6 Ways to Spruce Up Your Cocktail Game

There’s an art to mixology that goes far beyond pouring a drink. Crafting the perfect cocktail—even for a basic beverage—isn’t easy. It takes practice, the right ingredients, and an intimate understanding of how flavors can be paired and balanced with one another. 

Whether you are looking to whip up a classic cocktail or want to incorporate something more modern like a vodka freeze pop or whiskey ice pop, we’ve got a whole bunch of tips to help you take your cocktail game to the next level. Read on to discover more about the art of cocktail making!

Tip #1 – Gather the Right Ingredients for a Well-Prepared Bar

When it comes to making delicious drinks, every flavor and ingredient matters. A Negroni wouldn’t be quite right without the orange peel to add citrus and zest, which offsets the bitter gin and sweet vermouth. 

So, when you stock up your bar, you should make sure that you have all of the fundamental ingredients that make up most cocktails and the tools you’ll need to create them. Ideally, your shopping list should include: 

One bottle of each of the following:

  • Vodka
  • Gin
  • Silver tequila
  • Bourbon
  • Rye
  • Triple sec
  • Sweet vermouth
  • Dry vermouth
  • Angostura bitters 
  • A stainless-steel cocktail shaker
  • A mixing glass
  • A strainer 
  • A long-handled bar spoon
  • A jigger
  • A measuring cup

Tip #2 – Master the Basics 

Homemade Rye Bourbon Manhattan with a Cherry Garnish

Whether you’re in sports, college, or culinary school, you can’t skip ahead to the advanced portions until you first master the fundamental building blocks. Calculus makes no sense to someone who doesn’t understand basic algebra. The same goes for drinks.

Before you advance to dynamic cocktail recipes, you should first focus on perfecting these eight simple, time-tested classics:

  • The Manhattan
  • The Negroni 
  • The Martini
  • The Margarita
  • The Moscow Mule
  • The Daiquiri
  • The Sazerac
  • The Sidecar


Their longevity and continued popularity are proof that they’re well-crafted. By practicing with these building-block drinks, you will gain a solid understanding of the base spirits and the ingredients that are ideal pairs.

Tip #3 – Be Creative 

After you’ve got the fundamentals down, you can start pushing boundaries to see what works and what doesn’t. 

For instance, let’s say you’re making a Daiquiri. Instead of using ice, you can try adding a SLIQ rum ice pop into the cocktail to give it some extra “oomph.” And for that, we suggest the Strawberry Daiquiri flavor. 

Similarly, experiment with the various fresh fruits and herbs to see how they manipulate a drink. For instance, adding rosemary to a margarita (instead of jalapenos) will create an entirely different flavor profile. 

Fresh lime juice adds a citric punch while a bit of simple syrup can add a touch of sweetness. Even the type of fresh ice and garnish can affect your finished cocktail recipe. Don’t be scared to experiment with your drink recipes in order to find what you like. After all, you’re the one that’s learning how to make the perfect craft cocktail!

By being creative, you can start making your very own unique cocktails. You can start building your mixology brand. 

Tip #4 – Practice Makes Perfect

If you want to get better at mixing drinks—especially if you plan on concocting signature craft cocktail recipes—you need to couple repetition with creative liberty.

Put simply, you learn far more from your losses than you do your victories. To craft the perfect cocktail, you will likely have to make dozens—if not hundreds—of bad drinks along the way. But don’t consider those failed recipes. Consider them as steps towards success. Keep track of what works and what doesn’t, and then make slight adjustments as you hone your craft.  

Tip #5 – Don’t Just Accept Criticism, Welcome It 

The creative process rarely succeeds in a vacuum. For an artist, it becomes difficult to view your own work objectively. That’s why creatives tend to rely on outside parties to provide an honest, unbiased opinion.  

Along those lines, gather a few taste testers whom you trust and whose opinions you respect. They get free drinks in exchange for helpful critiques—a win-win for everyone.  

That said, be selective. Your testers should have refined palates and the ability to describe what works or what doesn’t. Ask for more than a thumbs up or down rating. Instead, look for constructive criticism that can enable you to refine your incredible cocktail recipes. If you’ve messed up a few too many drinks and want to keep your taste-testers for the next round, you may want to consider just serving some frozen margarita pops that never fail to please.

Tip #6 – Always Taste

While it’s important to take feedback, you’re also the final say on the matter. An integral aspect of mixing and evaluating your own cocktails comes down to you being able to taste it and determine its merits. 

Sometimes, you simply make a mistake and forget to add an ingredient. Or, there’s one ingredient that’s too potent. By tasting the cocktail before presenting it, you can adjust and ensure everything is in proper order. It also helps you build up your palate memory and hone your mental flavor combinations. 

SLIQ Spirited Ice: Fun Cocktail Recipes Made Even Better
To become a first-rate mixologist, you need the right tools, ingredients, and mindset. It takes practice, creativity, and perseverance. But over time, you and your friends will notice dramatic improvements.  

And whether you’re looking to add a little kick to your unique cocktails or simply want a grab-and-go version of one, there’s always SLIQ. Our alcohol freeze pops come in one of three alcohol infusions—vodka, rum, and agave—each with three flavor profiles. Our popsicle cocktails are the perfect treat for any good time. This gives you plenty of room for experimentation in the kitchen. 

Want to make your next occasion a special one? Add SLIQ to your recipe! 


Forbes. How Failure Taught Edison to Innovate. https://www.forbes.com/sites/nathanfurr/2011/06/09/how-failure-taught-edison-to-repeatedly-innovate/?sh=2467a65965e9