As a bartender, I have seen countless trends come and go in the world of mixology. From the rise of craft cocktails to the resurgence of Tiki drinks, it can be hard to keep up with all of the latest crazes.
But amidst all of these fleeting fads, there is one category of cocktails that has stood the test of time: Classic Cocktails.
These timeless drinks have been enjoyed by generations of cocktail enthusiasts, and for good reason. They are simple yet sophisticated, elegant yet approachable.
They represent the very essence of what a cocktail should be: a perfectly balanced blend of spirits, mixers, and flavors that come together to create something greater than the sum of its parts.
In this blog post, I will be exploring some of the best Classic Cocktail recipes out there. From the iconic Martini and Manhattan to lesser-known gems like the Sidecar and the Last Word, these drinks have earned their place in the pantheon of cocktail history.
So whether you're a seasoned mixologist or just looking to expand your cocktail repertoire, read on to discover some of the most delicious and enduring drinks ever created.
1. Perfect Manhattan Cocktail
The Perfect Manhattan Cocktail is a classic drink that has stood the test of time. It is a perfect blend of whiskey or bourbon, vermouth, bitters, and cherry juice, garnished with cherries. This cocktail has a rich history dating back to the 1870s, and it has remained a favorite among whiskey lovers ever since.
The Perfect Manhattan Cocktail is easy to make and is perfect for any occasion, whether it's a night out with friends or a cozy evening at home. The drink has a smooth and sophisticated taste that is sure to impress even the most discerning palate. If you're a fan of classic cocktails, then the Perfect Manhattan Cocktail is a must-try.
2. Classic Martini
The Classic Martini is a timeless cocktail that can be customized to your liking. The key to a perfect martini is using quality ingredients, such as top-shelf gin or vodka, vermouth, and bitters.
It's also important to serve it in a chilled glass to ensure an ice-cold drink. The garnish options are endless, from martini onions to olives or a lemon twist. If you're looking to impress your guests with a classic cocktail, the Classic Martini is a must-try.
3. Bourbon Old Fashioned
The Bourbon Old Fashioned is a classic cocktail made with bourbon, sugar, bitters, orange, and a cherry. The article explores the best ingredients to use, including the type of sugar, bourbon, cherries, and bitters.
The ice used in the cocktail is also important, and the article explains how to get big, clear ice cubes. This cocktail is perfect for those who enjoy a strong, flavorful drink with a hint of sweetness.
4. Between the Sheets Cocktail
The Between the Sheets Cocktail is a classic cocktail that is perfect for any dinner party. This cocktail is an adaptation of the Sidecar Cocktail and is believed to have originated at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris. The cocktail is made with cognac, rum, Triple Sec, and fresh lemon juice. The Between the Sheets Cocktail is a strong cocktail that is perfect for sipping.
The cocktail is best made with high-quality ingredients, including fresh lemon juice, upper-range rum, and Triple Sec. This cocktail is perfect for those who enjoy a strong, sour cocktail. If you are looking for a classic cocktail that is sure to impress your guests, the Between the Sheets Cocktail is a great choice.
5. Classic Daiquiri Cocktail
The Classic Daiquiri Cocktail is a refreshing and light summer drink that is perfect for warm afternoons on the patio. Made with freshly squeezed lime juice and a touch of sugar, this cocktail is a crowd-pleaser that can be easily doubled or tripled for backyard parties.
The recipe is simple and easy to follow, making it a great option for novice bartenders. The best way to serve this cocktail is ice-chilled, and for an added touch, chill the glasses too. Overall, the Classic Daiquiri Cocktail is a must-try for anyone looking for a classic cocktail that is both easy to make and delicious to drink.
6. The Perfect Cosmo
Looking for a fun and fruity cocktail to shake up at your next party or celebration? Look no further than The Perfect Cosmo! This classic cocktail is a delicious blend of tart cranberries, sour limes, and sweet citrus vodka, all enhanced by the smooth and strong flavor of Cointreau.
With its playful pink color, The Perfect Cosmo is the perfect choice for any occasion, from brunch to bridal showers. And with only four simple ingredients, it's easy to make at home with quality ingredients. So why not shake up a round of The Perfect Cosmo and enjoy the complex dance of sweet and tart flavors in every sip?
