Life is always a little sweeter with a cocktail in hand and we’re breaking down the best cocktail recipes on the planet. We’ve covered our fair share of favourites over the years, and we’re listing some must-know cocktail recipes down below for your viewing pleasure. Each recipe offers more than just a guide to chucking a few simple ingredients in a shaker, it’s a journey, including some background information on why each of these is a must-drink fan favourite (and has been for decades). Alright, enough jibber-jabber let’s check out our list of the best cocktails to try.
The Best Cocktail Recipes to Try
1. How to Make an Old Fashioned
Of course, we had to kickstart this list with a whisky cocktail. This Old Fashioned recipe was originally designed by us in time for International Whisky Day 2021, however, it’s served us well a few times a week since. While we have a strong appreciation for classic drinks, our introduction to the Old Fashioned came by way of the great Don Draper himself – smooth, refined and manly.
The first incarnation of the Old Fashioned cocktail appeared way back in 1862 when Jerry Thomas published his infamous Bartenders Guide: How To Mix Drinks. Cheers Jerry, we’ll happily raise you an Old Fashioned for that.
2. How to Make a Tequila Sunrise
Using the same base spirits as that other well-known pick-me-up – the humble Margarita – the Tequila Sunrise is a great alternative when you’re looking for a fruitier expression on a summer’s day. When we crafted this recipe we thought it best to stick to the origins, something that is as bulletproof as it is delicious. Quality ingredients go a long way and the payoff for sticking to the script is one of the tastiest summer drinks in all of the land.
3. How to Make a Margarita
So you’re just here for the classics… we raise you the Margarita. Another certified crowd favourite that’s equally as enjoyable in the backyard with a few mates as it is around a few fajita filled lunatics at your local Mexican Restaurant. Every year we look to cover Cinco de Mayo with one of our favourite cocktail recipes and 2020 meant this world-famous cocktail.
This recipe covers the basics, but it also touches on the history; did you know the original brandy-based cocktail first gained popularity in the late 19th Century? The earliest known recipe was published in the second edition of Jerry Thomas’s The Bartenders Guide or How To Mix Drinks: The Bon-Vivant’s Companion, way back in 1876.
4. How to Make an Espresso Martini
Get that canned nonsense out of here because we’re about to bring you the best Espresso Martini recipe you’ve ever seen. This is an absolute staple of any cocktail menu and we recommend following this cocktail recipe to a tee in hope of avoiding any serious disappointments.
Ingredients are of a top priority here, don’t use your best Vodka, but don’t use your worst. And when it comes down to coffee liqueur, take something top shelf… Cafe Patron used to be our favourite, but Kahlua would probably do too.
5. How to Make a Mojito
You might see a theme here. We’re flip-flopping from familiar staples to special occasion cocktail recipes (at least in our kitchen). A traditional Cuban highball, the recipe consists of five ingredients: white rum, sugar (traditionally sugar cane juice), lime juice, soda water and spearmint. In our case, we thought it best to stick with the known and craft something that is familiar without stepping outside the box. There’s really no need to add anything here in an attempt to make it special, but fresh mint is an absolute must!
6. How to Make a Gin and Tonic
About as bloody obvious as it gets… or is it? While the humble and delicious G&T has a young history in the kitchens of broke University students as much as it does Sydney’s North Shore housewives, the classic concoction wasn’t always designed as a tasty treat. In fact, the iconic gin and tonic recipe has a far more interesting backstory than simply being born on the bartops of some innovative mixologist’s bench. Click below to see the recipe and find out the spooky history of this cocktail recipe.
7. How to Make an Aperol Spritz
If you asked five blokes how to make an Aperol Spritz they’d all look at each other… so consider this your final exam. We love putting these down at the races or local pubs, however, when it comes to whipping something up at home you only need a few quality ingredients. To achieve this Italian cocktail’s unique taste, infuse bitter and sweet oranges, rhubarb and a combination of herbs and roots (aka. buy a bottle of Aperol) and mix it with Italian Prosecco and soda water to taste.
8. How to Make a Gin Martini
There’s a big decision to make when looking to make the perfect Gin Martini – Shaken or Stirred? Like a number of cocktails in this guide, you’re better off keeping the Gin Martini simple and straightforward. Best enjoyed with some quality ingredients and a number of olives, the Gin Martini recipe asks only for gin (sometimes Vodka) and vermouth. Wondering how 007 himself had his Martini? Well, we know it was “Shaken not stirred” but which base of choice did he aim for? Find out below.
9. How to Make a Moscow Mule
As the guide suggests, the Moscow Mule is perfect for all seasons and long drinking sessions with good company. The first thing to know about the Mule is that it did NOT originate from Russia, instead, the coast of California (Los Angeles to be specific). A copper cup is a necessity, as is fresh lime, ginger beer, and vodka.
10. How to Make a Manhatten
Made famous when Marilyn Monroe prepared the whiskey-and-sweet-vermouth-based drink in 1959’s Some Like It Hot, the true legend of the Manhattan cocktail recipe lives on today. Thankfully, it’s not just for the social elites, because the best recipe for this cocktail is whatever you have available, traditionally, rye is used for the whiskey, however, in recent years, mixologists have turned to Canadian whisky, bourbon, blended releases and Tennesse favourites. Choose your own adventure.
11. How to Make a Whisky Sour
Essential to the modern man this is the drink you’ll sip once and never forget. About as simple as whisky-based cocktail recipes get, the sour is a fan favourite these days thanks to its fresh and enticing flavour. Sometimes referred to as the Boston Sour all you need is a little fresh lemon juice, bourbon whisky, sugar syrup, and egg white. Bob’s your uncle.
12. How to Make a Whisky Highball
Meet the drink that birthed Japanese Whisky culture. Featuring an abundance of tart mouthfeel and subtle fizz, the Whisky Highball meets legend status in our eyes and has become a regular fixture during the week in our household. So what makes the highball so delicious? Japanese whisky of course. Designed to be mixed – unlike single malt Scotch – this variety is perfect for building a refreshing cocktail like the Highball.
13. How to Make a Mint Julep
A fan favourite during Derby Day in the USA, the Mint Julep is downright historically refreshing. The early days of the Julep cocktail recipe were contentious, with the preparation and ingredients hotly debated. So what are they? Well, we’re looking at 2 oz. straight bourbon whiskey, 1/2 oz. simple syrup, and 3 fresh mint leaves. Want to find out more? Check it out above.
14. How to Make a Negroni
How many of these did you drink during Lockdown? At least 100 on our end, however, there are plenty of contrasting bitter, sweet and dry flavour profiles in this cocktail recipe to keep the ingredients at the front of our drinks cabinet. The concoction undoubtedly transcends groups, no matter the preference for liquor. Eating Italian food? There’s no other choice to be made here.
15. How to Make a Dark and Stormy
Rum enthusiast? You’ll love everything about the Dark and Stormy. While national rum day is marked around August every year there’s never been a better time to explore the dark side than right now. History? There’s plenty, as the article below quotes.
“According to legend, sailors who frequented a Ginger Beer Factory run by the Royal Naval Officer’s Club discovered that a dose of Gosling’s Black Seal could be aided by a hefty helping of ginger beer.”