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Whether you’re making a Mojito or a Gin Fizz, at the heart of every great cocktail there must be a perfect balance. So, let’s get back to basics and look at the principles of making a great cocktail every time.

Let’s talk about flavor

Understanding how your taste buds work will help you make great cocktails. The main tastes we recognize are sweet, sour, bitter and salty. When it comes to making drinks, the first two are generally the most important.

Sweet flavors: Sugar syrup, liqueurs, fruit juices and cordials.

Sour flavors: Citrus fruits like lemons and limes, also passion fruit and green apples in smaller amounts.

Bitter flavors: Angostura bitters, Vermouths, some flavor notes in aged spirits, tea and espresso coffee.

It’s all about balance

In order to create a good mixed drink, you need to use these flavors in the right proportions.

There are thousands of recipes and variations for mixed drinks, but all cocktails are built around getting the right balance of flavors.

A classic example would be:

sweet + sour + weak + strong = BALANCE

The principles in action

Let’s explore how these principles of flavor and balance transfer to these five famous cocktails that all have a sweet and sour component.


Now put everything you have learned into practice with these two recipes.



Slap the mint leaves to release the aroma and place into a glass.

Add the lime juice, sugar syrup, and CAPTAIN MORGAN White Rum to the glass.

Then add a small scoop of crushed ice.

Add the soda water and then mix the ingredients through with a bar spoon.

Then add some more crushed ice so the glass is filled and finally garnish with a sprig of mint.



Moisten the rim of Margarita coupe or cocktail glass.

Dip the rim into a plate of salt and shake off excess.

Shake all ingredients and serve straight or over ice.

Garnish with lime wedge and serve.