Nothing says confidence like walking into a bar and ordering some classic cocktails without looking at the menu. But while it’s great to have a favorite, there’s nothing wrong with trying new things either. Enter the classic cocktail.
Plus, knowing how to make various cocktails is great. It’s an impressive skill to have especially if you’re holding a house party or are at an open bar. You can impress your friends by whipping up a drink on the spot.
That’s why here at MaximOnline we’ve compiled this list of 45 classic cocktails and how to make them.
1. White Russian
Ah, the White Russian. Made popular recently with the film The Big Lebowski, this classic cocktail is a treat.
You’ll need an old fashioned glass, vodka, coffee liqueur and fresh cream. You can substitute the cream for milk if you prefer.
Pour two parts coffee liqueur and five parts vodka into the glass. Add ice and slowly top the glass up with cream or milk. While some mix the drink before serving, leaving the drink unmixed creates a cloudy effect of the milk blending with the alcohol that looks great visually.
2. Black Russian
A Black Russian is simply a White Russian without milk or cream, which makes it suitable for those who are lactose intolerant. This results in a lighter but stronger drink, almost like a shot.
3. Blind Russian
It’s called a Blind Russian because of the amount of alcohol in it. This drink is not for the weak. It’s made with vodka, coffee liqueur and Baileys. The combination of three types of alcohol makes for a potent drink.
4. Irish Coffee
Coffee and whiskey drinkers alike rejoice. The Irish Coffee is a combination of the two and boy, is it tasty. Brew hot black coffee to your desired strength and add in your desired amount of whiskey and sugar.
Stir the mixture. Top up the concoction with cream and your Irish Coffee is ready.
5. Moscow Mule
Presentation is important for the Moscow Mule. It’s traditionally served in a copper mug or cup. Be sure to do the same for authenticity.
To prepare your Mule, fill the mug with ice. Add vodka and your preferred brand of ginger beer. To finish, add lime juice and a few lime slices and stir gently.
Always a popular summer drink, the Mojito is tasty and refreshing. You’ll need a couple of ingredients for this so be sure to be prepared.
Add some mint leaves, sugar and crushed ice to your glass. Use a spoon or blunt object to mash and muddle the leaves. Add lime juice, rum and soda water and stir. You can add another sprig of mint leaves to garnish.
The drink is traditionally made with white rum and white sugar. You can try using dark rum and honey or even molasses as well.
7. Long Island Iced Tea
A staple for young party-goers everywhere, a Long Island Iced Tea is easy to make, tasty and potent.
Start with a highball glass filled with ice. Add equal parts of vodka, tequila, light rum, triple sec and gin. Finish the drink with a splash of cola and serve with a straw.
8. Long Beach Island Tea
A popular variation on the traditional Long Island Iced Tea, a Long Beach Island Tea will remind you of the vibrant city life.
Similar to the Long Island Tea, start with a highball glass filled with ice. Add equal parts of vodka, tequila, light rum, triple sec and gin but instead of cola at the end, add lime juice and cranberry juice.
9. Hawaiian Iced Tea
This is another variation of the island teas and is one of the tropical classic cocktails. For this version, instead of lime and cranberry or cola, finish the drink with pineapple juice.
One of the more interesting variations of the Long Island Iced Tea, this drink will imbue you with oriental vibes.
Start with the highball glass and add in gin, vodka, rum and tequila. Instead of triple sec and cola, add Midori and 7-Up. The Midori brings a fruity fresh flavor to the cocktail.
This classic cocktail is appropriately named the Graveyard — because that’s probably where you’ll end up at the end of the night if you down a few of these. This drink is no joke! For experienced drinkers only — you’ve been warned.
Add equal parts of vodka, rum, gin, tequila, triple sec, whiskey and bourbon into a tall glass. Stir well. Top up the mixture with equal parts of lager and stout. Serve with a straw and a maraschino cherry.
11. Old Fashioned
You can’t go through a list of classic cocktails without getting to the old fashioned. The epitome of a classic cocktail, an Old Fashioned is tasty and easy to make. Add sugar and angostura bitters to an old-fashioned glass. Muddle the mixture; you can add a dash of water at this point. Add ice cubes and your choice of whiskey. Finish the drink with a strand of orange peel and a maraschino cherry or cinnamon stick.
Whether you like your Martinis shaken or stirred, it’s cool to know how to make one.
