can find. With a few small adjustments, you can make any room feel like mid-century America.

Music

Megan Draper sings in Mad Men

Not everyone has Megan Draper available to sing live, so most parties will make use of a hi-fi stereo and a groovy playlist. There are so many classic songs from the 60s, but Mad Men definitely has a few favorites. Look for iconic tunes from The Beatles, Jan & Dean, The Lovin’ Spoonful, and Ella Fitzgerald. Create a playlist that includes rock and roll hits, as well as sultry jazz standards. Try to combine well known favorites with lesser known B-sides to keep things interesting.

Food

 Appetizer Wine Plates
The food menu can be a challenge at any party, but this time, you’ve got it easy. Dinner parties of the 1960s were all about appetizers and finger foods. Some classics included deviled eggs, pimento cheese sandwiches, and olive platters. Look up recipes for things wrapped in bacon. Bacon-wrapped-everything was a staple of the 60s dinner party. For something sweet, go for wafer cookies, or pastries purchased from the grocery store freezer section. Sara Lee pound cake was one of the most popular desserts of the era, so slice one up for a no-hassle party treat.

Drinks

Dublin Triangular Crystal Decanter
You can’t have a Mad Men party without Mad Men drinks. It’s best to have a full selection of liquors, including gin, vodka, bourbon, scotch & brandy. Don’t forget bubbly drink mixers and fruit juices to add variety. A wide assortment of garnish is also important, so slice up plenty of citrus fruit and drain a jar of cherries to add flavor and color to dozens of classic cocktails. Be sure and stock lots of ice, and have several drink shakers on hand. Keep a bowl of salted nuts on the bar for an added 60s vibe. Create a menu with the recipes for a few classic cocktails for your guests to create throughout the night. Bonus: Everyone knows that Don’s go-to libation is the Old Fashioned, and here’s how you make one:

Ingredients:Personalized Rocks Glasses, set of 4

2 oz bourbon whiskey

Dash or two of bitters

Splash or two of water

1 pinch sugar

Maraschino cherry

Orange wedge

Mix bitters, sugar, and water in a double old fashioned glass, then add the cherry and orange wedge. Muddle together. Stir in the whiskey, and add ice.

Mad Men photo courtesy AMC Networks

These ideas will make your watch party the envy of everyone in the suburbs. Get out the ice bucket and turn down the lights. The Mad Men final season will be gone before we know it, so we better live it up while we can.

Top 10 cocktails for St. Patrick’s Day

Drinking holidays are a team favorite, of course, so we decided to do a roundup of our favorite St. Patrick’s Day drinks. Everyone likes to celebrate with a few green cocktails, and the ubiquitous green beer, but Ireland’s drinking history goes back for centuries. Starting with Ireland’s whiskey, stouts, and cream liquors, and moving on to some less traditional spirits as well, there’s an endless list of options to choose from. We polled the HomeWetBar.com team, and here are our top 10 St. Patrick’s Day drinks.

1. Irish CoffeeHambuirg Personalized Beer Mug

You can’t drink all day unless you start in the morning, and Irish coffee is the perfect choice. Easily made by stirring together hot coffee, Irish whiskey, and brown sugar, simply top with thick cream and you’re ready to kick St. Patty’s Day off right.

2. Blarney Stone

By Don LaVange (Flickr: The Last Word) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The first of the green cocktails on our list, a Blarney Stone is named after Ireland’s most legendary rock. Made mostly from Irish whiskey, add splashes of anis liqueur, triple sec, and Maraschino, and shake together with ice. Pour into a cocktail glass and garnish with an orange peel for a festive presentation. The Blarney Stone cocktail may not be green, but it’s a must have at any St. Patrick’s Day party.

3. Irish Buck

Copper Mug

An easy, fruity cocktail that anyone will enjoy, the Irish Buck is two parts whiskey, three parts ginger ale, with a hearty squeeze of lime juice for good measure. When you use smooth & sweet Bushmills Irish whiskey, the bite of the ginger balances this cocktail into a tasty treat. It’s a frequent hit with Moscow Mule lovers, too.

4. Emerald Isle

By chispita_666 (Flickr: Apple-tini) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

One of the most beautiful green alcoholic drinks, the name “Emerald Isle” suitably pays tribute to Ireland’s vibrant landscape. Mixed with two parts gin, one half part green creme de menthe, and a dash of bitters, this cocktail has a fresh minty flavor that will transport you right to the fields outside Dublin.

