Categories of cocktails: Sour, sweet, strong, potent, and layered

What are the categories of cocktails?

A cocktail is always served in a glass that has been chilled beforehand. A cocktail should be clear, not opaque, and consist of three or more ingredients. The first requirement for a drink to be called a cocktail is the presence of alcohol, but it must also include sugar, bitters, water/ice, fruit juices, spices/herbs/vegetables, or cream.

There are several categories of cocktails to consider when mixing drinks at home or ordering one from your favorite bartender. Although there are no rules set in stone dictating what makes up any particular category of cocktails there are some general guidelines you can use to help you choose the right concoction for your taste buds or your guests. These popular are based around common flavors found within many types of cocktails.

There are five basic categories when it comes to cocktails: sour, sweet, strong, potent, and layered. The first four categories have been in existence for decades if not centuries while the last category is a relatively new one that has only been seen since the 1990’s when liquor companies began marketing flavored vodkas in a clear attempt at luring young people into drinking their product.

People may argue over which category of cocktail is better but in reality, they all have an important role in creating well-balanced drinks and flavors that will please almost any palate. Knowing the basics about what goes in your drink will help you understand why certain things taste good together and others do not. The more you know about the different categories of cocktails the better your experience will be.

Sour: Typically includes lemon juice which is sour. Examples include martinis or margaritas.

Sweet: Tends to use syrup as the sweetener such as melon liqueur or peach schnapps. Examples include pina colada and Long Island Iced Tea.

Strong: Uses liquor with a higher alcohol content such as vodka or gin that are 40% ABV (alcohol by volume). Examples include The B52 and Kamikaze.

Potent: Has a high concentration of alcohol compared to similar drinks. Examples include Long Island Iced Tea and Fireball Shots.

Layered: A drink in which several different spirits and liqueurs are layered to create a multi-colored effect. Examples include the B-52 and Caramel Appletini.

No matter how you enjoy your cocktail or what cocktail you enjoy, never drink and drive. This includes walking home from a bar or club as well as drinking while operating heavy machinery such as a lawnmower, chainsaw, snow blower, or any other similar apparatus. If you do not have a designated driver then call a cab, Uber, or Lyft because your life is valuable and nothing is worth dying over including having fun on the weekend. Thanks for reading this article everyone and remember what I said at the end of this piece about drinking responsibly. Stay safe!

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