Fake Bartender Manifesto

Photo Feb 16, 9 03 39 PM

Although I don’t aspire to be  real bartender, I don’t believe in half-assing it. Each cocktail component must shine — especially in drinks with four ingredients or less. And you know what? Cutting corners only saves you a few minutes (and a few pennies) so you have no excuse.

So step up your game and repeat after me.


  1. Mixers. Neon-colored, high fructose corn syrup-laden “mixers” are the worst possible shortcut. They overpower cocktails and contain more sugar than… probably anything.
  2. Candy fruit. If you’d put it in a fruitcake or on top of a sundae, it has no place in your cocktails. Especially cherries. Try Luxardo cherries — they’re expensive, but that jar will last a long time. Better yet, make your own.
  3. Lemon or lime juice you didn’t squeeze yourself. If you don’t believe me, take the alcoholic Pepsi challenge. Mix and taste two gin and tonics — one with juice you squeeze from a lime, one with juice you squeeze from a lime-shaped plastic bottle.
  4. Frozen drinks. Hemingway drank daiquiris. Do you think he ordered them frozen?
  5. Flavored vodka. It’s the wine cooler of the 21st century. For real.


  1. Measure each component. You wouldn’t “wing” a cake. Mixing is a lot like baking — balance is everything. And be patient. Don’t attempt to “free pour” and count ounces. Where else do you have to be?
  2. Start small. Pick 2-3 drinks with no more than three ingredients. Make them over and over again, until you no longer need to follow a recipe and you can make them for friends while carrying on a conversation. Then learn to 2-3 more.
  3. Know what each ingredient tastes like. If you mix without tasting, you won’t understand how each ingredient impacts your cocktail.
  4. Enjoy making — and drinking — cocktails. Have fun. Save the complex drinks for the pros on nights out.

So what’d I miss? Are there any other stakes we should put in the ground?


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