5. Shandy

shandy

A superb choice for light drinkers, the Shandy is made by mixing Irish beer in equal portion with seltzer and lemonade. You can use other non-alcoholic carbonated beverages, such as ginger ale or lemon-lime soda. This beer cocktail gives you the traditional feel of St. Patrick’s Day beer drinking with a fruity twist.

6. Irish Car Bomb

Irish_Car_Bomb

Super fun and amazingly simple, the Irish Car Bomb is a bar favorite. Start by filling a pint glass halfway with Guinness. Next, fill a shot glass with half Irish whiskey, and half Bailey’s Irish cream liqueur. Finally, drop the shot glass into the beer, and drink up! Ideally, this drink is meant to be chugged all at once, although taking your time is equally as tasty.

7. Grapefruit Whiskey Sour

Grapefruit Whiskey Sour from Bakers Royale

This modern take on a classic cocktail is one of our new favorite St. Patrick’s Day drinks. Made with 2 ounces of Irish whiskey, 1 ounce of sugar, and 1 ounce of fresh grapefruit juice shaken over ice, simply strain into a glass and sip. The tangy punch of the grapefruit juice combined with the freshly dissolved sugar is a brilliant replacement for the standard sweet and sour mixer. Thanks for the recipe, Bakers Royale!

8. Black Velvet

Black Velvet from BBC Good Food

So easy, and so delectable, the Black Velvet is made by filling a champagne flute half way with sparkling wine, then topping it off with Guinness. The unusual combination creates an unforgettable flavor, with a bubbly texture that tastes like a party in a glass.

9. Midori Melon Bomb

Midori Melon Bomb

The sweet melon flavor of Midori makes it a versatile way to add color to green cocktails. The Midori Melon Bomb is created with Midori, golden rum, orange juice, and garnished with citrus. Definitely the sweetest St. Patrick’s Day drink on our list. With a combination of flavors that’s popular and easy to drink, we could easily see multiplying the ingredients to make a fantastic green punch recipe. A big thanks to our friends at TheNibble for helping us find is treat!

10. Celtic Mix Cocktail

Holidays are more fun when you celebrate with your friends and neighbors, which is why we love the Celtic Mix cocktail. In a fun tribute to geography, this drink stirs together Irish whiskey, Scotch whiskey, fresh lemon juice and a dash of bitters. Served on the rocks, the old fashioned flavor will make you homesick for County Cork, even if you’re only Irish for a day.

Top 10 Frighteningly Easy Halloween Cocktails

witches brew

Did you miss the excitement at your Halloween party last year? If you were stuck behind the bar while all the trick or treating was happening, you know that Halloween cocktails can be a ghastly time commitment. From unusual ingredients that have you going door to door all over town to tricky presentation, Halloween cocktails should be fun, but still allow you to have fun too. We’ve scoured the bar to find the answers. To save you time, here are the top ten most frighteningly easy Halloween cocktails.

10. The Black Cat

Everyone knows that it’s bad luck for a black cat to cross your path at this time of year–unless it’s this easy-to-mix vodka cocktail.

Ingredients and Directions:

  • 1 oz vodka
  • 1 oz Blue Curacao*
  • 3 oz Sprite
  • 1 oz cranberry juice
  • 1 wedge of lime

In a cocktail shaker with ice, add Curacao and vodka. Stir well. Pour mixture into a tall glass with ice and Sprite. Add lime wedge and you’re ready to go. Looking to make the drink for several people at once? Try our giant extremely large shaker! With this large shaker, make drinks by the dozen!

*Blue Curacao not in your bar? Try triple sec. Your guests will be meowing their approval all night. This is one Halloween cocktail that is anything but bad luck! (We still don’t recommend breaking any mirrors.)

9. Pirate’s Gold

Your Halloween guests will be asking “Where’s the booty?” when they try this pirate themed cocktail. But they won’t have to travel the seven seas—and you won’t have to go to Davy Jones’s locker to get this tasty treat.

Ingredients and Directions:

  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 1 oz rum
  • 1 oz Southern Comfort*
  • Orange Juice top off

Fill a twelve ounce glass half full with ice. Add ingredients all together. Stir and serve.

