As a bartender, you never know what kind of drink order you’re going to get next. Some people know exactly what they want, while others stare blankly at the menu trying to decide.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a novice mixologist, having a few go-to recipes in your back pocket can make all the difference.
The best go-to cocktail recipes are the ones that are easy to make, taste great, and impress your guests. They’re the drinks that you can whip up on a moment’s notice, without having to spend hours prepping ingredients or researching recipes.
These cocktails are versatile enough to be enjoyed in any season or setting, from a cozy night at home to a festive holiday party.
But what makes a great go-to cocktail recipe? It’s all about simplicity and balance. A good cocktail should have just the right amount of sweetness, acidity, and alcohol content to please your palate without overwhelming it.
The best go-to cocktails are also adaptable, allowing you to switch up ingredients or adjust proportions depending on your mood or the occasion.
In this blog post, we’ll be exploring some of the best go-to cocktail recipes that every bartender should know.
From classic cocktails like the Old Fashioned and Negroni to modern twists like the Aperol Spritz and Moscow Mule, we’ll be sharing our favorite recipes and tips for making them perfect every time. So grab your shaker and let’s get mixing!
1. Cranberry Vanilla Old Fashioned
The Cranberry Vanilla Old Fashioned is a classic bourbon-based cocktail with a festive twist. It’s made with bourbon whiskey, simple syrup, bitters, cranberry juice, and vanilla extract. The addition of cranberry and vanilla gives the drink a unique taste, making it perfect for any holiday gathering.
It’s easy to make and versatile, allowing you to experiment with different bitters to create a unique flavor. Overall, it’s a delicious and impressive cocktail that’s perfect for the holiday season.
The Cosmopolitan is a classic cocktail that has been around for years, but it gained popularity after being featured on the hit TV show Sex and the City. This pink-hued cocktail is made with vodka, orange liqueur, lime juice, and cranberry juice, and it packs a punch despite its girly appearance.
The Cosmo is a perfect cocktail for a night out with the girls or a fancy dinner party. It’s easy to make and can be garnished with either an orange rind twist or a lime wheel. This timeless classic is a must-try for anyone who loves a good martini-style cocktail.
3. Limoncello Prosecco With Blueberries and Thyme
Looking for a refreshing and delicious cocktail that’s perfect for any celebration? Look no further than the Limoncello Prosecco with Blueberries and Thyme. This cocktail is a sparkling and lemony treat that’s sure to impress your guests. The addition of blueberries and thyme adds a unique twist to this classic Italian cocktail, making it a perfect choice for any occasion.
Whether you’re celebrating a milestone birthday or just enjoying a summer evening with friends, the Limoncello Prosecco with Blueberries and Thyme is a must-try cocktail recipe. So why not give it a try and see for yourself how delicious it can be?
4. Tom Collins
Tom Collins is a classic gin cocktail made with gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and club soda. It’s a refreshing and light drink that’s perfect for sipping on a hot summer day.
The name of the cocktail is derived from a popular practical joke played in the late 1800s. It’s easy to make and always a hit at parties and happy hour get-togethers. Give it a try if you’re looking for a quick and easy cocktail that’s sure to impress.
5. Classic Mojito
The Classic Mojito is a refreshing and delicious cocktail that is perfect for any occasion. Made with rum, mint leaves, lime wedges, sugar, and soda water, this cocktail is easy to make and foolproof if you follow the recipe. The sugar offsets the sour in the lime and makes the drink sweet and delicious.
You can use white sugar, agave syrup, or simple syrup to sweeten the cocktail, depending on your preference. The best part about a mojito is that the variations are endless, so you can adjust it to your taste buds’ demands. Try it with raspberry, strawberry, mango, or pineapple for a fruity twist. The Classic Mojito is a must-try cocktail that will leave you wanting more.
6. Strawberry Mojitos
If you’re looking for a refreshing and fruity cocktail to enjoy during the summer, look no further than the Strawberry Mojito. This cocktail is a twist on the classic mojito, with the addition of fresh strawberries and a strawberry-flavored soda.
The combination of muddled strawberries and mint creates a burst of flavor that is perfect for sipping by the pool or at a summer happy hour. While the recipe calls for a specific brand of soda, it can easily be substituted with club soda for a less intense strawberry flavor. Overall, the Strawberry Mojito is a delicious and easy-to-make cocktail that is sure to impress your guests.
