Here are the best easy mixed drinks to try! These two and three ingredient cocktails take minutes to make, with no special equipment.
There are cocktails that are easy to make, and then there are seriously easy cocktails. You know, the kind where there are only 2 or 3 ingredients, and you just mix them together in the glass? Here at A Couple Cooks, we’re obsessed with cocktails. Some of them have lots of fancy ingredients and techniques, but here’s a secret. There are lots of classic cocktails that are ultra simple and barely require thinking at all.
Here’s our list of the top 10 easy mixed drinks to make! After making hundreds of cocktail recipes, here’s the criteria for what makes an easy cocktail:
2 to 3 ingredients: Two ingredient cocktails are ideal, three ingredients tops.
At the top of all easy mixed drinks: the Moscow mule! This classic cocktail was born in the 1940’s, and it's bubbly, zingy and bold. What makes it so easy? You can mix it all right in the serving glass: no cocktail shakers or fancy tools needed. Pour the vodka and lime juice in a copper mug or cup, then top it off with ginger beer. So simple!
The best easy mixed drinks have the ingredients right in their name. Gin and tonic are all you need for this classic cocktail! Its crisp, botanical flavor is straightforward but at the same time intriguing: a feat using only two 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 way of serving it to amp this drink to the next level.
Here's a two ingredient cocktail originated around the turn of the 20th century and it’s still popular to this day. Why? It’s the literal definition of easy mixed drink: no cocktail shakers or fancy ingredients required! Simply mix it right in the glass. It’s an intriguing way to enjoy the flavors in a sip of whiskey. This drink has two variations: one straight classic for whiskey lovers, and one as a more balanced drink.
Here’s a Cuban cocktail that’s made all over the world…because it’s just that simple. Meet the Cuba Libre! This drink recipe 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.
Here's another easy mixed drink with the ingredients right in the name: the Vodka Cranberry!! Also known as a Cape Codder, it has only two 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. If you're using unsweetened cranberry juice, sweeten to taste with simple syrup. Pour all the ingredients right into the glass!
Another at the top of the list of easy mixed drinks: the Dry Martini! This classic drink is another two ingredient cocktail. With one sip it announces itself: crisp, cool, searing, and spirit-forward. It’s seeped in tradition, and there’s no cocktail that has the amount of variations: shaken or stirred, gin or vodka, straight or on the rocks. Here’s the best way to make one (though we like ours dirty too…).
Another seriously easy mixed drink: the classic daiquiri! This perfectly balanced cocktail stars lime juice, rum, and simple syrup. A classic daiquiri is not frozen at all. It's served straight up in a cocktail glass and thought to have been invented in the 1800’s in Cuba. For this one you do have to get a cocktail shaker dirty: but it's only 3 ingredients and ultra quick to make.
Got 1 minute? Then you’ve got time to mix up a French Connection cocktail! Arguably one of the top easy mixed drinks on the planet, this slow-sipper features Cognac and amaretto in a perfect pairing. Pour equal parts over ice and you’ve got a sophisticated two ingredient cocktail that’s far greater than the sum of its parts. The amaretto gives it an almond essence that matches the strength of the Cognac.
Here’s a classic three ingredient cocktail that is super refreshing and takes just minutes to whip up! The gin gimlet became popular in the 1950's, so it's a fun throw-back drink. Not only is it simple to make, it’s the perfect balance of sweet and tart with the botanical flavor of gin. This is the only other cocktail shaker drink in the mix (similar to the daiquiri): but it's worth it!
Here’s an easy mixed drink that’s light, refreshing, and goes down easy: the Vodka Soda! Cousin to the Vodka Tonic, the vodka soda is even more tart and refreshing. Just lime, vodka and soda water make the best hydrating combination! This concept is actually called a “rickey”, a classic cocktail made with liquor and soda water.
Here's another easy two ingredient cocktail in the mix: the Black Russian! This classic cocktail from the 1950’s is the perfect after dinner drink or afternoon pick-me-up. It’s got just 2 ingredients, and almost tastes like a dessert. You might know its more popular cream-filled cousin, the White Russian. But the Black Russian is the original. We might even like it a little better.
Just 3 ingredients make up this classic cocktail: the Dark and Stormy! This refreshing 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. Even better: there’s no cocktail skill needed. Pour it in the glass, and drink up.
To round out our easy mixed drinks: the Negroni Sbaliato! Of course, the Classic Negroni is very easy too. But this modern spin on the classic is even easier: it's mixed right in the serving glass! Stir Campari and vermouth in a glass, then top it off with Prosecco! It's seriously easy with incredible flavor...and who can resist a bit of bubbles?
Ingredients: Campari, sweet vermouth, champagne or Prosecco
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.