Know the difference between a cocktail and a mixed drink

Know the difference between a cocktail and a mixed drink

The world of cocktails is full of never ending debates. Should Martinis be shaken or stirred? To serve 1 or 3 olives? Pitted or stuffed? But before we go that far, let's start with the basics: What is the difference between a cocktail and a mixed drink? Many people use these 2 terms interchangeably, but there is a difference. That said, how accurately they are defined is also up for debate.

According to our Head of Hospitality at DOOR XXV, Mark Tay who is also a veteran in the industry for almost 25 years, "a mixed drink consist of 2 ingredients and once you get to the 3rd ingredient, it is a cocktail". Essentially all cocktails are mixed drinks. A highball is a mixed drink but it is not a cocktail. Following that thinking, a rum and Coke is a mixed drink, but a Cuba Libre, with the addition of lime, is a cocktail. Mark also adds on to say "A cocktail is a drink that takes time and effort to make and create. It’s about intention; if you don’t put a lot of effort into the preparation, it’s not a cocktail. If prepared thoughtfully, a Japanese highball is a cocktail, but if you are merely throwing the ingredients into the glass, then it's a mixed drink."

To understand the terminology of the word cocktail, we need to get to the root. “Cocktail” was the original name for what we today call an “Old Fashioned,” a drink made with a spirit, sugar, water, and bitters. A punch, a sling, a julep - we had all these different names that somehow now, we collectively call them cocktails. End of Prohibition could possibly be the culprit for why these terms are blurred; when bartenders left the industry or moved out of the country to continue their bartending job, they did not pass on the knowledge. 

In all cases, a mixed drink is the most basic option, whereas a cocktail has more ingredients and requires more steps to make. However, it is also a matter of language. We have seen different generations call the same beverage different things. However, regardless if it is a mixed drink or a cocktail, our intentions at DOOR XXV has always been steadfast... High quality, freshest ingredients, with a deep intent on the delicious result. 

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