Pour one part dry vermouth and four parts gin or vodka into a mixing glass or mixer. Add ice cubes and mix. Strain the drink over a chilled martini glass. Add olives.
13. Dry Martini
If someone asks for a Dry Martini, they’re referring to the amount of vermouth in the drink. The less vermouth, the drier the martini.
14. Dirty Martini
If someone asks for a Dirty Martini, they want more olive brine in their drink. You can even get a Dirty Dry martini which is basically olive brine and your choice of gin or vodka.
15. Espresso Martini
This variation of the martini is for coffee lovers. Add vodka, coffee liqueur and a shot of espresso to a mixer with ice. Shake the mixture hard and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a few coffee beans and serve.
One of the Italian classic cocktails, the Negroni is sweet and usually consumed before meals. Get an old fashioned glass filled with ice. Pour gin, Campari and Italian vermouth over ice. Stir slowly and serve with a garnish of orange peel.
17. Cuba Libre
The Cuba Libre is a straight-up no-nonsense cocktail and a staple at many bars. Add rum, cola and lime juice over ice and stir. Garnish with a lime wedge.
18. The Manhattan
Another one of the classic cocktails that defines the term, the Manhattan cocktail is a staple. Mix two parts of whiskey, one part vermouth and a dash of bitters into a mixer. Shake well with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a cherry.
19. Tom Collins
The Tom Collins is an easy-to-drink classic cocktail that’s easy to make as well. Simply add gin, soda water, sugar syrup and fresh lemon juice to a tall glass. Add ice and stir. Garnish with a lemon slice and maraschino cherry and serve.
The national cocktail of Brazil, a Caipirinha is one of the classic cocktails that is sweet and refreshing. It uses Cachaça, an alcohol made from sugarcane.
To prepare this cocktail, add lime and sugar into a glass and muddle. Add the Cachaça and ice and stir. You can garnish with lime slices and a wedge of sugarcane.
A casual cocktail to get you started, the Bellini is really easy to make once you’ve prepared the ingredients. Simply prepare some pureed peaches. Add the puree to a chilled glass and top up with Prosecco. Stir gently and serve.
If you’ve watched Sex and the City, you’ve definitely heard of the Cosmopolitan. While its name might sound intimidating, this classic cocktail is actually relatively easy to make.
Add vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice and lime juice into a shaker. Add ice and shake well. Strain into a cocktail glass and serve with a slice of lemon.
23. Piña Colada
When you think of tropical classic cocktails, we’re willing to bet a Piña Colada comes to your mind. This is a cool cocktail to make and serve, especially when the weather is warm. You’ll need pineapple juice, coconut milk and rum. Mix all three with crushed ice until mixed well. Pour into a chilled glass and garnish with a wedge of pineapple.
24. French 75
The French 75 classic cocktail looks deceptively mild. It uses gin and champagne as its major components. In a cocktail shaker, add gin, lemon juice, syrup and ice. Shake well and strain into a champagne glass. Top up with champagne and stir gently.
25. Amaretto Sour
An interesting almond-flavored classic cocktail, the Amaretto Sour is tasty and easy to make. Combine Amaretto, syrup and lemon juice into an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Shake, strain and serve.
26. Mai Tai
This is your typical Hawaiian tropical drink that’s sweet and fruity. You’ll need both dark and light rum for this drink. Combine light rum, lime juice, bitters, sweet syrup and orgeat syrup in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and mix well.
Strain into a cocktail glass with ice. Add dark rum to the top of the drink. Garnish with some tropical fruits and serve.
27. Dark n Stormy
The Dark n Stormy is a simple cocktail that’s similar to the Moscow Mule. Simply combine dark rum and ginger beer with a dash of bitters. Serve over ice, garnished with lime.
28. Bloody Mary
One of the strangest classic cocktails out there in our opinion, the Bloody Mary is nonetheless a favorite of many. Add Worcestershire Sauce, Tabasco, salt and pepper to a high ball class. Add ice, vodka and tomato juice and stir. Garnish with a stalk of celery and serve.
The Sazerac is definitely an interesting cocktail. It might be complicated to make, but totally worth it.
Wash a glass with absinthe. Add whiskey and sugar to a cocktail shaker and mix with ice. Strain into the absinthe-washed glass and serve with a lemon peel.
