27 Must Have Cocktail Recipes

Dry Martini

Gin Based Cocktail Recipes

Dry means very little Vermouth. Unlike some people would like to believe, a cocktail made with anything but gin in a martini glass is not a martini. If made with vodka it would be a Vodkatini.

There are two theories as to where the Dry Martini was invented, some claim San Francisco, and some New York.
A clever writer in San Francisco once wrote an article in the SF Gate on how to do a “Martini Crawl,” (going to a few different bars and having one martini in each) without getting wet in the rain and it included a map. San Francisco gets a lot of rain so this was a very handy map to have. This involved such antics as going through hotels, and other various tricks.

Ingredients

  • Ice (If you opt to not chill the glass in the freezer)
  • Martini glasses (Large and stemmed, chilled in the freezer for one hour if you can, if not chilled by letting sit full of ice and water until very cold. This goes for all the below recipes)
  • Dry Vermouth (Refrigerated to stay cool and fresh, this is a perishable item)
  • Olives (with the pits) or lemon peel for garnish
  • Good quality gin (not fruit flavored, use a classic gin)

Method

  1. Chill the Martini Glass. Having the glass ice cold is very important, as the taste of the Dry Martini is very dependent on the temperature.
  2. Put ice cubes into the cocktail shaker, add a dash of Vermouth, stir to coat the ice with Vermouth and then pour out the excess liquid.
  3. Add 3 oz. or two shots, put the lid on, and gently shake.
  4. Sit the shaker down; put your Vermouth and ice bucket back in the freezer. This allows a little time for some dilution.
  5. Go back and shake it a little more, add your garnish. If using lemon peel don’t forget to squeeze a little of the lemon oil on top of the drink, if using olives, put them at the bottom of the spear and do not use the stuffed olives, use the kind with the seed still inside. The seeded olives taste terrible. If you want to try a Gibson, use two cocktail onions instead.
  6. Pour the Dry Martini into the glass and enjoy with some good music.

Negroni 

The Negroni is a gin-based apéritif that most reports say was invented in Florence, Italy, 1919, deeming it to be a ‘classic cocktail’.

Ingredients
  • Ice
  • 1 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. Sweet Vermouth
  • 1 oz. Campari
  • Orange wheel for garnish

Method

  1. Pour all ingredients into a chilled cocktail shaker, half filled with ice.
  2. Shake until properly chilled.
  3. Strain into a chilled Low Ball glass filled with a few ice cubes.
  4. Garnish with orange wheel.

Martinez

The Martinez was invented in the 19th. century by using an inferior gin and adding sugar to it to make it more palatable. Now one just needs to use a good gin. For those that enjoy apéritifs such as Negronis and Manhattans the Martinez is surely something you need to try if you have not already.

Ingredients

  • 3 ½ oz. gin (try one distilled with malted barley for this recipe)
  • 1 ¾ oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 2bar spoons  of Maraschino Liqueur
  • 4 dashes of Orange Bitters
  • Ice
  • Orange twist for garnish

Method

  1. Chill two coup glasses (Or something elegant with a stem).
  2. Fill a chilled cocktail shaker tin half full with ice.
  3. Place all ingredients in the tin.
  4. Shake until properly chilled and strain into the chilled glasses.
  5. Garnish with orange twist.

Satan’s Whiskers

There are two versions of these cocktail, straight whiskers, or curled whiskers and I just love the name! This classic cocktail would be fun to serve on Halloween but of course, as a classic cocktail goes, appropriate to serve anytime, anywhere. Classic cocktails are very elegant. The straight version contains Grand Marnier while the curled version Curaçao.

Ingredients

  • Ice
  • 1 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 oz. dry Vermouth
  • 1/2 oz. sweet Vermouth
  • 1/2 oz. Grand Marnier
  • A dash of bitters
  • Twist of orange peel for garnish

Method

  1. Fill the chilled cocktail shaker half full with ice.
  2. Add all the ingredients and shake until well chilled.
  3. Strain ingredients into a chilled Martini glass.
  4. Garnish with orange peel

Singapore (or Gin) Sling

Although this classic drink has gone through several morphs over the years this recipe is crisp and simple like the original from Singapore. The recipe contains two types of bitters; one is Angostura Bitters, which is a mix of alcohol, herbs, and spices (the exact formula is a mystery, as only five people know the entire recipe). The other is Peychaud’s bitters, which is similar to the Angostura bitters but has a lighter body, sweeter taste, and a slight floral fragrance.