7. Long Island Iced Tea
The Long Island Iced Tea is a classic cocktail that packs a punch with its five different spirits – tequila, rum, vodka, gin, and triple sec. Despite its name, there is no actual tea in this drink. It is refreshing and perfect for parties and barbecues. The simple ratios of the ingredients make it easy to scale up for larger gatherings.
The cocktail is known for being addictive and drinkable, but be warned – it contains about 2 1/2-3 shots of alcohol. With its reputation for being a little bit of a guilty pleasure, the Long Island Iced Tea is a must-try for anyone looking for a fun and flavorful cocktail.
8. Simple Red Sangria
“Simple Red Sangria” is a classic wine-based cocktail that originated in Spain and has become popular worldwide. This recipe is easy to make and requires only a few ingredients, including red wine, orange juice, sugar, and your choice of orange liqueur. The fruit used in the recipe, such as sliced oranges, lemons, and limes, adds a refreshing touch to the drink.
This cocktail is best served cold, making it a perfect choice for a warm summer day. The longer the drink sits, the more the fruit flavors the wine, making it a great option for parties or gatherings. If you’re looking for a simple yet flavorful cocktail, “Simple Red Sangria” is definitely worth a try.
9. Old Fashioned
The Old Fashioned is a classic cocktail that has been around for over a century. It is traditionally made with bourbon or brandy, sugar, bitters, and a twist of citrus. The Old Fashioned is a smooth and flavorful drink that is perfect for sipping on a lazy afternoon or enjoying with friends at a party.
Its versatility allows it to be customized to suit your taste preferences. Overall, the Old Fashioned is a classic cocktail that should be in every bartender’s repertoire.
10. Cosmopolitan Cocktail
The Cosmopolitan Cocktail is a classic drink that has been enjoyed by many for decades. It is a perfect drink for ladies night out, book clubs, or any occasion that calls for a refreshing and delicious cocktail. Made with vodka, orange liqueur, lime juice, and a splash of cranberry juice, this cocktail is a perfect balance of sweet and tart flavors.
The use of top-shelf vodka and high-quality orange liqueur elevates the taste of this drink to a whole new level. The chilled martini glass with a lemon twist adds a touch of elegance to this already sophisticated cocktail. If you are a fan of martinis, the Cosmopolitan Cocktail is a must-try.
11. Blood Orange Champagne Mule
The Blood Orange Champagne Mule is a refreshing and festive twist on the classic Moscow Mule. This cocktail combines the tangy flavor of blood oranges with the crispness of champagne and the spiciness of ginger beer, creating a perfect balance of sweet and sour.
The vibrant red hue of the blood oranges makes this cocktail a visually stunning addition to any party or gathering. Whether you’re celebrating New Year’s Eve or just looking for a delicious and easy-to-make cocktail, the Blood Orange Champagne Mule is definitely worth trying.
12. Pear and Ginger Sparklers
Looking for a delicious and festive cocktail to ring in the new year? Look no further than the Pear and Ginger Sparkler! This cocktail combines a sweet and sour pear shrub with vodka, lemon juice, honey, and champagne for a complex and flavorful drink that is perfect for any NYE celebration.
The homemade shrub adds a unique and delicious twist to this cocktail, and the addition of ginger gives it a nice spicy kick. Overall, the Pear and Ginger Sparkler is a must-try for anyone looking for a delicious and boozy cocktail to celebrate the new year.
13. Bees Knees Cocktail
The Bees Knees Cocktail is a classic Prohibition-era drink that combines gin, honey syrup, and lemon juice for a refreshing, lightly sweet taste. It’s easy to make and perfect for a spring or summer day.
The name “Bees Knees” describes something outstanding, and this cocktail lives up to its name. Served in a coupe or martini glass with a lemon twist garnish, it’s a simple and delicious cocktail that’s sure to impress.
14. The Perfect Paloma Cocktail
“The Perfect Paloma Cocktail” is a refreshing and fruity cocktail that is perfect for spring and summer gatherings. Made with fresh grapefruit juice and silver tequila, this Mexican favorite is a great alternative to the popular margarita. The cocktail is easy to make and can be made in large batches for any party size.
The recipe can also be adjusted to make a mocktail version for those who prefer a non-alcoholic option. The Perfect Paloma Cocktail is a must-try for anyone looking for a delicious and refreshing drink to enjoy with friends and family.
15. Tequila Kombucha Cocktail
The Tequila Kombucha Cocktail is a refreshing and easy-to-make drink that is perfect for entertaining or just relaxing after a long day. Made with tequila, kombucha, lime, and honey, this cocktail has a unique flavor profile that is both sweet and tangy.
