Rule #1 – Always Use Fresh Ingredients

I’m an atheist. I don’t believe there is a god, but those bottled pre-mixes you see in the liquor store make me fear the devil. Cocktails are food. Just like using fresh, natural ingredients in the kitchen makes the food taste better, doing so at the bar makes your drinks kick more ass. Use freshly squeezed juices whenever possible, make your own simple syrup, and be sure you store things like vermouth the right way. You and your friends will notice the difference.

Rule #2 – Use the Right Glass Every Time

Seriously people. When I was 23 I would mix drinks in whatever waterproof vessel I found first. Start using real glasses, shaped the way they should be. Trust me on this: drinking your Martini out of a coffee mug or your Old Fashioned out of a paper cup don’t compare to using the right glasses. You look cooler and your brain makes the drink taste even better.

Rule #3 – Drink Outside Your Comfort Zone

I don’t mean drink more than you should, or start hanging out in bars filled with Nazis and pirates. What I mean is, try things you’ve never had before. Try things you’re pretty sure you won’t like. The worst thing that will happen is you’ll have an excuse to make another drink. If I hadn’t taken the gamble on a Manhattan a few years ago, I’d still be drinking vodka all the time and that’s something no one should have to suffer.

Rule #4 – Always Use Sugar

Even if you drink diet drinks in the rest of your life, it’s always best to use real can sugar in you cocktails. It tastes better and sugar in a few drinks every now and then isn’t going to make you fat. If you have a medical condition that may prevent you from consuming sugar, consult your physician – I’m just a cocktail nerd.

Rule #5 – Play With Your Booze

Don’t take recipe’s a gospel. Fuck around with the ingredients and proportions in order to get a version of the drink that you like best. If you do that, not only will you liek your drinks better, but you’ll be making a drink your friends can get no where else.

Rule #6 – Garnish Your Drinks

Those little scraps of fruit and whatnot often add important flavors to your cocktail. Your drink will suffer without them. Even if they offer no flavor, like a plastic plesiosaur or a toy whistle, they make the drink more festive and turn a glass of ethanol into an occasion of celebration.

Rule #7 – Don’t Underestimate You Bartender

Have the confidence to order and expect good drinks no matter where you are. You may be pleasantly surprised and make a fellow cocktailian’s day. If not, you’ll show off how awesome you are.

Rule #8 – Don’t Miss the Party

While it’s true that the party comes to the bar, when you have a lot of guests you can find yourself so involved in making everyone’s drinks, you miss much of the party fun!