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No matter what kind of drink you're attempting to make, it helps to keep a couple things in mind. First, it's always a good idea to add the cheap ingredients before the pricey ones, so if you end up royally screwing up your recipe, you don't have to feel guilty about dumping the whole shebang and starting from scratch. This generally means your fruit juices will go in first, cheaper/accent liqueurs next, and primo quality base alcohol last. The one exception is anything fizzy: carbonated ingredients should always go in last, and should never, ever be shaken.
The second important tip has to do with ice. Most cocktail recipes will tell you that the ice should be "cracked." This, it's important to note, is not the same as crushed, which will be far too fine and melt way too readily. As watery is rarely considered a good quality in a cocktail, avoid the crushed ice. You can either crack the ice by placing it in single layer in a plastic bag and giving it a few good whacks with a heavy tool of your choice (meat mallet, frying pan, small hammer, blunt side of a knife, whatever), or just forget about the cracking altogether and work with regular ol' cubes.
The last hint I'll offer is this: if you're transferring a drink into a glass with ice -- i.e. serving it on the rocks -- add the ice first. This will further cool the drink while it's being poured, and help you avoid making a totally splashy mess as well.
Got that? Good. Now on to the techniques…
Use this technique for: cocktails containing carbonated ingredients, or any other cocktail that calls for very gentle handling
Use this technique for: cocktails made up entirely of alcoholic ingredients