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Bartending Basic : Tips & Technique For Beginners

bartender working in a bar

Bartending is an art that combines skill, creativity, and a knack for hospitality. Whether you’re aspiring to become a professional bartender or just looking to impress your friends with some home mixology, mastering the basics is essential. In this guide, we’ll dive into the very basic fundamentals that every bartender should know.

1. Know Your Bartending Tools

Every great bartender needs the right tools. Here are the must-haves for your toolkit:

  • Cocktail Shaker: Used for mixing cocktails that contain fruit juices or syrups.
  • Strainer: Essential for separating ice from the liquid when pouring.
  • Muddler: Perfect for crushing herbs, fruits, or sugar cubes in cocktails.
  • Jigger: Ensures accurate and consistent measurements for each drink.
  • Bar Spoon: Facilitates stirring and layering of ingredients.
  • Pour Spouts : Applied on bottles to control the speed of the pour and dosage.

2. Glassware Knowledge

Understanding the appropriate glassware for different drinks adds a professional touch to your bartending skills:

  • Highball Glass: Ideal for mixed drinks with a higher ratio of non-alcoholic mixer.
  • Rock Glass: Perfect for short, strong cocktails like Old Fashioned or Negroni.
  • Martini Glass: Typically used for serving straight-up cocktails without ice.
  • Shot Glass: Designed for serving small, concentrated drinks.

Being aware that not all cocktails can be served in the same type of glass, it’s a start. When you start to get used to the cocktails dosage and volume, you will know in which glass can be served. This is very important when you want to play around and creating your own recipes.

3. Basic Drink Recipes

While the world of mixology is vast, start with mastering these classic cocktails:

  • Martini: Gin or vodka with vermouth, garnished with an olive or lemon twist.
  • Margarita: Tequila, triple sec, lime juice, and simple syrup served with a salted rim.
  • Old Fashioned: Bourbon, sugar, bitters, and an orange twist.
  • Mojito: White rum, lime juice, simple syrup, fresh mint, and soda water.

If you start working in a cocktail bar, It would be a great idea to study their cocktail menu so you are prepared for your first shift as a bartender. Learning all the IBA recipes will help you be a better bartender and learn signature drinks quicker. This is very helpful advise especially if you want to work as a bartender hire london for private events.

4. Proper Pouring Techniques

Achieving the perfect pour is an essential skill for bartenders:

  • Free Pouring: Measuring without using a jigger, using the counting technique that usually are taught in bartending schools by experts trainers.
  • Measured Pouring: Using a jigger for precise measurements, crucial for consistency. This is a very slow approach and we recommend learning how to freepour.

5. Drink Making Techniques


  • Shake and Strain – All drinks containing syrups, puree or anything difficult to mix, will have to be shaken and then strained into the glass.
  • Build – Usually Spirit & Mixers or easy cocktails such as Cuba Libre, Screwdriver etc can be poured straight into the glass.
  • Muddle – Here is when you want to muddle fresh fruit and the churn the drink or shake depending on what you are preparing. You will be using a muddler to muddle the fruit.
  • Blending – Frozen daiquiri can be an example. You pour all the ingredients into the blender, one full scoop of ice and blend until you achieve a nice frozen drink.
  • Layers – Usually used in shot glasses for drinks like B-52. This is where you pour the most heavy ingredient first, and

6. Customer Service and Communication

A successful bartender is not just a drink maker but also a people person:

  • Communication Skills: Engage with customers, take orders, and provide recommendations. Some example below ⬇️
  • Ask about their day: This often leads to a conversation and helps breaking the ice. This is recommended after you have already taken their order and start making their drinks.
  • Ask what their favourite drink is: Usually, you will not be impressed by the answers. However, this depends on personal tastes and you have to respect that. Maybe make some recommendations for future reference so they can explore different cocktail recipes.
  • Talk about sports: You can ask if they are into sports and ask about the last or current game on TV.
  • Efficiency: Work quickly and efficiently during peak hours without compromising quality.


7. Responsible Alcohol Service

Understanding the importance of responsible alcohol service is crucial:

  • Checking IDs: Verify the legal drinking age of your customers. In UK we use Challenge 25 policy so, if you look younger than 25 years old, you have to ask for ID.
  • Recognising Intoxication: Refuse service when necessary to ensure the safety of the guests. Instead, offer a bottle of water and notify your Supervisor / Manager about the situation.


Mastering the basics of bartending is the foundation for building a successful career or impressing your guests at home. Whether you’re shaking up cocktails in a busy bar or hosting a cozy gathering, these fundamentals will set you on the path to becoming a skilled and confident bartender.

Once you master all these skills, you can consider becoming a flair bartender which will be the next step to become even better at your job.

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