25 Popular Cocktail Recipes You Just Have to Know if You Love Making Drinks at Home
Crafting cocktails is a creative endeavor, but it starts with mastering the classics. Learning how to make these favorite drinks gives you the foundation you need to become a happy hour pro. And there's a reason these popular drinks have stood the test of time: They're good and easy to replicate with a few simple ingredients.
We've curated a list of popular cocktails we think everyone should know how to make for you to easily reference for your next home happy hour. Plus, the recipes are all vetted by our community of home cooks. From timeless classics to tropical drinks and everything in between, these popular cocktails are ones you can always rely on.
The Real Mojito
A mojito is essentially a daiquiri (a combination of rum, lime, and simple syrup), with the addition of club soda and fresh mint, making it the ideal hot weather drink. "Tonic water can be substituted instead of the soda water but the taste is different and somewhat bitter," says recipe creator Brandy.
Everyone has their preferred method for making margaritas, but this blended margarita recipe, which uses frozen limeade concentrate, tequila, and triple sec, boasts over 550 5-star ratings. Reviewer KDA949 says, "I think this is the ONLY way to make blended margaritas! They taste SO MUCH better than those made with mix from the bottle!"
Best Strawberry Daiquiri
A classic daiquiri (rum + simple syrup + lime juice), has endless variations, and this blended strawberry version is one of our favorites. Frozen strawberries and lemon-lime soda bring sweet, fresh flavor - it's great for anyone who doesn't love the taste of alcohol.
Wild River Bloody Mary Mix
Pina Colada III
A piña colada is about the closest you can get to the beach when you can't actually be at the beach. In its simplest form, it's made of rum, cream of coconut or coconut milk, and pineapple juice. Here, it's served blended with ice and sugar.
A favorite of 90s TV characters and TV personality and cookbook author Ina Garten, cosmopolitans are a refreshing yet simple combination of vodka, orange liqueur, lime juice, and cranberry juice. "I have always liked cosmos and wanted to make one myself...I felt like such a pro!" says reviewer MLALAK.
Everyone's favorite brunch beverage, mimosas are incredibly simple to make. The trick really comes down to the ratio: Here it's three parts Champagne and one part orange juice, but you can adjust to suit your taste.
This quintessential tiki drink has many variations, but usually contains some combination of light rum, dark rum, pineapple juice, orange juice (or orange curaçao), orgeat (an almond-flavored syrup), and just a touch of lime juice. This top-rated version, albeit less traditional, uses grenadine, a pomegranate-flavored syrup, instead of orgeat syrup. The unusual combination creates a nuanced flavor that's synonymous with tropical islands.
Moscow Mule Cocktail
The Moscow mule - a cocktail whose origin has nothing to do with Moscow or mules - is a simple combination of vodka, ginger beer, and lime that's best served in a copper mug. Depending on how much of a bite your ginger beer has, you may want to add a splash of simple syrup to balance out the flavors.
A frozen mudslide is essentially a boozy chocolate milkshake, so be sure to sip it slowly to avoid a brain freeze. In this iteration, crushed ice, vodka, coffee-flavored liqueur (such as Kahlua), Irish cream liqueur (such as Bailey's), and chocolate syrup are blended until smooth and topped with a generous helping of whipped cream.
What distinguishes a dirty martini from a classic martini? A dirty martini is a drink for serious olive lovers, as it includes the addition of olive brine, and sometimes olives are even muddled into the drink itself. You either love it or you hate it.
Classic Old Fashioned
One of the most iconic cocktails of all time, the Old Fashioned is an essential cocktail to know, whether you're an amateur or a professional. It starts by muddling sugar with water and bitters (the more traditional route), or by stirring simple syrup and bitters together (the quicker route). From there, fill the glass with ice, top off with quality bourbon, and garnish with an orange peel and maraschino cherry.
Like the Old Fashioned, the mint julep is a bourbon cocktail native to the Bluegrass State. It is a really simple combination of fresh mint, simple syrup, crushed ice, and, of course, Kentucky bourbon. Mint juleps are traditionally served on Derby Day in a frozen silver goblet, which helps to keep the drink chilled even in hot climates.
Coffee lovers, this is going to be your drink. This three-ingredient cocktail is not of Russian origin, but gets its name from its spirit of choice (vodka), which is often associated with Russia. Vodka, coffee-flavored liqueur (such as Kahlua), and cream or milk are all you need to make this cocktail that's both dessert and drink.
Blue Hawaiian Cocktail
This bright blue tiki drink rose to popularity in Hawaii in the 1950s, and was later the inspiration for the name of Elvis Presley's 1961 film, "Blue Hawaii." It is often served blended, and consists of light rum, blue Curacao liqueur (which gives it its striking color), pineapple juice, and cream of coconut. It's the ideal vehicle for a cocktail umbrella.
Classic Whiskey Sour
This classic sour cocktail, like most sours, is a combination of liquor, sweet, and sour, or in this case: whiskey, simple syrup, and lemon juice. Sometimes it's served with an egg white to give a more balanced flavor and smoother texture, but that comes down to personal preference. "For a cleaner, classier looking drink, strain the lemon juice to remove seeds and pulp," suggests recipe creator JEESH999.
Dark 'n' Stormy Cocktail
As the national drink of Bermuda, the dark 'n' stormy cocktail will put you on island time. This two-ingredient cocktail uses dark rum, which has a bolder flavor than its lighter counterpart, as well as ginger beer. The result is a sweet and spicy cocktail with a lovely layered look. Add a lime wedge for garnish.
A Manhattan is yet another essential in any bartender's little black book of recipes. Whiskey (either bourbon or rye will work), sweet vermouth, and bitters are stirred and strained over ice and garnished with a maraschino cherry. To make it a dry Manhattan, substitute dry vermouth in place of sweet, and garnish with a lemon peel in place of a cherry.
Vodka Martini Cocktail
A classic martini can be made with either gin or vodka; combine your spirit of choice with dry vermouth, and serve chilled in a martini glass. Garnish with olives or a lemon twist.
This iteration of the classic Tom Collins cocktail (a combination of gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and club soda), contains bitters for a more balanced flavor. Serve it in a Collins (or highball) glass, of course, with a cherry and lemon slice garnish.
Sea Breeze Cocktail
Gin and Tonic
Back porch sipping would not be complete without a G&T! So long as you have gin, tonic water, and a lime on hand, you have what you need to make this clean and simple cocktail.
Take a Tom Collins and swap the club soda for Champagne, and you have French 75. It's sophisticated, crisp, and refreshing, and a fun way to dress up an inexpensive bottle of Champagne.
This light and refreshing drink is commonplace in Italy, where you'll see it enjoyed on patios and at restaurants in the late afternoon as people get off work. It's a Champagne-based drink that's light enough to serve before dinner (and it traditionally is). To make an Aperol Spritz, simply add Prosecco and carbonated water to a wine glass filled with ice, and top it off with bitter orange aperitif (such as Aperol) - a citrusy, slightly bitter aperitif with notes of orange and rhubarb.