As a bartender, I've seen it all. From the classics to the trendy, I've mixed up countless cocktails for thirsty patrons. But when it comes down to it, there are a few recipes that stand the test of time.
These are the drinks that every bartender should know like the back of their hand. They're the drinks that have been around for decades and will continue to be popular for decades to come.
These drinks are what I like to call "staple cocktails." They're the foundation of any good bar and the cornerstone of any great cocktail menu.
They're the drinks that customers come back for time and time again. And while there are countless variations of these drinks, the core recipes remain the same.
So what makes a cocktail a staple? It's all about simplicity. These drinks are easy to make, easy to remember, and easy to modify to suit any taste.
They're made with just a few ingredients, and they're all about balance. They're the drinks that you can order at any bar in the world and know exactly what you're going to get.
In this post, I'm going to share with you the best staple cocktail recipes that every bartender should know. These are the drinks that you'll find on every menu, and they're the drinks that you should be able to make with your eyes closed.
So whether you're a seasoned bartender or just starting out, these recipes are essential. Get ready to mix up some classics!
1. Old Fashioned Cocktail
The Old Fashioned Cocktail is a timeless classic that has been enjoyed for centuries. It's a simple and elegant drink made with only a few ingredients, including bourbon, bitters, and sugar. The garnish of citrusy orange peels adds a refreshing touch to the drink. This cocktail is perfect for those who enjoy a no-frills drink that is easy to make and perfect for unwinding after a long day.
Some people also add a teaspoon of water to the drink, which is best introduced with a bar spoon before the bourbon to keep it from flooding the alcohol's taste. Overall, the Old Fashioned Cocktail is a must-try for anyone who appreciates classic cocktails and wants to enjoy a relaxing drink that stands the test of time.
2. Bootleg Cocktail
The Bootleg Cocktail is a refreshing and easy-to-make summer staple that originated in Minnesota. This cocktail is perfect for those hot summer days when you need something to quench your thirst. The recipe is simple and requires only a few ingredients, including fresh mint, frozen limeade, frozen lemonade, vodka (or spirit of choice), and club soda.
The cocktail is blended with fresh mint, making it a perfect choice for those who love mint-flavored drinks. The Bootleg Cocktail is a must-try for anyone looking for a new summer drink to add to their repertoire. So, gather your friends and family, mix up a batch of Bootleg Cocktails, and enjoy a refreshing and delicious drink that's perfect for any summer occasion.
3. Bourbon Sazerac
The Bourbon Sazerac is a modern take on the classic Sazerac cocktail, made with bourbon, absinthe, Peychaud's bitters, and a sugar cube.
The addition of absinthe and Peychaud's bitters adds a unique flavor profile to the drink, making it a must-try for any cocktail enthusiast. The Bourbon Sazerac is a perfect cocktail for those who love the taste of bourbon.
4. Clover Club
The Clover Club cocktail is a classic drink made with gin, raspberry syrup, lemon juice, sugar, and an egg white. It's a fruity and refreshing delight with a unique combination of flavors.
The addition of egg white adds a frothy finish that is both fun and delicious. The cocktail's history dates back to the late 1800s and is a must-try for anyone looking for a sweet and refreshing drink.
The Sidecar is a classic cocktail that dates back to the Prohibition Era. It's a smooth, cognac-based drink made with Cointreau and fresh lemon juice. The cocktail is citrusy and refreshing with a touch of sweetness from the Cointreau, making it a perfect classic to add to your rotation this summer.
The Sidecar is a great option for those who enjoy whiskey, as cognac is fruitier and smoother. This classic cocktail is a must-try for anyone looking to expand their cocktail repertoire.
6. Whiskey Smash
The Whiskey Smash is a classic cocktail that every whiskey lover should try. Made with just a few simple ingredients including whiskey, lemon, mint, and simple syrup, this cocktail packs a flavorful punch. The combination of the fresh mint and lemon with the smooth whiskey creates a refreshing and delicious drink that is perfect for any occasion.
Whether you are sipping it on a hot summer day or enjoying it as a nightcap, the Whiskey Smash is a staple cocktail that you won't regret trying. So, if you are a fan of whiskey, be sure to add this cocktail to your list of must-try drinks.
The Margarita is a classic Mexican cocktail that has become a staple for any occasion. Made with tequila, orange liqueur, and fresh lime juice, this cocktail is served with salt on the rim of the glass and garnished with lime wedges.
