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Bar Basics 101

So you've been enjoying some delectable cocktails your favourite bar and have just decided you're going to start your own home bar. Now you just have to work out what you'll need. Well here is your starting point, your go to list that will give you a great baseline for producing some of your favourite cocktails at home.

Bar Tools

If you are going to succeed you’ll first need yourself some quality bar tools, a toolkit that will be the secret behind the bar. Here’s your basic checklist and what you’ll need them for.

Shaker: Either a Boston shaker or Three piece will do. Both are pretty versatile though the Boston can hold more liquid so great for cocktails that need a really good shake or with a lot of ingredients.

Jigger: Your handy little spirit measuring tool, usually holding 15ml and 30mls on either end.

Muddler: You know when you get that perfect Caprioska and that lime is just perfectly balanced and infused, that’s the muddling.

Strainer: IF you can, get two strainers, a hawthorne strainer which will remove the ice, fruit and herbs from your cocktail, plus a fine strainer which will remove any unwanted pulp for a smooth cocktail.

Barspoon: A longer spoon than you’ll find in the cutlery drawer you’ll use this for stirring cocktails and jugs along with measuring ingredients.



Like a fine wine your cocktail glassware will help bring out the best flavours in your drink.  A good bar should have a mixture of the following:

Highball / Collins / Hurricane

Tumbler/ Rocks

Martini / Coupe


Champagne Flute



Vok liqueurs has  an extensive range, but the most popular are Triple Sec, Blue Curacao, Melon, Strawberry and Brown Crème de Cacao. For something different Try out some Parfait Amour cocktails.


A good start for your spirits list should include;



Dark Rum

White Rum


Whisky/ Bourbon


Sparkling Wine

Cocktail Glossary

Want to mix it up like a pro? We’ve got you covered. Here is your go to guide for the most commonly used mixing terms used in our recipes and at your favourite bar.

Muddle: Muddling refers to mixing or squashing of ingredients into a glass using a muddler; therefore extracting the fresh flavours and often juices together. If your muddling berries you’d generally do so until you almost have a puree while fruits your aim is to simply extract some juices. For herbs, such as mint you are aiming to release the aromatics so a lighter press will suffice.

Measure: a recipe calling for you to measure is simply asking to use your jigger to measure the appropriate quantity of liquor, spirit or other ingredient to ensure you have the right rations to achieve the desired flavour.

Shake: Seems simple enough but cocktails can require different amounts of shaking, both with and without ice (Or sometimes both) to achieve just the right mix. A good guide is to shake hard for 10-15 seconds for most cocktails while a cocktail that includes egg whites should be 15-25 seconds.

If you have a cocktails that’s asking you to dry shake simply shake the egg by itself first before adding the additional ingredients. This allows the ingredients to emulsify properly in order to achieve the perfect froth.

Stir: Stirring using a barspoon is used when you simply need to chill a mixed drink or to avoid extra dilution that would happen with a shaker filled with ice.

Rim: To rim a cocktail adds an extra dimension of flavour and texture to a finished cocktail. The rim of the glass is generally rubbed with a slice or orange or lemon until moist before dipping the glass into a generally flat surface (like a saucer or side plate) that is loaded with your ingredient. Generally this would be salt, sugar or chocolate.

Build: Building is the simplest form of making a cocktail, generally they are simple cocktails such as a classic Gin and Tonic. Fill your glass with ice before adding the ingredients in order specified by the recipe. If you like a bit of a chill stir gently with a barspoon.

Layer: Layering is the art of carefully placing layers of ingredients on top of one another. To layer like a pro use an upside down tablespoon placed to touch the inside wall of your glass, just touching the top of the liquid below. Pour over the spoon very slowly. It’s important to layer in the order specified in the recipe so they heaviest liquid is also laid down first.

Virgin: Making a virgin cocktail reference making a replica of a cocktail, but without the alcohol. Great for the designated drivers who can still feel like they’ve joined the party.

Flair: The art of entertaining by throwing the spirits, shakers and even glassware. Best left to the professionals or practice with some non-breakable’s to get the hang of it.


Happy Mixing!