*Struggling to find Southern Comfort? Try half an ounce of peach schnapps and bourbon.

8. Bloody Mary

As Queen of England, Bloody Mary was famous for brutal beheadings and burning her opponents at the stake. These easy to serve Halloween cocktails will have your guests’ throats burning in the best way possible. Make three pitchers of this recipe for twelve and don’t go back to the bar all night!

Ingredients and Directions:

  • 46 oz bottle of tomato juice
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of celery salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of hot pepper.
  • 1.75 L of vodka

Put all ingredients except the vodka into blender. Mix and pour in a large drink dispenser. Put into refrigerator and keep cold until serving time. Put the vodka bottle right next to the dispenser and don’t think a thing about it!

If you’re looking to spice up these Halloween cocktails, use a jalapeno flavored vodka!

7. Witches’ Brew

Double, double, toil and trouble. Wait! This witches’ brew is anything but difficult. And thankfully for everyone, it includes no eye of newt. Mix it up in one big cauldron to satisfy 12 to 16 sorcerers at a time .

Ingredients and Directions:

  • 1 package of lime gelatin
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 3 cups chilled pineapple juice
  • 2 liter bottle of Sprite or ginger ale
  • 2 cups of vodka

Put gelatin into a large bowl. Stir in the water until the gelatin is dissolved. Once the gelatin is completely dissolved, pour in the other ingredients. Let it cool to room temperature and you’re ready to serve.

Lime gelatin isn’t everyone’s favorite. Black cherry jello changes the color from green to dark, but will still cast a flavorful spell on your guests.

6. Skull of Doom Shot

Nothing says Halloween like the Skull of Doom. And if you’re looking for a more monstrous Halloween party, try our Skull of Doom shot. This recipe serves four shots at a time.

Ingredients and Directions:

  • 3 oz vodka
  • 3 oz espresso*
  • 2 oz vanilla liqueur

In a cocktail shaker, add all the ingredients and shake. Pour shots into skull of doom shot glasses for terrifyingly fun Halloween presentation. And if you are looking for all of the skull of doom accessories your party could need, check out this!

*If you don’t have espresso, coffee liqueur, brandy, or coffee syrup are able substitutes.

5. The Devil’s Torch

Is the devil inside us on Halloween night? If you and your guests sell your soul for this tasty Halloween cocktail, the devil will certainly light up your party.

Ingredients

  • 2 oz vodka
  • 2 oz dry white wine
  • 4 dashes of Grenadine

Put all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and serve into a small cocktail glass.

Make it an El Diablo’s Torch by substituting silver tequila for vodka and extra dry champagne for white wine.

4. The Sour Ghost

A ghost may be the least scary among the creatures of the undead, but they’re still undead! This easy cocktail will certainly haunt your guests taste buds as they think about this great flavor for several dark and stormy nights to come.

Ingredients and Directions:

  • 2 oz vanilla vodka
  • 1 oz sour mix
  • Ginger ale top off

In a cocktail shaker, mix vodka and sour mix. Pour into a cocktail glass that is half full of ice. Top off with ginger ale.

If you pull the sheet off the vanilla vodka bottle and realize it’s as gone as the ghost of the Flying Dutchman, just add regular vodka and a dash of vanilla.

3. Frankenstein’s Monster

While Victor Frankenstein may have created a terror that would soon horrify villagers everywhere, this monster is sure to keep the pitchforks safely tucked away. Just like Frankenstein’s monster, this Halloween cocktail recipe has a few more ingredients than some on this list, but it will certainly reanimate your party.

Ingredients and Directions:

  • 3 oz vodka
  • 2 oz lemon juice
  • ½ tsp fine sugar
  • 3 oz Sprite
  • 1 oz sour apple pucker
  • Lime wedge

Combine vodka, lemon juice, sugar, and pucker and shake in a cocktail shaker. Pour mixture into a glass with ice and Sprite. Stir and add to Sprite and ice. Garnish with the lime wedge.

If the trick-or-treaters are at the door, just use vodka, Tom Collins mix, and apple pucker for an easy Frankenstein.

2. The Spicy Vampire

If your guests are out for blood, satisfy their cravings with this vampire themed cocktail. This easy recipe is sure to please four blood thirsty guests at your party.

