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Basic Beverage Categories

Basic Beverage Categories
There are so many kinds of drinks available nowadays that it is very simple to get confused. Sometimes you can even have difficulties explaining a bartender what exactly you want when looking for something new. Sometimes it is hard to determine which drink is appropriate for a particular occasion or situation as well. Here are some general categories of drinks available in most bars. Look through them and you’ll probably feel more comfortable choosing the drink you want. It is also recommended that you look through the “Advanced Drink Categories” article to find out more about some exotic and unusual drink categories.


An aperitif is a drink taken before a meal as an appetizer. However, it was not always that way. Originally the word aperitif referred to a purgative s o aperitifs were hardly appetizing. Aperitif should wet the appetite, not to suppress it, so it is very important to serve appropriate aperitifs in right quantities to achieve the best result. Many drinks can be used as aperitifs, but cocktails are the most popular ones in United States. However, in Southern Europe, for example, people prefer complex alcohol, served straight on the rocks.

Blended Drinks

Although almost every cocktail can be put into a blender with ice, it may be not the best thing to do in most cases. However, some drinks do have to be blended for the best result. The grasshopper, daiquiri and pink lemonade are just a few out of the large list of outstanding blended drinks. Blending can be a bit challenging at home since some home blenders are not designed to deal with ice and frozen fruit. What you can do is add some liquid to the blender and then slowly add ice cubes and frozen fruit. Only when ice and fruit are reduced should you add other ingredients. Following these simple tips will help you make a good drink and save your blender.

Classic Drinks

There are some drinks that are considered classic due to their outstanding and original qualities; they can be easily found in most bars. Gin and Tonic, Margarita, Manhattan and Bloody Mary are some drinks of this category. Knowing how to make classic drinks is essential for any bartender, and on the other hand, if you’re one of experienced bar-goers, you probably have tried most of them. The good thing about them is that they are available almost everywhere, so you can enjoy your favorite classic drink regardless of your current location.


A highball is a liquor mixed with water or soda in a highball glass with ice. Highballs are rather quickly prepared drinks. The phrase 'highball' comes from a ball on a tall pole placed on railway stations, which was the signal to a train that was running behind the schedule. The name was attached to the drink because the highballs are quickly made and composed of only one liquor, one mixer, and a single garnish. Most drinks were highballs originally. However, Rum and Coke, Gin and Tonic, and some other simple drinks which follow this formula are now often served in old-fashioned or lowball glasses.

Hot Drinks

Hot drinks are very popular in cold parts of the country or during wintertimes. To prepare a hot alcoholic drink heat the alcohol, add any required ingredients and serve in heat resistant glasses. However, never allow the drink to boil or else the alcohol will vaporize. To prepare a hot drink more quickly you can add alcohol to a hot non-alcoholic beverage of your choice (like tea, coffee, milk, etc.), but even in this case alcohol should be heated first if possible.

Layered Drinks

Layered drinks are also known as pousse-café. These are very fashionable drinks which are almost in most cases made with cream and sweet liqueurs. To layer a drink you need a bar spoon, a pousse-café glass or pony glasses and a little practice. Check out the Bartending 101 section to learn everything you need to know about layering a drink.


Some shots are just painful and simply the most disgusting drinks that anyone can think of, that are taken as shooters because sipping them would be masochistic. However, some shots are tasty and are some of the most attractive mixed drinks. Although occasions may demand a congratulatory shot, they are not recommended since their alcohol content often brings a pleasurable evening to an early close. Besides, hangover in the morning can be rather painful, too.


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