Here are all the great cocktail recipes you should know how to make, from the classic margarita to the frothy gin fizz to the French 75. Cheers!
Here at A Couple Cooks, we think that cooking healthy 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 a signature drink adds infinitely more fun to any evening, from a dinner party to drinks on the patio.
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! Scroll below the recipes for tips on how to become a semi-professional mixologist. Ready to get drinking?
WOW is all we can say about this cocktail recipe! This whiskey sour has become a family favorite: so much so that it now appears at all our extended family gatherings. It's naturally sweet, sweetened just enough with honey instead of a simple syrup. It's so tasty, our family has been making it for years: we hope it becomes a family favorite in yours!
The tart margarita is one of our top cocktail recipes to make at home, and it has endless variations (see below). This one is the classic, made with 3 simple ingredients: lime, Cointreau and tequila! And 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. Like the margarita, 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.
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!
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 best Moscow mule recipe is incredibly tasty and seriously 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.
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! See also: Cranberry Champagne Cocktail.
It’s got a brilliant pink color and tangy, refreshing flavor: yes, it’s a Cosmo! A Cosmopolitan cocktail, to be exact. 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 with friends. It was at its height in the 1990’s (hello, Sex and the City), but the Cosmo is a legit sour that’s worth drinking. See also Madras Cocktail & Vodka Cranberry Cocktail.
Ever had a Gin Fizz? This simple cocktail recipe is perfectly balanced, both sweet and tart. And adding soda water magically creates a frothy egg white foam topping. Oh and it takes only 5 minutes to make! To make it, you'll shake together gin, lemon juice, maple, 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!
A zingy classic cocktail recipe, the lemon drop martini is perfectly balanced and refreshingly tart, served with a sugar rim and a lemon twist. 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.
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. It’s tangy, bubbly, and a bit botanical, and it makes every occasion more festive!
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.
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!
Another classic cocktail, the Gin Gimlet is super 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.
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, we've started making them instead of margaritas (our tried and true fave!). Here's the simple formula for a classic daiquiri that you can memorize.
St Germain is very new to the scene, but this elderflower liqueur is a must have in your liquor cabinet. The unique flavor it brings to drinks is unlike any other. This St Germain cocktail become your new go-to! Made with vodka, cranberry and St Germain, it’s sweet tart with a bit of elderflower on the finish. It goes down very easily (so watch out!).
When’s the last time you had a piña colada? They’re not only for the 1990’s or beach resorts, we promise! Turns out, homemade piña coladas are perfect for entertaining. They take only a few minutes to blend up, only require 5 ingredients, and taste so refreshing. All you'll need is frozen pineapple, white rum, coconut milk, lime juice and maple syrup. Oh, and some drink umbrellas too!
Want a sophisticated yet easy drink to whip up to impress? Try the Toronto cocktail! If you love whiskey drinks, this is the cocktail for you. A fancy spin on the Old Fashioned, the Toronto features whiskey and Fernet-Branca. It tastes like a fancy cocktail you’d get from a bar, but with a sophisticated, complex, and rich flavor. It balances the earthiness of the rye whiskey with the subtle bitterness of the Fernet-Branca.
This great cocktail recipe's got a unique name and a beautiful pale pink color! What's salty about it? The salt rim, which 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.
Ready for a new easy cocktail recipe? (We know, we have a lot of them!) It’s a vodka smash. It’s tangy and refreshing, featuring muddled blackberries, mint, and lime. It’s tangy, it’s sweet, and it’s got a bit of back-end vodka flavor, though it’s not too strong. Basically: these go down easy — so beware! Here’s how to make a berry vodka smash at home -- and you'll also learn how to muddle mint!
This strawberry daiquiri is pure strawberry: it’s just sweet enough, with just the right back-end flavor of rum. To make it even fancier, we've added a lime daiquiri layer too! The lime layer adds another level of complexity: it looks beautiful as a garnish, and as it melts it adds extra tangy flavor! One nice thing about this recipe is that it has no refined sugar: it’s naturally sweetened with maple syrup. But you’ll never notice the difference!
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 sophisticated cocktail recipe that will have all your friends talking about it: the Hanky Panky! It’s complex and nuanced, with a smooth flavor perfect for sipping. The star here is Fernet-Branca, an Italian bitter that adds an herbal punch. The cocktail is perfectly balanced: a little sweet and a little bitter, which makes it irresistible.
Here’s a classic cocktail recipe 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. (And it’s a little quicker than our famous Whiskey Sour, too!)
Want a fun spin on the margarita? Try a Cadillac Margarita! As the name implies, this is a sophisticated version of the margarita. Float Grand Marnier on top of your classic margarita and you’ve got the Cadillac. It has a nuanced flavor that will make everyone say, “Wow! What’s in this?” Grand Marnier is an orange liqueur that adds notes of bitter orange, brandy, vanilla and oak.
And to round out our great cocktail recipes: this one with gin and watermelon! This watermelon cocktail is gin forward, a little pine-y from the gin and tangy from lemon: just sweet enough with a hint of honey. It’s seriously refreshing, and that little watermelon wedge garnish? To die for.
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, start with just one drink 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 tablespoons, since they’re meant for the home cook!
Do I need a juicer? To save your hands from cramping up, we’d recommend getting a juicer. Here’s the citrus juicer we use.
Do I need a cocktail shaker? A cocktail shaker is useful and we recommend getting one. 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, you can use a wooden spoon. 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.
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.