7. Gin and Tonic
Gin and Tonic is a classic cocktail that is perfect for any occasion. Made with gin, tonic water, and a shot of Rose's Sweetened Lime Juice, it's a refreshing and slightly sweet drink that is always a crowd-pleaser.
Whether you're sipping it on a hot summer day or enjoying it with friends at a dinner party, the Gin and Tonic is the perfect choice.
8. Gin Martini
The Gin Martini is a classic cocktail that has been enjoyed for over a century. It is primarily made up of gin, vermouth, and lemon peel, giving it a dry and crisp taste.
The cocktail is versatile and can be made with or without orange bitters, and the amount of vermouth used can be adjusted to suit individual tastes. Its simplicity and elegance make it a timeless favorite that is a must-try for anyone who enjoys a classic cocktail.
9. Old Fashioned
The Old Fashioned is a classic whiskey cocktail that has been around for over a century. It's a simple yet sophisticated drink that highlights the nuances of a good whiskey.
The recipe calls for just five ingredients, and the choice of whiskey is crucial. Whether you prefer a spicier rye or a sweeter bourbon, this timeless cocktail is a must-try for any whiskey lover.
10. Manhattan Cocktail
The Manhattan Cocktail is a classic and sophisticated blend of rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters that creates a smooth and aromatic flavor profile with a touch of sweetness.
It originated in New York City in the late 1800s and has remained a favorite among cocktail enthusiasts ever since. If you are looking for a classic cocktail that is easy to make and always a crowd-pleaser, the Manhattan Cocktail is a perfect choice.
The Daiquiri is a classic cocktail made with white rum, lime juice, and simple sugar. It's a refreshing and tart drink that's perfect for a hot day. The cocktail's history is a bit unclear, but it's believed to have originated in Cuba.
Famous drinkers of the cocktail include Ernest Hemingway and John F. Kennedy. The Daiquiri is a simple yet delicious cocktail that's perfect for any occasion.
12. White Lady Cocktail
The White Lady Cocktail is a classic gin-based cocktail that is perfect for those who love light and refreshing drinks. It is a well-balanced cocktail that is on the drier side, making it perfect for an afternoon happy hour or after-dinner drinks. The White Lady Cocktail is also known as the Chelsea Side Car or Delilah and is similar to a gin-based Side Car Cocktail.
The cocktail has a wonderful foam that sits perfectly on top, making it visually appealing and a delight to drink. If you're looking for a classic cocktail that is easy to make and sure to impress, the White Lady Cocktail is definitely worth trying.
13. Classic Singapore Sling
The Classic Singapore Sling is a gin-based cocktail that was invented in Singapore around 1915. It's a fruity and refreshing drink with a complex flavor profile that's sweet, tart, bitter, fruity, and bubbly all at once. The cocktail recipe calls for a whopping 8 ingredients, making it the longest ingredient list of any of the classic cocktail recipes.
The combination of cherry liqueur, Benedictine, grenadine, and Cointreau gives the drink a unique taste that's perfect for adventurous drinkers. The Singapore Sling is a stunning drink that's perfect for sipping as a single serving punch. If you're looking to impress your guests with a complex and intriguing cocktail, the Classic Singapore Sling is a must-try.
14. Gin Fizz
The Gin Fizz is a classic cocktail that has stood the test of time. Made with gin, fresh lemon juice, sugar syrup, and soda water, this cocktail is refreshing and perfect for any occasion. What sets the Gin Fizz apart from other cocktails is the addition of egg white or aquafaba, which gives it a frothy top and a smooth mouthfeel.
This cocktail has been around since the late 19th century and was known as the great hangover cure. It's no wonder why it has remained a popular choice for over a century. If you're looking for a classic cocktail that is both refreshing and satisfying, the Gin Fizz is definitely worth a try.
15. White Russian
The White Russian is a classic cocktail that is perfect for any occasion. Made with vodka, coffee liquor, and heavy cream, this creamy and bold drink is hardy and satisfying.
With just a few simple ingredients, the White Russian delivers a smooth and luxurious taste that is hard to resist. Give it a try and see for yourself what makes this cocktail so special.
