It might be easy to stock up for your next party with just wine and beer. But if you want to be a consummate host, it’s also worth coughing up a few cocktail options.
Just like fashion, the most popular cocktails cycle through trends. While certain drinks were trendy just a year or two ago, they may not be what people are drinking today. But even as these cocktails evolve and change, a few classics always endure through every era.
If you’re wondering which cocktail mixes you should memorize, this list will provide the top six you can always count on. Learn how to make these cocktails, and you’ll be ready for any event or party!
1. Bourbon Old Fashioned
This classic remains exactly as it was when it was first invented over 200 years ago. A splash of spirit, sugar, water, and bitters is all it takes to create the perfect drink mix.
- 2 oz. Bourbon (or rye whiskey)
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. water
- 3 dashes of Angostura bitters
- Orange twist garnish
- Put the bitters and sugar in a mixing glass
- Add water and stir until the sugar dissolves
- Fill the mixing glass with ice, top with Bourbon
- Stir until well-chilled and strain into a rocks glass with one large ice cube
- Run the orange twist over the rim of the glass
- Drop it into the glass to garnish
While making this drink sounds simple, you’ll still need some essential barware, like a bar spoon and mixing glass, to make it.
2. Espresso Martini
Caffeine is as good for the after-hours as it is for the morning hours! So you shouldn’t deny yourself a hint of that delicious coffee flavor just because it’s evening. Learn how to make this drink to enjoy an after-dinner espresso with a twist!
- 2 oz. vodka
- 1 oz. Espresso, fresh
- ½ oz. Kahlua
- ½ oz. simple syrup
- Coffee beans to garnish
- Fill a shaker cup with ice
- Add the vodka, espresso, coffee liquor, and simple syrup
- Shake until chilled
- Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
- Garnish with coffee beans
3. Strawberry Daiquiri
Refreshing and delicious, the strawberry daiquiri is the drink for any summer event. Muddle fresh fruit or skip out on the extra work with some fruit puree to create a pitcher of this classic!
- 4 oz. puree or frozen fruit
- ¾ cup rum
- ¼ cup citrus soda
- ½ cup lemon juice
- ½ cup white sugar
- ⅛ cup lime juice
- 6 cups of ice
- Put all the ingredients in a blender
- Blend until smooth
- Garnish with fresh fruit
This light and easy drink goes great with all your favorite party snacks.
4. Mango Margarita
Another summer drink that has a more tropical twist, mango margaritas are blended heaven. You can use any fruit of your choice, but mango is a classic that mixes well with tequila. Blend up a pitcher for everyone at the party!
- 3 oz. tequila
- 2 oz. Cointreau
- 1 ½ oz. fresh lime juice
- 1 ½ cups frozen mango puree
- 1 tbsp. simple syrup
- 1 cup ice
- Sea salt for the rim
- Lime wedges for garnishing
- Run the lime wedge around the glass rim
- Dip the rim into your plate of salt
- Blend tequila, Cointreau, mango, lime juice, simple syrup, and ice until frothy
- Pour into the glass
- Garnish with the lime wedge
Mango is an easy favorite. But you can experiment with any other fruit, like pomegranate or strawberry!
Another old-school original, the Negroni, is equal parts bitter and sweet. Enjoy the sharp aromas and flavors of this cocktail for any elevated event.
- 1 oz. gin
- 1 oz. sweet vermouth
- 1 oz. Campari
- Orange peel for garnish
- Fill a mixing glass with ice
- Mix the gin, Campari, and vermouth until chilled
- Strain into a glass over a large ice cube
- Garnish with the orange peel
This is one of the easiest cocktails on the list to make!
6. Whiskey Sour
One of the most well-known drinks from among the classics, the Whiskey Sour is all about balance. While many versions of this drink abound, this blend is the original recipe.
- 2 oz. Bourbon
- ¾ oz. lemon juice, fresh
- ½ oz. egg white, optional
- ½ oz. simple syrup
- Angostura bitters to garnish
- Dry shake Bourbon, simple syrup, egg white, and lemon juice for 30 seconds
- Add ice to the cup and shake again until chilled
- Strain the drink into a coupe glass
- Add three to four drops of Angostura to garnish
Mix It Up!
Now that you know how to make each of these popular cocktails, you can stock up a bit to have the essential ingredients on-hand for any party or event. Of course, you don’t need to be prepared for all of these, but knowing at least three or four will make you an excellent host that can meet your guests’ needs!