Here are the top cheap drinks to make at home! These 2 and 3 ingredient cocktails are legit mixed drinks that don’t break the bank.
Looking for budget friendly cocktails? Don’t worry: you don’t have to break the bank to drink classy! Turns out, some of the best classic cocktails are 2 and 3 ingredient drinks that are deliciously simple to mix up in the comfort of your own home. And guess what? You don’t even have to tip your bartender!
Here are the best cheap drinks to make on a budget! Classics from the Old Fashioned to the daiquiri and gimlet are all simple and inexpensive to make. Keep in mind: we haven’t set an exact price for each drink because liquor price varies greatly based on quality. Buy what you can afford and let the drink do the rest! Let’s get mixing.
And now…the best cheap drinks to make on a budget!
The ultimate cheap drink? The Cuba Libre. This Cuban cocktail has just 3 ingredients: lime, cola and rum. Perhaps it looks and sounds similar to a drink you know? Yes, this famous Cuban drink is nearly a Rum and Coke…but there are a few subtle differences that make it a distinct drink! This classic cocktail has over 100 years of history and a refreshing, nuanced flavor. Or try one of the variations below!
This cheap drink is bubbly, tangy, looks impressive, and goes down easy. Meet the classic Moscow mule! This drink was invented in the 1940’s, but it’s having a moment now, too. It’s got only 3 ingredients and takes 3 minutes to make: perfect for parties or a lazy evening on the patio. Here’s how to make this refreshing vodka cocktail: or try one of the variations below based on what liquor you have on hand!
Here’s one of the easiest cheap cocktails ever: the Cap Codder, aka the vodka cranberry! It’s got only a handful of ingredients and it tastes tart and refreshing. Even better (or worse?), it goes down easy. The flavor is nicely balanced so that the alcohol is not too strong. Try one of the variations below with other fruit juices!
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 cocktails and one of our favorite cheap drinks. We’ve researched to gather a few tips about making the perfect gin and tonic.
Just 3 ingredients make up this cheap drink: the Dark and Stormy! This classic rum cocktail has quite the reputation…because it’s just that good. Each ingredient has lots of personality: the rich, earthy dark rum, with vanilla and brown sugar notes. Add to that spicy ginger beer, fruity and filled with effervescent bubbles. Top it off with a squeeze of tangy lime, and there’s not much that’s better.
Ready for one of the best easy classic cocktail recipes that's also a cheap drink? The classic daiquiri. No, it’s not frozen like what became popular in the 1990’s. It’s a classic that goes back hundreds of years that features 3 ingredients: rum, lime, and simple syrup. It sounds simple, but the balance of each element is pure perfection!
The Old Fashioned is barely a cocktail at all: just lightly sweetened booze seasoned with bitters. But it’s become one of the most famous cocktails there is: possibly because it’s the oldest. This cheap drink dates back to the early 1800’s, before the words classic and cocktail were even said next to each other. Of course, the budget for this drink depends on your whiskey!
Looking for a refreshing cheap drink that goes down easy? Try the vodka tonic! This variation on the Gin & Tonic is less about the booze and more about citrusy bubbles. Gin is botanical and booze forward, but vodka melds right into the tonic water. It makes for a drink where you might not be able to taste the alcohol at all (so beware!).
Here’s a cheap drink that takes just 2 minutes to make 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. Perhaps you 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.
Here’s a classic cocktail that is super refreshing and takes only 5 minutes to whip up: the gimlet! Not only is the gimlet simple to make, it’s the perfect balance of sweet and tart with the botanical flavor of gin. This retro cocktail is refreshingly delicious and one of our top cheap drinks.
Here’s a cheap drink that’s greater than the sum of its parts: the Kalimotxo! Also known as the Calimocho, this Spanish drink has a sophisticated flavor but it’s only two ingredients: red wine and coke! The dry wine balances the sweet cola perfectly, making this Basque country cocktail taste almost like sangria or a Spanish vermouth. It’s sweetly earthy with caramel notes, the ideal laid back drink for sipping on over ice with friends or as a night cap.
Last up in our cheap drinks: a citrus cocktail with a salted rim that’s not a margarita. Enter, the Salty Dog! This cocktail’s got a unique name and a beautiful pale pink color. It’s really not anything like a margarita, aside from that salt rim! It’s tangy and refreshing, perfect as a brunch drink or for happy hour. It’s got a light summery vibe, but it works in winter when citrus abounds.
Don’t have all the tools for making cocktails? No problem. You don’t need to buy anything to make cheap drinks at home! Yes, it’s a little easier with the right tools. But here’s what you can use that you probably already have on hand:
No cocktail shaker? Use a covered jar. All you need is a mason jar with a cover. Throw in the ice and shake! Then strain out the drink using a fine mesh strainer (or poke a hole in the cover — just make sure to cover it when you shake!).
No cocktail muddler? Use a wooden spoon. Most of the cheap drinks above don’t require muddling. But if you need to muddle citrus or herbs: use a wooden spoon instead! No need for a professional muddler.
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.