top of page

Crafting Better, Smarter, Stronger, Beverage Professionals

The Proper Cocktail

What is a Cocktail?

A cocktail is a mixed style of drink.  Originally, the term was defined as a mixture of distilled spirits, sugar, water and bitter.  The term has come to mean any mixed drink.  A cocktail today refers to any drink in which a mixture of ingredients is used.  Usually, the term cocktail refers to an alcoholic beverage containing one or more types of alcohol, fruit juices, honey, bitters, water, ice, soda, milk, cream, herbs, etc.   The term was first phrased in The Farmers Cabinet on April 28th, 1803.  On May 13th, 1806 in a publication called the Balance and Columbian Repository asked the question, “What is a cocktail?”  Their answer read: a cocktail is stimulating liquor composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitter – it is vulgarly called a bitter sling and is supposed to be an excellent electioneer potion, in as much as it renders the heart stout and bold and at the same time fuddles the head.  It is said; also to be a great use to a democratic candidate because a person is having swallowed a glass of it, will be ready to swallow anything.  Sazarac is known as the world first cocktail however, it didn’t appear until 25 years later. 

100 Years of a Cocktail

Over the past 100 years, cocktail trends have kept bartenders on their toes and continue to push the limits.  Cocktail trends tend to come and go, however cocktail continue to stay the same.  Majority of the newer cocktails come from a reinvented past cocktail.  Over the past hundred years, each decade has been defined by a particular style of cocktail.  These cocktails were the most popular cocktails during the time and they continue to be ordered today.  From Old Fashioned to Mojito the consumption of these cocktails never seems to fade.

1980 - 1990: Sex on the Beach
1 1/2 oz. vodka
3/4 oz. peachtree schnapps
1/2 oz. creme de cassis
2 oz. orange juice
2 oz. cranberry juice
Orange slice
Maraschino cherry

Combine all ingredients and shake in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into an ice-filled 10-ounce highball glass. Garnish with an orange slice and a maraschino cherry.

1990 - 2000: Cosmopolitan
1 1/2 oz. citrus vodka
3/4 oz. Cointreau
Juice of 1/2 lime, hand extracted
1/2 oz. cranberry juice
lemon spiral

Combine liquid ingredients in an ice-filled mixing glass and shake until well blended. Strain into a chilled 10.25 oz. martini glass. Garnish with a lemon spiral.


2000 - 2010: Mojito


5 mint leaves

2 ounces white rum

½ ounce lime juice

2 table spoons sugar

5 ounces soda water

lime wedge


Combine mint, sugar and lime juice at the bottom of a mixing glass and muddle.  Add rum and shake.  Strain into a highball glass filled with ice.  Top with soda water.  Garnish with lime wedge and powdered sugar.

1940 - 50: Mai Tai
1 oz. Jamaican rum
1 oz. Martinique rum
Juice of 1 1/2 limes or approximately 1 1/2 oz. lime juice
1/2 oz. orange curacao
1/2 oz. orgeat syrup
1/2 oz. rock candy syrup - can also substitute with simple syrup
spent lime shell, pineapple spear, mint sprig

Combine above ingredients in an ice-filled mixing glass and shake until well blended. Strain into an ice-filled large 17. oz. Martinique glass. Garnish with a spent lime shell, pineapple spear, and mint sprig.


1950 - 1960: Vodka Martini
3 oz. vodka
NO Vermouth
lemon spiral

In an ice-filled mixing glass, add vodka and shake until well chilled. Strain into a chilled Martini glass. Garnish with a spiral of lemon.


1960 - 70: Whiskey Sour
1 1/2 oz. straight bourbon whiskey
2 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 oz. simple syrup
1 teaspoon egg white or equivalent amount of pasteurized egg blend
orange slice
maraschino cherry

Combine ingredients, except for the orange slice and maraschino cherry, in an ice-filled mixing glass and shake until well blended. Strain into an ice-filled 10 oz. High Ball glass. Garnish with an orange and maraschino cherry pinwheel.


