Here are all the great cocktail recipes and alcoholic drinks you should know how to make, from the margarita to the whiskey sour. Cheers!
Here at A Couple Cooks, we think that cooking food at home can be pretty simple. (In fact, we wrote a book about it.) And you know what else? Making cocktail recipes at home can be pretty simple, too. While it might seem intimidating, making a great cocktail is 100% accessible. As we’ve gone about our research, we’ve found that signature alcoholic drinks add infinitely more fun to any evening!
Once we started learning how to make great cocktail recipes, well, we couldn’t stop! We’ve started a library of easy cocktail recipes that we’re always adding to. We can’t wait for you to give them a try. Below are the best of our best cocktail recipes: fun, fancy and everywhere in between! Scroll below the recipes for tips on how to become a semi-professional mixologist. Ready to get drinking?
And now…all the great cocktail recipes you should know!
This whiskey sour has become a family favorite: so much so that it now appears at all our extended family gatherings. This cocktail recipe is so classic and tasty, our family has been making it for years. We hope it becomes a family favorite in yours! Also try: Boston Sour.
The sweet tart margarita is one of our top cocktail recipes to make at home, and it has endless variations. This one is the classic, made with 3 simple ingredients: lime, Cointreau and tequila! For a festive topping, try our bright and beautiful margarita salt.
Are there any cocktail drinks more refreshing than a mojito? This iconic Cuban drink is one of the greats. Here’s a recipe for it that’s spot on perfection: not too sweet, bubbly, and minty fresh. The true version has less sugar and more nuance than what it’s become in bars and pre-made mixes. Here’s exactly how to make a simple mojito! It’s perfect for sipping on the patio, but then again just as good in the dead of winter when you’re dreaming of the beach.
What’s more refreshing than a gin and tonic? Its crisp, botanical flavor is straightforward but at the same time intriguing: a feat using only 2 ingredients! It’s no wonder that this is one of the world’s popular easy cocktails. This recipe takes a few tips from the Spanish gin tonic to amp this drink to the next level.
Ready for one of the easiest cocktails with the best flavor? It's a classic daiquiri. Yes, a classic daiquiri isn't frozen at all: it's made of lime, rum and simple syrup. And let us tell you: it is so, so delicious! One of our best easy alcoholic drinks to make at home, here's the simple formula for a classic daiquiri that you can memorize.
It’s fizzy, it’s tangy, it looks festive, and it goes down easy. What could be better than a Moscow mule? This easy cocktail recipe was invented in the 1940’s, but it’s having a moment now too. This classic Moscow mule recipe timeless and easy to make. With only 3 ingredients and 3 minutes required, it’s perfect to serve for entertaining: or a lazy evening on the patio.
Ahh, the Tom Collins: a nostalgic cocktail that’s about as classic as it gets! This tall highball drink is a gin sour, a sweet and sour drink made with gin. It’s refreshing, bubbly, and makes any evening more fun! Here’s exactly how to make this classic cocktail!
The Old Fashioned is one of the most famous cocktails there is: possibly because it’s the oldest! This one dates back to the early 1800’s, before the words classic and cocktail were even said next to each other. It's barely a recipe at all: just lightly sweetened booze seasoned with bitters. Here’s how to make a classic bourbon Old Fashioned cocktail that lets the whiskey shine.
The gin fizz is a simple cocktail recipe that is perfectly balanced, both sweet and tart. And adding soda water magically creates a frothy egg white foam topping. Shake together the gin, lemon juice, syrup, and egg white in a cocktail shaker, then pour it into two glasses. When you top off each glass with soda water, the carbonation combines with the egg white to make a frothy foam topping. It’s like magic!
It’s got a brilliant pink color and refreshing flavor: yes, it’s a Cosmo! A Cosmopolitan cocktail, to be exact. Our recipe is more tart than sweet, it's an improved version of the classic using 100% cranberry juice. It's an easy cocktail to make, and it's ready to spice up your next gathering! It's great for dinner parties or drinks on the patio.
Here’s one of the most sophisticated and refreshing cocktail recipes out there: a French 75! It’s got a mysterious name, but it’s made with a few simple ingredients: gin, lemon and Champagne. It’s tangy, bubbly, and a bit botanical, and it makes every occasion more festive!
Cousin of the classic margarita, this easy cocktail recipe features tequila with grapefruit instead of lime! This simple drink is sweet tart and refreshing, and you don't even have to dirty a cocktail shaker. It’s perfect for happy hour drinks, or water it down and it could be a brunch drink too. The Paloma is traditionally made with grapefruit soda, but for an all natural spin this recipe uses grapefruit juice and soda water (and it’s easier to find!). Add a salt rim and you’re in business!
Bubbly, citrusy, herbal, subtly bitter and lightly sweet…it’s the most classic bubbly mixed drink of them all. Meet the Aperol spritz! This drink is renowned the world over, reaching max popularity in the 2000’s. But did you know it’s actually a classic cocktail from the 1950’s? This Italian cocktail has been capturing hearts and minds for years. Made the right way: it’s absolutely worth the hype.
