Remember in grade school when you were taught how to make stencils? In my class, it usually involved paper, scissors, and some paint – but I highly recommend avoiding using paper and paint in cocktails!

Handcrafted cocktail in a crystal cocktail glass with a stencil design that was sprayed with affordable bitters bottles or atomizer spray bottles

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With the launch of our new atomizer and eye dropper kit,  we wanted to revisit how to create cocktail illustrations on top of foam. Of course, you could order or make laser cut stencils with more intricate artwork– but we’re keeping it simple with DIY stencils.

So what we’re going to take a look at is how to make your own cocktail stencils using some to go food container lids (instead of paper) and bitters (much tastier than paint)!

Once you’ve gotten your custom stencil ready, you’ll use your handy dandy atomizer to mist bitters through the stencil and onto your cocktail with egg whites or other foam— also works great on a cup of coffee (think latte art).

amber glass dropper bottles with cocktail and glass eye dropper] glass pipette

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This looks like a very fancy cocktail technique and is used on high-end cocktail bar menus, but it’s surprisingly easy to do! Pro tip: Make sure to spray your design onto the drink right after mixing it up in your cocktail shaker so that you have nice, stiff foam that can support the artwork.

And if you need to know what kinds of cocktails you can make with this technique, check out this recipe article.

Here’s a super old video of Chris showing you how to make your own custom stencil.

LET’S GET CRAFTY WITH CUSTOM COCKTAIL STENCILS!

 

HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN COCKTAIL STENCILS:

First, find something to use to make your stencils with. We used the lids of takeout food containers (like these– affiliate link) but you can use pretty much anything that is plastic, fairly durable, and easy to cut.

professional bottles in matte black glass make for lovely bottles on a bar next to a purple cocktail

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GET TO WORK:

  1. Choose the picture that you want to add to the top of your egg white cocktail. Make sure that you pick something that does not have a lot of detail or too small– intricate designs aren’t the most effective here– and print it out on a regular piece of paper.
  2. Place your printed digital graphic below your plastic container lid and secure it with some tape. Cut through the top of the plastic lid, with an X-Acto knife, other craft knife, or sharp scissors, following the lines of the image as your guide. (We recommend using a cutting board or mat.)
  3. Remove the tape and the paper, and clean up any rough cuts. Give your new stencil a good wash with soap and water.
  4. Place the stencil as close as possible to the top of the layer of foam on your egg white cocktail; then spray your bitters through the stencil with your cocktail atomizer, transferring the image to the top of your drink.

Want some fun stencil ideas?

Click here to download a few stencil ideas, then let your imagination run wild! 

Got it to work? We’d love for you to show off your stenciled cocktail with us. Upload a picture of your cocktail to our Facebook Page and show us what you’ve made!

Chris Tunstall

Co-Founder of A Bar Above and career bartender and mixologist. I love experimenting, creating cocktails, and drinking Green Chartreuse.