As a bartender, I've seen it all. From the classics to the trendy, the sweet to the sour, the strong to the weak.
But no matter what kind of drink you prefer, there's always something new to discover. That's the beauty of mixology – there's always room for experimentation and innovation.
While every bartender has their own signature cocktail, there are some recipes that have stood the test of time and become staples of the bar scene.
These drinks have been enjoyed by countless people over the years, and for good reason. They're delicious, refreshing, and just the right amount of boozy.
In this blog post, I'm going to share with you some of the best popular cocktail recipes out there. I won't be giving away any secrets or revealing any proprietary recipes – these are all drinks that you can find on most cocktail menus.
But what I will do is give you a little bit of history, some tips on how to make them just right, and tell you why they've become so popular in the first place.
So whether you're a seasoned cocktail connoisseur or a newbie looking to expand your palate, read on to discover some of the best drinks that the world of mixology has to offer.
1. Pornstar Martini
The Pornstar Martini is a refreshing passion fruit cocktail made with vanilla vodka, Passoa, and lime juice served with a shot of Prosecco or Champagne on the side. Its provocative name has added to its fame, and it is known as the most popular cocktail in the UK.
The passion fruit garnish adds a tangy flavor to the drink, making it a perfect summer cocktail. The Pornstar Martini is an easy drink to shake up at home, and it is a must-try for anyone who loves a fruity and refreshing cocktail.
The Mojito is a classic cocktail made with mint, lime, sugar, and rum. It's a refreshing drink perfect for a hot summer day, and its simplicity makes it easy to make.
The combination of fresh mint and lime gives it a bright and zesty flavor, while the rum adds sweetness and complexity. If you're looking for a classic cocktail that's easy to make and always hits the spot, the Mojito is definitely worth trying.
3. Brandy Old Fashioned Sweet
The Brandy Old Fashioned Sweet is a classic cocktail recipe that originated in Wisconsin. Made with brandy, muddled cherries and oranges, sugar, bitters, and lemon-lime soda, this vintage cocktail recipe is a must-try for any cocktail enthusiast. The cocktail has a smooth, sweet taste with a mild bite from the brandy and a crisp fizz from the soda.
The muddled fruit and sugar add a sweet and fruity flavor that perfectly complements the brandy. The garnish of an orange slice and a cherry adds a touch of elegance to the cocktail. If you're looking for a classic cocktail that is easy to make and perfect for any occasion, the Brandy Old Fashioned Sweet is definitely worth a try.
4. Don Pedro
Don Pedro is a beloved South African cocktail that has been around since the 1970s. It is a dessert beverage made with vanilla ice cream, double cream, and whisky, but it can be modified with other types of alcohol like Amarula liqueur, coffee liqueur, kahlua, and brandy. The addition of Amarula liqueur gives it a fruity undertone and makes it a perfect after-dinner drink.
The cocktail is best served immediately topped with grated chocolate, cocoa powder, or a stick of chocolate. Don Pedro's origins are unclear, but some claim that it was created by chef Danny Ferris of the Belinzona restaurant based in Blouberg. Whether you believe in its origins or not, Don Pedro is a must-try cocktail that will surely impress your guests.
5. Whiskey Ginger Cocktail
The Whiskey Ginger Cocktail is a refreshing and easy-to-make drink that is perfect for any occasion. With only three ingredients, this cocktail is a simple yet delicious way to enjoy whiskey. The combination of fresh lime juice, whiskey, and ginger ale creates a unique and flavorful drink that even non-whiskey lovers will enjoy.
This cocktail is perfect for those who want a quick and easy drink without sacrificing taste. So, if you're looking for a simple yet delicious cocktail to enjoy, the Whiskey Ginger Cocktail is definitely worth trying!
6. French Martini
The French Martini is a sweet and fruity cocktail made with vodka, Chambord raspberry liqueur, and pineapple juice. It's perfect for those who enjoy a sweeter cocktail and want to add a touch of sophistication to their happy hour.
Despite its name, the French Martini is not actually a martini in the traditional sense. The addition of Chambord, a black raspberry liqueur from France, gives the French Martini its distinct flavor and a touch of elegance.
