It’s so tempting to grab a quick ready-to-drink beverage at the end of a long day—a glass of wine, a cold can of beer, a spiked seltzer. It’s simple. It’s easy. Just open and enjoy. But a hand-crafted cocktail can really crank up your happy hour, even when there’s no bartender on hand. We’ve rounded up some tips from the mixology pros to elevate your bar game at home and make every drink share-worthy.

Infuse a Spirit

Photo via @ironshoedistillery

No need to search high and low for sweet tea-infused vodka or watermelon-flavored moonshine. Infusion allows you to take your preferred fresh fruit, herb or veggie and add it to your liquid of choice for a distinctive flavor you can add to a martini or other craft cocktail. Taking a break from drinking or entertaining sober friends? You can use the technique to make flavor-enhanced water for a refreshing booze-free beverage.


Muddle Your Mint

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Many fresh beverages call for muddling an herb such as mint or basil. Think your Mojito, Mint Julep, Old-fashioned or Caipirinha. You don’t simply pound the plant to death, you use a spoon or muddler to gently press and release essential oils and flavor to enhance your beverage. We can't think of a better reason to plant an herb garden outside your kitchen window!


Learn How to Garnish

Photo via @stevethebartender

Does your range of garnishes span from choosing between a wedge of lemon and lime? Learning to make an orange twist for your Negroni, a simple swath of lemon for your bourbon or an impressive citrus rose for your cosmo can really make an impression. Stack pieces of fruit, pickled veggies or even cooked shrimp on a toothpick for a fun touch. Check out for tips, tricks and tutorials that will impress all your guests.

Explore the Outer Rim

Photo via @thefactorykitchen

Typically when you think of a rimmed cocktail, salt-dipped lime margaritas come to mind. But there’s no end to the creativity you can apply to rimming your glass. Want an extra kick for your Bloody Mary? Dip the lemon-rung rim in kosher salt spiked with sriracha. Need a fun complement for your summer punch or sangria? Add freeze-dried raspberries to a sugar rim. You can even drizzle a champagne flute with melted chocolate!


Pour on the Layers

image via @barquarantini

The layered variations of a rainbow always catch the eye—especially when they line up in a delicious beverage. Add a floater on top of your drink or combine multiple ingredients to create stripes, as in a B52shot. Rather than stirring, flip your spoon upside down to slow the pour of lighter liquids on top of heavier ones below. Really want to put on a show? Grab the lighter and set that top layer aflame!