Holiday Shots

It’s that time of the year again…the holiday season. How better to get into the holiday spirit than by having some holiday shots? With so many different types of shots and holiday cocktails out there, sometimes it is difficult to decide which shot you should go with.

Not to worry! We’ve put together a Holiday Shot Flow Chart to help you decide which holiday shot is right for you.

Plus we’ve got some other holiday drink recipes and holiday drink ideas for you!

Holiday Shots title

Whether you’ve been naughty or nice, filled the holiday spirit or sick of it, we’ve got a great holiday shot idea for you. With this Holiday Shots flow chart, you start at the top and follow the answers to all of the questions. This will lead you to the promised land of holiday shots recipes.

If you are interested in holiday shots recipes that are specific to New Year’s Eve, take a look at our New Year’s Eve Cocktail Guide and if you just love shots and can’t get enough, re-experience your childhood in booze-form with our try candy-flavored shot guide.  Each makes a great holiday shots experience. After the chart, we have included full holiday shot recipes with some extra shots that family and friends will love!

So, without further ado – check out our Holiday Shots Flow Chart!

Or click here to jump to the recipes.

 holiday shot flow chart
Here are all the recipes included in the Holiday Shots Flow Chart, as well as some others!

Holiday Shots Recipes


This holiday shot recipe is sweet and delicious it can be made with brandy or butterscotch schnapps. (We prefer butterscotch!)

  • ¾ oz Butterscotch Schnapps or brandy
  • ¾ oz Bailey’s Irish Cream
Build in a shot glass or shake and strain.
If you love apples or love pie, this holiday shot recipe is tastes just like an apple pie and it’s the perfect companion to the real thing.
  • 1-1/2  oz Sour Apple Schnapps
  • 1 oz Cinnamon Schnapps

Shake with ice and strain this makes 2 shots 



Like the apple pie shot, the pumpkin pie shot holiday shot is made to taste just like the real thing.  If you want to get crazy, try putting the Goldschlager in last, then light it with a lighter. This will give you a fresh baked version. (CAUTION: MAKE SURE YOU BLOW IT OUT BEFORE DRINKING!)

  • 2 oz Coffee Liqueur
  • 1 oz Irish Cream Liqueur
  • 1 oz Goldschlager

Layer each ingredient with a spoon. 



  • White Chocolate Liqueur
  • Peppermint Schnapps
  • Crushed Candy Canes

Wet the rim of a shot glass and dip into the crushed candy canes. Then mix equal parts white chocolate liqueur and Peppermint schnapps together. Next, shake and pour into the rimmed shot glass.

This one is from Fancy Napkin Blog!



This is another Candy Cane alternative! With holiday shots and holiday drink recipes, there is never just one version – try them all and decide for yourself.

  •  ½ oz Peppermint Schnapps
  • ½ oz Berry Vodka

Mix over ice and strain.



This one tastes like your favorite cookie and/or house. Try to refrain from yelling out “CAN’T CATCH ME I’M THE GINGERBREAD MAN!”

  • 1 oz Goldschlager
  • 1 oz Irish Cream Liqueur
  • 1 oz Butterscotch Schnapps
  • 1 oz Vodka

Shake with ice and strain 2 Shot Glasses

A variation on this shot is this drink:

Gingerbread Man II

  • ½ oz Domaine De Canton,
  • ½ oz Rum Chata.



  • 1 part grenadine syrup
  • 1 part green creme de menthe
  • 1 part peppermint schnapps

Pour grenadine to about 1/3 of your shot glass. Carefully layer equal parts of the creme de menthe, then the peppermint schnapps. Don’t worry if the schnapps and creme de menthe blend together, as mine did. Garnish it with crushed candy canes, if you want.

Thanks to Mix That Drink for this one!



This one is super simple, but really great. It hits you like a snowy kick in the face, hence the name.

  • ½ oz of Black Sambuca
  • Topped w/ whipped creme




Another Santa-themed shot, because if you simply can’t get enough. This one looks Christmas-y.

  • ½ oz Grenadine
  • ½ oz green Crème de Menthe

Layer and enjoy!



This classic shot may make you wiser, but we couldn’t find any medical research to back up that claim. All in all, it tastes great if you like whiskey.

Layer equal parts:


  • Johnnie Walker Scotch whisky
  • Jim Beam bourbon whiskey
  • Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey

Three Wise Men recipe comes from Drinks Mixer.



This shot is another visual masterpiece.

Layer equal parts:

  • 1 part Banana Liquor
  • 1 part Blue Curacao
  • 1 part Baileys Irish Creme


Thanks to Coed for this one.



Technically, this one isn’t a shot, but it falls into the shot category because you are supposed to drink it through your straw in one gulp. Either way you drink it, you probably won’t remember anyway!

  • ½ Oz. Club Soda
  • 3/4  Oz. Coffee Liqueur
  • 3/4 Oz. Vodka

Shake with ice and strain into a shot glass


Come check out American Bartenders School if you want to learn the correct way to make these shots and many other drinks. We want to help you become a bartender today. We’ll help you find a job bartending and get you making some money fast. Contact us for more details.

New Year’s Eve Cocktail Guide: Make this Year Something to Remember

Are you throwing a New Year’s Eve Cocktail Party this year? American Bartenders School understands that not every person has the same taste in cocktails, so we decided to be extra thorough and help come up with a variety of different New Year’s Eve drink ideas for any type of party. We’ve broken it down into New Year’s Eve Cocktails for two, New Year’s Eve Shots, cocktails for a larger house party, and lastly, big batch New Year’s Eve Drink recipes that will keep everyone happy.

Pick the right drinks with the New Year’s Eve Cocktail Guide that will keep you and your guests merry as you bring in the new year together.


New Year’s Eve Cocktails – Keep them Sparkling


We are going to start our New Year’s Eve Cocktail guide off with champagne, since it is a mainstay New Year’s Eve cocktail. This tradition of celebrating with champagne goes way back to the Middle Ages so, you can’t go wrong with a great bottle of bubbly. However, it is important to consider the type of sparkling wine that you are going to celebrate with on your big night. Remember, you don’t want to choose the wrong bottle, otherwise you will need to wait a whole year to get it right!

What is Champagne?

New Year's Eve Cocktail Guide - Champagne

Let’s start off with a quick basic primer in sparkling wine. As a New Year’s Eve cocktail, this is about as simple as it gets. Yet, there are many layers to sparkling wine that you may not be aware of.  For instance, sparkling wine can only go by the name ‘Champagne’ if it has been made in the Champagne region in the north east of France. The region has a very distinct climate that gives the grapes a distinct taste. Remember: All sparkling wine does not have to be champagne, but all champagne is sparkling wine!

The fact that it has been around for so long and producing quality products for hundreds of years allows them to keep a higher price point. This doesn’t mean that they are necessarily the best. Each person may have their own preference for sparkling wine.

If you are in the market for something other than Champange, other popular sparkling wines that come from Italy are FranciacortaAstiLambrusco, and Prosecco. Another popular type of sparkling wine, Cava, comes from Spain.

Brut or not to brut?