Ingredients and Directions:

  • 6 oz gold rum
  • 3 teaspoons of vanilla
  • 6 oz light cranberry juice
  • 6 oz orange juice
  • 6 dashes of Grenadine
  • 3 dashes of cinnamon

Combine all ingredients and shake in a cocktail shaker. Then serve on ice!

Word of warning: too many Spicy Vampires may lead to an unnatural fear of sunshine.

1. Zombie’s Obsession

Brains…brains…brains! Zombie’s definitely have a mind for one thing. But even if your brains have been devoured by planning the perfect Halloween party, this cocktail is easy and delicious.

Ingredients and Directions:

  • 1 ½ oz light rum
  • 1 ½ oz dark rum
  • 2 oz peach liqueur
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • 1 Lime wedge
  • 2 dashes of Bacardi 151TM

In a cocktail shaker, add all the ingredients and ice. Shake and pour into a hurricane glass. Put the two dashes of the Bacardi 151 on top of the glass. Serve on ice.

This will be the only drink on your guests mind after trying just one or two. If they consume more than three, make sure everyone has the next day off.

Making drinks doesn’t have to be scary!

A great Halloween party does need themed cocktails. But don’t worry–it doesn’t have to be scary! These Halloween cocktails have simple ingredients and are easy to make. Your party is sure to be a ghoulishly good time without ruining your night! Remember to drink responsibly. Share your favorite Halloween cocktails with us below!

 

15 Most Manly Drinks

What makes a drink manly? Which drinks require that you turn in your man card if you’re caught dead with it? It’s a highly debated topic that our experts here at HomeWetBar.com decided to get to the bottom of. Interestingly enough there are plenty of factors that go into making manly drinks. The first cardinal rule of all manly drinks is that it can’t be sweet. If you’re thinking of ordering a strawberry daiquiri or pina colada, be prepared to hand over your man card. Fruity flavors and colorful drinks are a big no-no! And absolutely no straws! The best cocktails for men are usually brown or clear. The best manly drinks do not necessarily have to be high in alcoholic content, but the bitter, throat burning, taste are what all real men are after. Another factor is the name; when sitting at your local bar with the regulars you must be conscious of what you order. When yelling out to the bartender keep in mind that the manly drink you order has to have a tough name as well. Although, alcoholic content isn’t the largest factor in most manly drinks, it is still a factor. If your hangover is not movie worthy you may want check the bass if your tone before you order that next round of drinks.

Ranking the Top Manly Drinks

There’s no better way to rank the manliest drinks than to measure them by the massive hangover you will have in the morning from knocking too many of these drinks back. Manly cocktails are accredited by their ability to knock you flat on your ass and how fast that can happen. Another trait of the best manly drinks is what puts hair on your chest, that throat burning sensation only real men can appreciate. Aspirin can become a man’s best friend if you have the gaul to test any of these manly cocktails out. We will rank the manliest drinks of all time from one dose of aspirin to the ultimate four doses to help ease the pain of the well known hangover. To keep it easy, 1 dose is the least manly and 4 doses puts it up with the big dogs as being a potent cocktail for men. Although some drinks may rank lower than others, we can all agree that any fellow bold enough to order any of these top manly drinks will never have to worry about their man card being revoked.

Gin and Juice

Rank: 1 Dose

Snoop Dogg recommended. A cocktail made of gin, grapefruit, and orange juice making this a smooth drink where a man can keep his cool while mingling with the ladies. This drink is also tough enough to be one of the only most manly cocktails with a fruity taste that you won’t have to turn in your man card for.

Whiskey Sour

Rank: 1 Dose

2735592868_38016386f3The name alone takes the cake for ranking among the top manly drinks. A concoction of whiskey and lemon and maybe sugar for the beginners. Not the biggest and baddest of drinks for men, but this can be a refreshing for the summer that is sure to add some bass to your tone when you order the next round.

Jagerade

Rank: 1 Dose

Made of gatorade energy drink and jagermeister herbal liqueur this manly drink can help up your electrolyte intake. We’re not too sure about the buzz factor, but the taste can guarantee a peach fuzz for any baby face pansy that can’t handle the strong bite of the Jagerade.

