Mixed Drinks, Highballs, and Cocktails Oh My! – Course 2 Lesson 04

What is a mixed drink? What’s a highball and how do they relate to defining a cocktail?

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All cocktails are mixed drinks, but not all mixed drinks are cocktails. All highballs are mixed drinks, but not all mixed drinks are highballs. A great highball has a ratio of 1.5 ounces of spirit to 5.5 ounces of juice/mixer. The highball is a single ingredient plus a core spirit or liqueur.

Broadly speaking, a cocktail is a complicated mixed drink that usually contains three or more ingredients. Harry Croswell may have defined the original “cock-tail”, but Jerry Thomas perfected the design by publishing recipes with acidity. Jerry Thomas perfected the cocktail over sixty years after the original definition. A quality cocktail contains spirit, sugar, acidity (sour), and bitters.

It is easy to discount those that drink a “basic” mixed drink as uneducated cocktail enthusiasts… newbies… posers… wanna be’s you name it. There is a time and place for a mixed drink and a cocktail, you just get to choose the time and place.

Over time many new drinkers will begin to explore the fun of a more complicated cocktail. Those soon-to-be cocktail enthusiasts will begin to understand and appreciate the slightly more complicated cocktail recipes. Those well trained enthusiasts may explore the ease and simplicity of a basic mixed drink just to relax and shut down the brain after a long day at work. There are plenty of styles of drinks for different people and different moods. Keep an open mind and always encourage people to keep exploring flavor combinations.

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ABOUT Common Man Cocktails (CMC)

Common Man Cocktails, inspired by Derrick Schommer’s intimidation when opening a cocktail book, is designed to show viewers how to create some of the most common cocktails to advanced crazy cocktails and to look back at the classics of yesterday. Derrick has learned as he goes and has been actively creating five recipes a week on the channel for over six years, lots of content to keep you entertained for hours!

CMC will teach you how to make some great cocktail designs, give you ideas for new cocktails and introduce you to the latest spirits, liqueurs, syrups, barware and bitters. If you’re looking to become a cocktail enthusiast or need new ideas for your bartending trade, CMC is a great place to start.

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