A Brut is essentially champagne that is devoid of sugar. If you are into extra dry wine, you may want to consider a Brut. Here is a quick breakdown of the sparkling wine sweetness scale.

  • Ultra Brut/Extra Brut/Brut Zero/Brut Nature/Brut Sauvage: Totally dry – No added sugar
  • Brut:  Should taste dry with no perception of sweetness. (Contains no more than 1.5% sugar.)
  • Extra Dry/Extra Sec:  Slightly sweet. (Up to 2% sugar.)
  • Sec:  A.K.A. ‘dry’ – Noticeably sweet. (Up to 3.5% sugar.)
  • Demi-Sec:  Sweet. (Up to 5% sugar.)
  • Doux:  Sugary Sweet. (Up to 10% sugar.)

New Year’s Eve Sparkling for Two:


New Year's Eve Cocktail Guide - Sparkling Wine for Two

So now that you have your basic primer, here are a few great choices from

$10 – 15

88 Segura Viudas NV Brut Reserva (Cava)

This cava a great wine that is at a great value if you are looking to dabble in sparkling wine but don’t wish to commit your whole pay check.  Price: $10

89 Le Colture NV Fagher Brut (Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore).

While the word Prosecco may tell you some of the story, apparently the journey to harvest the grapes used for this wine is quite an involved and under-appreciated process. Treacherous mountain cliffs, helicopters and intricate pulley systems are all employed to maintain these vineyards. This prosecco superiore is crisp and pairs great with Mediterranean foods. Price: All of this for $15


92 Raventós i Blanc 2009 de Nit (Cava)

The brand Raventós i Blanc is an “undisputed leader in quality ” among Cava producers. At $26 this price point will give you the quality of a great champagne, but won’t break the bank. Price: $26

88 Hermann J. Wiemer 2006 Cuvée Brut (Finger Lakes).
This dry sparkling wine is from the Finger Lakes of New York State. Price: $27


92 Roland Champion 2007 Spécial Club Chouilly Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut (Champagne)

The“Spécial Club” means that the wine has been approved by a special select group. Price: $80

95 Bollinger 2004 La Grande Année Rosé Brut (Champagne)
This is apparently James Bond’s favorite Champagne. At a higher price point, it should make any date night special. Price: $235


New Year’s Eve Cocktails for Two:

New Year's Eve Cocktail Guide - Cocktails for Two

Perhaps a bottle of champagne is a little too plain? Take a look at these New Year’s Eve drink recipes that use champagne. Maybe you’d like to spice it up a bit and try your hand at a champagne cocktail. This very traditional drink is essentially an old-fashioned but it uses sparkling wine in place of whiskey.

Champagne Cocktail Recipe:

  • Sugar cube
  • Dash Bitters
  • Champagne

Put 2-4 dashes of  bitters on the sugar cube, pour Champagne into a fluted glass and then drop in the bitters soaked cube.

However, there are also many other cocktails made using sparkling wine as a base. The most popular is probably the Mimosa. Here are a few variations on the champagne cocktail that are great for your date night.


Sorbet and Champagne Cocktail

A simple addition to champagne can make all the difference.

  • 1 teaspoon sorbet (we like raspberry or passion fruit)
  • Chilled Champagne or Prosecco

Scoop sorbet into a champagne flute. Fill with chilled Champagne or Prosecco; stir.

Via Martha Stewart


Air Mail

This drink is unique in that it combines rum with champagne. This gives a summer-ish twist to your New Year’s Eve Cocktails party.

  • 2 ounces rum — golden rum
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 5 ounces Brut champagne

Mix thoroughly with cracked ice in a chilled cocktail shaker, then pour unstrained into Collins glass. Fill with champagne. (We recommend using Puerto Rican rum.)

via Esquire


New Year’s Eve Fancy House Party Cocktails


New Year's Eve Cocktail Guide - House Party

OK, so maybe instead of a romantic dinner and evening on New Years, you are having a few friends over. Put away the Coors Light and try some of these great cocktails.

Hot Apple Pie Cocktail

The great taste of Apple Pie, in an alcoholic drink. It almost sounds too good to be true!

  • ¾ oz. Stoli Vanilla Vodka
  • 1½ oz. Butterscotch Schnapps
  • 4 oz. apple cider
  • 1 oz. whipped cream
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • cinnamon powder

Combine spirits and cider, steaming until warm. Add cinnamon stick to footed mug and pour in liquid. Top with whipped cream and sprinkled cinnamon powder.

via Delish


Siren’s Song

This drink features everyone’s favorite – Ginger Beer! This New Year’s Eve Cocktail will keep them singing Auld Lang Syne until the wee hours.

  • 3 ounces champagne
  • 1 ounce ginger beer
  • 1/2 ounce raspberry puree
  • 1/2 ounce raspberry liqueur

Combine all of the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and stir for 5 to 10 seconds. Strain into a champagne flute.

via Epicurious


Black Velvet

OK – You and your guests love beer but still want champagne? Try this drink!

  • Stout Beer
  • Champagne

Half-fill a Collins glass with stout and top up slowly with champagne. Stir gently with glass or plastic rod.

Via Esquire



Big Batch New Year’s Eve Cocktails for your Big New Year’s Eve Bash

New Year's Eve Cocktail Guide - Big Batch Drinks

Maybe you would rather be in a large crowd for New Year’s Eve. We’ve got you covered when it comes to big batch drinks. These New Year’s Eve Cocktails are easy to make and should keep the cost down.

Blood Orange Punch

Blood oranges are in season from December until May, so you should take advantage of them and get them in your cocktails.

  • 2 bottle(s) (25 ounces each) blood orange juice, chilled
  • 3 can(s) (12 ounces each) natural orange soda, such as San Pellegrino Aranciata, chilled
  • 3 tablespoon(s) fresh lime juice
  • 8 ounce(s) light rum
  • 5 dash(es) bitters
  • 1 blood orange or orange, cut into 1/4-inch-thick wedges and frozen

Fill ice cube trays with 1 1/2 cups orange juice, and freeze. To make punch, stir remaining orange juice, soda, lime juice, rum, and bitters into a 16-cup punch bowl. Before serving, add frozen orange slices. Add ice cubes as needed to keep chilled.

Orange Cherry Champagne Cocktail

A great recipe for another orange-based big batch cocktail.

  • 3 seedless oranges
  • Peel of 1/2 orange
  • ½ c. red cherries
  • ½ c. sweet vermouth (such as Carpano Antica)
  • ¼ c. blended Scotch (such as Famous Grouse)
  • 1 bottle champagne or other dry sparkling wine (such as Domaine Saint Vincent Brut)

Transfer orange juice to a blender. Add cherries and blend until fruit is pureed. Strain juice into a pitcher. Stir in vermouth and Scotch. Divide cocktail mixture among 8 glasses and top off each with about 1/3 cup champagne. Garnish with orange peels.

via Delish


Champagne Punch

This classic, easy-to-make punch recipe should keep the party going!

