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Cocktails come in many variations, but they all combine alcohol with some type of mixer, like juice or soda. To make your own version, you can muddle fruit or herbs in the bottom of cocktail shaker, then add your preferred liquor and mixer. Shake the mixture with ice and pour it through a strainer into a cocktail glass. Or, try a classic like a martini, mojito, mint julep, or margarita.
Choose a type of liquor that you want to use in your cocktail. It wouldn't be a cocktail without some alcohol, so be sure to get some.
Add another type of alcohol to enhance the taste of the spirit, if desired. Sometimes, a drink with a lower alcohol concentration is chosen to enhance the flavor of the spirit. If you're going to use 2 types of alcohol in combination, be sure to test whether their tastes are compatible.
Get a nice cocktail shaker. In order to combine your ingredients together, you're probably going to need a cocktail shaker.
Use a jigger or measuring cup. A jigger is a useful tool if you want to make clean cocktails with exact measurements.
Muddle your fruit or herbs in the cocktail shaker first, if applicable. Simply put the recommended amount of fruit and herbs in the bottom of your cocktail shaker and muddle with a muddler or the end of a wooden spoon. Make sure to get all the juices out of the fruit and break it up sufficiently.
Add the juices, alcohols, and liqueurs into the cocktail shaker. As directed by your recipe, add the required liquids to your cocktail shaker.
Put in the ice after adding the liquids. Add ice once you're ready to shake so that you don't dilute the cocktail unnecessarily. This is a mistake that many people make. They put the ice in at the beginning instead of the end, thereby diluting their drink.
Close the cap to the cocktail shaker and shake vigorously. This can take anywhere from 10 to 20 seconds, or until the shaker is too cold to hold. Vigorous shaking will combine all the ingredients in the drink together, blending them so that you don't taste an overwhelming amount of juice and not alcohol, or vice versa.
Strain the drink into the appropriate vessel. Different drinks call for different glasses. A martini, for example, is always served in a martini glass, whereas a mojito is usually served in a highball glass.
Add bitters to your drink, if applicable. Bitters are aromatic flavorings added to many (usually whiskey) drinks after mixing. Probably the most famous bitters mix is Angostura bitters.
Finish with a garnish to your drink. The garnish you choose should be suitable for your cocktail. An olive on a skewer, for example, traditionally goes with a martini.