1970 - 80: Long Island Iced Tea
1/2 oz. vodka
1/2 oz. gin
1/2 oz. light rum
1/2 oz. triple sec
2 oz. fresh lemon juice
1 oz. simple syrup
lemon wheel

Combine above ingredients in an ice-filled mixing glass and shake until well blended. Strain into an ice-filled 16 oz. glass. Spritz with Coca Cola. Garnish with a wheel of lemon.

1900- 1910: Old Fashioned
2 oz. bourbon whiskey
1 teaspoon superfine sugar
2 dashes bitters
Slice of orange maraschino cherry, stem removed water

In the bottom of a 9.5 oz. rocks glass muddle sugar, bitters, orange slice, cherry and a splash of water. Fill glass with ice, add bourbon, and stir.


1910 - 1920: Singapore Sling
1 1/2 oz. gin
1/2 oz. Cherry Heering
1/4 oz. Benedictine
1/4 oz. Cointreau
1 dash angostura bitters
3 oz. pineapple juice
1/2 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
Maraschino cherry
Pineapple spear

Combine liquid ingredients in an ice-filled mixing glass and shake until well blended. Strain into an ice-filled 14 oz. stemmed glass. Garnish with a spear of pineapple and a maraschino cherry.


1920 - 1930: Bloody Mary
1 1/2 oz. vodka
2 dashes worcestershire sauce
4 dashes tabasco sauce
Pinch kosher salt
Pinch ground pepper
1/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
5 oz. tomato juice
Spear of dill pickle, Lemon wedge

Combine above ingredients, except for the pickle and lemon, in an ice-filled mixing glass and roll between tin and mixing glass until well blended. Strain into a tall, 16 oz., ice-filled glass. Garnish with a wedge of lemon and a dill pickle spear.


1930 - 1940: Manhattan
2 1/2 oz. straight rye whiskey
1 oz. Italian sweet vermouth
2 dashes angostura bitters
maraschino cherry

In an ice-filled 10.5 oz. Caprice rocks glass, add ingredients and stir. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Cocktail Terminology

Against the Wall:  Pour ½ ounce of Galliano on top of the drink.

Back:  The mix served in a separate glass.

Bruised:  A straight up Martini that is shaken instead of stirred.

Chaser:  Refers to Back.

Ditch:  A drink with a water mix.

Double:  A drink with double the amount of liquor.

Driver: Usually a drink made with Orange Juice.

86:  The item is out of stock or refers to a guest who has been cutoff.

14:  Same as a 7 & 7.

Float:  Same as Top.

Frappe:  A liquor or liqueur poured over crushed ice, usually in a cocktail glass.

Frozen:  A drink blended with crushed ice so as to be slushy.


Lace:  Same as top.

Mexican Style:  ½ ounce of Tequila on top.

Mist:  Same as Frappe but served in a rocks glass.

Multiple: Pour a ½ ounce of Frangelico on top.

Neat: Means without ice.  Usually, in a brandy snifter.

On the rocks: A drink served with ice.

On the side:  Same as a chaser.

Over: Same on the rocks.

Press: Half soda, half sprite.

Screaming: Float a ½ ounce of Vodka on top.

Short: Served in a rocks or a bucket glass on ice.

Splash: Toped with ½ ounce of Mix.

Squeeze: A piece of fruit squeezed into the glass.

Stone: Topping the cocktail off with Apricot brandy.

Straight up: Chilled first, then served without ice.

Tall: Served in a tall glass over ice.

Top: Pour ½ ounce of the requested ingredient on top of the drink.

Topless: A margarita without salt.

Touch: Same as a splash.

Twist: The peel of a lemon is twisted over the drink then dropped into it.

Unleaded: Without alcohol.

Up: Same as straight up.

Virgin: Without alcohol.

Wet: Use more mix than the drink calls for.

White – A drink which calls for cream.

With a little English: Pour a ½ ounce of Gin on top of the drink.

With a squeeze: Same as a Squeeze.

With a Twist: Same as a Twist.



bottom of page