  • 12 ounce can frozen fruit punch, thawed partially
  • 10 ounces strawberries (can be frozen)
  • 2/3 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 24 ounces ginger ale
  • 1 quart Champagne
  • 3 cups water
  • Ice
  • Sliced fresh citrus fruit

Place fruit punch, water, strawberries, lemon juice, and orange juice in a large punch bowl. Stir well to combine all ingredients. Pour ginger ale and Champagne slowly into the bowl. For a finishing touch, add a ring of ice to the punch and slices of fresh citrus.

via Cocktails


New Year’s Eve Shots

Perhaps your New Year’s Eve cocktail and drink recipes aren’t enough. Maybe you need some shots to liven up the party. We highlighted some of these in our holiday shots post, but here are a few of our favorites.

new years eve cocktail guide shots


Pumpkin Pie Shot Drink Recipe

This is pumpkin pie in a shot glass. Here’s an amazing (and slightly dangerous) tip – light the goldschlager for a fresh baked version. Make sure you blow it out before drinking!

  • 2 oz Coffee Liqueur
  • 1 oz Irish Cream Liqueur
  • 1 oz Goldschlager

Layer each ingredient with a spoon and shake with ice. Strain into 4 shot glasses.


This is a great tasting shot for parties because it reminds everyone of the classic candy – M&M’s. If you like this shot, you can find every candy-flavored shot and cocktail on this post!

  • 1/2 oz. Frangelico
  • 1/2 oz. Creme de Cacao

Shake over ice and serve


This shot is sweet and delicious it can be made with brandy or butterscotch schnapps. It’s your party, so the choice is yours. (We prefer to have it with the butterscotch.)

  • ¾ oz Butterscotch Schnapps or brandy
  • ¾ oz Bailey’s Irish Cream

Build in a shot glass or shake and strain


Bartender School & Bartending In NYC: By the Numbers

Bartender school has never been more important if you want to get bartending in NYC. Why? If you look at the numbers, New York City is becoming an amazing place for bars and restaurants. So, whether you work at a fancy restaurant, a hotel bar, dive bar or nightclub, the time to get work bartending is right now. The way to capitalize on these bartending job opportunities in NYC is by attending bartender school.

We have created an infographic that breaks down the benefits of bartender school and the numbers of work opportunities in New York City.

Click here to jump to the Infographic.


Bartender School – Get in, Get Learning, Get Out.

Bartender school is designed to teach you what you need to know to get a job. A two-week, 40-hour class will help you learn four main areas about bartending.


The Law 

As we have talked about before, there is no certificate or certification needed to bartend in NYC. A bartending license doesn’t exist. But, what you will find is that some bars like their employees to study alcohol awareness to help protect themselves from legal action.

For example, did you ever hear of the Dram Shop Laws? This is a law that states that a bar can be held civilly liable if it serves alcohol to an obviously drunk person. However, according to Wikipedia, “NY will not allow a person who injures themselves to bring a lawsuit against the bar that served them, but if that person dies will allow such a person’s children to sue the drinking establishment for loss of parental consortium.”

So, getting trained in alcohol awareness can help protect against these sticky situations. According to National Hospitality Training, “The New York State Liquor Authority (NYSLA) will consider training a mitigating factor if, at the time of violation, the person who committed the violation held a valid certificate of completion or renewal from a certified alcohol training awareness program provider and the licensee diligently implemented and complied with the training program.”

Bartending Skills

As a bartender, you will not only need to know recipes for hundreds of drinks, but you will need to know how to make them. This is something that requires hands on experience that you can only learn at a bartender school.

Furthermore, the skill of a bartender is also in controlling the bar. This ties into the previous topic about law, but a great bartender always knows how much alcohol a customer has purchased. This allows the bartender to have control over the situation and protect him/herself and the bar.

In fact, there are many skills that you need to learn to actually get a job.

Making Money

Bartender School also helps you in your quest for the almighty dollar (more on this in a bit). Every person knows that bartenders make money, but to really make money, you need to know how to interact with customers (aside from the obvious – making good drinks).

We also know that there are scientifically proven ways to help increase tips as a bartender.

Resume & Interview Techniques

The importance of a good resume can not be underestimated. This gets you in the door. Then you need to know how to actually interview. Every job is different and every bar is different. Luckily, American Bartenders School has been around for so long that we have relationships with many bars and restaurants and we know how to help you prepare.

Bartender School = Work Opportunities



As you can see, there were over 550,000 jobs nationwide for bartenders in 2012. That number is expected to grow by 12% by 2022!

Digging deeper, you will see that New York State has the 2nd highest employment of bartenders (behind the huge state of California). Looking closer, New York City is the number one place to be for bartending with over 20,000 jobs. Now is the time to get bartending, so prepare yourself by going to bartender school first!

Bartending Jobs in Bars and Restaurants



Thousands of Work Opportunities

Did you know that there are over 2,600 bars in NYC? That is a lot of drinking! However, that number looks like nothing compared to the 16,000 full-service restaurants in the city.

Restaurant Boom

The number of permits for restaurants, bars, and cafes is at 23,705 at the start of 2015. This is up from 18,606 from 2006. Looking a bit closer, the number of eating establishments in Brooklyn has grown 10% since 2014 and the number in Manhattan 6%.

Bartender School and Making Money

As we said before, you can make some serious money as a bartender. How much are we talking? Well take a look below and you will see that a typical bartender can make $250-300 per night in tips. Working at a hotel, however, gets bartenders health benefits and a salary, but each person has their own idea of an ideal job.



All of this and all you need is a 40-hour class. It seems so simple. Well, it is! If you are willing to put in the work to learn how to be a bartender, you will be rewarded. The numbers don’t lie. Sign up today.




Bartender School: 15 Reasons Why You Need to go to School to Get a Job

Like it or not, bartending is not something you can do without any training. No one is ever going to hire you right off the street if you haven’t been to a bartender school. There are no shortcuts or handbooks that are going to make you a master bartender overnight. Bartender school is an important piece of the puzzle if you are serious about getting a job as a bartender in New York City and beyond.

Bartender school teaches important techniques, laws, history, and other important skills that you never even knew were important. At American Bartender School, we are extremely lucky to have instructors who are actual bartenders in the industry right now. Students benefit from the knowledge and experience of our industry professionals. Take a look at this infographic that shows the benefits of going to a bartender school and bartending in NYC broken down by the numbers.

Here are the 15 reasons why you bartender school is insanely important before you can get a job as bartender.


1. Interact with Customers

Learning to interact with a customer at a bar is a skill. Striking up the right conversation could mean gaining a customer for life. As a bartender, we have to walk the line between friend and businessman. You are a salesman but also a drinking buddy. Bartender school helps you gracefully merge the two ideas so that you can make friends while also doing your job. This will put money in your pocket but still keep you feeling like a human being. Our instructors set up working environments where you can learn and practice these interactions with other students so that you will know the best way to handle any situation. This is something you can’t learn on the job.

We also know that the way you interact with customers can directly affect the amount of money they tip you, which is great for you, but not something you can learn on the job. A great example is that it has been scientifically-proven that learning someone’s name and repeating it out loud to them makes them more likely to help you out. So, learning a customer’s name will make them more likely to help you out. And over the years, our instructors have learned that customers are willing to help. This bartender got a $1000 tip on a $14 bill. Or this NJ bartender who was left $1000 tip to help pay for her dog’s surgery.

