There's nothing like a good mixed drink to help you unwind at the end of the day. These simple classic cocktail recipes are perfect for honing your home bartending skills. You don't need any special techniques to make these amazing cocktails, just some basic bar equipment like a cocktail shaker, mixing glass, and bar spoon, and a few friends to help you drink them!
The Mimosa is an iconic sparkling wine cocktail that's usually enjoyed at boozy brunches. It's made with just two ingredients: sparkling wine and orange juice, and served in champagne flutes. Easy, delicious, and elegant, Mimosas are a perfect first cocktail for new home bartenders to learn.
Gin and Tonic
The classic gin and tonic or G&T is another beginner-friendly cocktail that couldn't be easier to make. Just chill a glass with ice, add in the gin, and top with tonic water and a wedge of fresh lemon or lime. Since there are only two ingredients, you'll want to pick up high-quality gin and a good tonic to make this cocktail.
The Mint Julep is famous for being the cocktail of choice during the Kentucky Derby, but this amazing drink is fantastic all summer long. Made with bourbon, mint, and simple syrup, served over crushed ice, it's bright, refreshing, and satisfying.
When it's hot out, nothing beats a classic Margarita. This delicious drink is made with silver tequila, lime juice, and triple sec, and served in a glass with a salted rim. It's a fantastic drink to serve with Mexican food or when you're grilling, and you can add other fruits, fruit juices, or liqueurs to make tasty variations. Mango, blackberry, passionfruit, and pineapple are great options.
Martinis are a tasty, sophisticated cocktail that everyone should know how to make. They can be made with gin or vodka, but the original recipe called for gin. The gin is stirred with dry vermouth in a cocktail shaker and can be served in a martini glass or on the rocks. Garnish it with an olive or a twist of lemon peel.
A little sweet, a little tart, and totally delicious, the Cosmopolitan or Cosmo, is a great-tasting mixed drink made with vodka, lime juice, cranberry juice, and triple sec. It's a fresh yet elegant cocktail that you mix in a shaker and strain into a cocktail glass. With a bright pink color, it's perfect for when you have friends over for drinks.
The Gimlet is another easy classic cocktail you're sure to enjoy. Made with just gin and lime syrup (or fresh lime juice and simple syrup), it's a wonderfully citrusy drink that's great to help keep you refreshed when it's warm, or to serve before a meal.
The fresh combination of mint, lime juice, and white rum in a Mojito is always a crowdpleaser. To make the best Mojitos, you'll need to muddle the mint, lime juice, and sugar together to release the flavors, then add the rum and top with soda water. This is another great drink you can add other flavors to. Mango, berries, and pineapple are all amazing versions to try.
The Bellini is a cousin to the Mimosa. Also made with sparkling wine, it's made with peach puree or nectar instead of orange juice. It's an incredibly refreshing cocktail that's perfect for brunches. While peach is the classic flavor, you can use strawberry, raspberry, mango, or other fruit purees for fun variations.
Made with vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice, the Moscow Mule is an incredible cocktail to sip for any occasion. Don't be tempted to use ginger ale instead of ginger beer. Ginger beer has a much spicier flavor that makes this cocktail truly excellent. If you have any, be sure to serve your Moscow Mules in copper mugs – it'll help keep the drink ice-cold.
For those who prefer bourbon, try an Old-Fashioned. It's a simple drink with a complex flavor and is perfect as an after-dinner cocktail. To make an Old-Fashioned, combine sugar and bitters with a splash of water in a cocktail glass, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Then add a large ice cube and the bourbon, stir, and top it off with an orange peel to garnish. Delicious.
True daiquiris aren't frozen, rather they're an elegant rum cocktail that's served straight up in a martini glass. This amazing drink comes from Cuba and is made using light rum, lime juice, and simple syrup. Of course, you can add a splash of your favorite fruit liqueur or puree to make a tasty variation, but the classic daiquiri is perfect in its simplicity.
If you like gin and sparkling wine, you'll love the French 75. Simply syrup adds a little sweetness while lemon juice helps to make this cocktail exceptionally refreshing. It's a great light drink to serve at parties before dinner or to enjoy with brunch or lunch.
If you prefer more savory cocktails, try an Aperol Spritz. Aperol is an Italian aperitif with a bitter flavor that blends seamlessly with the sweetness of prosecco. Topped off with soda water, this bright, refreshing drink is ideal for hot summer afternoons.
Like the daiquiri, the Cuba Libre comes from Cuba, and it's deliciously sweet and refreshing. Made with cola and rum, it's similar to a Rum and Coke but has lime juice added to it for a hint of citrus and brightness. To make a Cuba Libre, just add the ingredients to a highball glass filled with ice, stir, and sip.
Negronis are an incredibly popular cocktail with a lovely combination of sweet and bitter flavors. It's made with gin, sweet vermouth, Campari (an Italian bitter aperitif), and served over ice. Add an orange peel garnish to help elevate the subtle flavors in this cocktail.
With its foamy egg white top, the Whiskey Sour is a little more advanced, but still a fairly easy-to-make drink. Shake bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup, and an egg white together without ice to combine the ingredients and create the delicate foam. Then add the ice to chill it down and strain into a cocktail glass. Its sweet-tart flavor is impossible to resist.
You can use either bourbon or rye to make a Manhattan. Opt for bourbon for a sweeter taste, and use rye if you like your cocktails a bit more bitter. Added to the spirit base are sweet vermouth, and a combination of Angostura and orange bitters, with a sweet brandied cherry to serve as a garnish. This drink is wonderful when sipped next to a fire when the weather is cold.
The Sidecar is a brandy cocktail that's sophisticated and easy to drink. Cognac, orange liqueur, and lemon juice come together to make a beautiful drink that's can be enjoyed any time of year. If you prefer a bit of sweetness, rim the cocktail glass with sugar before straining the cocktail into the glass.
Dark and Stormy
Made with dark rum and ginger beer, the Dark and Stormy is an easy-to-make cocktail with tons of flavor. The secret to a great Dark and Stormy is to use a good-quality ginger beer for that extra spicy kick. For an even spicier taste, swap spiced rum for the dark rum in this recipe.