7. Texas Tea
Texas Tea is a refreshing cocktail that will make you feel like you're sipping on iced tea on a hot summer day. Despite its name, the drink doesn't actually contain any tea. Instead, it's a mix of dry gin, vodka, gold tequila, gold rum, whiskey-bourbon, orange liqueur, simple syrup, and lemon juice, topped off with a splash of cola.
This fizzy cocktail has a lemony twist and is perfect for cooling down during the summer months. While it's similar to a Long Island Iced Tea, the addition of whiskey-bourbon gives it a unique flavor. If you're looking for a refreshing drink to enjoy on a hot day, Texas Tea is definitely worth a try.
8. Strawberry Mojito Cocktail
The Strawberry Mojito Cocktail is a fruity twist on the classic mojito recipe. This popular cocktail is perfect for those who love a refreshing and sweet drink. The addition of fresh strawberries adds a burst of flavor to the traditional mint and lime combination.
The recipe is easy to customize with different fruits, making it a versatile option for any occasion. The crushed ice gives the cocktail a nice texture and the simple syrup adds the perfect amount of sweetness. Overall, the Strawberry Mojito Cocktail is a delicious and easy-to-make drink that is sure to impress your guests.
The Caipirinha is a refreshing cocktail from Brazil made with cachaça, lime, sugar, and ice. Its unique flavor comes from the muddling process that blends the lime and sugar to create a 'citrus sand.'
It's a potent drink, but can be modified with additional ice or club soda. With variations like Caipafruta and Caipirissima, it's a versatile cocktail that's worth trying.
10. Gin Mojito
If you're a fan of mojitos but want to try something new, the Gin Mojito is a must-try cocktail. This refreshing drink is a twist on the classic mint mojito, but with gin instead of rum. The combination of fresh mint, gin, and club soda creates a light and crisp taste that's perfect for any season.
What's great about this cocktail is that it's easy to make and doesn't require many ingredients. Plus, it's a great option for those who don't like rum or want to switch up their usual drink order. If you're looking for a fun and refreshing cocktail to try, the Gin Mojito should definitely be on your list.
11. Mai Tai
Mai Tai is a classic rum-based cocktail that is synonymous with tropical vacation vibes. With its tart and strong flavor profile, this cocktail packs a punch and is perfect for those who enjoy a prominent rum taste with a hint of orange and lime. The recipe calls for three kinds of rum – light, gold, and dark – and is topped off with a float of dark rum.
While the traditional recipe calls for orgeat syrup, almond liqueur can be used as a substitute. This cocktail is perfect for those who want to transport themselves to a swanky resort with a waterfall in the distance. So, if you're looking for a tropical cocktail that will take you on a mini-vacation, Mai Tai is the perfect choice.
12. Old Fashioned
The Old Fashioned is a classic cocktail that has been around since the late 1800s. Made with bourbon or rye whiskey, bitters, sugar, and a twist of orange or lemon, this drink is perfect for slow sipping and enjoying with friends. The smooth texture and sugary undertones make it a standout among other whiskey-based drinks.
The Old Fashioned is a stirred drink that is traditionally served over a large cube of ice to keep it perfectly chilled without watering it down. Although the traditional recipe doesn't include any additional fruits, some people like to add cherries and orange slices to spruce up the flavor. The Old Fashioned is a timeless cocktail that continues to be popular today, and it's easy to see why.
13. White Port and Tonic Cocktail
The White Port and Tonic Cocktail is a refreshing and unique summer drink popular in Portugal. It's made with white port, tonic water, and garnished with mint and orange wedge.
The sweetness of the port is balanced out by the tonic water, creating a well-rounded and refreshing drink. It's perfect for sipping on a hot day and is a unique addition to any cocktail repertoire.
14. Hibiscus Tea Cosmo
Looking for a fresh twist on the classic cosmopolitan? Look no further than the Hibiscus Tea Cosmo. This vibrant and fragrant cocktail swaps out traditional cranberry juice for hibiscus tea, resulting in a more floral and sophisticated flavor profile. The deep red hue of the hibiscus tea gives the cocktail a striking appearance, making it a perfect choice for impressing guests or treating yourself to a special night in.
