Mastering the art of making cocktails can liven up the parties as well as make your personal “alone” time more special. You are not required to learn how to make every cocktail there is in order to enjoy the taste and feel of these drinks. After all, there are definite winners you should focus on when making the cocktails for both your guests and yourself. Obviously, you have all the creative freedom you want, if mixing different liquors is something you’re interested in. However, these cocktails you should master will be more than enough to make every gathering and special occasion more glamorous and fun.
1. Old Fashioned
Old Fashioned has a name that says it all. This is the OG cocktail, the first of its kind to be referred to as cocktail when it comes to the mix of spirits, bitters, water and sugar. It was first mentioned as such in 1806, but the name Old Fashioned was coined in 1881, as a part of Waldorf-Astoria Hotel legacy.
Ingredients are pretty straightforward: 2 oz. of rye or bourbon, 3 dashes of Angostura Bitters, 1 sugar cube, club soda and one old-school glass. In order to make the Old Fashioned, wet the sugar cube you placed in the glass with 2-3 dashes of bitters and a splash of club soda, and then crush it. Rotate the glass to create a lining. Add an ice cube and pour the rye/bourbon over it. It’s usually served with a stirring rod and an orange slice.
This traditional Cuban drink is a must-learn on this list of cocktails. There are plenty of theories when it comes to the exact origin of Mojito, and the most popular theory traces it as far back as the 16th century. So, how can you make Ernest Hemingway’s favorite drink? You need 10 fresh mint leaves, half a lime cut into 4 wedges, half a cup of club soda, 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1.5 oz. of white rum. Crush the mint leaves and 1 lime wedge in the glass. Add 2 more lime wedges and sugar and crush again. Never strain! Fill the whole glass with ice cubes and pour the rum over the ice. Then top everything off with soda water and stir. The remaining lime wedge is for the garnishing.
Another refreshing delight in the cocktail world with a continental twist is definitely Negroni. This Italian cocktail is all that comes to mind when you think of the scenic, sun-bathed Italy during the summer months. It’s also pretty simple to make. All you need are three ingredients: 1 oz. of London dry gin, Campari and vermouth rosso. Add all these ingredients in a shaker and shake really well with crushed ice. Strain into a chilled glass and garnish with an orange peel. Voila!
Once again a cocktail with many origin theories and controversies around its beginnings, but definitely worthy of its popularity that started in the first half of the 20th century. For the ultimate Margarita feel, you’ll need a lime wedge, coarse salt, half a cup of cracked ice cubes, and quarter of a cup of lime juice, 100% agave tequila and orange liqueur. The process is pretty simple. Use the lime wedge to wet the glass and then dip the glass rims into the salt. Use a shaker to shake lime juice, tequila and orange liqueur, and then add ice and shake some more. Strain the mix into the glass, and enjoy.
5. Dry Martini
A truly timeless cocktail, Dry Martini will always be a classic drink choice. There’s no way to pinpoint the birthplace and origin of Dry Martini, but its simplicity and elegance made sure that it’s one of the most popular cocktails to this day. All you need are 1 and a half oz. of Beefeater gin, half an oz. of dry vermouth and one dash of orange bitters. Add everything together with ice into a mixing glass and stir. Once cold, strain into a chilled glass and garnish with a lemon twist.
6. Gin and Tonic
A highball cocktail that has been and continues to be the top choice when it comes to drinks for many men and women, G&T has managed to get its own International Day that’s celebrated worldwide on October 19th. With such world-spread popularity, it’s no wonder that there are numerous Gin and Tonic variations that make this seemingly simple combo truly amazing. Have you heard about Coffee Gin Tonic, for instance? You may be surprised but coffee and tonic are a great combination. And when you add gin, it’s a carbonated caffeine hit! Simply mix 1 oz. of coffee liqueur with 1.2 oz. of your preferred gin. Then add tonic to the mix. Fill the glass with ice and garnish with orange zest and a fresh cherry.