16. Elderflower Gin Gimlet
The Elderflower Gin Gimlet is a modern twist on a classic cocktail that has stood the test of time. This refreshing drink combines the smoothness of elderflower liqueur with the tartness of gin, resulting in a well-rounded and balanced cocktail that's perfect for any occasion.
The combination of flavors is unique and unexpected, making it a great addition to any cocktail menu. Whether you're a gin enthusiast or just looking for a new cocktail to try, the Elderflower Gin Gimlet is sure to impress. So why not shake things up and give it a try?
17. Mai Tai
The Mai Tai is a classic rum cocktail that packs a punch with just five ingredients. Unlike its fruity and sweet counterparts, this cocktail is complex and refreshing with hints of citrus and almond. It's perfect for those looking for a tropical drink that's not too sweet and sophisticated enough for cocktail hour.
The Mai Tai is typically served over ice in a lowball cocktail glass with optional garnishes like cherry, pineapple, mint, and lime. If you're looking for a refreshing and tropical cocktail without the fruit punch taste, the Mai Tai is definitely worth a try.
18. Contessa Cocktail
The Contessa Cocktail is a refreshing twist on the classic Negroni cocktail. Developed by John Gertsen, a bartender at Boston's Drink, this cocktail is perfect for those who find the traditional Negroni too bitter.
The Contessa Cocktail uses Aperol instead of Campari, which gives it a citrusy flavor with just a hint of bitterness. It's a perfect before-dinner drink and a great way to enjoy a Negroni variation during Negroni Week. If you're a fan of gin cocktails, you'll definitely want to give the Contessa Cocktail a try.
19. The Southside
The Southside is a classic cocktail that has been around since the early 1900s. It is a refreshing and minty cocktail that is perfect for any occasion. The drink is made with gin, lemon, lime, and fresh mint, giving it a bright and complex flavor.
The Southside is a great cocktail for those who enjoy a Mojito but want to try something new. This cocktail is perfect for impressing guests or simply mixing up to use up the rest of a bottle of sake. If you're looking for a unique and delicious cocktail, The Southside is definitely worth trying.
20. Greyhound Cocktail
The Greyhound Cocktail is a classic cocktail that is simple yet refreshing. It is made with just three ingredients: grapefruit juice, gin, and ice. While vodka is often used in this cocktail, gin is a more historically accurate spirit to use.
The sweetness of Old Tom gin complements the grapefruit juice well, making it a perfect choice for this cocktail. The cocktail is a great option for those who enjoy a refreshing and slightly bitter taste. Overall, the Greyhound Cocktail is a must-try for anyone looking for a classic cocktail that is easy to make and delicious.
21. French 75
The French 75 is a classic cocktail that has been around since the 1930s. It is a sophisticated and refreshing drink that is perfect for any occasion. Made with gin (or vodka), champagne, lemon, and sugar, this cocktail has a unique taste that is sure to impress.
The French 75 is a great alternative to a glass of bubbly and is perfect for those who want to try something new. The cocktail is traditionally served in a flute or a martini glass, but can also be served in a goblet for a more elegant presentation. Overall, the French 75 is a must-try cocktail for anyone who appreciates a good drink.
22. Wisconsin Brandy Old Fashioned
The Wisconsin Brandy Old Fashioned is a unique twist on the classic Old Fashioned cocktail. It's made with brandy instead of whiskey and a soda or seltzer is added to the drink after mixing.
The garnish is customizable, with cherries, olives, and even pickled mushrooms being popular choices. This cocktail is a must-try for anyone looking for a unique twist on a classic cocktail.
23. Hemingway Daiquiri
The Hemingway Daiquiri is a classic cocktail named after Ernest Hemingway. It's a twist on the original Daiquiri, made with rum, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and maraschino liqueur.
The cocktail has a tart and sweet taste, perfect for warm evenings or at-home happy hours. The Hemingway Daiquiri is definitely worth trying if you're a fan of rum cocktails or looking for something new.
24. Dirty Martini
The Dirty Martini is a classic cocktail that has been enjoyed for decades. It's a vodka martini that features three simple ingredients and is made dirty from olive brine. The drink gained massive popularity over the years and was even a favorite drink of President Franklin D. Roosevelt! The salty brine compliments the vodka perfectly and even helps to create a nice aromatic element to the cocktail.
