10 Easy Cocktail Recipes You Need to Know

Cocktails, believe it or not, don’t have to be complicated. Sure, a multi-step, eight-ingredient cocktail can be a delicious and fun experience, but it doesn’t mean that anything simpler will not be just as delicious.

Sure, they might not have the same Instagram appeal as something that looks straight out of Willy Wonka’s factory, but can you really fight the appeal of a drink that’ll take you a minute to make and will get you (or whoever you are making it for) buzzed? No, no you cannot.

With National Cocktail Day (March 24) upon us, it seemed a fitting time to put together a list of easy cocktail recipes that you can mix up in just a few minutes. Below, we’ve collected 10 easy cocktail recipes that’ll take 15 minutes to learn and a lifetime to have fun with. They are:

  • Old Fashioned
  • Manhattan
  • Paloma
  • Margarita
  • Tom Collins
  • Gin and Tonic
  • White Russian
  • Salty Dog
  • Daiquiri
  • Rum and ginger beer

If you need suggestions for liquor, check out the winners of The Manual Spirit Awards 2018.

Whiskey

Old Fashioned

how to make an old fashioned cocktail

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  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 3-4 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 sugar cube
  • A few drops of water
  • Orange peel

Method: In an Old Fashioned glass, add sugar cube, bitters, and a few drops of water. Muddle. Add a large rock of ice, followed by the bourbon. Stir. Express the orange peel over the top and drop in to garnish.

Manhattan

manhattan cocktail
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  • 2 oz rye whiskey
  • .75 oz sweet red vermouth
  • 1-2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Maraschino cherry

Method: In a mixing glass, add rye, vermouth, bitters, and a large cube of ice. Stir. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a cherry.

Tequila

Paloma

paloma grapefruit cocktail

Method: Add tequila and grapefruit soda to a tall glass with ice. Stir to mix. Garnish with a lime or grapefruit wedge.

Margarita

margarita tequila cocktail lime strainer
  • 2 oz tequila
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • Lime wedge
  • Salt rim optional

Method: If you are using a salt rim, rub a lime wedge (cut across the center) around the rim of an Old Fashioned glass then roll the outside lightly in sea salt. Set aside. In a shaker, add tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice. Shake. Add ice to the glass, then strain liquid into the glass, watching to not mess up your salt rim. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Gin

Tom Collins

tom collins cocktail
  • 1.5 oz Old Tom Gin
  • 2 oz club soda
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • .5 oz simple syrup
  • Lemon slice
  • Maraschino cherry

Method: Add gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup to a Collins glass with ice. Top with club soda and stir to mix. Garnish with a lemon slice and a maraschino cherry.

Gin and Tonic

gin vodka lime
  • 2 oz gin
  • 2-6 oz tonic water, according to taste
  • Lime wedge

Method: In a glass filled with ice, pour gin and top with tonic. Stir and garnish with a lime wedge.

Vodka

White Russian

white russian cocktail
Dan Baker/The Manual

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  • 1.5 oz vodka
  • .75 oz coffee liqueur
  • 3 oz fresh cream

Method: Pour vodka and coffee liqueur into an Old Fashioned glass filled with ice. Slowly pour cream on top and stir gently. 

Salty Dog

salty-dog-grapefruit-cocktail
Masanyanka/Getty Images
  • 1.5 oz vodka
  • 3.5 oz grapefruit juice
  • Lime or grapefruit wedge
  • Sea salt

Method: Add grapefruit juice and vodka to a shaker with ice. Shake well. Take lime or grapefruit and wet the rim of a cocktail glass. Roll the outside of the rim in sea salt.  Add ice to glass, then pour liquid in. Garnish with a lime or grapefruit wedge.

Rum

Daiquiri

how-to-make-a-daiquiri-cocktail-lime-crop

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  • 1.5 oz white rum
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • .5 oz simple syrup
  • Lime wedge

Method: Add all liquid ingredients to a shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass with ice. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Dark Rum and Ginger Beer

rum cocktails

Method: In a Collins glass filled with ice, add rum and lime juice. Top with ginger beer. Stir and garnish with a lime wedge.

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