Bloody Bull

Rank: 1 Dose

Something like the manly version of the bloody mary. A tasty mixture of vodka, beef bouillon, lemon, tabasco sauce and worcestershire sauce. Again, the name makes up for at least 50% of what makes the manliest drinks manly. Not the top choice of drinks for taste, but any man that can down this probably has the hairy chest of a bull from the burning bite of the bloody bull.

Sidecar

Rank: 2 Doses

5365837908_540a0b02cbA classic cocktail made up of triple sec, cognac, and lemon juice -No Sugar. Not the manliest cocktail ever, but it definitely has enough kick to make it tougher than the average martini. In all honesty a martini has never been considered the go-to cocktail for men, but we can agree that James Bond carries that pass for all men, thus making strong cocktails manly even when served in a martini glass.

Gold Rush

Rank: 2 Doses

A man’s summertime friend. A shot made up of bourbon, lemon juice, and honey will put some hair on that bare chest of yours. Still potent, but just enough lemon and honey to make it a smooth shot. This manly drink is something like a hot toddy, but the cooler summer version. Get over that summer cold with a gold rush & make it a double!

SnakeBite

Rank: 3 Doses

5396934673_296d639225Made up of only 2 key ingredients Canadian Whiskey and a dash of lime juice in a shot glass, taken straight up; definitely a man’s drink. A cocktail or shot’s name plays another big role in defining what makes a manly drink manly. You can’t yell just any drink name out to the bartender among the at the local bar. Order a Snakebite and you’ll receive nods of approval from the regulars for that knee buckling bitter taste.

The Godfather

Rank: 3 Doses

Another well known gentleman’s drink that can add bass to your tone. The Godfather has a name that, alone, fits as one of the top manly drinks. A sophisticated blend of bourbon or whiskey and amaretto served in classic whiskey glasses make this a classic choice for any real man who can take a real drink. Much like the popular Godfather movie this mixed drink can become a man’s favorite in no time.

Jack and Coke

Rank: 3 Doses

2714076651_e114a4b146This mixture is the universal manly drink for men. Served in cocktail glasses, the recipe is simple. Combine Jack Daniels and just enough Coke to make it a crisp bittersweet mixed drink for men that is known to put some bass in your voice. Switch things up at the bar and order a Rum and Coke or use a different kind of whiskey. Drink too many of these and a hangover will be knocking on your door bright and early.

Tom Collins

Rank: 3 Doses

It’s safe to say any cocktail that has a man’s name should be deemed a common manly cocktail. The Tom Collins is a perfect example of what a man’s cocktail should taste like, gin, lemon juice, club soda and a hint of sugar on the rocks. It can be served with fruit, but honestly what man wants a fruit filled cocktail? No man can go wrong drinking a manly drink that has the ability to be smooth and tough at the same time.

Dirty Martini

Rank: 3 Doses

5076909064_883d31b1f3A sleek combo of gin, vermouth, olive juice, and yes, the classic olives. The Dirty Martini make the perfect drink for that charming guy standing at the bar that has a bit more class and maturity than any fruit cocktail drinking wimp. “Martini: shaken, not stirred,” like Bond these manly cocktails will sneak up on you before you know it. That familiar throat burning sensation is clearly evident from a mere whiff of your glass.

Rusty Nail

Rank: 4 Doses

The name alone will send chills down the spine of any coward that can’t handle drinks for real men. Fill your whiskey glass with scotch and lemon peel on the rocks and you’ve got one rusty nail. Order one of the best cocktails for men, like the Rusty Nail, at a hard core pub and drinking vets will respect you. Be easy when taking these shots or you’ll feel quite rusty yourself in the morning!

Old Fashioned

Rank: 4 Doses

Old FashionedDon Draper of Mad Men TV series has made us very familiar with this particular cocktail. Order an Old Fashioned anywhere and you should get nods of approval for ordering such a manly cocktail. A manly concoction of bourbon, bitters, a hint of sugar water and for the sake of your sacred man card no fruit. You will appear more mature and distinguished than if you ordered a long island iced tea. This can definitely rank as being one of the best cocktails for men and is a classic choice for that dapper guy at the bar. Don’t go overboard with these bad boys or you may need to leave those car keys at home.

