Mixology 101: How to Make Casino-Quality Cocktails at Home

min read
BetMGM Aug 24, 2021, 10:10 AM

Mixology refers to a wonderful world that combines an appreciation of classic cocktails and cocktail culture with the desire to create a range of cocktail recipes with an innovative culinary approach. The mixology discipline is what we have to thank for creating tantalizing concoctions such as the White Russian and the popular Negroni. If you’re looking to experience some cocktail “genius” in the comfort of your home, we’re here to help!

Whether you’re playing casino games at a brick-and-mortar casino or in the comfort of your home, our excellent tips to make the perfect cocktail will ensure you have a quality drink by your side (just don’t overdo it while you’re playing.) And don’t worry about getting left out if you’re a non-drinker, because we’ve got some fabulous mocktail recipes for you, too! But first let’s retrace our steps a bit and find out how mixology became “a thing.”

The history of mixology

Mixology dates back all the way to the 18th century, when cocktails were partially inspired by “punches” – big bowls of spirits mixed with fruit juice, spices, and other flavors – which were enjoyed in punch houses in Britain. But it is the American Jerry “Professor” Thomas who’s credited with evolving the true art of bartending. The Connecticut-born, prolific bartender worked all over America and Europe, and wrote one of the first cocktail recipe books – first published in 1862 – called Jerry Thomas' Bartenders Guide: How to Mix All Kinds of Plain and Fancy Drinks.

Industrialization also played its part in making mixology the industry that it is today, thanks to the innovation of a key ingredient in cocktail culture: ice! You may be wondering how something as simple as ice could have such a great effect on ordering a drink at the bar. Well, imagine ordering a Mojito at room temperature. Frederic “Ice King '' Tudor kept trying and failing to transport ice from colder climates to warmer ports until he finally succeeded, and became a billionaire. This made it possible for ice to be available around the US and internationally, and the possibilities for cocktails – and cocktail consumption – exploded. 

Essential cocktail-making tools

Cocktail-making tools displayed with mint leaves, ice, and lime slices.

The first step to making a great cocktail is to have the necessary tools at hand. Cocktail making is an art, therefore, you’ll need these tools to perfect your craft! 

Here’s the equipment you should stock up on:

  • Jigger (measuring tool – also known as a “spirit measurer”)
  • Cocktail shaker 
  • Strainer 
  • Bar spoon
  • Muddler (to smash and mix the herbs)
  • Citrus juicer 
  • Channel knife (small spoon-shaped knife to cut thin spirals of citrus fruit for garnish – you’ll often find it as part of a zester)
  • Cocktail/highball/rocks glasses

5 easy cocktails to make at home

The next time that you decide to recreate a casino experience in the comfort of your home, you can use these easy cocktail recipes to make it truly authentic. If you’re a fan of online slots, you’ll have noticed some games feature Martini symbols… now you get to turn those symbols from the reels into a real-life scrumptious drink! 

1. Martini

This simple-to-make but stylish drink is perhaps best known as one of James Bond’s favorites – although our version ignores his request for it to be “shaken, not stirred!”


  • 2½ oz gin
  • ½ oz dry vermouth
  • 1 dash orange bitters
  • Garnish: lemon twist


  • Add the gin, dry vermouth, and orange bitters into a mixing glass with ice, and stir until very cold.
  • Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  • Serve with a garnish of a lemon twist – a spiral of zest carefully removed using the special tool we mentioned earlier. (Tip: try to get unwaxed lemons because you don’t want to taste any chemicals in your drink!)

2. Poker Face

This cocktail is a wonderfully succulent, full-bodied concoction that gives a nod to one of the most popular casino games of all time!


  • 1½ oz tequila
  • ½ oz Cointreau
  • 4 oz pineapple juice
  • Garnish: lime wheels


The poker face is super-easy to make. Simply fill a highball glass most of the way with ice cubes. Pour in the liquid ingredients, and stir. Garnish with a lime wheel, and serve!

3. Peruvian Pisco Sour

Peruvian Pisco Sour cocktail with lime, shaker and jigger.

Okay, so you’re probably wondering why you bothered to find a cocktail shaker. Well, here’s your chance to try it out! It’s made with pisco, a colorless or yellowish brandy produced in Peru and Chile, but you can always swap it for normal brandy if you’re having trouble finding it. If you like your drinks to be on the sour side, this juicy recipe’s worth a shot! 


  • 2 oz pisco
  • 1 oz simple syrup (also known as sugar syrup, it’s a liquefied form of sugar used to make cocktails)
  • ¾ oz key lime juice (note: very tart lime is essential, but you can always use less sugar if you can’t find the proper stuff)
  • 1 large egg white
  • 2 to 3 dashes Angostura bitters


  • Add the pisco, syrup, lime juice, and egg white to a cocktail shaker.
  • Add ice to fill, and shake vigorously. Alternatively, if you don’t have a shaker, you can use a blender.
  • Strain into an old-fashioned cocktail glass or rocks glass, and sprinkle the bitters on top of the foam. Serve immediately.

