Get your cocktail shaker ready, it's time to mix up a batch of some of the most iconic, classic cocktails of all time. Luckily for you, most of these cocktails only require 2 to 3 different ingredients total(!), which means you're never too far away from a batch of Negronis, vodka martinis, or Screwdrivers.
Mixology is thankfully not rocket science, and our simple, classic cocktail recipes are proof of that. Take a Dark 'N' Stormy for example; chances are, you've already got all the ingredients in your pantry! Ditto for our whiskey ginger, vodka tonic, and gimlet recipes. Club soda, tonic water, and ginger beer are your cocktail mixing besties (as well as fresh lemon, limes, and oranges), and we love how much dimension they add to our cranberry orange whiskey sours, gin Rickeys, and brown sugar old fashioned. By all means, feel free to go wild with your mixers. If you're like us and like alcohol with more alcohol, consider changing up your bitters in your next Manhattan. We love swapping in walnut, lavender, and black cherry bitters for a fun twist on an old favorite.
If your bar cart is in need of some love, we've got plenty of guides on how to restock your cart so you'll be mixing in no time. We taste-tested all the best tequilas, rums, whiskey, vodkas, and gins on the market (hard job, we know) to complete your home bar. And if you're doing a dry January, we even have some favorite non-alcoholic spirits for all those mocktails. And if you want to improve on your skills, check out all of our top bartending kits.
Something about the bittersweet, botanical flavors of the Negroni make us feel like we're on vacation. This classic Italian cocktail amps up the notes of juniper in gin with sweet vermouth and herbaceous Campari. The best part? No crazy ratios to memorize. Just stir equal parts of all three and that’s it!
Get the Negroni recipe.
There are few cocktails more storied (or simple!) than the Manhattan. First stirred up in 1894 by a bartender at New York City's Waldorf Astoria, the defining characteristic is that it uses Scotch whiskey. Change up your bitters with a few dashes of walnut, lavender, or black cherry for a fun twist.
Get the Classic Manhattan recipe.
The key to a good mojito is in the muddling, but if you don’t have a muddler, that’s okay! You can use a wooden spoon or any other kitchen tool that could be used to mash and grind in a glass. For a mojito, you want to muddle mint just enough so that the leaves emit their natural oils, but not too much that they bruise or break into pieces. Mix the mint with lime, rum, and simple syrup, top with soda, and you’ll swear you’re on the beach.
Get the Mint Mojito recipe.
Is there any whiskey cocktail more iconic and simple than a whiskey ginger? It’s just two ingredients, but it’s truly one of the best bubbly/spirit combinations out there. To go the extra mile, we wanted a homemade, showstopper garnish, and we couldn’t think of anything more fitting than fresh, spicy candied ginger. Not only does it look great atop a drink, but it's also great for snacking.
Get the Whiskey Ginger recipe.
This cocktail couldn't be simpler with only 3 ingredients, shaken and served. We love garnishing with a lime wheel and a bit of lime zest. It adds a flavorful intensity that comes from the oils that are released when a lime is zested and complements the herbaciousness of the gin.
Get the Gimlet recipe.
Smooth and slightly tart, the pisco sour is a unique and refreshing cocktail hailing from Peru and Chile. First time trying pisco? You’re in for a treat. This grape brandy ranges from clear to amber in color and has a distinctive wine-like aroma and flavor, ranging from smooth and herbal to funky and earthy depending on the age and quality.
Get the Pisco Sour recipe.
If you asked people what is the first “cocktail” they’ve ever had, they’d probably say it was a screwdriver. It’s a stalwart of college parties and boozy brunches for its simplicity and accessibility. Love two-ingredient cocktails? Why not try out another fruity classic, like the Cape Codder. Or get a little fancy with a vodka tonic.
Get the Screwdriver Cocktail recipe.
Created in the 1970s at the Soggy Dollar Bar in British Virgin Islands, the Painkiller lives up to its name, delivering plenty of booze in a frothy, nutmeg-dusted package. Looking for a way to use up the rest of that pineapple juice? Our dole whip mimosas are a brunch staple.
Get the Painkiller Cocktail recipe.
The French 75 is among the fanciest of cocktails. Sure, there’s the tried-and-true margarita and the timeless old fashioned, but the French 75 has got what those two don’t: Champagne! Champagne is what makes this drink distinctively French (and totally worth the splurge), but a more affordable sparkling wine such as Prosecco or Cava are both sound options. Make sure to squeeze the lemon twist into your drink to add some of those floral lemon oils.
Get the French 75 recipe.
Mackenzie Filson is a food writer and contributing digital food producer at Delish. Her favorite ice cream flavor is chocolate-pine and if wine was an astrological sign she'd be a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. She's never met a bag of Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos she didn't eat in one sitting.