No matter if your 21st birthday is coming up or you’ve been of age for a while, mixing up a perfect cocktail is a skill you definitely should have. To start becoming a semi-pro bartender, stick to the classics. From easy two-ingredient drinks to the end all Long Island Iced Tea mix, these recipes are ready for you to try. Get your cocktail shaker ready and grab your ingredients and try these 10 cocktail recipes everyone should know how to make!
1. Moscow Mule
This hands down is my all-time favorite drink (next to water and coffee of course!) Ginger ale and vodka is a classic combo and with a fresh squeeze of lime it’s refreshing and yummy. Keep it simple with basic vodka and ginger ale or punch it up with fancy ale or flavored vodka!
2 oz Vodka
4 oz Ginger ale
1/2 Lime, squeezed
Lime slice for garnish
Mix and serve in a classic copper mug
Nothing says Cinco de Mayo (or Friday!) like a margarita. Living in Arizona for so long, you can bet I can make a mean margarita, but my favorite is a classic margarita featuring good tequila, fresh lime and a salted rim.
3 oz Tequila (my favorite is Patron)
2 oz Lime juice
1 oz Simple syrup
Salt to rim glass
Mix it up, serve in a margarita glass over ice (or blend)
Did you know that cocktails that only have liquor are always stirred not shaken? James Bond is wrong with his “Shaken, not stirred” martini order! Martinis are such a classy drink and have a few variations that you can try to find your perfect sip. Start with deciding if you want vodka or gin then decide if you want a lemon peel twist or olives for a garnish!
2 1/2 oz Gin or Vodka
1/2 oz Vermouth
STIR with ice and strain into a martini glass, garnish with olives or lemon peel twist.
4. Screw Driver
If you’ve already mastered the brunch go-to mimosa, time to step it up and try making this drink. Screw drivers are a more boozy option perfect for when you have breakfast for dinner or simply just love OJ! Make sure to get a highball glass, which is a tall glass used when there is a large amount of mixer (OJ) in a drink.
1 1/2 oz Vodka
6 oz Orange juice
Fill the highball glass with as much ice as desired. Pour in vodka, add the orange juice, stir and enjoy!
This cocktail is a little more effort than the last few but it is definitely worth it. I had my first Manhattan in…Manhattan! It was such a fun experience and it is a great drink to sip on as you enjoy your evening. Don’t be shy with the cherries if you like it a little more sweet but it is a perfectly crafted drink.
1 oz Vermouth
2 1/2 oz Bourbon
2 dashes Bitters
Add ingredients into a glass with ice and stir. Strain into a chilled coupe glass or a short glass with the cherry garnish.
Whether you are into cocktails or not, almost everyone knows about Cosmopolitans. The drink of choice of socialites and the ladies on Sex and the City, a cosmo is sweet, pink and oh-so-fun. The drink has a fun history, created in South Beach by a bartender who wanted to make a new drink to serve in a martini glass. I highly recommend buying your newly-turned-21 friend one of these since it will look adorable in photos!
2 oz Vodka
1 oz Cranberry juice
3/4 oz Triple Sec
3/4 oz Lime juice
Orange twist or lime slice for garnish
Put all ingredients in shaker with ice and shake. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with an orange twist or lime slice.
7. Old Fashion
If you’ve seen any episode of Mad Men, you know that an Old Fashion is a classic drink. But unlike in the show, an Old Fashion isn’t just for high powered ad men! This drink is one you should have in your repertoire to impress dates, your parents and your “fancier” friends. Splurge on some good bourbon and you will have the perfect cocktail.
2 oz Bourbon
3 dashes Bitters
1/2 tsp Sugar
1 tsp water
Orange peel slice for garnish
In an Old Fashion glass, muddle the bitters, sugar and water until the sugar is dissolved. Add a large ice cube and pour in the bourbon and lightly stir. Add the orange slice and enjoy!
If you are dreaming of summertime or are looking for a perfect cocktail to drink on a warm day, a mojito is a perfect choice. Sweet and fresh, this drink is refreshing and it’s super easy to make a large batch of these if you are having guests. This tastes great with a ton of fresh mint leaves in it but if you only have a little, muddle the heck out of them to get the great taste!
2 oz Rum
3 Mint leaves
3/4 oz Lime juice
1/2 oz Simple syrup
Club soda to top/taste
Lime wedge to garnish
Lightly muddle the mint leaves in a shaker before adding in the rest of the ingredients and ice before shaking. Strain into a high ball glass filled with ice then top with club soda. Serve with a lime wedge to garnish!
9. White Russian
If it’s a chilly day and you are looking for a cozy-feeling drink, try a White Russian. There are many twists on this coffee-tasting drink including adding freshly brewed coffee but you can’t go wrong making the traditional drink. It’s an adult version of a milkshake and the perfect way to end a long day.
2 oz Vodka
1 oz Kahlua
Splash of Heavy cream (or a dairy-free milk of your choosing)
Add the vodka and Kahlua to an old fashion glass filled with ice. Top with the heavy cream and stir. Enjoy.
10. Long Island Iced Tea
Finally, we have the cocktail to end all cocktails: the Long Island Ice Tea. With basically a little bit of every liquor and a dash of cola, many crazy stories have started with a glass of this drink. Fair warning, they are strong but delicious so take it easy when you decide on this cocktail!
3/4 oz Vodka
3/4 oz White rum
3/4 oz Tequila
3/4 oz Gin
3/4 oz Triple sec
3/4 oz Simple syrup
3/4 oz Fresh squeezed lemon
Dash of Cola to top
Lemon wedge to garnish
Add all ingredients to a Tom Collins glass filled with ice. Top with a splash of cola, stir and serve with a lemon wedge.
What is your go-to cocktail? Let us know in the comments below.
Emily Bell is a graduate of Central Michigan University with a degree in Journalism with a Public Relations concentration. She currently lives with her husband and dog on the coast in Florida.