For a few more answers, we asked some of our favorite bartenders to tell us the one cocktail they never get tired of making. Alexander Carlin, beverage director at Infuse Hospitality in Chicago, shared his insights on the drinks that waiters should know about. We've broken them down into three categories: regular cocktails, bar drinks, and classic cocktails. Regular cocktails are the most popular drinks out there.
They are common because everyone asks for them. These are cocktails that people love and that are also extraordinarily easy to make. You don't need a waiter's license to master them, but you could have trouble earning a waiter's salary if you don't have one. Bar drinks are the ones you'll need to stock up on. If you don't know what 86 and what a part means, you'll quickly learn.
And finally, there are the classic drinks. These may not be the most popular or the easiest, but every bartender worth his salt knows them and they're cost-effective cocktails. For each cocktail on the list, we included the cocktail ingredients, the steps, and some possibly interesting facts. We also included some quick tips to make every cocktail succeed, from suggested glasses to popular substitutes. These are the 18 drinks that waiters should know about, from common mixed drinks to classic cocktails with different types of alcohol. The Old Fashioned is the original cocktail.
It was defined in 1806 as “a powerful mix of spirits, bitters, water and sugar”. Make it with bourbon, brandy or rye - it didn't matter. The Madonna of the Blood is a concept right now - like a sandwich or a taco. There is no single recipe, but there are some general rules to follow when making one. But whatever recipe you end up with, you'll have a classic autumnal cocktail in your hands. Basic waiter drinks should be easy to make on a busy shift - recommend them when you get slammed the door and you'll set yourself up for success.
White Russian is black Russian with cream added - they have nothing to do with Russia other than the use of vodka. The gimlet is a product of circumstance versus creativity - its origins lie in the sea when limes were mandatory rations for British sailors to combat scurvy. Gin was the drink of choice for many British sailors at the time and it was also a natural complement to the limes they were supposed to eat. The daiquiri is a family of cocktails and has a prominent place in the basic pantheon of cocktail making - it's one of the “six basic drinks” in The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, an epic and influential cocktail book from 1948. The Boulevardier recipe was created by an American writer based in Paris in the 1920s - with the completion of the redesign of the urban environment of Paris at the end of the 19th century, huge open boulevards appeared throughout the city. These are all drinks that bartenders enjoy making - from common mixed drinks to classic cocktails with different types of alcohol. Knowing these beverages will surely help you if you want to work in a place where you have learned how to obtain an alcoholic beverage license.
For more information on cocktail making, check out our detailed seasonal guides for spring cocktails, summer cocktails, fall cocktails, and winter cocktails.