Some tricks to help bartenders memorize cocktail recipes include associating a drink recipe with something unrelated to make it more memorable, learning why a drink is made a certain way and using flash cards to regularly drill recipes into memory. Another valuable method is regular practice. Serving as a volunteer drink mixer for family and friends helps bartenders retain popular drink recipes.
Using memory association techniques is one way to learn drink recipes. For example, the bartender thinks of a phrase in which each word starts with the same letter as one of the drink ingredients and associates that phrase with the drink or draws a cute graphic that shows the ingredients in a memorable way along with the name of the drink. Memory association techniques are especially valuable for remembering drink recipes that are not made frequently. The association stays in the mind until it is needed.
Learning drinks together in families is another trick to use to quickly memorize several recipes. For example, learning a group of recipes that contain both rum and amaretto all at once is easier than trying to memorize a block of unrelated drinks. To help remember how to mix the ingredients, bartenders focus on learning why the process is used. When a bartender understands the reason behind the recipe, it is easier to remember.