Ingredients

  • Ice
  • 1 1/2 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. Bénédictine D.O.M.
  • 1 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 oz. Marasca Cherry Liqueur
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • 2 oz. chilled soda water
  • Twist of lime for garnish

Method

  1. In a chilled cocktail shaker tin, half-full of ice, combine all the ingredients except the garnish.
  2. Shake until properly chilled (like we covered previously, when the shaker is ice cold and has condensed water forming on the outside).
  3. Strain into the chilled Collins glass.
  4. Garnish with a twist of lime

Bourbon, Whiskey, & Scotch Based Cocktail Recipes

Bourbon is an American made whiskey; barrel aged and made of at least 51% corn. Distilled since the 18th. century in charred, white oak barrels. This gives it a reddish color and a distinctive flavor.

Bourbon is really just a special type of whiskey and all whiskeys are 80 proof or more. There are many types of whiskeys available, depending on the grains used, if they are blended or not, and some are made up of only one grain for example, Single Malt Scotch

Blood and Sand

Named after Rudolph Valentines 1922 film, Blood and Sand this cocktail has become a classic. The reddish color of the drink is what connects it to the film. This cocktail happens to be one of the few classic cocktails that include Scotch.

Ingredients

  • Ice
  • 1 ½ oz. Scotch
  • ¾ oz. Cherry Liqueur
  • ¾ oz. Sweet Vermouth
  • ¼ oz. Campari
  • ¼ oz. Bitters of Blood Orange
  • ¼ oz freshly squeezed and strained blood orange juice
  • Blood orange wedge for garnish

Method

  1. Pour all ingredients into a chilled cocktail shaker, half filled with ice.
  2. Shake until properly chilled.
  3. Strain into a chilled Cocktail or Martini glass.
  4. Flame the orange peel over the glass and rub onto the rim (How delicious)

Manhattan

The original Manhattan’s main ingredient as Rye Whiskey but now you can find it made with Bourbon or blended Whiskeys as well. There are a few variations of Manhattan, dry, sweet, or perfect. Although they are classic they never went out of style and can be seen in the trendiest of bars. This is an absolute must have recipe! The Scotch version of this drink is a Rob Roy. 

Ingredients

  • Ice
  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth
  • A dash of Angostura bitters
  • 1 maraschino cherry as garnish and it adds a little sweetness to the cocktail

Process

  1. In a chilled cocktail, half filled with ice add all ingredients except the garnish.
  2. Shake well, until properly chilled.
  3. Strain into a chilled Martini glass.
  4. Garnish with the maraschino cherry

Caipiwhiskey

The father of the Caipiwhiskey is the classic Brazilian cocktail, the Caipirinha. For whiskey lovers that find the Caipirinha too sweet or do not like cachaça, which is a sugar cane based spirit from Brazil, this drink may be perfect for you. On the other hand, those that find whiskey too strong, this cocktail may provide you with a new way of enjoying whiskey because the sugar and lime really sweeten and soften it up.

Ingredients

  • Cracked ice
  • 2 T. sugar
  • 1 raspberry
  • 1 lime, seeded and cut into quarters
  • 1 dash of freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 oz. whiskey

Process

  1. In a chilled old-fashioned glass, add raspberry, limes, and sugar.
  2. Muddle ingredients together, releasing the juices and the lovely smelling essential oils of the lime skin into the sugar.
  3. Add plenty of cracked ice and enough whiskey to fill the glass.
  4. Put all the ingredients in into a chilled cocktail shaker and shake.
  5. Rim the old-fashioned glass with sugar and pour (not strain) ingredients into glass.

Ward Eight

The Ward Eight is a classic variation of the Whiskey Sour created in 1898 by a bartender named Tom Hussion. In 1934, Esquire Magazine voted the Ward Eight as one of the top 10 cocktails of the year. 

Ingredients

  • Ice
  • 2 oz. Rye Whiskeyor Bourbon
  • 1/2 oz. freshly squeezedlemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. freshly squeezedorange juice
  • 1 tsp. Grenadine
  • 1Maraschino Cherry for garnish

Method

  1. In a chilled cocktail shaker half filled with ice, place all ingredients except the garnish.
  2. Shake vigorously until properly chilled.
  3. Strain into the chilled old-fashioned glass.
  4. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Penicillin

People in general drink their single malt Scotch alone, probably because they are pricier than other Whiskeys. There are delicious ways of enjoying it mixed as well, without diluting your precious Scotch too much. Here is a recipe where you shake it without the ice, and then pour it onto the ice. Since you are not shaking it with the ice, you will be diluting it less.