It pairs just as well with gin, too, if that’s your liquor of choice for this classic cocktail. If you love dirty martinis as much as we do, you already know that the olive brine is the best part! The drink has a noticeably cloudy consistency and is a must-try for anyone who loves a classic martini.
25. Smoked Cherry Old Fashioned Cocktail
The Smoked Cherry Old Fashioned Cocktail is a classic cocktail with a twist. This sultry cocktail is infused with smoky flavors that are sure to tantalize your taste buds. The natural sweetness of seasonal cherries is paired with the warmth of campfire whiskey, creating a rich and musky flavor.
The smoked cherry simple syrup and Anastoga bitters add depth to the cocktail, making it a perfect choice for those who enjoy a more complex drink. This cocktail is perfect for those who want to try something new while still enjoying the classic flavors of an Old Fashioned. If you're looking for a cocktail that's both classic and innovative, the Smoked Cherry Old Fashioned Cocktail is definitely worth a try.
26. Rob Roy
The Rob Roy is a classic cocktail that is similar to the Manhattan but with a twist. Instead of bourbon, it uses Scotch whiskey, giving it a unique smoky flavor. This drink is perfect for those who want to unwind after a long day with a strong yet balanced cocktail.
The sweet vermouth adds a touch of sweetness to the drink, making it easy on the palate. While you don't need to use a high-quality single malt, it's recommended to choose a drinkable blended scotch or a top-shelf scotch for a more pronounced flavor. If you're a fan of the Manhattan, you'll definitely want to give the Rob Roy a try.
27. Vodka Gimlet
The Vodka Gimlet is a classic cocktail that is perfect for those who love a strong and tart drink with a hint of sweetness. Made with quality vodka, fresh lime juice, and simple syrup, this cocktail is a twist on the original Gimlet which is made with gin.
The smoothness of the vodka makes this variation a fan favorite, and it is best served cold with plenty of ice. The intense amount of vodka in this drink makes it a refreshing choice for a summer evening on the patio or with friends. If you're looking for a classic cocktail that is simple yet delicious, the Vodka Gimlet is definitely worth a try.
The Sidecar is a classic cocktail that has been a favorite for almost a century. Its origins are uncertain, with some believing it was invented in France and others in London. Regardless of its origin, the Sidecar is a simple yet delicious cocktail made with cognac (brandy), Cointreau (orange liqueur), and fresh lemon juice.
The proportions of each ingredient can vary depending on personal preference, with some preferring more cognac and others preferring equal parts. The Sidecar is a must-try for those who enjoy a tangy yet smooth cocktail with a hint of orange. Its popularity has stood the test of time and is still being ordered today. If you haven't tried it yet, give it a go and see what all the fuss is about!
29. Whiskey Sour
The Whiskey Sour is a classic cocktail made with whiskey, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and simple syrup. It's a perfect balance of sweet, tart, and rich flavors. The cocktail is typically garnished with an orange twist and Maraschino cherries.
The history of the Whiskey Sour dates back to the 19th century when sailors mixed citrus into spirits to prevent scurvy. Today, it's a must-try for any cocktail enthusiast.
30. Classic White Russian
The Classic White Russian is a creamy cocktail made with vodka, coffee liqueur, and heavy cream. It gained popularity after being featured in the movie, The Big Lebowski.
It's easy to make and requires just three ingredients, making it a perfect cocktail for any occasion. The addition of cream gives it a rich and velvety texture, making it a perfect after-dinner drink. Give it a try and see why it has remained a classic cocktail for decades.
31. Classic Whiskey Sour Cocktail
The Classic Whiskey Sour Cocktail is a timeless drink that has been around since 1862. This cocktail is not your typical whiskey sour recipe that you might find at a college bar. It is made with egg whites, which adds a frothy texture and character to the drink. The egg whites are shaken with the other ingredients to create a silky smooth foam.
This cocktail can be served over a giant ice cube or straight up in a coupe glass. If you are hesitant about using raw egg whites, you can use pasteurized liquid egg whites sold in a carton. The Classic Whiskey Sour Cocktail is a must-try for anyone who loves a good whiskey drink.