We aren’t saying that everyone is going to tip you $1000 just because you learn their name. But, it is clear that learning how to navigate the world of customer-bartender interaction is beneficial – and is something that you can only learn from a proven professional at a bartender school.


2. Learn the Laws

Some of the most important things you will learn at bartender school are often overlooked and forgotten by bartenders who haven’t attended school. These are specific beverage industry laws from the state of New York that every bar needs to abide by. The laws themselves are part of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law (ABC), which was created back in 1933 after Prohibition.


The State Liquor Authority(SLA) and the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control were also created as part of this ABC law. The SLA provides “the protection, health, welfare and safety of the people of the State.” They are in charge of things like liquor licenses, inspections, and regulation in the bar industry. Bartender school will give you an overview of these laws – and let you know what you need to know if it ever comes up.

3. Sanitation!

Another type of law that is important to learning about in bartender school is sanitation law. Having first hand experience dealing with these types of rules and regulations, bartending school instructors are the best resources for an aspiring bartender. There are some bars that break these rules very frequently, which can lead to some serious health issues or fines.Our instructors help guide you through the sanitary practices that will help keep your job healthy and safe. You can view some of the laws and restrictions yourself from the NYC website here.

4. A Correct Pour

Over-pouring and spilled drinks are a huge problem in the bartending industry. It is such a problem, in fact, that some companies are trying to create bartending robots to combat the expense of wasted liquor from inept bartenders. Others are trying to track and limit the pours from each bottle with inexpensive devices that actually attach to the liquor bottle, like this one from Barvision.


A correct pour can be the difference between serving 15 drinks from one bottle to serving 25 drinks from one bottle. Over the course of a few weeks and months, the costs really start adding up for a bar. For a bar, a practice pour is money down the drain. Bartending school is the only place where you can actually practice and hone your skills of a correct pour without costing the bar money. A practice pour at bartending school, under the helping guide of an experienced instructor, is a learning experience and a step towards a professional career in bartending.

5. Upselling Techniques

Upselling is the idea where a bartender or server offers additional items to be added to a customer’s order. Did you know that only 15% of customers actually want to hear these additional offers? With such a small margin, there is a no room for error. This is not something you want to leave up to learning on the job, because it is a concept that bar managers look for in hiring employees. Upselling is such an important part of the hiring process because it ensures that you will be actively bringing in more money. This is obviously something all bars want to be doing.

Bartending school is the only place where you can learn the correct upselling tactics and actively practice them with ‘customers’ before actually working a job. It is also the best way to prove to the person hiring that you have learned these skills from instructors who are industry professionals.

6. Control Your bar

Being a bartender is a great responsibility. You need to be confident and lead behind the bar. You are accountable for the speed of service as well as the amount of people you are serving. Too many people slows down the service. Too little service and people might get angry and leave, costing valuable revenue for the bar and tip money in your pocket. A great bartender can efficiently mix and serve drinks to multiple people at once, while also taking orders for the next few.


While this is definitely something that is going to differ based on the bar, the clientele, and other variables like the time of day, you still need to have the knowledge and confidence going into the job to truly do it correctly. This is something that bartending school excels at teaching. Confidence and leadership skills are some of the most important things you will learn at bartending school. These are also what a bar manager is going to look for when hiring.

Another part of controlling your bar is being able to keep track of and control the number of drinks you are giving your customers. Serving drinks to whoever asks is only the beginning. The skill of a great bartender is knowing that Customer 2 already had two Gin and Tonics in the hour and may need a water instead of another. Or knowing that the group of college kids who ordered a round of shots just tried to put their drinks on a stranger’s tab.

Trust us, you are going to want to learn this stuff from a professional before getting behind a bar.

7. Drunks, Drams, and the Law

Dealing with intoxicated people is something you will never be able to learn on your own. This requires training. Bartending school prepares you and helps train for the situations that you may face in any given night. Sure, you may have helped break up a drunken brawl between friends or driven a drunk brother home, but when money and the law are added to the mix, the stakes are much, much higher. This is something that hiring managers take extremely seriously.

We already know that some employers require that employees get certified in certain alcohol awareness programs. New York State doesn’t require anything by law, but insurance companies often tell bar owners to also get their workers trained in an awareness program of some sort. They will also recommend that the bar purchases Liquor Liability Insurance for the bar.


The main reason behind all of this is that if you serve someone who is clearly drunk, and they go get behind a wheel, then there are serious repercussions. There are actual laws that govern over these types of cases, known Dram Shop Laws. The laws vary from state to state, but are very important.

Under NY state’s Dram Shop Law, a bar can be held civilly liable if it serves alcohol to an obviously drunk person.

This is serious business – and something that you want a professional with years on the job teaching you. Bartending school is where you will learn from instructors who have seen it all. American Bartenders School specifically employs teachers who have the experience and knowledge of years of bartending.

8. How it’s Made

As a bartender, you are the resident expert on everything on your side of the bar. Customers look to you for drinks, but sometimes, for answers. “Hey what’s the difference between scotch and bourbon?” Or “Hey what exactly is sour mix?”

These are the types of questions you need to be prepared to answer. You may be thinking, I’m just a bartender, I just get them drinks. Well sorry, not these days. An uninformed bartender not only make a poor impression on himself, but also on the bar. Therefore, this is not someone a bar manager wants to hire.

A lot of it goes back to building rapport with customers to keep them coming back. But furthermore, when you are behind the bar, you should know what you are working with. Know that different beers have different tastes because of little something called hops. Know that some liquors get their color from the barrel-aging process.

These are all things that you learn at bartending school from experts. You don’t want to go in unprepared. Remember, this is the age of the expert, celebrity bartender and mixologist. 

9. Learn Your Drink History

To take the previous topic a bit further, you should learn a little history about the drinks you are serving. Why does this help you when you are just serving a drink? Remember, you are the expert. The more that you know, the more that customers will appreciate it. This means better tips and hopefully a returning customer.

We aren’t saying that you have to know the history of each cultures’ first beer (But it sure is interesting…Most cultures created beer with different grains – the Africans used millet, maize and cassava, versus the Chinese who used wheat, while the Egyptians used barley). But taking the time to learn that gin originated in Holland is an interesting fact, and one that may make a connection with a customer. Bartending school once again will teach you these facts.

10. Craft Beer Wars!

First, take this amazing quiz about craft beer. Did you know that only a few companies own most of the beer you see on shelves and serve in bars? It may simply be because of this fact that the craft beer industry is booming.


Irregardless of the fact that the biggest beer companies InBev and SABMiller are merging, there will always be a craft brew industry. A true bartender needs to know the difference between the different types of beer being served.

At bartending school, you will learn about beer from expert instructors. You learn important points like how it’s made, who produces it, what makes some beer different than others, why different beers taste “hoppy”, why some are dark and others are light. American Bartenders School even offers a separate beer class. These distinctions are what make beer great, and keep people coming back for more. If you live in NYC, the average customer cares about the brewery and the type of beer. Did you know that NYC has over 20 craft breweries?

