A version of this article was first published by Food & Wine
Mixing a great cocktail doesn’t have to be complicated. There are plenty of great drinks out there that don’t take the touch of a professional mixologist. Here are 12 drinks that will let you show off your bartending skills, even if those bartending skills don’t exist.
In a tall glass with ice, combine 1.5 ounces of Cardamaro, 2 ounces of fresh grapefruit juice, and 2 ounces of club soda. Give a quick stir and garnish with a grapefruit slice.
2. Bénédictine & Tonic
In a tall glass with ice, combine 1 ounce of Bénédictine and 4 ounces of a high-quality tonic water. Squeeze a lime wedge into the drink.
3. Pamplemousse & Bubbles
In a champagne flute or coupe, combine 1 ounce pamplemousse and 4-5 ounces French sparkling wine. Garnish with a long grapefruit peel — twisting the peel over the top of the drink to spray its citrus oils all over.
4. Mind Eraser
In a rocks glass with ice, pour 1 ounce of Kahlúa and then float 2 ounces of vodka on top, pouring down the side of the glass so that it separates. Top with 2 ounces of club soda, poured down the side of the glass in the same way. Using two straws, suck the whole damn thing down.
5. Harvey Wallbanger
In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine 1 1/2 ounces of vodka, 1/2 an ounce of Galliano, and 2 ounces of orange juice. Dash in some orange bitters. Shake all that up and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with an orange wedge and/or brandied cherries.
6. Classic Margarita Done Right
To your blender add 4 cups of ice, 8 ounces blanco tequila, 4 ounces fresh-squeezed lime juice, and 1.5 ounces of light agave. Blend it all up until good and frosty. Pour into glasses and garnish with lime wheels.
7. Irish Old Fashioned
In a mixing glass with ice, combine 2 ounces of Redbreast 12 Year and a ½ ounce of honey syrup (equal part honey cut with hot water). Add 2 dashes each of orange bitters and Angostura. Strain into a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with a big twist each of orange and lemon peel, twisting both over the surface of the drink to spray their citrus oils all over.
8. Planter’s Punch
In a big cocktail shaker with ice, combine 8 ounces dark rum — we highly recommend Appleton Estate Rare Blend 12 Year Old — 4 ounces of freshly squeezed lime juice, 2 ounces of grenadine, and 8 dashes of Angostura. Shake that all up and strain into a pitcher with lots of ice. (A big shaker should just be able to handle all this. Alternatively, do it in two batches; or make it a frozen punch and run everything a blender.) Serve with four glasses and garnish with lime wheels.
9. Italian Gentleman
In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine 1 1/2 ounces of Campari, 1 1/2 ounces of bourbon, 3/4 ounce of lemon juice, and 1/4 ounce simple syrup (equal parts sugar and hot water). Add a couple dashes of orange bitters. Shake that all up and strain into a coupe class. Garnish with a lemon wheel.
10. The Classic Bloody Mary
In a tall glass with ice, stir together 4 ounces bloody Mary mix and 1 1/2 ounces vodka. Garnish with a celery stalk, lemon slice and a few olives.
11. Death in the Afternoon
Pour 1 ounce of absinthe into a Champagne flute and fill with sparkling wine (about 5 ounces). No garnish necessary.
12. Ango and Soda
In a tall glass with ice, pour 1/4 ounce of Angostura (that’s 20 dashes, should you prefer to dash) and then 5 ounces soda. (It’ll foam up into a pretty aggressive head, so watch out.) Garnish with a lemon wedge.