21 Must Try Classic Cocktail Recipes

21 Must Try Classic Cocktail Recipes

This post has been updated from The Intoxicologist Is In blog. Three more ‘Must Try Drinks’ have been added to the list. If you have suggestions, please add them to the comment section or drop a line through the email. Thanks!

You have heard about, seen it and possibly gone out and tried it yourself. What am I talking about? The 21 Drink Salute. You know the one. Turn twenty-one and it is the rite of passage to go out and drink twenty-one alcoholic drinks within the day. This rite of passage is a bad idea for reasons too numerous to count.

However, thinking on the whole idea of people going out to drink when they turn twenty-one sets the thinking cap in motion. They are dipping into the waters of drinking, assuming they have never imbibed before coming of age. These newbie drinkers will try anything their buddies place before them and dare them to throw down the hatch. Not a quality drinking experience to be sure. But it gives one pause to think. There certainly are a fair amount of partakers out there who drink whatever is on the cocktail menu or never veer from their tried and true standard.

Why not be like the twenty-one year old newbie and dabble in cocktails that revolutionized the cocktail as we know it? Instead of trying them all in one day, take the time to savor the flavor.21 Must Try Classic Cocktail Recipes

2 ounces Campari

2 ounces Sweet Vermouth

Club Soda

Orange Slice for Garnish

Fill a Collins glass two-thirds full of ice. Pour in Campari and Sweet Vermouth. Top off with club soda. Garnish with orange slice.21 Must Try Classic Cocktail Recipes

2 ounces Bacardi Superior

1 ounce Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice

1/2 ounce Grenadine

Maraschino Cherry for Garnish

Combine all ingredients in cocktail shaker filled one-third full of ice. Shake for 10 to 15 seconds. Strain into a well chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with maraschino cherry dropped to the center. Bacardi Rum must be used in this cocktail for it to be a true Bacardi Cocktail.21 Must Try Classic Cocktail Recipes

2 ounces Bacardi Superior

1 ounce Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice

1/2 ounce Grenadine

Maraschino Cherry for Garnish

Combine all ingredients in cocktail shaker filled one-third full of ice. Shake for 10 to 15 seconds. Strain into a well chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with maraschino cherry dropped to the center. Bacardi Rum must be used in this cocktail for it to be a true Bacardi Cocktail.21 Must Try Classic Cocktail Recipes

1 ounce Pureed White Peaches

1/4 teaspoon Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

Prosecco Sparkling Wine

Peach Slice for Garnish

Pour pureed white peaches and lemon juice in bottom of a champagne flute. Carefully top off with Prosecco. Stir gently. Garnish with peach slice. A 1/4 ounce of peach schnapps may be added to the pureed white peaches to give this cocktail added punch.21 Must Try Classic Cocktail Recipes

Black Russian

2 ounces Espresso Vodka

1 ounce Kahlua Especial

Fill a rocks glass two-thirds full of ice. Build drink in glass beginning with vodka and then Kahlua. Insert stir straw.21 Must Try Classic Cocktail Recipes

White Russian

1 ounce Vodka

1 ounce Kahlua Especial

1 ounce Half & Half

Build ingredients in a rocks glass over ice. Stir.21 Must Try Classic Cocktail Recipes

2 ounces Pepper Infused Vodka

1/2 Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice

6-8 Dashes Worcestershire Sauce

4-6 Dashes Tabasco Sauce

2-3 Dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

3 Dashes Celery Salt

2 Dashes White Pepper

2 Dashes Garlic Powder

2 Dashes Onion Powder

Clamato Juice

Coarse salt for rimming

Garnishes: Celery stalk is standard. Try a dill pickle spear, jalapeño stuff olives on a skewer or shrimp cocktail for something off the beaten track.

Rim a Collins glass with salt. Fill glass half full with ice. Season ice with sauces, bitters, powders, peppers and salts. Pour in vodka. Top off with Clamato Juice leaving a half inch at the rim of the glass. Squeeze in lime and drop into glass. Garnish. For a fantastic Bloody Mary Vodka infusion recipe click on my recipe here Bloody Mary

Variations: Red Snapper and Cry Me a River21 Must Try Classic Cocktail Recipes

2 ounces Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice

Brut Champagne

Pour freshly squeezed orange juice into the bottom of a champagne flute. Carefully top off with Brut Champagne.21 Must Try Classic Cocktail Recipes

2 ounces Cachaca

1 lime cut into wedges

1/2 ounce Simple Syrup

Place lime wedges in cocktail shaker, reserving one for garnish. Muddle. Pour Cachaca and bar syrup into cocktail shaker and fill two-thirds with ice. Shake to combine well. Place ice into old-fashioned glass. Do not overfill. Strain contents of shaker into glass. Garnish with one reserved lime wedge.

