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The difference between cocktails and long drinks and how to make them

The world of cocktails is full of endless debates: is cognac or gin better for a French 75? Do we use vodka or gin for martini? But before we get that far, we need to start with the basics: what’s the difference between a cocktail and a long drink? It sounds simple, but even though many people use the two terms interchangeably, there is a difference. Today the word cocktail is often used as a synonym for long drinks, but experts know that they are not the same thing.

To get to the heart of this terminology, let’s go back to the beginning. The term „cocktail” was the original name for what today we call an „Old Fashioned,” made with liquor, sugar, water, and bitters. The Prohibition period is most likely when these categories began to blur.

According to Drinxville, a rule of thumb when it comes to cocktails and long drinks is this: „all cocktails are long drinks, but not all long drinks are cocktails.

Long drinks are based on two ingredients, and once you reach a third ingredient, it becomes a cocktail. Long drinks are based on simple recipes and are prepared by mixing alcohol and a second ingredient and served in HighBall glasses: Cuba Libre, Vodka Juice, Whiskey Juice and Gin Tonic. A cocktail is based on alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks that contain more ingredients than a Long drink and requires more care and effort to prepare.

Most cocktails or long drinks are based on at least one spirit, whose strength is softened by juices. The most often used are colorless spirits, such as vodka, gin, tequila or white rum, but also colored ones (such as whiskey, brandy or dark rum) are used to prepare many popular cocktails. Often, the flavor of the mixture is also given by various types of liquor. Coffee liqueurs, chocolate liqueurs, cream liqueurs, but also various fruit liqueurs (bananas, oranges, peaches, lemons, cherries, pears, passion fruit, etc.) can be used. Bitter can also be used in various combinations.

If for Long drinks we follow a simple recipe to talk about cocktails, it is necessary to have at least three elements:

  • A base such as rum, gin, vodka that forms the main part of the cocktail. In general, mixing bases is avoided, a rule that is occasionally broken.
  • A part that binds the ingredients together without dominating. These are generally vermouth, champagne or light juices.
  • The ingredient that gives the aroma such as fruit, coffee, herbal liqueur that intensifies the aroma of the base giving the cocktail a unique fragrance.

What are the differences between Cocktails and Long drinks?

Two ingredients put together like Jack and Cola, vodka and tonic make a long drink. A cocktail takes time to create. You’ve realized you want pineapple, mango, vodka and lime, you put them together, you mix them, you create, you put the mix in the glass and enjoy. Some specialists say that it is about intention; if you don’t put a lot of effort into the preparation, it’s not a cocktail. Following this thinking, a rum and Coke is a long drink, but a Cuba Libre, with added lime and Angostura, is a cocktail.

Examples of Cocktails can be:


The cocktail list includes the Manhattan, which contains:


  • 75 ml of whiskey (preferably bourbon)
  • 25 sweet vermouth
  • a few drops of bitters

Manual preparation instructions:

The ingredients are poured and stirred in a martini glass with a few ice cubes. The glass can be decorated with a cherry and orange peel.

Automatic preparation mode:

Mix all ingredients automatically in just 5 seconds with a simple touch!

Long Island Ice Tea

When you think of strong cocktails, Long Island Ice Tea is probably the first drink that comes to mind. Its name is ironic, since the cocktail has nothing in common with tea, as can be seen from the list of ingredients:


  •  20 ml of vodka
  •  20 ml of gin
  •  20 ml white rum
  •  20 ml of tequila
  •  20 ml triple sec
  •  20 ml Coca Cola (to be added manually for a perfect taste)
  •  20 ml lemon or lime syrup

Manual preparation instructions:

The ingredients are mixed in a shaker, along with the ice cubes, Coca Cola is added for a perfect taste. Long Island Ice Tea is served in a tall glass, garnished with a lime wedge.

Automatic preparation mode:

Mix all the non-acidified ingredients automatically in just 5 seconds then manually add Coca Cola at the end for a perfect taste!

Blue Lagoon

The unique color of the Blue Lagoon cocktail is reason enough to try it, but its special taste cannot be ignored either. For the simple recipe you need:


  • 30 ml of vodka
  • 30 ml curaçao blue liqueur
  • 15 ml lemon or lime syrup
  • ice

Manual preparation instructions:

Mix the ingredients directly in a tall glass, which you can garnish with a slice of lemon and a cherry.

Automatic preparation mode:

Mix all the ingredients in just 5 seconds with a simple touch!

Examples of Long Drinks are:

Gin tonic

To enjoy a gin tonic you need gin and tonic water.


  • 40 ml of gin
  • 100 ml tonic water (to be added manually for a perfect taste)
  • 15 ml lemon or lime syrup

Manual preparation instructions:

Fill a highball glass with ice, pour in the gin, fill the glass with tonic water and add lemon.

Automatic preparation mode:

The gin together with the lime syrup is automatically mixed in just 5 seconds and the tonic water is added manually for a perfect taste!

Cuba Libre

The Cuba Libre recipe contains very few ingredients. Specifically, you need Rum, Cola and Lime or lemon juice.


  • 50 ml white rum
  • 150 ml Coca-Cola (added manually for a perfect taste)
  • 20 ml lemon or lime syrup

Manual preparation instructions:

Vigorously stir the rum and coke. Add the quartered lemons. Place 3-4 ice cubes in each glass and pour the drink.

Automatic preparation mode:

The rum together with the lime syrup is automatically mixed in just 5 seconds and Coca Cola is added manually at the end for a perfect taste!

After you have discovered the differences between cocktails and long drinks, why not make things simpler with the Professional Cocktail Dispenser from Dr Drink that does almost everything for you with an identical „milliliter” mixing of your cocktails.

The well-known alcohol cocktails as Zombie, Tequila Sunrise, Sex on the Beach, Campari Orange, Rum Sunset Daiquiri, Mojito, Appletini, or non-alcoholic Cinderella, Blue Apple, Arizona Sunset, Honeymoon, Rainbow and many more can be mixed just as easily by anyone by changing just a few ingredients or you can „play” with the existing ones.

Dr Drink’s Cocktail Machine is suitable in any location with a fun mood; from festivals and concerts, bars, terraces, to swimming pools or restaurants and event halls, even in the gazebo behind the house or in the family caravan, and the precision of dosing and reliability over time are just two of its main assets. The dispenser was designed so that anyone can mix a perfect cocktail in a few seconds, perfect shots with the „speed of light”, but also a help for professional bartenders in locations with a high flow of customers where it brings more speed and control, integrating perfectly.

You are one click away from preparing your favorite cocktails or modernizing your business in a unique way. Of course, installation, warranty and maintenance are handled by Dr Drink. Buy today the Cocktail Dispenser from Dr Drink on the website!