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A signature cocktail is a personal welcome to your guests. It literally sets the flavour of the occasion. A first exciting taste-themed to express your unique idea. And reflect your personality and style.

There are so many different opportunities to create a signature cocktail. From a wedding reception, christening, anniversary or milestone birthday. To any type of special party, celebration or get-together.

It takes only a few simple steps to easily create your special, signature cocktail.

If you’re planning to create a signature cocktail check these ideas to get started

Creating a signature cocktail –  in 5 easy steps

Mixologists and bartenders alike point to 5 key steps for creating a signature cocktail your guests will absolutely adore! Your aim is to create that first taste of excitement. In anticipation of the main event ahead.

Step 1: Choose the right ‘base’ spirit – what spirit would most of your guests enjoy?

It’s all about giving your guests a ‘wow’ experience! That’s why the first step in creating your signature cocktail is all-important.

Think about the tastes of your guests.

  • Do they mostly prefer dark or white spirits?

More male guests might stick with spirits such as whisky or rum. While female guests are more likely to reach out for a vodka, gin or prosecco-based drink?

At the same time, you should consider your theme – say, highlighting memories or associations –  and how it will tie in with:

  • Specific colours and flavours

Step 2: Match your ‘base’ spirit with a template

It may seem surprising to hear as you’re planning to create your own, uniquely-themed signature cocktail. But they do give you a proven solid base, upon which to build your theme.

Mixologists often start their creative experiments by simply replacing ‘base’ spirits, such as scotch with rye. Or swapping elderflower liqueur for bitters.

Starting with a ‘template’ cocktail classic helps you to:

  • Control the cocktail mixing process – from deciding the base spirit to adding ingredients.

As you continue creating your signature cocktail, you can start to have further ideas about mixing – whether shaken or stirred – the possible garnishes. And the right glassware for presentation.

Step 3: Match your ‘base’ spirit with seasonal and /or extra ingredients

Here’s where you can get your creativity flowing. As you carefully try different combinations of ingredients. Starting with one or two only from an endless choice of spirits, bitters, liqueurs, amari, vermouth, syrups, sodas and fruit juices.

Next, you will need to consider the essential ingredients you plan to add to the spirits.

One route to take is to pinpoint seasonal ingredients, focusing for example, on herbs such as:

  • Rosemary, mint or basil

You could also look at adding fresh fruit like:

  • Citrus ( orange, lemon, lime, etc), apples or pomegranates

Step 4: Create a sweet/acid flavour balance

Throughout the entire making process, the big concern is achieving just the right balance.

At the outset, this means ensuring the spirit will not “drown out” any other ingredients. Adding acidity quietens down the spirit a little while adding sweetness helps blend the spirit together with the ingredients.

However, the next single most important aspect you need to control is carefully matching and blending flavours.

Achieving that perfect balance relies upon your cocktail blend to be:

  • Not too sweet, sour, bitter or salty.

You will need to add ingredients in subtle support to finely tune your flavour tones.

Remember:  Opposite flavours will complement each other while adjacent flavours are similar.

  • Is your overall blend starting to taste too sweet?

Simply add citrus or bitters.

  • Is your drink too sour?

Try adding sugar syrup.

Step 5: Finish with garnishes and presentation

The art of the garnish is all about star-quality presentation. The key here is to remember “less is more”! It can be very easy to go over the top, once you start dressing your cocktail.

A top tip is to match a garnish scent with the flavour of the drink. The garnish scent enhances your taste response. It can also add “flavour” that may not even be actually in the cocktail, itself.

The outer display also acts as a complementary, visual signal to the taste experience awaiting you in the glass.

There are endless ways to adorn with classic garnishes, such as peels, twists, sprigs and wheels.

Always remember to position the straw as close as possible to the garnish for that scent flavour to rush to the tastebuds!

Finally, you need to name your cocktail signature. Perhaps joining your chosen theme with one of your main ingredients. With a surprising twist!

Need some inspiration for your signature cocktail-making? Grab some ideas from our MyShakers page

Author Costas Nicolaides

More posts by Costas Nicolaides