Classic Manhattan

Rank: 4 Doses

If Sinatra and the Rack Pack can deem this cocktail as a favorite, then we can go a step further in making this one of the top classic cocktails for men. A mixture of bourbon, vermouth, bitters, & a stemmed cherry(if requested) making this a top choice when it comes to drinks for men. Remember this is a gentleman’s drink, don’t ruin the experience with a piece of fruit lingering in your glass. This manly drink ranks 4 doses for a reason. Remember that.

Irish Car Bomb

Rank: 4 Doses

3247414923_1dec96ea2cPicture the Jagerbomb. Now picture something much more manly, higher in alcoholic content, something for a real man and you will see the badass of all badass manly drinks-The Irish Car Bomb. A deadly combination of irish cream and irish whiskey put into a shot glass and then dropped into a pint glass of irish stout. Beer advocates can appreciate this kind of drink at it can be deemed as one of the manliest drinks ever created for men. Make sure you drink fast before it curdles!

Sure, there are plenty more classic cocktails for men that can be added to this list of the top manly drinks, but we like to leave some drinks up to the imagination. At the end of the day a manly cocktail is per choice and you can order any kind of fruit filled beverage that you would like at the bar. BUT if you want to mature as a social drinker into an experienced and responsible manly cocktail expert you may want to keep these valid tips in mind when you’re at the bar. First things first, please, no fruit! if there is a need for garnish make it a simple olive or slice of lemon and nothing more. Next, is the taste it either has to be really potent or harsh enough to turn that baby face into a full beard and goatee. And last but definitely not least the best manly drinks have a tough name to match that tough taste. It is safe to say cocktails for men are usually straight up or involve shots. And don’t forget every woman loves a man with a big cock…..tail shaker so our sasquatch cocktail shaker” may come in handy the next time you want to try some of these manly cocktails.

12 Foolproof Tips for Mixing Cocktails

There is nothing worse than a poorly made cocktail… but thanks to these ten tips you’ll never suffer through another one again.

 

1.  Use premium liquors.

It cannot be overstated how important premium liquor is for a quality cocktail. We’re not saying you need to mix Macallan 25 year old scotch into that Dry Rob Roy, but don’t scrape the bottom of barrel, either.

2.  Chill your glasses ahead of time.

Either chill them in your fridge or fill it with ice and water. By chilling the glass you help ensure the cocktail remains refreshingly cool to the very last sip.

3. Use a high quality jigger.

This lets you accurately measure cocktails with ease. Many cocktails which include numerous ingredients can be ruined with an uneven balance of booze. For shame.

4.  When shaking, use lots of ice.

More ice helps chill the cocktail further. Always add the ice last as it can dilute the drink if left there too long.

5. Shake, shake, and shake some more.

Shake the cocktails vigorously until you notice condensation on the outside of the jigger. This lets the cold fully permeate the drink and delivers a cool, crisp finish to the cocktail.

6.  Use small glasses.

Yes, it will be more work in the long run, but – unless you’re Arthur – large glasses leave you with a warm cocktail.

Credit: Dinner Series
Credit: Dinner Series

7.  Sample before serving.

Fruit juices can vary in sweetness from fruit to fruit; try every drink (through a straw of course!) before serving it to unsuspecting patrons.

8.  Use fresh ingredients.

Fresh squeezed juice goes a long way with cocktails. If you can’t squeeze it yourself, purchase quality juices instead. Rose’s Lime Juice is your best bet if you can’t get fresh limes.

9. Get a solid set of bar tools.

Like a chef’s knives, you’ll want a quality jigger, shaker, stirrer, muddler, etc. There are several bar sets available , including this one and this travel bar kit.

Of course, you’ll also need…

10. Quality glassware.

Every respectable home bar needs a proper cocktail shaker, mojito glasses, old fashioned glasses and the obligatory whiskey glasses.

11. Keep the buzz.

When mixing cocktails with sparkling ingredients – sparkling wine, club soda or sparkling water – be sure to add them at the last second.

And now… for the ultimate question in home bartending…

12. Shaken or stirred?

It’s an honest question, and mostly up to personal preference. The only exception, to this, however, is when the cocktail includes heavy ingredients like cream… in which case heavy shaking is required to fully mix the ingredients.

So there you have it: twelve simple steps pouring the perfect cocktail. And when better to start then now? After all, practice makes perfect.