11. Top Drinks – in every industry

This may be the most obvious advantage of learning at a bartending school, but it is important to mention. At American Bartenders School, you will learn the top drinks that you need to know in any industry. Not only will you learn the ingredients and history behind the drinks, but you will learn the proper techniques for making them and serving them.

Sure, you can learn ingredients to make a drink online, but hands-on experience creating a cocktail is the only way to actually get hired as a bartender. Bartending school gives you that experience as well as training from instructors who have been perfecting these cocktails for years.

12. Beef up the Resume

Not only does writing ‘bartending school’ automatically give you a leg up on your competition if you include it on your resume, but at American Bartenders School, the job team also helps you write your resume. Just like any other job, there are certain traits, qualities, and keywords that employers in the bartending industry look for. You will learn these traits and qualities at the school, but we will also help you display them correctly on your resume.

13. Nail the Interview

The job interview is one of the most important parts of getting a job. This can make or break the whole process. Preparing you for your job interview is something that bartending school will prepare you in a way no other school can. American Bartenders School knows the industry, and therefore knows how to help you present yourself in the best way possible.


Knowing the types of questions that a bar manager or restaurant owner will ask you is incredibly important. American Bartenders School (over 60 years!) has been around long enough to know the interview stylings of many employers, since we have relationships with over 1,000 bars and establishments nationwide.

This insider information is extremely valuable and something that you won’t find anywhere else.

14. Find a Job!

If you are looking to get into bartending, you will need help finding a job. Bartending school provides you with that help in the form of a job board and job placement department. This private job board is something that you can not access outside of the system. It is only available to graduates of the American Bartenders School full bartending course.

American Bartenders School’s job placement department is dedicated to help you find a bartending job. Every day new restaurants, sports bars, clubs and hotels open, and they need well-trained, professional bartenders. This growth continues to fuel a demand for bartenders. In good and bad times, people continue to drink no matter the state of the economy.

15. Lifetime Practice

The greatest thing about bartending is that you can come back to it anytime. If you work as a bartender for a few years, then take some time off, bartending will always be there for you. However, coming back after a few months or years is a bit harder than you may think. This is something that bartending school can aide you in that you can’t get in a bar itself.

American Bartenders School offers lifetime access to the facilities for graduates. So, if you have graduated, but then wish to brush up on your skills, you are always welcome back for a refresher course or just to run through some drinks in our bars.


Top 10 Rums for New Bartenders

Greetings, Rummies! Yes, I know people use that word in the pejorative sense, but in truth rum possesses a lineage and history similar to that of whiskey.  Today on our online bartending school, we’ve decided to focus on the top 10 rums!  First, a little history.  Early records show that whiskey began in the early 15th century in Ireland, and then changed its name to whisky when it moved to Scotland. For reference, if a country has an “e” in its name it is called whiskey (U.S., Ireland), otherwise it’s called whisky (Canada, Scotland, Japan).

The name “rum” evolved in the mid-1600s and there is a great deal of argument as to its entomology, but a popular theory is that it is the last syllable of the Latin word saccharum, which means “sugar”.  It was probably first distilled in ancient India or China. The people of Malay (which includes the modern nations of Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, and southern Thailand) produced rum from fermented cane juice thousands of years ago. Since fermenting sugar is easier than fermenting grain, rum likely predates whiskey by a significant length of time.

The IWSC (International Wine & Spirits Competition) will happily tell you what the ten “best” rums are, as will many other judging organizations and competitions. As with whiskeys and whiskies, it is extremely subjective depending on what you personally like.

In 2014 the IWSC said the top 10 rums were:

  • Rhum Agricole Vieux Niesson
  • Angostura Gran Anejo (7 year old)
  • Angostura Single Barrel Dark (yes, these are the “bitters” people)
  • Royal Oak Trinidad Rum
  • Rum Company Old Guadeloupe Calvados Finish Rum (should have gotten the Longest-Name award)
  • El Dorado (12 Year Old),
  • Havana Club Seleccion de Maestros,
  • Inner Circle Rum Green Dot,
  • and two entries from Appleton Estate, their Reserve Rum, and their 21 Year Old.

Do I need a Bartending License?

Unlicensed Bartending and Misinformation

Is there any other way?

Actually, no, there isn’t any other way. Bartending licenses do not exist per se. Oh, the various academies and bartending “schools” will attempt to convince you such a thing exists, but it is a simple fiction designed to convince you to part with up to $1,000 of your hard-earned cash to train with them.

This is not to say that all such schools ought to be avoided. Some of them are actually good, charge a lot less, and teach you useful bits of information. Moreover being a graduate of such a school may give you a psychological edge and the confidence to overcome those first night jitters.

Just be warned that such a certificate will look great on your wall, but bar owners really don’t care if you have one. If the school gives you a little wallet card, that’s a good place to keep it – in your wallet. Showing it might actually decrease your chances of obtaining a job.

You can show it, and in a deprecating way, say: “…and I even took a mixing course so that I can reliably make all the most common, basic drinks without having to thumb through a rolodex or open a book.” Then they know that you did some real preparation but don’t think you magically became a bartender because you went to a “school”. Many will test you to see if you really can mix and tend.

In the beginning…

In all likelihood you’ll start as a back bar assistant bar tender. You’ll be keeping the beer fridge filled, replacing dead soldiers (disposing of empty liquor bottles and replacing them with fresh ones for the bartender), topping up the ice, juices, and making drinks for servers in the restaurant area (if there is one).

Some bar owners insist that you use shot glass or jigger to dispense alcohol, but if you’re allowed to free-pour then you should know the technique. People feel like they’re getting full value when you free-pour so your tips are better. They’re getting the same amount of liquor, but they feel better about it.


Now there are some certifications you can (or in some cases must) obtain. The have names like Smart Serve, ProServe, or an alphabet soup of letters like TIPS, MAST, TAPA, ASAP, SIR, RSA, or any number of others. Usually it is determined by the bar-owner, but in some jurisdictions, such as Oregon it is set by local ordinance, whereas in Washington (state) a class 12 permit or a class 13 permit is required to serve alcohol in licensed premises, and in Wisconsin a state license is required.

Some states require an alcohol server/food handler’s certification. In the case of the latter, only one person needs to be certified as a food handler (usually the manager) but it is becoming a popular “preferred skill” so getting that could be an aid to getting a job.

There is no universal age to bartend either, but 24 states require 21 years of age; 24 states require 18 years of age; 4 states require 19 years or age; and 2 states require 20 years old. No, there are no new states, just variable status is some states with multiple age requirements.


Need more information? We’d be more than happy to help. We’ll teach you just what you need to succeed without costing you an arm and a leg! Get ready for a new career…come visit us now, while you’re thinking about it, and let us get you started in this fascinating field.

Liqueurs That Bartenders Should Know

The Cure for Liqueur

It simply is not possible to list all the liqueurs available in this space.  Liqueurs are different from liquors.  Liquors are generally derived from grains, canes and potatoes, and are unsweetened.  Liqueurs are derived from fruits, spices, herbs and sweetened with sugars.

