In Food + Drink

The 10 Classic Cocktails Every Cocktail Connoisseur Should Know

You are well into your career; have landed your dream house or apartment; and take at least one or two international holidays a year. Congratulations! You’re officially an adult.

However, in addition to the more common life responsibilities, entering into adulthood also requires knowing a thing or two about food and beverage — and nailing down the booze industry’s classic cocktails is a must.

Whether drinking out or preparing at home, here are ten classic cocktails that every drinker should know by their late 20s. Simply keep this guide in your back pocket and you’ll be on your way to informed imbibing in no time. 

Whiskey Sour 

Ingredients: Whiskey, lemon juice, simple syrup, egg white, maraschino cherry (garnish)

How it’s made: Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake. Double strain over fresh ice and garnish with cherry.

Served: On the rocks 

Flavor profile: Fine balance between sweet and sour with a somewhat silky mouthfeel (egg white) 

Old Fashioned

classic cocktails

Image: Mathew MacQuarrie / Unsplash

Ingredients: Bourbon, sugar, Angostura bitters, water, orange peel (garnish)

How it’s made: Add sugar, bitters, and water into rocks glass. Fill with large ice cube, add bourbon, and stir. Run orange peel around rim of glass and drop in. 

Served: On the rocks 

Flavor profile: Warming and boozy, marked by spicy yet balanced flavors of sweet baking spice and citrus 

Manhattan

Ingredients: Whisky (rye), Angostura bitters, Sweet Vermouth, cherry (garnish) 

How it’s made: Add all ingredients to mixing glass with ice, stir, and strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with cherry. 

Served: Neat

Flavor profile: Strong and slightly bitter with an underlying sweetness 

Daiquiri 

Ingredients: White Rum, simple syrup, lime juice, lime wheel (garnish)

How it’s made: Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice, shake, and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with lime. 

Served: Neat 

Flavor profile: Tangy and balanced marked by zesty acidity and lime-driven fruit forwardness

Negroni

Image: Unsplash

Ingredients: Equal parts gin, Campari, Sweet Vermouth, orange peel (garnish)

How it’s Made: Add all ingredients into rocks glass with large ice cube, stir, and garnish with orange peel. 

Served: On the rocks

Flavor profile: Fine balance between sweetness and bitterness, marked by herbaceous undertones  

Martini 

Ingredients: Gin (or vodka), Dry Vermouth, lemon twist 

How it’s made: Add all ingredients to mixing glass with ice and stir. Strain into a chilled glass and garnish with lemon twist. (A ‘Dirty Martini’ simply incorporates olive brine and is garnished with olives). 

Served: Neat 

Flavor profile: Strong, bitter, and herbal 

Sazerac

Ingredients: Rye or Cognac, Peychaud’s bitters, Absinthe, sugar cube, lemon peel (garnish) 

How it’s made: Rinse a rocks glass with absinthe and fill with ice to chill. Add the rest of the ingredients to a mixing glass and stir. Remove ice from glass and strain cocktail into glass. Garnish with a lemon twist. 

Served: Neat

Flavor profile: Strong, sweet, and spicy! 

Margarita 

Image: Kim van Vuuren / Pexels

Ingredients: Tequila, lime juice, simple syrup, orange liqueur/Cointreau, salt (garnish), lime wedge (garnish)

How it’s made: Add all ingredients plus ice to shaker and shake. Strain over fresh ice and garnish with lime wedge and salt on rim of glass (optional). 

Served: On the rocks 

Flavor profile: Sweet, salty, and citrus-driven 

Boulevardier 

Ingredients: Whiskey (bourbon or rye), Sweet Vermouth, Campari, orange peel (garnish)

How it’s made: Add ingredients to mixing glass with ice and stir. Serve up or on the rocks and garnish with orange peel. 

Served: Neat or on the rocks 

Flavor profile: Rich, smooth, and slightly sweet 

Gimlet 

Ingredients: Gin, lime juice, simple syrup, lime wedge (garnish) 

How it’s made: Add all ingredients plus ice to shaker and shake. Strain into a chiilled glass and garnish with lime wheel. 

Served: Neat

Flavor profile: Stong, citrusy, and slightly herbaceous 

(Lead image: Taylor Friehl & Helena Yankovska / Unsplash)

Published 11 November, 2019