8 Simple Cocktails to Know and Love

If you’ve been dreaming of creating great cocktails for yourself and your friends, here’s a primer on a few of the basics that will get you through most small parties.

And if you have someone else mix your drinks, it’s a good idea to have some basic cocktail recipe knowledge at hand so you know what you’re ordering and how it should be done.


  • 2 oz light rum
  • 1 oz plus 1 tsp fresh lime juice
  • .5 oz simple syrup (a 1:1 mixture of granulated sugar and water, boiled or left on counter until sugar dissolves. Also sold in liquor departments.)

Shake vigorously with ice, then strain into cocktail glass.


  • 2 oz rye whiskey
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters

Stir ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Strain into chilled martini glass or cocktail coupe.


  • 2 oz silver tequila
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • Salt for the rim

This recipe includes fresh juice, so it should be shaken. Serve over ice in a glass with a salted rim.


  • 3 oz gin or vodka
  • .5 oz dry vermouth
  • Lemon peel or olive

Stir ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Strain into chilled martini glass. Squeeze oil from lemon peel into the glass or garnish with olive.


  • 1 oz gin
  • 1 oz Campari
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth

Stir with ice.


  • 3 mint leaves
  • 2 oz white rum
  • .75 oz lime juice
  • .5 oz simple syrup

Muddle mint into a shaker tin, then add ice and all other ingredients. Shake to chill and strain into a highball glass with ice. Top with club soda if desired and garnish with mint.


  • 2 oz bourbon or rye whiskey
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 sugar cube or 1 tsp sugar
  • Orange twist garnish

Put sugar in glass. Cover it with dashes of bitters. Add whiskey and stir until sugar dissolves. Add ice, stir again, and serve.


  • 2 oz whiskey
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 egg white (optional)

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake without ice, especially if you’re using egg white. Then add ice and shake again. Strain over ice in a rocks glass.

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