And the best part? The possibilities for experimentation are endless – try swapping out the hibiscus tea for other teas with complementary flavors to create your own unique twist on the classic cosmo. The Hibiscus Tea Cosmo is a must-try for any cocktail enthusiast looking to mix things up.
15. Kamikaze Shot
The Kamikaze Shot is a classic cocktail made with vodka, triple sec, and lime juice. It's a refreshing and satisfying shot that has been a staple in bars for decades.
The tartness of the lime juice pairs perfectly with the sweetness of the triple sec and the bite of the vodka. It's a quick and easy shot to make, and there are several variations that can be made with different liqueurs or flavored vodkas.
16. Negroni Spritz Cocktail
The Negroni Spritz Cocktail is a refreshing twist on the classic Negroni, perfect for those looking for a lighter and bubbly drink. Made with Campari, premium gin, red vermouth, angostura bitters, soda water, and a fresh orange slice, this cocktail is a play on the traditional Negroni recipe. The origins of the Negroni are unknown, but it is believed to have been first mixed in Florence in 1919.
The Negroni Spritz is a great option for those who want to enjoy the flavors of a traditional Negroni but with a lower alcohol content. It's a perfect sipper for hot summer days or special celebrations. Serve it in a rocks glass garnished with an orange slice and enjoy the refreshing taste of Italy's favorite aperitif.
17. Cranberry Moscow Mule
The Cranberry Moscow Mule is a festive twist on the classic Moscow Mule, made with vodka, ginger beer, cranberry juice, and fresh lime. It's a refreshing and delicious cocktail that's perfect for holiday gatherings.
The name comes from the "kick" it packs, and it's traditionally served in a copper mug. If you love a little bit of spice and sweetness in your drinks, the Cranberry Moscow Mule is a must-try.
18. Vodka Tonic With Orange
The Vodka Tonic with Orange is a refreshing twist on a classic cocktail. It combines vodka, tonic water, and a juicy orange wedge for a burst of flavor and pop of color.
It's easy to make and low in calories, making it a healthier option. If you're looking for a simple, yet delicious drink to impress your guests, give this one a try.
19. Mind Eraser
The Mind Eraser is a classic cocktail that packs a punch. It combines equal parts vodka, coffee liqueur, and soda water to create a boozy and caffeinated drink. What sets it apart is the way it's served – as a beautifully layered drink.
Sipping through a straw allows you to enjoy each element, or you can stir the drink to enjoy the combination. It's perfect for those who love a strong drink with a little bit of fizz.
The Americano is a classic cocktail that has been around for over a century. Originally known as the “Milano-Torino”, it was renamed due to its popularity with American ex-pats. This bittersweet cocktail has fruity notes of cherry and grape, with the two liquors balancing each other out nicely.
The soda water reduces the sweetness, resulting in a complex flavor that may not be for everyone. However, if you find the right balance of ingredients, it can be a delightful and refreshing drink. So, if you're looking for a classic cocktail with a unique flavor, give the Americano a try.
21. Classic Margarita
The Classic Margarita is a popular cocktail that has been enjoyed by many for years. This cocktail is a perfect blend of tequila, lime juice, and orange liqueur, with a touch of sweetness. The recipe can be easily customized to suit individual preferences, making it a versatile drink that can be enjoyed by anyone.
The Classic Margarita is a refreshing and delicious drink that is perfect for any occasion, whether it's a night out with friends or a relaxing evening at home. If you're looking for a classic cocktail that is sure to impress, the Classic Margarita is definitely worth a try.
22. Boston Sour Cocktail
The Boston Sour Cocktail is a classic whiskey sour with the addition of egg white, giving it a creamy, frothy texture. It's a sour cocktail with a balance of sweet and sour flavors, made with whiskey or bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white.
The addition of egg white makes it a smooth and delicious drink that is easy to make and perfect for impressing guests at your next party.