One of the most stunning and complex cocktail recipes is the New York Sour! First you have the whiskey sour layer: sweet tart and perfectly balanced, sweetened with maple for some nuance. Then float a layer of red wine over the top and it adds intrigue, complexity and a fruity acidity. Not to mention it looks simply stunning with the bright two-toned layer. A favorite!
This isn’t just an champagne cocktail, it’s THE champagne cocktail. Yes, the Champagne Cocktail is a classic cocktail recipe that's tangy and refreshing. Are you celebrating something? Because this is the drink for you. Adding a sugar cube to champagne makes a fountain of bubbles that positively sparkles!
Another classic cocktail, the Gin Gimlet is refreshing and takes only 5 minutes to whip up! It’s the perfect balance of sweet and tart with the botanical flavor of gin. A gin gimlet is a classic cocktail made of lime juice, gin and simple syrup. It’s sometimes served with a splash of soda water. While it became popular in the 1950’s, it stems back at least as far as the 1930's. It’s gin forward, so you’ll want to use a great bottle of gin here.
When’s the last time you had a classic piña colada? They’re not only for the 1990’s or beach resorts, we promise! They take only a few minutes to blend up, only require 5 ingredients, and taste so refreshing. Oh, and add some drink umbrellas too!
Here’s one of the very best sour cocktails, and possibly one of the best classic cocktails of all time: the Sidecar! What’s so great about it? Take a taste. This drink is perfectly balanced between sweet and tart, with just the right edge from the boozy Cognac. It’s a complex, layered drink: warm, crisp, dry, rich, and full at the same time. Truly a stunner!
This sophisticated whiskey drink has a long history and has come back into style: the Manhattan! It’s a three ingredient cocktail, but there’s so much going on in one sip! Vanilla, oak and caramel notes from the bourbon, sweet and spicy from the vermouth, and bitter and herby from the bitters.
Here's the perfect amaretto sour! Made correctly, this drink can be one of the best cocktails out there (not that syrupy kind made with sour mix). It’s tangy and sweet tart, with a hint of almond from the amaretto that’s toned down by the secret ingredient: bourbon. If you’re not drinking an amaretto sour this way: well, it’s time to start!
Looking for an iconic classic cocktail? Enter: the Negroni! It’s equal parts refreshing, bitter, and complex: a drink that you’ll want to sit with and savor. The bright red of the Campari makes for a stunning jewel-tone statement of a drink! It's spawned loads of famous variations, too: we like the Negroni Sbagliato (with Prosecco) or Boulevardier (with bourbon).
Here’s the best mimosa recipe! This one’s made with Italian Prosecco, orange juice, and a dash of Cointreau for the perfect bubbly citrus flavor. Use Prosecco instead of champagne for a sweeter, nuanced flavor.
The pomegranate martini, a fruity spin on the vodka martini, is perfectly balanced and refreshingly tart. It looks so festive that it’s great for celebrations of all kinds: be it a classy dinner party or New Year’s. Whatever the occasion: this martini delivers! It's got a sweet tart, clean flavor and a sophisticated vibe.
The Mai Tai is a classic cocktail from the 1940’s that's breathtakingly complex, featuring rum, orange liqueur, and fancy almond syrup. It’s just sweet enough, with nutty and vanilla notes against the sharp citrus. Float a little dark rum on top, and you get to the core of a Mai Tai: it’s sophisticated, nuanced, and might we say…extraordinarily special.
Here’s a cocktail that takes just 2 minutes and hits the spot in any season: the White Russian! This cocktail mixes vodka with coffee liqueur and cream in a decadently creamy, searingly sweet beverage. You may know it from the 1990’s movie The Big Lebowski, but this drink has been around since the 1950’s. It’s a total treat, and couldn’t be easier to make!
This great cocktail recipe's got a unique name and a beautiful pale pink color! It's made of gin and grapefruit juice, essentially the Greyhound Cocktail except for one thing: the salt rim! It accentuates the sweet and sour flavors. It’s tangy and refreshing, perfect as a brunch drink or for happy hour. It’s got a light summery vibe, but it also works in winter when citrus abounds.
One of the most refreshing cocktails out there: a Southside! This gin cocktail recipe features bright citrus, herbaceous mint, and botanical gin. It's almost like a gin mojito! Or try its cousin drink the Southside Fizz, which adds soda water. It’s tart and fizzy, perfect as a patio drink or for brunch.
Here’s a boozy classic cocktail that’s one of the greats: the Sazerac! If you love spirit-forward drinks like the Old Fashioned, this one’s for you. Instead of just whiskey and sugar, this one’s got a surprise element: absinthe gives a black licorice finish to each sip! This outlawed liquor is now back in good graces (since 2007, at least), a reason to try this famous slow sipper. It’s the official drink of New Orleans and one of the oldest cocktails there is.
Love fruity drinks but want something more complex? Here’s the drink for you: the Jungle Bird! It’s one of the few rum cocktails to pair tropical flavors with an Italian bitter: Campari. You might know Campari from the ubiquitous Negroni: an ultra dry and bitter drink. But add it to a tropical drink and the effect is surprising. Campari perfectly balances the drink and gives the finish an intriguing complexity. It hits all the right notes: sweet, tart, fruity, and bitter.
