From the Old Fashioned to the Mojito, these classics are easy to make and always in demand.
The craft cocktail boom has reached a fever pitch of enthusiasm in modern times. Every moderately high-end bar is slinging specialty cocktails made from more than a few enigmatic ingredients you've never heard of, and usually, they taste delicious. If you're starting to make drinks at home, however, you probably don't want to immediately shake up something like a Last Word or Ramos Gin Fizz that require more time and ingredients than you have.
Rome wasn't built in a day, and the best way to become a master home mixologist is by practicing the classics. These 10 drinks are some of the most tried-and-true and popular cocktails in the world and only require a handful of ingredients to make. If you've read my article How to Stock Your First Home Bar and stocked up, then you have everything you need to make these 10 cocktails at home today.
1. Old Fashioned
The grandfather of all cocktails.
2 oz. Bourbon
1 demerara sugar cube or 1 tsp rich demerara syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 dash orange bitters
splash of water
Add the sugar, bitters and water into a rocks glass, and muddle together. Stir until sugar is nearly dissolved and forms a paste. Fill the glass with large ice cubes, add the bourbon, and gently stir for up to 10 seconds. Express orange peel oil over the glass and add.
With rye whiskey making a triumphant return in the last decade, the Manhattan has become an international favorite. Spicy and sweet, this divine whiskey concoction is bound to become a favorite.
2 ½ oz. rye
1 oz. sweet vermouth
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Stir all ingredients with ice in mixing glass. Strain into a coupe and garnish with Luxardo cherries (optional).
3. Whiskey Sour
A proper whiskey sour doesn't contain shelf mixes. Once made right you'll never have it any other way.
2 oz. bourbon
¾ oz. fresh lemon juice
¾ oz. simple syrup
Egg white, optional
Pour all ingredients into shaker without ice. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds*, add ice, then shake until chilled. Strain into a coupe glass neat or rocks glass over single large cube. Garnish with 3 dashes of Angostura bitters.
*This is called a "dry shake."
You may not need to worry about scurvy like the sailors this drink was invented for, but few drinks come close to the simplicity and refreshing quality of a classic Gimlet.
2 ½ oz. gin
½ oz. fresh lime juice
½ oz. simple syrup
Add all the ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass or rocks glass over ice. Garnish with a lime wheel.
One of the undisputed champions of the cocktail world, the Martini is another drink you must know how to make. Remember, despite what a certain fictional British spy says, this drink should be stirred, never shaken.
3 ½ oz. gin
½ dry vermouth
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass over cracked ice. Stir vigorously for 10 seconds and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with an olive or lemon twist.
Don't think of that frozen slushy mix at the strip mall restaurant chain. A proper daiquiri is a pure and delicate drink that absolutely deserves a place at the bar.
2 oz. light rum
¾ oz. fresh lime juice
¾ oz. simple syrup or demerara syrup
Add all the ingredients into a shaker with ice, and shake until well-chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a lime twist.
The ultimate rum cocktail and the pinnacle of warm weather refreshment.
2 oz. white rum
3⁄4 oz fresh lime juice
1⁄2 oz simple syrup
3 mint leaves
Club soda, to top
Add the mint sprigs and sugar to a Collins glass. Muddle the mint by pressing it lightly with a muddler to release the oils. Drop in lime pieces and muddle to release juice. Add rum, stir and add ice. Top with soda water. Garnish with a mint sprig and a lime.
8. Moscow Mule
Whether it's a sunny day on the beach or a cold night by the fire, this drink is perfect for any occasion and despite the name, its a completely American cocktail.
2 oz. vodka
1 oz. lime juice
3 oz. ginger beer
Add all the ingredients to a highball glass or copper mug filled with ice and stir briefly. Garnish with a lime wheel.
Popularized by the 1990s HBO show “Sex and the City," the Cosmo is both loved and loathed. Despite the divide, the Cosmo is fine modern sour. Take a sip and decide for yourself where you fall.
1 ½ oz. Absolut Citron vodka
1 oz .Cointreau
½ oz. fresh lime juice
Dash of cranberry juice
Add all the ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.
One of the most popular drinks in North America and a benchmark of summer cocktails. Like the whiskey sour, if you've only had a Margarita from a mix you haven't had a real Margarita.
2 oz. tequila
1 oz. fresh lime juice
½ oz. Cointreau
½ oz. agave syrup
Add all the ingredients into a shaker with ice, and shake until chilled.
Strain into the rocks glass over ice.
Garnish with a lime wheel and rim with kosher salt (optional)