Cocktails 101: A Mixologist’s Quick Guide to Mixing, Matching, Making, and Mastering the Art of Creating Amazing Cocktails

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What it is about mixing cocktails that gets the blood pumping, I can’t quite say. Is it the speed of it? The loudness? The satisfaction from serving a damn fine drink? Is it the pressure? Who can say. I think, for everyone, it’s a little different. For me, it’s handing a drink to someone and watching their face when they discover how delicious it is. There’s no better reward for a mixologist than that, because beyond the pay, or the fame, it’s that which makes us tick.

We do this because we love it, and that’s all there is to it. Sure, there are those out there who do it for the money, but they aren’t the real mixers and shakers.

If you want to be a mixologist, then it takes time, effort, and passion. You have to like the industry, and love the drinks themselves. You have to have that eye, and that desire, to turn spirits and ingredients overpowering or bland alone into a coalescence of taste and beauty. It’s an art as much as a skill, and it takes someone truly dedicated to master it as both.

If you want to start off, then you’re going to have learn a lot about drinks, first of all (but don’t worry, because this book will get you there). And, after you’ve done, that, and sampled as many cocktails as you can, and gained a liking for all spirits, then you need to get a bar job and learn the trade. Learn how to pour a mixer, how to identify a glass, how to sell a drink to someone. Learn what it is to be behind a bar, and what it’s like to remember sixteen drink orders at once, taking more while you’re making the last. And once you’ve got that down, you can cast your eyes to the shiny Boston cans and bar spoons sticking out of the jar on the corner of the top.

And it’s at this point, that you’re ready to get started – and I mean, really get started. As wonderful as this book is, and as vital as it will be in the formation of your mixology career, this craft is as much about self-education as it is about learning at the knee of a master. And, honestly, to be a damn good mixologist, you don’t need to compete in the world series, and you don’t need to open a chain of renowned cocktail bars. All you need to do, is focus on your craft, and deliver sensational drinks to your customers. And, if you do it right, they will anoint you. You’ll get noticed, and then someone will come along and offer you a job, and you can move up if you want, or not. At that point, it’s on you, and it’s up to you what you do with your skill. But, no matter what you do, or where you go – always know that at the end of the day, in this art, the only person accountable for your actions is you. Keep the craft in the front of your mind, and you’ll do fine.

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