The word “Mudslide” might make you think milkshake-style boozy cocktails at chain restaurants. But have you ever had a classic Mudslide? It couldn’t be more sophisticated…and delicious! You can make this Mudslide recipe both ways: first as drink was first intended: shaken with coffee liqueur and Irish cream and served up in a cocktail glass.
Here’s a simple cocktail recipe that’s bubbly, zingy and perfect for summer: Ranch Water! It’s the unofficial drink of West Texas: a tequila highball made with lime juice and sparkling Topo Chico. It’s like a bubbly, lighter spin on the classic margarita, with all the tangy citrus but less sweetness and booze.
Here’s a classic cocktail that’s as unique as its name…the Corpse Reviver No 2! It turns out that the Corpse Reviver has nothing scary or ghoulish about it. In fact, it’s damn good. It’s a classic gin sour cocktail that’s tart and zingy from lemon juice and orange liqueur, with a hint of licorice on the finish.
Here’s a must-make cocktail: the Paper Plane! This one is a brilliant study in balance and contrast. It’s bitter, sweet and tangy all at once, hitting a magical synergy between the bourbon and amaro. You might think it was a classic cocktail, but this one’s a modern classic invented in 2007...and one of the best cocktails we’ve had.
Hey cocktail connoisseurs: there’s a new drink in town. Meet the Siesta cocktail! This unexpected combination of tequila, Campari and fresh citrus juice is deliciously intriguing. Each sip is balanced and refreshing, with a sweet tart body and a hint of bitter on the finish. It's a new modern classic invented in 2006, and it's worth making on repeat.
Want to make a Bloody Mary at home? Turns out, making the perfect version of this classic cocktail is easy, once you know a few secrets. It comes out with an intense, punchy flavor that’s loads better than store-bought. Here’s our favorite Bloody Mary recipe: savory, spicy, tangy, and salty all at once.
Coffee lovers, here’s the cocktail for you! Meet the Espresso Martini. This one is an ideal pick-me-up for a lazy afternoon or an after dinner drink…it even doubles as dessert! Bittersweet coffee pairs perfectly with the rich sweetness of Kahlua. Add vodka and the trio makes a full-flavored sophisticated drink that tastes like much more than the sum of its parts. It’s cool, frothy, and just sweet enough.
Here’s a drink for the adventurous home bartender: the Last Word cocktail! This pale green gin sour is a classic cocktail that was all but lost to history. But with the revival of cocktail culture, this one’s come back strong! It’s equal parts sharp, sweet, and sour: full of intrigue and nuance from a few special ingredients.
Want a classic cocktail recipe that’s simple and sophisticated? There’s nothing better than a Kir Royale! This famous French cocktail stars black currant liqueur and sparkling wine, and the berries and bubbles suit each other perfectly.
Here’s a cocktail recipe that’s so pristine, it’s no wonder it’s got a long history. Try Rum Punch! The concept of rum punch goes back to the 1600’s, though this one is closer to a Planter’s Punch from the early 1900’s. The balance of the ingredients is ideal: instead of overly saccharine is perfectly sweet tart, fruity, and tropical.
And to round out our great cocktail recipes, a classic drink that’s classy and refreshing: the whiskey smash! Contrary to most whiskey drinks, this one is tangy and light, not heavy and boozy. It’s a citrus spin on the classic Mint Julep, featuring lemon and mint. It’s perfect for entertaining or evening cocktails on the patio.
What you need to make great cocktail recipes at home
What do you need to make cocktail recipes at home? Well, here’s what we recommend: pick one of these recipes, then get the supplies that you need for that! Instead of outfitting your entire kitchen, pick one of the alcoholic drinks above and start building your tools from there. Here’s what you need to know:
Do I need a jigger? No. All our cocktail recipes are written in both ounces and tablespoons, so you can use a jigger, small measuring glass, or even a tablespoon.
Do I need a juicer? To save your hands from cramping up, we’d recommend it. Here’s the citrus juicer we use.
Do I need a cocktail shaker? A cocktail shaker is useful if you’re making a lot of cocktails. Here’s the cocktail shaker we use.Don’t want to buy one? Use a glass mason jar, fill it with ice, cover and shake!
Do I need a muddler? Here’s the muddler we use. If you don’t want to buy one, use a wooden spoon instead. Here’s how to muddle mint!
Do I need a channel knife? It helps in making cocktail garnishes like a lemon twist. But you can make a lemon twist with a knife!
A few of our recipes use a blender, which we assume you have on hand. And in terms of alcohol: we suggest building out your liquor cabinet one bottle at time. Pick a recipe, then grab the alcohol required.
Step up your cocktail recipes…with clear ice!
One way to take your homemade cocktail recipes one step further? Make clear ice! This crystal clear ice looks beautiful and artisanal, like your cocktail was made at a fancy bar. You can make clear ice at home and it’s so easy! All you need is a small cooler and 24 hours, and your cocktails will look extra stunning. Here’s how to do it! Go to How to Make Clear Ice.