bartender stirring mixture for a batched cocktail

Bartending Basics: Essential Skills, Techniques And Tools

Are you a master of your craft? Discover the essential bartender skills you should hold to progress and improve the guest experience in your bar.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

As a bartender, a core function in your bar is to create a memorable and pleasurable drinking experience for your guests. You should have all the necessary skills nailed to ensure your bartending game is strong and you're performing at your best. Below are basic skills every bartender should have... Ready to tick these off your list?

  • Basic bartending techniques
  • Must-have bartender tools
  • Essential and advanced bartending techniques
  • How to achieve the perfect serve
  • Current bartending trends

How to Master Basic Bartending Skills

First things first, familiarise yourself with the common ingredients and cocktail recipes you have decided on for your menu.

Next up, you will need to master the basic bartending skills, techniques and bar tools that will help you hone your craft, climb the career ladder and give your guests the best drinking experience in your bar.

Essential Bartending Techniques

This is essentially a Bartender 101 for every bartender, either new or advanced in the industry. Perfecting your drink-making technique is vital for elevating the guest experience in your bar.

Plus, when you’re ready to dig deeper and mix drinks like a true professional, having all of these techniques will only add to your skill set. The majority of drinks will use one of these techniques:


Shaking – This technique is used for creating chilled and diluted cocktails. Read more to learn the proper shaking duration and method on how to shake a cocktail.

Pouring – Discover the different pouring techniques and how to achieve precision and consistency when pouring a cocktail.

Stirring Learn the benefits of stirring versus shaking, and the steps involved for achieving a well-stirred cocktail.


Muddling – Determine the importance of muddling for flavour extraction and learn the techniques involved for muddling fruits and herbs effectively.

Layering – Learn how to create visually appealing layered cocktails and the techniques for layering different densities of liquids.

How To Achieve The Perfect Serve

Presentation is an important element of cocktail making as it can improve the overall guest experience and also make your cocktail look Instagram-worthy! Considering the little things like the right glass, ice and garnish, will elevate your cocktail and make it stand out.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach and perfecting your serve comes with, exploration, practice and consistency. However, there are a number elements to consider when crafting the perfect serve.


Having the basic bartending skills nailed will help to set your bar apart from the rest and progress in your career, but what will really help you succeed is being creative and staying on top of industry trends. Find out what’s new and trending in the industry now:

1. Embracing Sustainable Cocktail Practices

2. Exploring Innovative Flavour Combinations

3. Incorporating Local and Seasonal Ingredients

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding and learning the basic bar skills, including techniques, tools and trends, will help you succeed in your career, as well as elevate the overall guest experience.
  • It’s important to practice and continuously learn new tricks of the trade to improve your service.
  • Don’t be afraid to explore your creativity and experiment with new trends, whether that’s with glassware, ice or garnish.

To learn more about bar techniques and skills that can supercharge your performance, join Diageo Bar Academy to access exclusive insight.