4. Margarita

Ah, the classic Margarita… This lovely, sophisticated cocktail is well worth the preparation steps and looks spectacular when you serve it for guests! 


  • 1 lime wedge, plus 2 lime wheels for garnish
  • 1 tbsp coarse salt, spread out on a plate
  • 4 oz high-quality white (blanco) tequila
  • 2 oz Cointreau or triple sec
  • 1½ oz fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)


  • Rub the lime wedge around the outer rims of 2 rocks (or lowball) glasses, and dip the rims in the salt, and shake off any excess. Set aside. (Of course, if you’ve got an issue with salt, you can always leave out this step!)
  • In a cocktail shaker, combine the tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice. Fill with ice and shake until chilled (the bottom of a metal shaker should frost over).

Fill the prepared glasses with fresh ice (if a longer version is desired,) and strain the Margarita into both glasses. Garnish each with a lime wheel, and serve.

5. Piña Colada

If you can’t visit the Caribbean, this is the closest you can get from the comfort of your own home! No matter the weather, sipping this cocktail will have you conjuring white-sand beaches and palm trees aplenty. The secret to creating an authentic taste is to find the right kind of cream of coconut – alternatives just don’t quite cut it!


  • 1½ cups frozen pineapple (you can use fresh instead, if you prefer)
  • 1½ cups ice
  • 5 oz (½cup plus 2 tbsp) aged rum
  • 2 oz (4 tbsp) cream of coconut (not coconut cream)
  • 4 oz (½ cup) pineapple juice
  • 1 oz (2 tbsp) lime juice
  • Garnish: cocktail cherry


  • Blend the frozen pineapple and ice until chunky.
  • Add the remaining ingredients, bar the garnish, and blend until smooth.
  • Serve with a cocktail cherry and maybe an umbrella, if you’re feeling flash!

Easy mocktail recipes

Three mocktails displayed on a wooden table with cut-up fruit.

If you’re in search of a drink with exquisite taste but without any alcohol, we have some incredible mocktail recipes that won’t disappoint you. Play real online casino games as you sip on your favorite mocktail in the comfort of your home, safe in the knowledge that it won’t put you off your stride!Here are our 3 favorite mocktail recipes that you can try at home:

1. Frozen Apple Margarita

Instead of tequila, you can make this classic cocktail with apple juice. It still has that classic, zingy flavour!


  • 1 tbsp coarse salt, spread out on a plate
  • 1 lime, halved
  • 2 cups sparkling apple juice
  • 2 tsp finely grated lime zest
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 4 cups ice cubes
  • 4 slices of green apple
  • Lime zest, to serve


  • Place salt on a plate. Run the cut side of the lime around the rims of your serving glasses. Dip the outer rims in the salt to coat them, and shake off any excess. (Again, leave out this stage if you are watching your salt intake.)
  • Pour the sparkling apple juice, lime zest, lime juice, and ice into a blender, and pulse until smooth. Pour evenly among the glasses.
  • Decorate your Frozen Apple Margaritas with apple slices and lime zest, and serve!

2. Watermelon ‘Nojitos’

Create a real summer flavor with watermelon and fresh mint – it’s a refreshing take on the alcoholic version!


  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • 35 oz of watermelon, peeled, depipped and chopped
  • 2 limes, sliced
  • 2 cups chilled soda water
  • ⅓ cup lime juice
  • 1 small bunch of fresh mint, sprigs picked
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar, extra
  • 2 tsp finely grated lime zest
  • Ice cubes, to serve


  • Place the sugar and 1 cup of water in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to high and bring to the boil. Simmer, without stirring, for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  • Place the watermelon chunks in a blender, and pulse until smooth.
  • Place lime slices in a jug. Use a muddler or rolling pin to crush them slightly and release some of their juice. Add the blended watermelon, along with the soda water, lime juice, and cooled sugar syrup. Stir to combine. Add the mint sprigs.
  • Combine the extra tablespoon of sugar with the lime zest on a small plate. Place ¼ cup water in a separate bowl. Dip the outer rim of each serving glass into the water, and then into the sugar/zest mixture; shake off any excess. Divide the ice between the prepared glasses. Pour in the mocktail mixture and serve immediately.

3. Virgin Cucumber Gimlet

If you’re looking for a fresh-tasting drink for hot weather, you should definitely try making your own virgin Gimlet!


  • 1½ oz club soda
  • 4-5 slices of muddled cucumber
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz simple syrup


This is so easy! Combine all ingredients and shake with ice. Serve in a rocks glass over crushed ice. Garnish with a rolled cucumber slice. Et voilà!

Enjoy your cocktail (or mocktail) with some fun online casino games

Now you know how to make some sensational casino-quality cocktails and mocktails, you are all set to host a casino-themed party, or simply enjoy these tasty drinks on a quiet night in. They’re a wonderful treat, of course, but please remember to always drink responsibly. At BetMGM, we encourage responsible gambling at our online casino, which means it’s really important not to play casino games when you’re intoxicated. Register with BetMGM to enjoy a wide variety of online casino games such as online slots, table games, and more. 

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.