You don’t have to be a master mixologist to make cocktails, nor do you have to know a lot about liquor to start experimenting with drinks at home.
All you really need is a stocked bar cart, some mixers and a few basic bar tools. You can then try your hand at shaking, stirring and pouring these fun mixed drinks.
Don’t forget to taste test along the way!
1. Moscow Mule
The Moscow Mule is the perfect summer drink. Light, chilly and refreshing, this drink is much more straightforward than it looks. Squeeze half a lime into a copper mug and drop in the shell. Then, add some ice cubes, two ounces of your favorite vodka and top it all off with ginger beer. Stir and toss in a sprig of mint if you’re feeling fancy.
2. Bloody Mary
This tomato-based cocktail is like a boozy breakfast for one. With everything from olives to bacon to shrimp skewers for garnish, the Bloody Mary has hundreds of variations. However, if you’re looking for a good, reliable formula, you can’t go wrong with this classic bloody mary recipe. Combine the ingredients in a shaker and serve in a salt-rimmed glass for a delicious, drinkable meal.
A classic mudslide is basically the equivalent of an adult milkshake and makes for the perfect dessert cocktail. In a blender, combine one ounce of Kahlua, Bailey’s Irish cream, heavy cream and your vodka of choice. Add ice and blend until smooth. Serve in a martini glass and top with chocolate shavings and a cherry if you’re feeling adventurous.
4. Classic Daiquiri
This classic daiquiri isn’t the slushie, creamy version you find at tiki bars. However, it’s just as delicious and much more straightforward. Combine two shots of light rum, one shot of lime juice and a three-fourths shot of Demerara sugar syrup and shake well. Strain and serve in a coupe with a lime twist.
5. Irish Coffee
Unlike other beverages on this list, Irish coffee tastes best when hot and is sure to warm you up during the colder months. Fill a mug with a cup of steaming coffee. Then, add brown sugar and one and a half ounces of Irish whiskey. Top it off with a little heavy whipping cream and serve as a nightcap or midmorning treat.
Most whiskey lovers can appreciate a classic Manhattan. The beverage marries the spiciness of rye whiskey to the sweetness of vermouth for a well-balanced cocktail. Combine two ounces of whiskey with one ounce of sweet vermouth and two dashes of Angostura bitters. Stir with ice and strain into a coupe. Garnish with an orange twist or cherry.
7. Champagne Cocktail
The champagne cocktail puts a brilliant twist on your classic old fashioned and is the perfect accompaniment to any holiday meal. To make this bubbly beverage, place a sugar cube in a champagne flute and sprinkle with bitters. Add a half-ounce of brandy and top with champagne. Add a sprig of rosemary and a few cranberries for an extra festive touch.
8. Creamsicle Punch
Vodka works well in hundreds of cocktails, but this creamsicle punch takes the cake. While you can make individual cocktails with this recipe, it’s best to mix everything together in a punch bowl and let your guests enjoy. Add ice cream and orange slices, ladle that creamy sweetness into glasses and indulge!
9. Sex on the Beach
If your favorite summer cocktail isn’t Sex on the Beach, you’re making it wrong. This bright beverage is fruity, tart and sweet, and can turn any pool into an island paradise. Simply fill a glass with ice, add one and a half ounces of vodka, one ounce of peach schnapps and two ounces of orange juice. Top with cranberry juice and garnish with an orange slice.
10. Moscato Lemonade
There’s nothing manly about this pink cocktail, but Moscato Lemonade is worth losing your man card over. Plus, it’s sweet and refreshing and packs a real punch — as any great drink should. Simply combine the pink moscato, lemonade and vodka and stir well. Toss in some strawberry slices and lemons and serve. This recipe makes enough to share, but you can easily customize it for single servings.
Once you master some of these drinks and a few more classic cocktails, begin putting your own spin on them. Add some simple syrup, try new garnishes, substitute mix-ins and get creative! Doing so will help you understand flavor combinations and turn you into a proper mixologist in no time.