Most drinkers know their favorite adult beverages by their names -- but they may not know exactly what they are drinking. The ingredients, the way they are prepared and even the glasses in which they're served categorize mixed drink types. Learning the different kinds of mixed drinks adds more variety and sophistication to your drinking exploits.
How Sour It Is
Different kinds of citrus juices link a number of mixed drink types. Sours are one of the most widely known citrus juice cocktails; margaritas and kamikazes are both sours. Sours are basically liquor, lemon or lime juice and a sweetener like triple sec or simple syrup -- some sours also have egg whites for froth. Daisies and crustas are much like sours, though daisies almost always have lemon juice and grenadine and crustas have sugared rims and full lemon peel garnishes. Fixes, made with powdered sugar and lemon juice, are served in tall glasses filled with crushed ice, and shrubs are a combination of a base liquor, citrus peel, juice and sugar.
Glassware and what goes into it also help categorize different mixed drink types. Highballs, though known as a particular type of glass, are also a kind of mixed drink -- a liquor and a non-alcoholic mixer served on the rocks. Coolers are like highballs except that they are served in tall or collins glasses with fruit garnishes and the liquor is usually mixed with a carbonated beverage. Collins drinks are also served in collins glasses, and like coolers they are usually mixed with a carbonated beverage like club soda -- collins drinks also usually have sweet-and-sour mix. Fizzes, a cross between fixes and coolers, are a combination of liquor, citrus juice and club soda served in a highball.
Be A Winer
Some mixed drinks mix more than just liquor -- a few mixed drinks include wine as an ingredient. Cobbler drinks blend wine, sugar and crushed ice in a tall glass topped with fresh fruit for a refreshing sipper. Cups are like cobblers except that they do not require crushed ice and are mixed with club soda or other kind of carbonated beverage -- cups are also called wine coolers. Negus drinks are like mulled wine as they mix wine, usually a Port wine, with hot water and spices. Sangrias are also like cobblers though they are usually served in a punch bowl and include hard liquors like brandy as a vital ingredient.
A Little Something-Something
A few mixed drink types rely on either certain ingredients or special pouring processes. Juleps are sweetened mixed drinks made with aromatic ingredients like mint served in special julep cups or tall glasses, and smashes are like juleps except with a little citrus juice added -- both kinds of drinks are served over shaved or crushed ice. The term "cocktail" has evolved to encompass many different types of drinks, but originally meant a drink with liquor, bitters, sugar and water. Flips are drinks that have egg whites beaten for froth, and pousse-cafes are drinks in which the liquors are layered for a visual effect. Lastly, the well-known martini is a mixture of chilled gin or vodka mixed with a splash of dry vermouth.