Ingredients

  • Ice (I might want to mention, when using ice in cocktails try and use pure spring water vs. tap water, especially when pouring something on the rocks.)
  • 2 oz. Blended Scotch
  • 3/4 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz. ginger syrup
  • 3/4 oz. honey
  • Splash of full bodied single malt scotch (chose one with a nice smoky flavor)

Method

  1. Pour all ingredients into a chilled cocktail shaker.
  2. Shake until properly chilled.
  3. Pour into chilled cocktail glass onto one large block of ice.

Brandy Based Cocktail Recipes

Brandy is a distilled wine (or other fermented fruit juices) ranging in the 70–120 proof range. Brandy straight up is a typical after dinner drink but a Brandy cocktail is also perfectly suitable for after dinner, or even before! Some various types of Brandy include Cognac, Armagnac, Spanish Brandy, Pisco, American Brandy, Flavored Brandy, and Eau-de-vie

Between the Sheets

Although Between the Sheets is not a classic cocktail, the two main ingredients are common components in classic cocktails; Brandy and Rum.

Ingredients

  • Ice
  • ¾ oz. Brandy
  • ¾ oz. Light Rum
  • ¾ oz. Orange Liqueur
  • ½ oz. fresh lemon juice
  • Lemon twist for garnish

  Method

  1. Pour all ingredients into a chilled cocktail shaker, half filled with ice.
  2. Shake until properly chilled.
  3. Strain into a large, chilled Martini glass.
  4. Garnish with a lemon twist and serve.

Brandy Gump

This is a simple recipe I thought you would enjoy, using non-flavored Brandy.

Ingredients

  • Ice
  • 1 1/2 oz. Brandy
  • 1 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. Grenadine

Process

  1. In a chilled cocktail shaker filled half way with ice, add all ingredients.
  2. Shake until well chilled.
  3. Strain into a chilled Martini glass. 

Pisco Sour

The foam topped Pisco Sour cocktail originated in South America, in the countries of Peru and Chili using the fermented muscat grape, which gives it a unique flavor. This is a very refreshing and easy to make cocktail.

Ingredients

  • Ice
  • 1 1/2 oz. Pisco
  • 3/4 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 oz. rich simple syrup (this is just a combo of cooked and thickened sugar and water commonly used in cocktails)
  • 1 small free range, organic, egg white
  • Several drops of Angostura bitters (adjust according to personal taste)

Method

  1. In a chilled cocktail shaker, half filled with ice, add all ingredients except the Angostura bitters.
  2. Shake until sufficiently chilled.
  3. Strain into a small cocktail glass.
  4. Garnish with several drops of Angostura bitters on top of the foam.

Brandy Alexander

This classic Brandy cocktail is perfect for a fall or winter evening.

Ingredients

 Method

  1. In a chilled cocktail shaker, add all ingredients except the nutmeg.
  2. Shake vigorously.
  3. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass.
  4. Sprinkle a bit of nutmeg on top for flavor and garnish.

Rum Based Cocktail Recipes

Most of the world’s Rum production comes from the Caribbean and Latin America. Rum is a distilled hard alcoholic beverage made from sugarcane byproducts and aged in oak barrels. Rum comes in three varieties, light, golden, and dark and commonly used as cocktail ingredients, consumed neat, or for cooking.

Piña Colada

The Piña Colada is a sweet rum based cocktail and the official cocktail of Puerto Rico since 1978. The name translated means strained pineapple.

Ingredients

  • Ice
  • 2 oz. Dark Rum
  • 1 ½ oz. coconut cream (this is what makes it differ from the Cuban Piña Colada)
  • Cherry for garnish
  • Pineapple cube for garnish

  Method

  1. Pour all ingredients into a chilled cocktail shaker, half filled with ice.
  2. Shake until properly chilled.
  3. Strain into a chilled Collins glass.
  4. Garnish with pineapple and cherry and serve. 

Green Star

The Green Star is a non-classical cocktail that is very simple to make. It is very refreshing and not too sweet, perfect for summer!

Ingredients

  • Ice
  • 2 oz. Light Rum
  • 1 oz. Melon Liquor
  • 1 oz. Freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 oz. Lemon-lime carbonated soft drink

Method

  1. Combine all ingredients into a chilled cocktail shaker half filled with ice.
  2. Shake until well chilled.
  3. Pour into chilled cocktail glass.