Some people call them cordials, but that word has been usurped from its original meaning of “sweet, fruit-flavored, non-alcoholic drink concentrate”, so I don’t use it and avoid arguments.  It is much like how the word chauvinism was changed from “aggressive, zealous patriotism” to an equivalent of “misogyny”.

In any case, of the dozens upon dozens of liqueurs available, there are a few that are really important to keep at your bar.

  • Absinth is a very strong Anise flavor, used in quantities of three or four drops in a Mile High Manhattan. It is easy to overpower a drink with it, so if you’re worried, use Sambuca or Galliano
  • Tia Maria a strongly flavored coffee liqueur which is very sweet and syrupy.
  • Amaretto is almond flavored. It is often paired with coffee liqueurs such as Tia Maria or rum in the Café Caribbean.
  • Curacao is essential for many colorful drinks, especially Blue for Romulan Ale, which is one part Bacardi 151, one part Everclear® Alcohol, and one part Blue Curacao, rendering 143 proof.
  • Irish Cream (many varieties) is great on its own, but useful for Ghostbusters on Hallowe’en with its eerie green color and ghost shapes. (One part Peach Schnapps, one part Melon liqueur, and 3-5 drops of Irish cream liqueur.  Opaque Brown bottle, tall thin neck.
  • Galliano, herbal, but with two kinds on anise, in a distinctive tall, narrow, conical bottle with a vivid yellow color.
  • Triple Sec/Cointreau (clear tall bottle/short, squat, square, brown bottle) when you need an orange flavor.
  • Averna an Italian bitter liqueur of herbs, rinds and roots with caramel added. Required for Belle of the Ball and the Happily Ever After Cocktail
  • Benedictine herbs and roots in Cognac for the traditional Milk & Honey or B&B with its big waxy seal so it’s easy to spot this green (sometimes brown) bottle that looks more suited to Chianti.
  • Chartreuse made from 130 herb, plants, and flowers from the Swiss Alps comes in green (110 proof) and yellow (86 proof) varieties. Used in innumerable drinks.  Clear bottle with metallic green or yellow label.
  • Frangelico, often served straight, is hazelnut based with chocolate and vanilla notes. Essential for the R.F.O. Cocktail, and the Friar Tuck.  Brown bottle designed to resemble a friar in his habit, including the rope tied around the waist.
  • Hpnotiq, pronounced “hypnotic” is vodka, cognac and a proprietary secret blend of tropical fruit juices. It is pale blue-opaque liquid in a champagne-look bottle, that adds light fruity flavors to cocktails.
  • Crème De Menthe (white or green), De Cacao, de Cassis and De Banana
  • Goldschläger (cinnamon schnapps) with real gold flakes inside. Clear Bottle, no label, painted lettering, squat with tall, thin neck.
  • Peach Schnapps for the Fuzzy Navel, and every other kind flavored Schnapps.
  • Jagermeister with its herbal, spice and citrus aroma, is very popular for shooters.
  • And of course, essentials such as: Kahlua, Sloe Gin, Southern Comfort, Pernod, Metaxa, Grand Marnier, Drambuie, Cointreau, Cherry Brandy, Fireball, Ouzo, Yukon Jack, and Sour Puss Apple.


If you get a chance, with a clean palate, taste a dram (⅛ of a teaspoon) or two of the various liqueurs so that you’re familiar with their flavors.  Have some time between tastes or they’ll become a meaningless jumble.  If you’ve never tasted them how will you ever know how to blend them?

What is the Difference between Whiskey and Bourbon? [The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide ]

This is a very popular question and the simplest answer to this question is this: Bourbon is a type of Whiskey.

Whiskey is a spirit made from fermented grain. Bourbon is made using a specific type of grain and specific aging process. So – to quickly dispel myth number one: Bourbon DOES NOT have to be made in Kentucky. It is the process that determines the type of whiskey.

To really understand, we have decided to dive a bit deeper and help to clarify the whole process for you. American Bartenders School teaches a great lesson on whiskey during part of its full class. Knowing the difference is something that separates the good bartenders from the mediocre. Bartending in NYC and throughout the world requires intimate knowledge of what you are serving, because there is always a customer out there who thinks they know more than you.

But, here is a primer to get you started and some great facts to impress your customers, family, and friends.

Without further ado: here is the infographic!

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Whiskey Making Process (Simplified)

Whiskey is a spirit that is distilled from fermented grain mash. This same grain mash is the stuff that is also used to make beer. In both processes, the grain is steeped in hot water for a time to release sugars. This sugary liquid becomes “wort”. Then the wort is fermented, by adding yeast, which converts the sugar to alcohol.

The only difference is that when making beer, they also add hops when producing the wort. This helps add flavor to the beer and balances the sweetness. Whiskey doesn’t need hops because it ages in oak barrels to balance the flavors.

So, after the wort is fermented, it becomes ‘wash’. This is fermented liquid that is ready to get distilled. From here it is placed in a still, such as a pot still or column still. This heats up the liquid and the vapors travel through a pipe at the top and come out the other side. During this distilling process, the alcoholic content is increased. This happens two or three times and in some special cases up to twenty times – each time the liquid becomes more alcoholic. Then the whiskey is transferred into casks or barrels where it is aged. As they age, they are blended with other whiskies to create that particular brand’s signature flavor.

This is the process in the most simple form.

The type of whiskey produced, however, is dependent on many factors. These include the geography of the distillery, the type of grain used, the distillation method, the type of casks, and any other things added to the final product like coloring or other spirits.

Whiskey vs Whisky

This is highly debated, but comes down to the origins of the word and who you are talking to. The New York Times dove into this issue and came out with the understanding that if you are talking about whiskey in general, it is fine to say whiskEy. However, Canadian and Scottish folk say Whisky. So – when referring to scotch (because it’s from Scotland), you would say scotch whisky – no E.

Single Malt vs Blend

This is what you will hear most people talking about when they talk about whiskey. Basically, a SINGLE MALT whiskey is one that is created from one distillery, made from a mash that only uses one particular malted grain. (For example, a single malt scotch whisky is made from malted barley.)

A BLENDED whiskey is one that is the made from the blending of different types of whiskeys from many different distilleries.

You can also have BLENDED MALT, which is a blend of SINGLE MALT whiskeys.

IMPORTANT: All whiskies are blended! A single malt is still blended! So, don’t be a whiskey snob -only you can decide for yourself which whiskey is the ‘best’.

Kinds of Whiskey

Here is where things get a bit confusing. The easiest way to remember all of this is that it is ALL whiskey. The word that comes before it tells you where the whiskey comes from – and each country that makes whiskey has its own rules and laws that they have to abide by.

Scotch Whisky

Scotch Whisky is whiskey that MUST be made in Scotland.

