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Having some friends over for a weekend get together? Preparing a date night at home with that special someone? Want to relax with a drink after a long day at work? You need some cocktails!
Even if you’re a complete beginner, you can wow your friends (and yourself) by learning how to make a few simple drinks.
Listed below are 8 easy cocktail ideas that require no professional bartending skill or tools. We’ve included both classic cocktails and more daring drinks, so that no matter your taste preference, you’re sure to find something that you love.
1. Old Fashioned
Originating in Louisville, Kentucky, the Old Fashioned is named as such because it’s one of the oldest mixed drinks in history. Although you can add a twist of lemon or orange, this is the classic recipe, giving the liquor center stage.
- 2 ounces of bourbon or rye whiskey
- 2-3 dashes of bitters
- 1 tsp of sugar (or 1 sugar cube)
Put the sugar into an Old Fashioned (or rocks) glass first, then cover it with the bitters. Pour the whiskey onto the mixture and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add 1-2 large ice cubes and stir again, then serve your Old Fashioned with a slice of orange peel.
2. Moscow Mule
No cocktail is quite as refreshing as the Moscow Mule. To make a traditional Moscow Mule, you’ll need a copper mug. This will create the signature chilling sensation when sipped, amplifying the fresh taste of the drink.
- 2 ounces of vodka
- 4-6 ounces of ginger beer
- half an ounce of lime juice
Start by squeezing the lime juice into your glass, preferably a copper mug. Then add a few ice cubes and pour the vodka on top. Fill the rest of the glass with cold ginger beer and all that’s left is to stir and serve.
3. Lemon Drop Martini
If lime isn’t your cup of tea, go for a lemon drop instead. Like the Moscow Mule, the lemon drop is exceptionally refreshing. Perfect for an afternoon by the pool or an after-dinner treat with friends.
- 2 ounces of vodka
- 1 ounce of triple sec
- 1 ounce of lemon juice
- 1 ounce of simple syrup
- Lemon sugar (to dip glass rim)
To make your lemon sugar, rub the zest of one lemon into half a cup of granulated sugar with your fingertips. When you’ve mixed enough, the sugar will be yellow and fragrant. Moisten the rim of your martini glass with lemon, then turn the glass upside down and twist it into the lemon sugar.
Set your glass aside. In a cocktail shaker, add vodka, triple sec, lemon juice, simple syrup, and ice. Shake until very cold, then strain into your prepared martini glass and serve.
4. Cafe Caribbean
One of the most fun ways to spike your coffee, the Cafe Caribbean is the only hot cocktail on this list, making it a fantastic choice for a pick me up on a chilly winter day. To make the best Cafe Caribben possible, be sure to make a strong cup of coffee. It helps to use a French press or pour-over system.
- 1 ounce of rum
- half an ounce of amaretto
- 6 ounces of coffee (hot and black)
- Whipped cream
- Shaved almonds
In an Irish coffee glass or coffee mug, pour the rum and amaretto, then fill the glass with hot coffee. To the top of your drink, add the whipped cream and shaved almonds. And if you want to take it up a notch, add a caramel or chocolate drizzle to your whipped cream.
5. Royal Tea
This one isn’t for everyone but is a must-try if you’re a fan of tea. You’ll get all the benefits of drinking Earl Grey tea and a nice tea time buzz at the same time.
- 1 1/2 ounces of dry gin
- 2 ounces of Earl Grey tea (fresh and chilled)
- Lemon juice (to taste)
- 1 tsp of sugar (or to taste)
- Lemon slice
Get out your Old Fashioned or rocks glass and fill it with ice. On top of the ice, pour the gin and tea. Add the lemon juice and sugar last, 1 teaspoon of each is recommended but you can use more or less depending on your taste preference. Stir your drink and add a lemon slice to the rim of your glass before serving.
6. Rum and Coke
Is there anything more delicious on a summer’s day than a rum and coke? Though the rum and coke doesn’t include any special ingredients, it’s tough to beat.
- 2 ounces of light or dark rum
- 4-6 ounces of coke or comparable soda
- Lime wedge (optional)
This drink is a classic and incredibly simple to make. All you have to do is fill a highball glass with ice, then pour the rum on top. Fill the glass the rest of the way with soda and, if you wish, top with a lime wedge.
Tip: If your home bar is missing a highball glass or any other glassware listed here, The Cocktail Shop has some gorgeous options, as well as a variety of ready-to-drink, bottled cocktails.
7. Black Russian
You might be familiar with the White Russian mixed drink. Well, this is essentially the same cocktail, but without the addition of cream.
If the following recipe yields a drink slightly too dry for your taste, all you have to do is add a dash more Kahlua to sweeten it.
- 2 ounces of vodka
- 1 ounce of Kahlua or similar liqueur
Like the rum and coke, the Black Russian couldn’t be easier to make. Simply put an ice cube or two into an Old Fashioned glass, then add the vodka. Pour your Kahlua on top and it’s ready to serve!
8. Cape Codder
The Cape Codder, or vodka cranberry, is a great choice for those making cocktails on a budget, as the cranberry juice will mask any impurities in the vodka. Therefore, there’s no need to use an expensive brand.
- 3 ounces of cranberry juice
- 2 ounces of vodka
- Lime wedge
First, add a handful of ice cubes to a highball glass. Pour your vodka on top of the ice, then add your cranberry juice and stir. The tartness of this drink makes it perfect for a lime wedge garnish.
Try Out These Easy Cocktail Ideas Today
Whether you’re entertaining friends and family or spending the evening alone with your favorite movie, nothing makes a night more fun like a good cocktail.
While it can be fun to get creative with your drink mixing, sometimes you need a quick and simple beverage for your cocktail hour. With these easy cocktail ideas, you’ll be preparing delicious cocktails like a pro in no time.
For more recipes for everything from cupcakes to barbecue, take a look at our blog!