The herbal taste of the kombucha blends perfectly with the sharp tequila, while the honey adds a touch of sweetness. This cocktail is also versatile and can be easily customized with fresh fruit, berries, or herbs. Overall, the Tequila Kombucha Cocktail is a must-try for anyone looking for a simple yet delicious cocktail recipe.
16. Orange Mojitos
Looking for a refreshing and easy-to-make cocktail recipe? Look no further than the Orange Mojito! Made with rum, fresh mint, oranges, and sugar, this twist on the classic mojito is perfect for any occasion.
The addition of oranges adds a sweet and tangy flavor to the drink, making it a great choice for those who prefer a less tart cocktail. Whether you’re hosting a party or just looking for a delicious drink to enjoy on a warm summer day, the Orange Mojito is sure to impress. So why not give it a try and see for yourself?
17. Zesty Strawberry Mojito
Looking for a refreshing and zesty cocktail to beat the heat this summer? Look no further than the Zesty Strawberry Mojito! Bursting with the tangy flavor of citrus, cool mint, and sweet berry, this mocktail is perfect for quenching your thirst on a hot day.
And for those who want to add a little kick, a tiny shot of rum can easily be added. The cocktail is easy to make with just a few simple ingredients and a muddler or rolling pin. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the taste of summer with the Zesty Strawberry Mojito!
18. Heavenly Lemonade
If you’re looking for a refreshing and easy-to-make cocktail, look no further than “Heavenly Lemonade.” This cocktail is a twist on the classic mimosa, using lemonade instead of orange juice. The recipe calls for two-thirds sparkling water and one-third lemonade, making it a light and bubbly drink perfect for any occasion.
The best part? You can use any kind of lemonade you like, whether it’s regular, strawberry, or raspberry. The recipe also recommends using a cheaper champagne, such as brut, to keep costs down. Overall, “Heavenly Lemonade” is a simple yet delicious cocktail that is sure to impress your guests.
19. Red Moon Over Manhattan Cocktail
The Red Moon Over Manhattan Cocktail is a twist on the classic Manhattan cocktail, made with red wine and bourbon. This creative and delicious cocktail is perfect for fall entertaining or cozy nights at home. The stunning color of the drink is sure to impress your guests, and the combination of red wine and bourbon creates a sophisticated and smooth flavor.
Garnished with orange peel and a maraschino cherry, this cocktail is a must-try for any bourbon lover. If you’re looking for a unique and tasty cocktail to serve at your next gathering, the Red Moon Over Manhattan Cocktail is definitely worth a try.
20. Raspberry Gin Fizz
The Raspberry Gin Fizz is a refreshing cocktail bursting with bright raspberry flavor and a hint of citrus. Made with a homemade raspberry simple syrup, gin, lemon juice, and topped with tonic or soda water, it’s a perfect drink for those who love fruity and refreshing cocktails.
The addition of fresh raspberries and mint as a garnish adds a pop of color and a touch of elegance to this delightful drink.
21. Rum and Coke
Rum and Coke is a classic highball cocktail that’s easy to order and enjoy. The combination of smooth, slightly sweet flavors of rum and the refreshing taste of Coke make it a perfect drink for any occasion.
It can be made with different types of rum, such as white, gold, aged, and spiced, each bringing a unique flavor profile to the drink. The ratio of rum to Coke is also important, with a 1:2.5 ratio being the most balanced. Overall, it’s a simple and refreshing cocktail that’s perfect for anyone looking for a go-to drink.
22. Mango Mojito
The Mango Mojito is a refreshing twist on the classic mojito, perfect for those who love fruity cocktails. Made with ripe mango, mint leaves, lime wedges, sugar, Bacardi silver rum, and soda water, this cocktail has a fine balance of flavors that has been perfected over time.
The use of Xylitol as a sugar substitute is also an option for those who want to cut down on sugar. The key to making a great Mango Mojito is using soft and sweet mangoes, as they bring out the best flavors in the cocktail. If you’re a fan of mojitos and mangoes, then this cocktail is definitely worth a try.
23. Prosecco Margaritas
If you’re looking for a fun and bubbly twist on the classic margarita, the Prosecco Margarita is a must-try. This sparkling cocktail is perfect for special occasions and entertaining, and is made with just a few simple ingredients.
The addition of Prosecco adds a celebratory touch to the drink, making it perfect for toasting with friends and family. Whether you’re a fan of traditional margaritas or looking for something new and exciting, the Prosecco Margarita is definitely worth a try. So why not mix up a batch for your next party and see for yourself?
