Whether in a bar or at a dinner party, you can master the art of serving a drink in just a few steps. With the proper glassware, ingredients and technique, you can supply a cocktail with ease. Since there are many kinds of beverages that can be doled out, it’s important for a server to have familiarity with a variety of drink recipes and serving styles.

Things You'll Need

Choose the proper glassware. For example, most bottled beers are served in a pilsner glass. Traditionally, wine is served in wine glasses; champagne in champagne flutes. Shot glasses are used for drinks that are no more than two ounces. Specialty glasses, such as martini and margarita glasses, are used to serve the drinks they are named after.

Grab garnish, such as lemon wedges, pineapple slices or cherries, and set aside. Customarily, drinks such as Whiskey Sour, Tom Collins and Mai Tai are garnished with maraschino cherries, while cocktails such as the Kamikaze, Cuba Libre and Vodka Gimlet are garnished with lime wedges.

Prepare beverages according to recipe and the drinker’s preference. For example, if you need to serve a drink “on the rocks,” place ice in the glass and pour the desired amount of liquor over it. If a drink calls for a salt-rimmed glass, such as a margarita, place coarse salt on a plate and dip the rim of the glass until it’s completely coated with salt. In cases where the drinker’s salt preference is unknown, dip the glass on one side only, so he can choose which side to sip from, according to “Ms. Charming’s Guide for Hip Bartenders and Wayout Wannabes.”

Place the beverage on a napkin or coaster in front of the drinker, along with additional materials such as straws and garnish. For example, the cocktail “Chocolate Cake” is served with a lemon wedge on the side so the drinker can bite into it immediately after swallowing the shot, in order to get the taste of chocolate cake in her mouth.


  • To avoid spilling the drink before it can be consumed, don’t fill the glass all the way to its brim.