I'm almost 20 years old and a 2nd year UG student. After going to college, occasionally I tried a bit of Vodka (Smirnoff, Magic Moments), Whiskey (Red Label, Signature, etc.), Rum (Old Monk), etc.

As our stipend is not that high (5k/month in Indian currency, Much more than many UG stipends though).

It would be great if I can get some light on how to select among these drinks, how are they chosen (say for serving various purposes), how can I both save money and have a fine drink, etc, etc.

  • Is it for mixed or straight shots/drinks?
    – morsor
    Aug 20 '20 at 9:20
  • Straight, cause I'm just a beginner. :) Aug 20 '20 at 9:45

How to choose spirits?

An in-depth spirit knowledge will help you a lot when making cocktails at home. Not all beginners would have this practical knowledge yet. So here is a short list of five (5) essential spirits a cocktail party thrower might need to create liquid deliciousness.

  • Rum: Sugar cane based spirit
  • Whisky: Grain based aged spirit
  • Tequila: Agave based spirit
  • Vodka: Any fermentable sugar based spirit
  • Gin: Neutral alcohol based spirit flavoured with juniper berry & botanicals.

Obviously there are also more spirits in the world. But with these five different spirits you can already make countless cocktails.

Of course one could say the same for ouzo.

Ouzo is a dry anise-flavoured aperitif that is widely consumed in Greece and Cyprus. It is made from rectified spirits that have undergone a process of distillation and flavoring. Its taste is similar to other anise liquors like rakı, arak, pastis and Sambuca.

Ouzo is not used in many mainstream cocktail drinks, although in Cyprus it does form the basis of a cocktail called an Ouzini.


All of them may be had straight, as they often are in the places from where they originate.

Having said that, some people find cheaper spirits more palatable when mixed:

  • Vodka + orange juice
  • Whisk(e)y + Coca Cola (or Ginger Ale) + perhaps some squeezed lime
  • Rum + Coca Cola + squeezed lime

How much mixer to use, is up to individual taste. Some might prefer to camouflage the spirit entirely, while others times want the spirit to 'bleed through' the drink.

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