To be specific, it has to be

  • Distilled twice
  • Matured for a minimum of 3 years in oak casks
  • Scotch whisky without an age statement may, by law, be as young as three years old
  • Any age statement on the bottle, in the form of a number, must reflect the age of the youngest Scotch whisky used to produce that product.
  • Scotch malt whiskies are divided into 4 main regions: Highland, Lowland, Islay, Speyside. (You can actually break it up into 7 regions, and include the regions called ‘Islands’, “Grain’, and ‘Campbeltown’.) Every region has certain distilleries that create scotch with flavors and aromas distinct to that region.

American Whiskey

American Whiskey is whiskey made in America. However, unlike Scotch, some of these whiskeys below can be made outside of the US (with the exception of ‘Tennessee Whiskey’). There are several different kinds:

  • Bourbon whiskey—made from mash that consists of at least 51% corn (maize)
  • Corn whiskey(MOONSHINE)—made from mash that consists of at least 80% corn
  • Malt whiskey—made from mash that consists of at least 51% malted barley
  • Rye whiskey—made from mash that consists of at least 51% rye
  • Rye malt whiskey—made from mash that consists of at least 51% malted rye
  • Wheat whiskey—made from mash that consists of at least 51% wheat

All above must follow the following rules. They must be distilled to no more than 80% alcohol by volume, & barrelled at no more than 125 proof. (To clarify this even further – ‘Proof’ in the US is two times percentage of alcohol by volume. So, in order to be American Whiskey, it must be barreled at no less than 62.5% alcohol by volume.)

  • Only water may be added to the final product -the addition of colouring or flavouring is prohibited.
  • Must be aged in NEW charred-oak containers, (except for corn whiskey which does not have to be aged Corn whiskey is usually un-aged and sold as a legal version of moonshine. This is also why moonshine isn’t a dark color like other whiskeys – because the barrel aging process is where most of the color comes from.)

The reason these are in place is because back in the 1800’s, old timer distillers used to mess with their whiskeys, sometimes trying to enhance the flavor, other times trying to dilute them. This eventually led to the Bottle in Bond Act of 1897, which helped come up with the stipulations above.

Tennessee Whiskey?

Tennessee whiskey is American whiskey that is made using the ‘Lincoln County Process’. Before the whiskey is moved to the barrels or casks, it is filtered or steeped in charcoal. This was signed into law by the governor of Tennessee on May 13, 2013. The most popular of these is Jack Daniel’s.

Canadian Whiskey

Canadian Whiskey is whiskey made in Canada. Here the rules are a bit different.

  • May contain caramel and flavouring in addition to the distilled mash spirits,
  • No maximum limit on the alcohol level of the distillation.
  • To be exported under one of the “Canadian Whisky” designations, a whisky cannot contain more than 9.09% imported spirits.

Irish Whiskey

Irish Whiskey is whiskey that MUST be produced in Ireland – Irish whiskeys are normally distilled three times (with one exception).

By law, Irish whiskey must be:
-produced in Ireland
-aged in wooden casks for a period of no less than three years
-unpeated malt is almost always used

Japanese Whisky

Japanese Whisky has been growing in popularity since the early 2000s. They produce whiskey that is most similar to single malt scotch from Scotland. It is also made from malted barley. Popular brands include Nikka and Suntory. Japanese whisky is also closer in taste to traditional Scotch whisky because many of the Japanese companies are buying distilleries in Scotland in order to make their whiskies.

So remember, whiskey is a category. We advise you to try all the different kinds. Get to know your favorite brands and tastes. Visit a distillery! The more informed that you can be, the better you will be as a bartender. And the better you are as a bartender, the more cash you will make!


Does Ice Really Make a Difference in Cocktails?


So, does the type of ice really make a difference in your cocktails? We asked our friends from IceMachinesPlus to help us out with this one.

With their help, we also came up with a Summer Guide to Drink Ice!

Ice to a bartender is like fire to a chef. It is vital for making good cocktails. A bartender must know about why ice is used in drinks and what the different properties of different kinds of ice are. It’s not a simple as just going to a machine and plunking some cubes in!

What Ice Does

Ice has three main functions in cocktails. The first is to make the drink colder. The second is to add water to a strong drink. The third is to provide an aesthetic element to the experience. The art of cocktails didn’t really take off until bartenders could get their hands on large amounts of ice. However, cold needs to be balanced with dilution and that’s where it gets tricky.


As ice cools down, it melts. This adds water to your drink, which can be a good thing or a bad thing. Some alcohols do benefit from a little water. It can volatize flavor compounds that enrich the experience. It’s why some scotch drinkers splash their drink with water before drinking it straight. Too much water, however, will make a drink taste too weak. The basic rules are these:

  • In general, the more ice you have by mass in a container, the faster it will chill.
  • A piece of ice with less surface area will melt faster than one with a larger surface area. However, if the piece of ice is heavier and more pure, this will slow melting compared to a piece of ice of equal size.
  • Manipulating the ice by shaking or stirring the drink will make it melt and chill faster.
  • For drinks that are meant to be enjoyed over time, use heavier and larger pieces, and vice versa for drink for immediate consumption.

Where is the balance point? It all depends on the drink, and that’s where skill and experience come into play along with the right kind of ice. There are four main kinds of ice used in bars: block ice, cube ice, cracked ice, and crushed ice.

Block ice

The old fashioned way of making smaller ice is by using a big block and a pick. Ice machines do most of the heavy lifting these days but some bartenders stick to the old ways to make dense large pieces of ice. Block ice is also necessary to make ice spheres, which are getting quite popular in some areas. This type of ice is the heaviest and the slowest-melting, which makes it great for top-shelf liquor that a patron might savor for a long time or for a large punch bowl.

Cube ice

The next step down, and the classic shape for cocktails, is cube ice. Any drink “on the rocks” is going to use cube ice or some form of block ice. Cube ice melts slowly and keeps drinks mildly cold compared to other ice types. Most bars will use standard cubes rather than fancy shapes like doughnut ice, nugget ice or chewblet (“Sonic style”) ice. These ice types were made for the soft drink industry for very rapid cooling of sodas and for people who like to chew ice. People usually don’t drink their sodas slow, so they melt very fast. That’s why your soda tastes terrible by the time you get your drink home from the drive-thru.

Cracked ice

The next step down is cracked ice. This is used in stirred and shaken drinks. The primary purpose of it is for rapid cooling. However, it melts fast. Thus, the trick for the bartender is to shake or stir the drink long enough to reach the right temperature without adding too much water into the mix. This takes practice and a lot of taste-testing.

Crushed ice

At the smallest level is crushed ice, which is similar to the ice you get from a snow cone. It melts very fast but makes drinks very cold. Juleps, pina coladas, and many other beach drinks use crushed ice. Try cracking some cubes in a tea towel and home and shake those compared to standard ice cubes. You’ll start to see just how much ice can change the effect of a drink. Enjoy your experiments and drink responsibly!


Author Mark is from with over 10 years of experience in the restaurant and bar industry. With an extensive background and entertaining writing style Mark is focused on providing quality information and advice to managers and contractors about the best practices on choosing the right type of ice machine.