30. Aperol Spritz
A simple and elegant cocktail, it’s often served before meals to stimulate digestion. Add three parts of Prosecco for two parts of Aperol. Top up with soda water and serve garnished with an orange peel.
Another one from the group of classic cocktails where presentation is key. We recommend a classic wide-rimmed margarita glass to serve this in. To start, dip the rim of the glass into water and then salt. This will help the salt line your glass evenly.
Add tequila, triple sec and lime juice into a cocktail shaker. You can opt for a blender if you prefer the frozen Margarita variant. Either shake or blend the drink and serve it in the salt lined glass.
The Daiquiri is a staple classic cocktail that projects an air of simple sophistication. Add rum, simple syrup and lime juice into a cocktail shaker. Add ice cubes and shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
33. Whiskey Sour
This is a classic cocktail with a unique ingredient that might surprise you. To prepare a Whiskey Sour, add whiskey, egg white (yes, you heard right), lemon juice and syrup to a shaker with ice. Shake well and strain. Garnish with a cherry before serving.
A refreshing and simple drink, a Mimosa is sure to perk you up. Simply mix equal parts of champagne and orange juice and served chilled.
The Gimlet was first popularized during the 19th century. Its high citrus content helped sailors prevent scurvy, a disease that came about as a result of Vitamin C deficiency. It’s really simple to make as well. Mix equal parts gin and lime juice, served chilled.
A Spanish cocktail, the Sangria will have you feeling like you’re at a summertime barbecue.
Chop some apples and oranges up and add them to a mason jar. Pour in some orange juice, brown sugar and brandy. Top up the mixture with a nice red wine and you’re done.
37. Mint Julep
A bourbon-based cocktail, mint juleps are often associated with high society in the American south. To prepare this cocktail, muddle mint, water and sugar in a highball glass. Add cracked ice and bourbon and stir well.
Garnish with a sprig of mint and serve.
38. Singapore Sling
The Singapore Sling is a complicated cocktail to make but it’s been around for a while and is definitely worth learning. You’ll need Cointreau, cherry liqueur, pineapple juice, grenadine, lime juice, gin, bitters and Dom Bénédictine. Mix all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well, strain and serve.
39. Blue Lagoon
Cool and blue are the words often associated with the Blue Lagoon cocktail. To prepare, add vodka and Blue Curaçao in an ice-filled shaker. Shake and strain into a highball glass. Top up the drink with lemonade and garnish with an orange slice.
40. Tequila Sunrise
Originating from either Arizona or California, Tequila Sunrise has been immortalized as a classic cocktail thanks to a song of the same name from the Eagles. To make, add tequila and orange juice to a Collins glass over ice. Add grenadine syrup.
The density of the syrup will cause it to sink, giving it a nice cascading color effect. Serve with an orange slice and a cherry.
This is another tequila-based cocktail. Similar to the margarita, you have the option of salting the rim of the glass for presentation.
Add tequila, lime juice and a grapefruit-flavored soda to the glass, over ice. Stir and serve with a lime wedge.
Similar to a Negroni, the Boulevardier uses Campari and vermouth, but that’s where the differences end. To create this classic cocktail, add equal parts of Campari, vermouth and bourbon to a cocktail shaker with ice. Mix and strain into an old fashioned glass over ice. Serve with an orange peel or cherry.
The origins of this cocktail is a mystery; no one is really sure where it came from or how it was created. Some even suspect that it was the precursor to the classic Martini as they share similarities such as the use of gin and vermouth.
To create this cocktail, add gin, vermouth, maraschino liqueur and a dash of orange bitters. Mix well in a glass with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and serve with orange peel.
A stronger Mimosa, the Screwdriver is nonetheless one of the classic cocktails worth having and sharing. Simply mix equal parts of vodka and orange juice into a cocktail glass with ice. Stir and serve with an orange slice.
45. Bonus: The MaximOnline
In the spirit of mixing drinks (pun intended), we decided to come up with our own concoction. Add Kickapoo Joy Juice, whiskey in equal parts and half a part of apple juice. Mix in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and serve with a cherry. Try it out for yourself and share with us how it tastes!
Time to get mixin’!
Now you’re equipped with the recipes and techniques to prepare you for your next party or night out. Remember that it’s fine to deviate away from this list and experiment with different ingredients or proportions to create your own ideal cocktail. Have fun with it and make it your own!