The Cosmo has been done so many times, so here is one with a twist from a friend of mine, Dan Crowell.21 Must Try Classic Cocktail Recipes

1 ounce Citrus Vodka

1 dash Premium Orange Liqueur

1-1/2 ounce Cranberry Juice

1/2 ounce Fresh Lime Juice

1 Twist Orange

1 ounce Moet & Chandon White Star Champagne

Shake Vodka, Grand Marnier, cranberry juice and lime juice over ice in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a chilled champagne flute. Top off with champagne. Garnish with orange twist.21 Must Try Classic Cocktail Recipes

2 ounces Vodka

Orange Juice

1/2 ounce Galliano

Build in a Collins glass filled two-thirds full of ice. Pour in the vodka. Add orange juice leaving room for the Galliano to float on top. A simple drink yes, but how often do you find Galliano in a cocktail?21 Must Try Classic Cocktail Recipes

This recipe is credited to Difford’s Guide Cocktail’s #7. It makes the list for the garnish alone.

2-1/2 ounces Bourbon

3 dashes Classic Bitters

Ginger Ale

Garnish: Peel entire rind of a large lemon in a spiral and place in glass with end hanging over rim

Pour ingredients into an ice filled Collins glass. Stir. Add garnish.21 Must Try Classic Cocktail Recipes

Irish Coffee – Unsweetened

1-1/4 ounce Irish Whiskey

Hot Strong Coffee

Whipped Cream (optional)

Three Whole Coffee Beans for Garnish

Place a metal spoon in hot toddy glass. Measure in whiskey. Top off with hot coffee. Optional whipped cream may be added to the top with three coffee beans sprinkled on top.

Irish Coffee – Sweetened

1/2 ounce Irish Whiskey

3/4 ounce Irish Cream

Hot Strong Coffee

Whipped Cream (optional)

Three Whole Coffee Beans or three chocolate covered espresso beans for Garnish

Place metal spoon in hot toddy glass. Measure in whiskey and Bailey’s Irish Cream. Top off with coffee. Optional whipped cream may be added to the top with coffee bean garnish sprinkled atop.

While most twenty-one year olds are throwing back shots, this Kamikaze is a cocktail instead. An easy way to remember this one; throwing back too many will make for a Very Tough Landing.21 Must Try Classic Cocktail Recipes

1-1/2 ounce Vodka

1 ounce Triple Sec

3/4 ounce Lemon Juice

Lime Wedge for Garnish

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled two-thirds full of ice. Shake for ten to fifteen seconds. Strain into a well chilled cocktail shaker. Garnish with a lime wedge.21 Must Try Classic Cocktail Recipes

Mai Tai – Original

This is an adaptation of the original formula as interpreted in The Joy of Mixology by Gary Regan.

2 ounces 17 year old J. Wray Nephew Jamaican Rum

1/2 ounce French Garnier Orgeat

1/2 Holland DeKuyper Orange Curacao

1/4 ounce Rock Candy Syrup

1 ounce Fresh Lime Juice

1 Sprig Fresh Mint for Garnish

Combine all liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake for 10 to 15 seconds. Strain into an old-fashioned glass filled half with crushed ice. Add mint sprig garnish.

Mai Tai – Variation

These ingredients are much easier to find and this makes a fantastic Mai Tai. Credited to Dan Crowell.

2 ounces 10 Cane Rum (or 1 ounce each 10 Cane and Captain Morgan Private Stock)

3/4 ounce Orange Curacao

3/4 ounce Fresh Lime Juice

1/4 ounce Orgeat Syrup

2 Mint Springs & Lime Wedge for Garnish

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled one-third with ice. Shake well. Strain into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice. Garnish with mint springs and wedge of lime.21 Must Try Classic Cocktail Recipes

Manhattan Dry

2-1/2 ounces Bourbon

1 ounce Dry Vermouth

3 Dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

Orange Twist for Garnish

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with orange twist.

Manhattan Perfect

2-1/2 ounce Bourbon

1/2 ounce Sweet Vermouth

1/2 ounce Dry Vermouth

3 Dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

Orange Peel & Maraschino Cherry for Garnish

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a skewered maraschino cherry wrapped with an orange peel creating a flag.

Manhattan Sweet

2-1/2 ounces Bourbon

1 ounce Sweet Vermouth

Bar Spoon of Syrup from Maraschino Cherry Jar

3 Dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

Maraschino Cherry for Garnish

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with maraschino cherry.

Everyone has their version of the perfect Margarita and their favorite tequila to add to the equation. Here is a basic recipe to build upon so you won’t have to pick up a mix from the corner grocery.21 Must Try Classic Cocktail Recipes

2 ounces Tequila

1 ounce Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice

1/2 ounce Triple Sec

Lime Wedge for Garnish

Salt for Rimming

Rim edge of margarita glass with salt. Combine liquid ingredients in cocktail shaker filled two-thirds with ice. Shake for 10 to 15 seconds. Place ice in margarita glass. Strain contents of shaker into margarita glass. Garnish with lime wedge. To upgrade this margarita use quality tequilas such as Patron Silver or Reposado and Cointreau or Grand Marnier in place of the Triple Sec.