El Presidente

This classic cocktail ingredient is golden Rum. Its origin is Cuba for tourists travelling during prohibition. This is a very refreshing and full flavored cocktail.

Ingredients

  • Ice
  • 2 oz. Golden Rum
  • ½ oz. Orange Liqueur
  • 1 oz. Dry Vermouth
  • 1 dash of real Grenadine

Method

  1.  Pour all ingredients into a chilled cocktail shaker, half filled with ice.
  2. Shake until properly chilled.
  3. Filter into a chilled Martini glass and serve.

Mountain Breeze

The Mountain Breeze cocktail is a non-classic cocktail invented by a barman named Myles who works at a mountain in nestled in the mountains of Little Switzerland, North Carolina.

Ingredients

  • Ice
  • 1/2 oz. Vodka
  • 1/2 oz. Gin
  • 1/2 oz. Triple Sec
  • 1 oz. cranberry juice
  • 1/2 oz. Rum
  • 1/2 oz. Tequila
  • 1 1/2 oz. sweet and sour mix
  • 1/2 oz. freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • Lime wedge for garnish

Method

  1. Fill a chilled hurricane glass half full with ice and pour in all the ingredients inside.
  2. Transfer ingredients into a chilled cocktail shaker.
  3. Shake until properly chilled.
  4. Pour back into hurricane glass.
  5. Garnish with lime wedge and serve.

Mai Tai

The Mai Tai is a tropical Polynesian inspired cocktail. In Piolynesian “Maita’i” means good and I must agree, this is a delicious cocktail.

  Ingredients

  • Ice
  • 1 oz. Dark Rum
  • 1 oz. Light Rum
  • ½ oz. Orange Liqueur
  • ¾ oz. Orgeat
  • 1 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 cherry for garnish
  • 1 pineapple wedge for garnish

Method

  1. Pour all ingredients, except the dark rum, into a chilled cocktail mixer half filled with ice.
  2. Pour some ice into a chilled Tiki glass and strain ingredients from cocktail shaker into it.
  3. Add dark rum.
  4. Garnish with the pineapple wedge and a cherry and serve

Tequila Based Cocktail Recipes

Tequila is actually a distilled beverage called Mezcal and made from the blue agave plant grown in the area surrounding the city of Tequila, Mexico, hence the name Tequila. Although Tequila is usually 76-80 proof, you can find 62-110 proof versions

Envy

Envy cocktail is a beautiful, non-classic cocktail that uses silver tequila and gets its blue color from blue curacao. You can prepare this shaken or stirred, again depending on the dilution you like. Shaking it will dilute it more. Serve this cocktail in a Cocktail or Margarita glass.

Ingredients

  • Ice 1 ½ oz. Silver Tequila
  • ½ oz. Blue Curaçao
  • A dash or two of pineapple juice (depending on how strong you like your drink)
  • Maraschino cherry for garnish

Method

  1. Pour all ingredients into a chilled cocktail shaker, half filled with ice.
  2. Shake until properly chilled.
  3. Pour into a chilled Cocktail or Margarita glass.
  4. Garnish with maraschino cherry and serve.

Margarita

The Margarita is the classic Mexican cocktail. The refreshing citrus flavor blends well with sweet orange liqueur and the flavor of tequila. You can rim the Margarita glass with sugar or salt, depending on personal preference. You can also experiment with smokier versions of Tequila such as the ones usually just called Mezcal.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 oz. tequila
  • 1/2 oz. premium triple sec
  • 1 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice

Method

  1.  Pour all ingredients into a chilled cocktail shaker, half filled with ice.
  2. Shake until properly chilled.
  3. Strain into chilled Margarita glass rimmed with either salt or sugar and serve.

Tequila Sunrise

There are two different versions of the Tequila Sunrise cocktail, the most popular being Bobby Lazoff’s and Billy Rice’s version from the Trident restaurant in Sausalito, California in the early 1970’s. This is a beautiful cocktail, and the sunrise illusion happens because the heavier and darker syrup settles to the bottom of the class.

Ingredients

  • Ice
  • 2 oz. Tequila
  • 4 oz. freshly squeezed orange juice
  • ¾ oz Grenadine
  • Orange slice for garnish

Method

  1. In a chilled cocktail shaker, shake together the orange juice and tequila.
  2. Pour into a chilled highball glass, half filled with ice.
  3. Slowly add the grenadine syrup so that it falls to the bottom of the glass.
  4. Stir just a little bit to get a nice blending of colors but keeping the darker part on the bottom.
  5. Garnish with an orange slice.

