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Bartending Primer: Essential Recipes

Bartending For Dummies lists over a thousand drink recipes; in this article, you'll find a sampling of 26 recipes, from A to Z, that will help get you started on your bartending career. Some are classic drinks that you've probably heard of; others are new and trendy. Most are quite good; some are strange concoctions that few people like.

Alabama Slammer

1 part Amaretto
1 part Sloe Gin
1 part Southern Comfort
Splash of Lemon Juice

Shake ingredients and serve in a shot glass.

One of the first popular shots. Cover with napkins or a coaster. You can also serve this one over ice in a highball glass.

Bloody Mary

1-1/4 oz. Vodka
2-1/1 oz. Tomato Juice
Dash of Worcestershire Sauce
Dash of Tabasco Sauce
Dash of Salt and Pepper

Pour Vodka over ice in a glass. Fill with Tomato Juice. Add a dash or two of Worcestershire Sauce and Tabasco Sauce. Stir and garnish with a Celery Stalk. For those who enjoy their Bloody Marys extremely spicy, add more Tabasco.

The most famous of the "Hair of the Dog" morning after cocktails.

Cosmopolitan Martini

1 part Cointreau
2 parts Vodka
Juice of 1/2 Lime
Splash of Cranberry

Shake with ice and strain.

There are many variations of the martini. This one works.

Dean Martini

2 oz. Ketel One Vodka, chilled
A Lucky (cigarette) and a book of matches.

Pour the Vodka into a cocktail glass and garnish with an Olive. Place the Cigarette and Matches on the side.

Invented at the Continental Cafe in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Egg Nog

1-1/4 oz. Bacardi Light or Dark Rum
1 Egg
1 tsp. Sugar
1 oz. Milk

Mix in a shaker and strain into a glass. Sprinkle with Nutmeg.


2 oz. Cinnamon Schnapps
Dash of Tabasco

Combine in a shot glass.

Gin Fizz

2 oz. Gin
1 tsp. Sugar
Juice of 1 Lemon
Club Soda

Shake first three ingredients with ice and strain. Fill with Club Soda.

Hot Lips

1-1/2 oz. Finlandia Cranberry Vodka
1/4 oz. Goldschlager

Shake with ice and strain into a shot glass.

Not to kiss and tell.


1/2 oz. Tequila
3/4 oz. Vodka
3/4 oz. Coffee Liqueur

Combine over ice.

James Bond Martini

3 parts Gordon's Gin
1 part Vodka
1/2 part Kina Lillet

Shake ingredients with ice until very cold. Pour into a chilled glass. Then add a large thin slice of Lemon Peel.

From the movie Casino Royale.

Kahlua & Cream

2 oz. Kahlua
1 oz. Cream/Milk

Combine in a highball glass and stir.

Long Island Iced Tea

1/2 oz. Vodka
1/2 oz. Rum
1/2 oz. Gin
1/2 oz. Triple Sec
1/2 oz. Tequila

Shake the first five ingredients over ice and strain into a glass. Fill with Cola.

There are many variations.

Mai Tai

3/4 oz. Bacardi Light Rum
1/4 oz. Bacardi 151 Rum
1/2 oz. Orange Curacao
1/2 oz. Rose's Lime Juice
1/4 oz. Orgeat Syrup
1/4 oz. Simple Syrup

Stir with ice. Garnish with Mint, Cherry, and Pineapple.

Nutty Professor

1 part Irish Cream
1 part Hazelnut Liqueur (Frangelico)
1 part Grand Marnier

Combine over ice.

You can also serve this one straight up in a shot glass.

Old Fashioned

1-1/2 oz. American or Canadian Whisk(e)y
1/4 tsp. Superfine Sugar
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Splash Club Soda
Cherry and Orange Slice

Muddle the Cherry (without stem), Orange Slice, Sugar, and a splash of Club Soda. Add the remaining ingredients and stir.

You can also use Scotch, Brandy, or just about any other spirit in this drink.

Purple Passion

1-1/4 oz. Vodka
2 oz. Grapefruit Juice
2 oz. Grape Juice

Combine ingredients and stir. Chill and add Sugar to taste. Serve in a collins glass.

Quarter Deck

1 oz. Puerto Rican Light Rum
1/2 oz. Puerto Rican Dark Rum
1/2 oz. Cream Sherry
1/2 oz. Lime Juice

Shake with ice.

Root Beer

1 part Kahlua
1 part Galliano
1 part Cola
1 part Beer

Combine in a shot glass.


1-1/4 oz. Vodka
4 oz. Orange Juice

Add Vodka to a tall glass with ice and fill with Orange Juice.

Tequila Sunrise

1-1/2 oz. Tequila
1/2 oz. Grenadine
Orange Juice

Pour Grenadine into a tall glass first. Then add Tequila and fill with ice and Orange Juice. Garnish with an Orange Slice.

Under the Volcano Martini

2 oz. Mezcal
1/2 oz. Martini & Rossi Vermouth

Stir over ice in a cocktail glass. Garnish with a Jalapeño-Stuffed Olive.

Invented at Harry Denton's in San Francisco, California.

Vulcan Mind Probe #2

1 part Irish Cream
1 part Peppermint Schnapps
1 part 151-proof Rum

Layer in a shot glass by first pouring the Rum, then the Schnapps, and then the Irish Cream. Serve with a large straw.

You drink this one by sucking the drink down through the straw in one gulp.

Wild Irish Rose

1-1/2 oz. Irish Whiskey
1-1/2 tsp. Grenadine
1/2 oz. Lime Juice
Club Soda

Fill a highball glass with ice. Add Irish Whiskey, Grenadine, and Lime Juice. Stir well. Fill with Club Soda.


1 part Cork Dry Gin
1 part Yellow Chartreuse
1 part Cherry Brandy

Mix with ice and strain in a cocktail glass.

Yellow Morning

1 part Crème de Banana
1 part Cherry Herring
1 part Cognac

Layer this drink in the order listed. Start with Crème de Banana on the bottom and finish with Cognac on top.


1 part Stolichnaya Vodka
1 part Chambord
1 part Club Soda

Combine in a shot glass with the Club Soda on top.

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