"Don't Do That!" - 7 Cocktail Mixing Mistakes I Made So You Don't Have To

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I have never once claimed to be any kind of master mixologist. Ever. And while I hope to learn a little (or a lot) about mixing drinks, I am not anticipating that Bartender or Mixologist will ever be my job title. Drink Tester yes, Bartender no.

So, maybe you're like me - the kind of bartender that pours your friends a rum and coke, maybe with a fancy lime to make a Cuba Libre. Or you pour some juices and tonics (and sometimes some alcohol) into a pretty pitcher and serve to your guests. Maybe you're not the kind of bartender that measures with jiggers and pours into shakers and then serves with pretty garnishes - like me:) If that's you, let me share my mistakes and lessons learned so you won't accidentally serve your guests a drink with lemon seeds in it.

  1. Ginger Beer is a wonderful drink on it's own, serve it with a little mint garnish in a nice glass and you'll wow your guests. It's also a great mixer as it works with a variety of flavors. It's also carbonated. Please don't add it to your shaker ingredients and attempt to shake and serve. Carbonation and shaking. You get the picture. Ginger Beer is the perfect topper for your drink - in otherwords, shake your drink, pour it, then top off with Ginger Beer. #yepIshookmine #don'tdothat
  2. There are two main types of cocktail shakers - a Boston shaker like this one, and a Cobbler shaker like this one. I prefer the Boston shaker but I'm a rookie, just learning how to use it. The 'cheater tin' or pint glass that you use it with goes in kind of sideways to get a good seal. But then, getting them apart will show your guests the true depth of your talent. You can't twist, you can't pound, you have to squeeze the top of the main shaker to release the seal. Squeeze my friends, just a good squeeze. #poundingmakesitworse #evenHerculescantbreaktheseal #dontdothat
  3. I think either Rachel Ray or Giada told me to squeeze my lemons and limes in my hand with my fist facing up so the seeds won't drop into my drink/food. It's not true. They still drop. Maybe I have small hands? Use a hand juicer for lemons/limes and then use a strainer when pouring from the shaker into the glass please. Nobody likes seeds in their drink. #smallhandproblems #dontdothat
  4. Muddling herbs does not mean "smash the ingredients to a pulp". It means "gently bruise them to release the flavor". Related: tiny bits of herbs in your drink sometimes stick in your teeth. 
  5. Simple syrup lasts about a month in your refrigerator. Cucumber juice should last about 5-6 days. Depending on your flavor of simple syrup, sometimes it will look like cucumber juice. Spoiled cucumber juice that has been in your refrigerator for 3 weeks and looks like simple syrup should definitely not be used in your drink. #labelyourjars #ididthat #dontdothat #gross
  6. If you have a small electric juicer like this one and it doesn't seem to want to work correctly, maybe instead of trying and trying and trying and then saying "I guess it's not my day to make drinks" until your fix-it husband says "do you want me to look at it?", you should check to see if the juicing container is attached all the way. 
  7. Jalapeno Jam does not have the same taste or consistency as jalapeno simple syrup. Let's keep jalapeno jam where it belongs. (Foodie friends please tell me...Where does it belong??) Not in your drink. Even if the recipe says so.

You're welcome for the #dontdothat bartending tips. And also, please tell me your awesome mistakes in the comments below so I can continue to not embarrass myself:)

P.S. Good bar tools really do make a difference. If it's time to level up your bar make sure to check out this post with all the essential tools you need.

(Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means that if you click on a product link, I may receive compensation. This compensation comes at no additional cost to you, and as always I only recommend products I trust!)