Mexican Martini

The Mexican Martini is a variation of the classic Martini, served up and into a Chilled Martini glass but garnished like both a Margarita and a Martini and containing Tequila instead of Gin.

Ingredients

  • 2 oz. Tequila
  • 1 1/2 oz. high grade Orange Liqueur
  • 2 oz. Sweet and Sour Mix
  • 1 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 oz. freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 splash lemon-lime carbonated beverage
  • 2 olives (seeds included)

Method 

  1. Pour all ingredients into a chilled cocktail shaker, half filled with ice.
  2. Shake until properly chilled.
  3. Strain into a large chilled Martini glass with a salted rim.
  4. Put two olives on a spear, towards the bottom and put into the glass for garnish, serve. and serve.

Vodka Based Cocktail Recipes

Vodka is a distilled spirit made of fermented grains, fruits, and sugars. There are also many flavored vodkas out there which makes it an ideal addition to your bar, proving you with an endless varieties of cocktails. From Pear to Grass, to Chili, there is certainly something to please everybody’s palate. Vodka is also one of the purest and cleanest alcohols available, Sake being the number one.  

Vodka Gimlet

A Gimlet is simply any cocktail or drink made of gin or vodka and lime juice. You can serve this drink straight or on the rocks.

Ingredients

  • Ice
  • 1 ½ vodka
  • ¾ oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 3-4 slices of lime

Method

  1. Pour all ingredients except the lime slices into a chilled cocktail shaker, half filled with ice.
  2. Shake until properly chilled.
  3. Stain into a chilled Martini glass, add the lime slices, and serve.

Cosmopolitan

The Sex in the City television series made the Cosmopolitan a very popular drink but this is a great way to enjoy a Vodkatini type cocktail or if you want to drink something in this style of cocktail glass, which is very elegant, and drink something that is not as strong. 

Ingredients

  • 2 oz. premium Vodka (non-flavored)
  • 1 oz. Orange Liqueur
  • 1 oz. cranberry juice
  • ½ oz. lime juice

Method 

  1. Pour all ingredients into a chilled cocktail shaker, filled with about 6 ice cubes.
  2. Shake until properly chilled.
  3. Strain straight up (without ice) into a chilled Martini glass.

Chilitini

If you like spicy hot chili’s you are going to love this cocktail. Use as much or as little as you prefer, and remember the heat of the chili comes from its seeds. So before muddling the chilis, if you do not like it too hot, remove all the seeds or just leave a couple. The sweet simple syrup will also help to balance out the hotness and make this a spicy but enjoyable drink. When mixing things like sweet and hot, whether it is food or drink, the contrast of flavors is what makes things tasty to our palate.

Ingredients

  • Ice
  • 1 chili (red Serrano or red Thai, remove seeds or not, according to taste. Even if you love hot and spicy I still recommend removing some.)
  • 5 oz. Vodka or Chili/Pepper flavored vodka
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup

Method

  1. Muddle the chilies with simply syrup and Vodka.
  2. Drain the liquid into a chilled cocktail shaker half filled with ice and add Vodka.
  3. Shake until properly chilled.
  4. Strain into a large, chilled Martini glass.
  5. Garnish with a red chili partially split down the middle on the rim.

Bloody Mary

The Bloody Mary is a classic cocktail best known for its hangover curing properties as well as its nutritional qualities due to the tomato juice, celery, and citrus ingredients. What is a better excuse to have this delicious cocktail for Sunday brunch?

Ingredients

  • Celery salt
  • 1 wedge of lemon
  • 2 oz. premium Vodka
  • 4 oz. tomato juice (or you can use a prepared tomato juice that is infused with clam juice)
  • 2 dashes hot sauce
  • 2 tsp. horseradish
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 pinch Celery salt
  • 1 freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pinch smoked paprika
  • Celery stalk for garnish
  • Wedge of lime for garnish

Method

  1. Pour enough celery salt onto a small plate to rim a chilled Pint glass.
  2. Rub the rim of the glass with a lemon wedge to moisten it.
  3. Roll the outer edge of the glass in celery salt to coat it; this will create the tasty and salty rim.
  4. In a chilled cocktail shaker half filled with ice, squeeze the lemon and lime wedges juices in, being careful not add any seeds, and then add the remaining ingredients.
  5. Shake until properly chilled.
  6. Pour into pint glass.
  7. Garnish with a celery stalk and lime wedge.