We have updated our Privacy and Cookie Notice to keep you informed where we may process your personal data. See more here or contact us for more information.

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.


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

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

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

Bitter flavours: Angostura bitters, vermouths, some flavour notes in aged spirits, tea and espresso coffee.


In order to create a good mixed drink, you need to use these flavours 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 flavours.

A classic example would be:

sweet + sour + mild + intense = BALANCE

PRACTISE cocktail basics!

Now put everything you have learnt into practice with these two recipes:

Mojito drink



  1. Slap the mint leaves to release the aroma and place in a glass
  2. Add the lemon juice, sugar syrup and Captain Morgan White Rum to the glass
  3. Then add a bar spoon of crushed ice
  4. Add the sparkling water and then mix the ingredients together with a bar spoon
  5. Then add more crushed ice so that the glass is filled and finally garnish with a sprig of mint

(2 standard drinks* - 1.6 units per serving)


Margarita Drink



  1. Moisten the rim of a Margarita coupe or cocktail glass
  2. Dip the rim in a dish of salt and remove the excess
  3. Shake all ingredients and serve straight or over ice
  4. Garnish with lemon slice and serve

(2.9 standard drinks*- 2.4 units per serving)

Join the conversation on Twitter at @diageobarac, on Instagram @diageobarac or on Facebook – we’d love to hear from you!

Sign up and become a member of Diageo Bar Academy today and unlock the latest industry news, trends and tips to keep your bar knowledge up to speed!

recommended content: