Here are the top craft cocktails to try at home! These fancy drinks feature homemade syrups, unique liqueurs or craft ice for a truly impressive glass.
Want to make craft cocktails made at home? You’ve come to the right place. Here at A Couple Cooks we love cocktails: in fact, we have over 200 recipes from classic cocktails to more unique drinks. Keeping it easy has it’s place, but what about when you want to impress? This collection of fancy mixed drink recipes is for when you want to pull out all the stops!
What is a craft cocktail? There’s actually some contention when it comes to the definition, but here’s our professional opinion. A craft cocktail is a hand-crafted alcoholic mixed drink made with fresh ingredients and no pre-made mixes. One or more of the following elements might be present:
- Homemade syrups infused with herbs or flowers
- Fresh squeezed juices and fresh herbs
- Unique or niche liqueurs
- Craft ice like artisanal crystal clear ice
Ready to get started? Here are our top craft cocktails that represent one or more of each of these elements!
And now…the top craft cocktails to try at home!
This craft cocktail has a retro name and a sweet tart flavor: it’s the Gold Rush! The name makes it sounds like a 1920’s mixed drink, but it’s actually a modern take on the classic whiskey sour. It features a homemade honey syrup. Take it over the top with handmade crystal clear ice. The combination of the zing of the lemon, the nuance of the honey, and the spicy whiskey finish is perfection.
If you’re an avid homemade cocktail drinker, here’s a must-make craft cocktail: the Paper Plane! This one is a brilliant study in balance and contrast. It’s bitter, sweet and tangy all at once, hitting a magical synergy between the bourbon and amaro. It’s truly remarkable, and you might think it was a classic cocktail. But look a little closer: did 1920’s bartenders mix Kentucky bourbon with Italian bitters? No, this one’s a true modern classic.
Here’s a fancy craft cocktail to impress all your friends: the Fernet Sour cocktail! After drinking up nearly 200 popular cocktails, we can safely say that this is one of the most uniquely delicious cocktails we’ve ever had. It’s also known as the Industry Sour, starring bitter and herbal Fernet-Branca, funky green Chartreuse, and lime juice. There’s so much nuance in flavor going on, you can barely describe it: sweet, sour, bitter and refreshing all at once.
Here’s a way to take one of the oldest classic cocktails up a notch…or two or three: a Smoked Old Fashioned! This craft cocktail is for the adventurous home bartender who’s after over-the-top flavors. It requires some special equipment (a smoking gun!) and a little time. But it’s absolutely worth it! The Smoked Old Fashioned is a cocktail that’s cold-smoked, infusing a smoky depth into the classic whiskey drink. It makes a drink experience you’ll never forget.
Here’s a fancy craft cocktail featuring Scotch: the Penicillin! This modern classic cocktail highlights the peaty flavor beautifully. Combining Scotch with lemon, honey and ginger makes for a sort of high-class version of the Whiskey Sour. While it pleases even non-Scotch fans (me), you’ll need two bottles of Scotch…making it a drink for die hards.
The Trinidad Sour is a surprising modern classic cocktail that stars an unprecedented amount of Angostura bitters! Created in 2009 by New York City bartender Giuseppe Gonzalez, this inventive modern classic cocktail sounds unpalatable on paper. But add the almond-citrus notes of orgeat syrup, zingy fresh lemon, and spicy rye whiskey, and it’s a true revelation.
Here’s an herbal, sweet tart craft cocktail that’s a new favorite around here: the Lavender Tom Collins! It’s a spin on the classic Tom Collins starring this fresh herb. And wow, is it full of flavor! It’s sweet tart, zing and bubbly, with a subtle floral finish to each sip. It’s got just the right essence of lavender that leaves you wanting more. Make up a batch of this Lavender simple syrup for this drink. (Or, try a Rosemary Collins or Mint Collins with rosemary syrup or mint syrup.)
If you love the spicy flavor of the fresh root, might we suggest this Ginger Cocktail? It’s a refreshing spin on the vodka martini featuring, lemon juice and dry vermouth. Each sip has just the right balance of sweet and tangy, with a spicy finish. The bold flavor of the homemade ginger syrup is a unique way to spice up your cocktail repertoire!
More craft martinis: Try the Limoncello Martini, Cucumber Martini, Espresso Martini, French Martini, or Vesper Martini.
Here’s a twist on the classic cocktail that every adventurous drinker needs to try: the White Negroni! This lighter spin on a Negroni and has a vibrant, clear yellow color that’s unmistakable. And the flavor? Light, a little floral, still bitter, but decidedly more interesting than the classic (in our opinion). It uses unique Suze and Lillet Blanc, but they’re absolutely worth adding to your collection if you love craft cocktails.
This craft cocktail is a spin on the classic Manhattan: it's the Brooklyn! The Brooklyn is similarly spirit forward, with a few special twists to add nuance. Maraschino liqueur and dry vermouth add intrigue and round out the flavor in this sophisticated drink. It also uses a specialty amaro to bring in bitter notes. This one is perfect for impressing friends at a dinner party or cocktail hour.
Gold Rush & 10 Craft Cocktails
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 1 drink 1x
The Gold Rush cocktail is tangy, refreshing and classy: a spin on the whiskey sour using honey! This craft cocktail has a retro feel.
- 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) bourbon
- 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) fresh lemon juice
- ¾ ounce (1 ½ tablespoons) honey syrup
- For the garnish: lemon wedge
- Clear ice, for serving
- 24 hours in advance: Make the clear ice.
- Make the honey syrup.
- Add the bourbon, lemon juice, and honey syrup to a cocktail shaker. Fill with a handful of ice and shake until very cold.
- Strain the drink into a lowball or Old Fashioned glass. Serve with ice and a lemon wedge.
- Category: Drink
- Method: Shaken
- Cuisine: Cocktails
- Diet: Vegetarian
Keywords: Craft Cocktails
More cocktail recipes
Outside of these craft cocktails, there are so many great cocktail recipes to try. Here are some of our best cocktail collections:
- The big 5: Try our collections with most popular liquors: Vodka Cocktails, Gin Cocktails, Bourbon Cocktails, Rum Cocktails, and Tequila Cocktails.
- More liquors: Try Cognac Cocktails, Grand Marnier Cocktails, Campari Cocktails, Vermouth Cocktails, Champagne Cocktails, St Germain Cocktails, and Cointreau Cocktails.
- Fresh ingredients: Try these Mint Cocktails, Orange Juice Cocktails, Grapefruit Cocktails, Lime Cocktails, and Lemon Cocktails.