A“real” martini doesn’t have to be difficult, yet there are so many ways to mess it up. Stirred, shaken, up with a twist (is that a lemon or lime?), with an olive (stuffed with blue cheese, almonds, jalapeño, or pimento?) gin or vodka and did you say dirty or dry or extra dry? Oh, so many questions. This martini is pretty straight forward. When you saddle up at the bar all you have to say is, “Tanqueray 10 Martini dry, up with a twist, please” and then sit back and watch an inexperienced bartender squirm and an experienced bartender do their job. Make sure you get that “please” and “thank you” in there with a nice tip.21 Must Try Classic Cocktail Recipes

2-1/2 ounces Tanqueray 10 Gin

Lemon Twist

Place ice in a martini glass. Drizzle approximately 1/4 to 1/2 ounce of dry vermouth in the ice and set aside. Measure out Tanqueray 10 Gin into a cocktail shaker filled one-third full of ice. Shake or swirl the gin (depending on your theory of “bruising” the gin) for at least fifteen seconds. Your goal is to chill the gin thoroughly. Take the martini glass with vermouth in hand. Swirl the glass so the vermouth coats the inside and pour out. Do not shake the glass until every drop is gone. Strain the contents of the cocktail shaker into the vermouth coated martini glass. Take your lemon twist and circle it around the rim of the martini glass before placing it halfway on the edge and partially inside the gin as garnish. Serve and drink while still chilled.21 Must Try Classic Cocktail Recipes

1 ounce Gin

1 ounce Campari

1 ounce Sweet Vermouth

Orange Twist for Garnish

Fill an old-fashioned glass half to two-thirds full of ice. Add liquid ingredients in the order given. Garnish with orange twist.

More Negroni Variations: Cinnabar Negroni, Negroni Virtuoso, Unusual Negroni and Naughty Negroni

There is much debate over what is “real” Old Fashioned and what is just a fruity version of one. Muddle if you like or don’t. The point is to enjoy your drink.21 Must Try Classic Cocktail Recipes

2 ounces Bourbon

2 Dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

2 Maraschino Cherries (save one for garnish)

2 orange slices (save one for garnish)

Bar Spoon of Maraschino Cherry Juice from Jar – optional for sweeter version

Place all ingredients (save one cherry and one orange slice) into a cocktail shaker. Muddle lightly. Fill one-third full of ice. Shake for ten to fifteen seconds. Fill an old-fashioned glass half full with ice. Strain contents of shaker into old-fashioned glass. Garnish with cherry and orange slice skewered.

1-1/2 ounce Cointreau

1-1/2 ounce Irish Cream

1 ounce Grand Marnier

Maraschino Cherry for Garnish

Fill an old-fashioned glass half full with ice. Place ingredients in glass in the order given. Garnish with cherry. Insert cocktail stirrer.21 Must Try Classic Cocktail Recipes

2 ounces Scotch

1 ounce Sweet Vermouth

2 Dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

Maraschino Cherry for Garnish

Place liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake for ten to fifteen seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the maraschino cherry. This drink can also be built in an old-fashioned glass on the rocks.

This twist on an old favorite is proof that an old dog can be taught new tricks.21 Must Try Classic Cocktail Recipes

2 ounces Charbay Grapefruit Vodka

2-1/4 ounces Freshly Squeezed Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice

Bar Spoon of Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur

Salt for rimming

Rim a chilled cocktail glass with salt and set aside. Combine liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake for ten to fifteen seconds until well mixed. Strain into salt rimmed cocktail glass.

Suggested drinks from reader are listed below:21 Must Try Classic Cocktail Recipes

2 ounces London Dry Gin

3 to 4 ounces Tonic Water

Lime Garnish

Build over fresh ice in Collins glass. Garnish with squeeze of lime.21 Must Try Classic Cocktail Recipes

1/2 ounce Light Rum

1/2 ounce Gin

1/2 ounce Vodka

1/2 ounce Tequila Blanco

1/2 ounce Triple Sec

1 ounce Fresh Lime Juice

1/2 ounce Simple Syrup

1/2 to 1 ounce Cola

Lemon Slice Garnish

Build over fresh ice in Collins or Sling style glass saving cola topper as last addition. Stir. Garnish with lemon slice.

1/2 ounce Galliano

1/2 ounce Green Chartreuse

1/2 ounce Vodka

Layer chilled liquids in order given in chilled shot glass. Layering can be achieved by slowly pouring liquids over back of bar spoon.

That is it for the “21 Must Try Cocktails” on this list. Of course these are only a few of the basics. Some you may have tried or thought you would get around to one day. Why not today?

Many more classic cocktails have been suggested as Top 10 classic cocktail favorites. Have a suggestion to add to the list? Add a comment or send me a tweet of your top 10 classic drink favorites.

All content ©2015 Cheri Loughlin, The Intoxicologist. All Rights Reserved. Chat with Cheri @Intoxicologist on Twitter and facebook.com/Intoxicologist

Cheri Loughlin is the Omaha writer and photographer behind www.intoxicologist.net and author of Cocktails with a Tryst: An Affair with Mixology and Seduction. You can email Cheri with comments and questions at str8upcocktails@gmail.com.

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