24. Strawberry Rose Lychee Mojito
Looking for a unique and exotic twist on a classic mojito? Look no further than the Strawberry Rose Lychee Mojito. This cocktail uses the distinct flavor of lychee fruit and syrup, along with fresh strawberries and subtle hints of rose water, to create a sweet and floral take on the traditional mojito.
The muddled strawberries add a beautiful pink hue and delicious bites of fruit to the bottom of your glass. If you can get your hands on fresh lychees, even better! This cocktail is perfect for those who want to try something new and exciting, while still enjoying the refreshing taste of a classic mojito.
Looking for a refreshing and easy-to-make cocktail for your next summer party? Look no further than the Mojito! This classic Cuban cocktail is a perfect blend of sweetness, citrus, and mint, making it the perfect drink to sip on a hot summer night. Made with white rum, fresh mint leaves, lime juice, and simple syrup, the Mojito is a simple yet delicious cocktail that can be easily customized to suit your tastes.
Whether you’re looking to make a single serving or a big batch for your next party, the Mojito is a go-to cocktail recipe that is sure to impress your guests. So why not give it a try and see for yourself why the Mojito is one of the best cocktails around?
26. Whiskey Sour
Whiskey Sour is a classic cocktail that combines the sweetness of whiskey with the tartness of lemon juice and maple or simple syrup. It’s a versatile drink that can be made with any type of whiskey and adjusted to your taste.
The orange peel and maraschino cherry garnish add a beautiful pop of color to the glass. It’s a must-try cocktail for anyone who loves whiskey or enjoys a good sour drink.
27. Blueberry Moscow Mules
“Blueberry Moscow Mules” are a delightful twist on the classic cocktail that has been gaining popularity in recent years. Made with homemade blueberry vodka, lime, ginger beer, and muddled mint, this refreshing beverage is perfect for summertime.
The blueberry vodka is made by soaking fresh blueberries in vodka for a week, allowing the vodka to absorb the sweet and tart flavors of the fruit. The cocktail is served in a copper mug and topped with ginger beer, giving it a zingy and zesty flavor. The drink is easy to make and perfect for happy hour. If you’re a fan of Moscow Mules, this blueberry version is a must-try.
28. Mojito Cocktail
The Mojito Cocktail is a refreshing and classic summer drink that is perfect for those hot days. Made with a combination of rum, mint, lime, simple syrup, and club soda, this cocktail is a burst of flavors that will leave you feeling refreshed and invigorated. The mint leaves give it a cool and crisp taste, while the rum adds a bit of sweetness and depth to the drink.
This cocktail is perfect for those who want to try something new and exciting, or for those who want to enjoy a classic drink with a modern twist. So, if you’re looking for a go-to cocktail that is both delicious and refreshing, the Mojito Cocktail is definitely worth a try!
29. Italian Gin and Tonic
The Italian Gin and Tonic is a refreshing twist on the classic Gin and Tonic. This cocktail incorporates Campari and Vermouth, giving it a Negroni-like flavor. The bright bitterness of Campari adds a unique depth to the drink, making it perfect for those who love a little complexity in their cocktails.
The Italian Gin and Tonic is also visually stunning, making it a great option for entertaining guests. Overall, this cocktail is a great choice for those looking to switch up their go-to drink with something new and exciting.
30. Pink Elephant Cocktail
The Pink Elephant Cocktail is a fun and whimsical drink with a vodka base and Fentimans’ rose lemonade, giving it a beautiful baby pink color and sweet scent. A twist of lime gives it a kick that balances out the sweetness. This cocktail is perfect for parties and can be made in batches and served in a big pitcher over ice.
The quality of the vodka used in this cocktail is important, and the Aval Dor Vodka used in this recipe is a premium ‘plough to bottle’ vodka made from the finest King Edward potatoes grown by Colwith Farm in South East Cornwall.
31. Watermelon Margarita
The Watermelon Margarita is a refreshing and simple cocktail that is perfect for summertime gatherings and parties. Made with just three ingredients, including ripe watermelon, lime juice, and tequila, this cocktail is naturally sweet and requires no added sugars. The cocktail is perfect for those who love margaritas and want to try something new.
The best part is that it takes just 10 minutes to shake together and can be made in large batches for all your family and friends to enjoy. Whether you prefer it on the rocks or frozen, this cocktail is sure to impress your guests with its sweet and boozy flavor. So, if you’re looking for a quick and easy cocktail to serve at your next party, the Watermelon Margarita is definitely worth a try!