Healthier Cocktails: 20 Easy Ways to Make your Cocktails Healthier for the Summer


Summer is coming! It’s time to start getting a little smarter about the cocktails you are enjoying if you want to keep your beach bod (or if you simply want to keep from passing out from heat exhaustion while drinking under the sun.) Even if you aren’t necessarily concerned about a beach body, there are some simple fixes to your cocktails that will at least keep the hangovers to a minimum – which is always a plus.

Please keep in mind that these are not medically-proven tips recommended by a doctor to help you lose weight while drinking. If you really want to stay healthy, you probably shouldn’t be drinking at all.

Here are our 20 tips to keep your cocktails ‘healthy’. Enjoy!

1. Use seltzer instead of club soda.

There is a difference here folks! Seltzer is simply water that has been carbonated. Its origin is an actual town called Selters in Germany which is famous for its natural springs. Club soda, on the other hand, contains some ingredients that supposedly enhance the flavor (although if you don’t know, you probably can’t taste the difference). These ingredients are things that you would have seen on the bottle like potassium bicarbonate and potassium sulfate which are salty minerals. Some also contain preservatives.

2. Cut the sodas and colas

Say goodbye to Rum & Coke or Gin & Tonics. Cola contains unnecessary artificial sugars that you don’t need, like high fructose corn syrup. Tonic Water contains the bitter quinine, which adds calories. Fun fact: Quinine used to be used to treat malaria! If you absolutely have to drink cola, at least stick to diet. While the artificial sweeteners in diet sodas aren’t much better, you can at least cut away the hangovers!


3. Light Rum over Dark Rum

If you wish to decrease the severity of your hangover, choose light rum over dark rum. Dark liquors contain congeners, which according to the Oxford University Press, actually increase a hangover. Congeners are what make up the color and flavor of liquors.


4. Make your own juice

Fruit juice itself contains a lot of sugar. Fruit cocktail contains even more because it is artificially sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. For example, Cranberry juice is very tart, so they sweeten it with other fruits juices like apple juice. A cranberry juice cocktail however, is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. Any type of juice that you buy from the store is even worse because it is packed with preservatives. So, if you wish to go all natural, the healthier option is juicing your own juice. This way you avoid the artificial sweeteners.


5. Speaking of fruit juice – choose antioxidant rich ones

Focus on drinks with antioxidant-rich fruit juices like cranberry, lemon, or pomegranate. Each is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. Dr. Oz tells us that these help fight off free oyxgen radicals in your body which can lead to various illnesses, stress and aging. 


6. Make it a spritzer!

Recently the long-standing belief that red wine is good for you was called into question. Health benefits of antioxidants in the red wine was somewhat proven to not be all it was hyped up to be. However, if you have to have wine, watering it down means you are drinking less, which is better for you overall. White wine with seltzer is a great summer drink that goes down easy in the hot summer sun.


7. Say goodbye to Pre-Made Drink Mixers

At American Bartenders School, we talk about the easy ways to make your own Bloody Marys, Margaritas or even how to make your own Sour Mix. Pre-made mixers are packed with sugar and artificial sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup. The sweeteners make you think your drink tastes ‘better’ when really it is just going to lead you to a stomach ache or hang over! If you really have no way around it, and you have to use a pre-mixed drink – go with something like Skinny Girl – which is at least low in calories.


8. Try Detoxing with booze

Wait, what? You aren’t exactly detoxing here, you are simply drinking a lot of healthy ingredients with a little bit of alcohol. The Hotel Americano right here in Chelsea, NYC serves something called the Detox Bellini. This is a combination of wheatgrass, celery juice, green chartreuse, apple juice, orange juice and a few drops of chlorophyll. Then it is topped off with champagne. This is packed with vitamins and minerals, and gives a boost to the immune and circulatory systems.


9. Make your own bitters

Concocting your own bitters to go into a cocktail like a Manhattan or Sazerac is all the rage. You can learn more about making your own bitters at Food and Wine. By creating your own, you not only have control of the taste, intensity of flavors, but you also will not have to worry about artificial flavors or sweeteners that some companies add to their bitters to make them more appealing.


10. SAY NO to heavy cream drinks

Sorry Lebowski, but your days of drinking White Russians are over. Drinks with high cream content like a White Russian or Mud Slide have high fat and calorie contents. 


11. Less Alcohol in your Cocktail

This one is pretty easy to follow and pretty self explanatory. But, if the drink calls for 2oz of Rum, just add 1oz and double up on ice or juice. This is the same principal as the wine spritzer – you will be drinking less alcohol while still enjoying a ‘drink’. Less alcohol=healthier.


12. Stay away from Cocktails with Multiple types of Alcohol

Taking this one step further, you should avoid the drinks with multiple types of alcohol. This will only get you drunker!  So, no more Long Island Iced Tea!


13. Stay away from Caffeine in drinks

Caffeine hasn’t been proved to dehydrate you as once thought, but it can cause insomnia and nasty headaches – combine that with a hangover and that’s a nasty soup. Redbull and other energy drinks have all sorts of interesting effects on the body, none of which are really that great, so we recommend staying away from those as well if you want to stay healthier!


14. Use natural sweetener like agave.

Agave is considered healthier because it has a lower glycemic index than sugar. Use this as a sweetener instead of processed white sugars. They are great in margaritas!


15. OR Make your own simple syrup

If you are totally averse to agave nectar for whatever reason, and you really want to use simple syrup, don’t both buying it – just make your own. Use honey- which is rich in antioxidants. Greatist tells us to use  ½ tablespoon honey mixed with ¾ tablespoon warm water.


16. Use liquor with high CPA score.

Greatist put together a liquor score called CPA that combines alcohol by volume (ABV), calories per serving, and calories from alcohol. The higher score means it is better for you. You can check out the full list here. But the breakdown goes like this:

  • Drink Makers Mark instead of Jim Beam
  • Drink Gordon’s instead of Seagrams or Tanqueray
  • Drink Barcardi instead of Captain Morgan
  • Drink Jose Cuervo instead of Patron


17. Don’t drink alcohol in the hot sun

This is kind of a no-brainer, and it’s crazy how quickly we forget after one or two beers in the sun. Do not drink excessively under the hot sun. This is a one way ticket to an ugly night, let alone extreme dehydration. You also increase the risk of getting sunburn.
18. Don’t drink right before bed – no more nightcaps

Men’s Health tells us that there are a great deal of negatives to going to bed drunk. You miss out on the much needed REM sleep, so you wake up restless and overtired, which will NOT help keeping healthy.

19. Don’t drink before a workout

Being healthy means working out. Alcohol can negate the effects of a workout even before you hit the weight bench. One study showed that alcohol stops the repair of muscles after they break down, so even if you are at the room getting your lift on, you won’t gain anything from it. Come on bro!

Alcohol from the night before has also been shown to linger in the bloodstream, so lay off even if you are going to get a good night’s sleep.

20. OR After!

Although there was a rumor going around that beer is a great workout recovery drink, Greatist has also somewhat debunked this one as well. There are way more negative effects than positive here for your health in post workout recovery boozing.

According to them, “Alcohol causes oxygen to leave the bloodstream more quickly,which inhibits the transport of digestive enzymes and essential nutrients through the body. This slows muscle growth and repair and impairs the metabolism of carbs for energy.”