The Margarita can be served on the rocks or blended with ice for a frozen version. This cocktail is perfect for Taco Tuesday or any time you want to impress your guests with a refreshing and delicious drink. With its simple yet high-quality ingredients, the Margarita is a must-try for any cocktail lover.
8. Old Fashioned
The Old Fashioned is a classic cocktail made with sugar, bitters, and whiskey or brandy. It is a simple yet sophisticated drink that has been enjoyed for over a century.
The combination of sugar, bitters, and whiskey creates a smooth and complex flavor that is sure to please both whiskey connoisseurs and casual drinkers alike. It is a timeless classic that has stood the test of time and is a must-try cocktail.
9. Classic Margarita
The Classic Margarita is a refreshing and timeless cocktail that has become a staple in the world of mixology. Made with tequila, lime juice, and orange liqueur, this cocktail is perfect for any occasion, whether it's a summer barbecue or a cozy night in.
The recipe is easy to remember and doesn't require any added sugar, making it a healthier option compared to other cocktails. The addition of salt on the rim of the glass adds a nice touch of flavor and texture to the drink. The Classic Margarita is a must-try for anyone looking for a simple yet delicious cocktail that never goes out of style.
10. Hurricane Cocktail
The Hurricane Cocktail is a classic tropical drink that originated in New Orleans during the Prohibition Era. It's a potent mix of white and dark rum, passion fruit juice, orange juice, grenadine, simple syrup, and lime juice. Served in a Hurricane glass with ice, this cocktail is garnished with orange and a maraschino cherry.
The Hurricane Cocktail is a must-try for anyone who loves tropical drinks and wants to experience the taste of New Orleans. With its sweet and tangy flavors, this cocktail is perfect for sipping on a hot summer day or at a party with friends. So, if you're looking for a delicious and refreshing cocktail, give the Hurricane a try!
The Mimosa is a classic brunch cocktail made with equal parts sparkling wine and orange juice. It's refreshing and fruity, perfect for lazy Sunday brunch or a special celebration. The drink's origins are a bit murky, but it's believed to have been a variation of the Buck's Fizz cocktail.
The Mimosa quickly replaced the Bloody Mary as the go-to drink for brunch in the 1950s in the United States. It's a must-try for anyone who loves a refreshing and bubbly cocktail.
12. Aperol Spritz
One of the most refreshing and easy-sipping cocktails out there is the Aperol Spritz. This Italian classic is a staple aperitif, perfect for a pre-dinner drink or a post-work cocktail hour. With its mix of sweetness, bitterness, and spices, Aperol adds a unique twist to the traditional spritz recipe, making it a must-try for anyone looking to explore the world of Italian cocktails.
Served in a wine glass with a slice of orange as garnish, the Aperol Spritz is a perfect choice for a summer day or a cozy night in. Whether you're reminiscing about your travels to Italy or looking to try something new, the Aperol Spritz is sure to impress.
13. Lemon Drop Martini
The Lemon Drop Martini is a sweet and sour vodka martini made with only three ingredients – vodka, simple syrup, and fresh lemon juice. It's easy to make and can be garnished with lemon wedges or slices.
The refreshing tartness of the lemon juice is perfectly balanced by the sweetness of the simple syrup, making it a crowd-pleaser. It's a perfect cocktail for any occasion and is sure to become a staple in your cocktail repertoire.
14. Gin Martini
The Gin Martini is a timeless classic that has been around for ages. It's a simple yet sophisticated cocktail that every home bartender should know how to make. Made with gin and vermouth, this cocktail has a unique taste that is sure to impress your guests.
The key to making a great Gin Martini is to use high-quality ingredients, such as small-batch gin and Dolin vermouth. Different variations of the Gin Martini can be made by adding different flavors or swapping out the gin for vodka. Whether you're a gin lover or not, the Gin Martini is a must-try cocktail that will leave you wanting more.
15. Classic Mimosas
Classic Mimosas are a refreshing and bubbly cocktail made with orange juice and champagne. It's a brunch staple that has been enjoyed for almost a century and is perfect for any daytime event.
The cocktail is easy to make and can be made with store-bought or fresh-squeezed orange juice. Overall, it's a must-try cocktail that you'll want to add to your list of staple cocktail recipes.
Mimosas are a classic and refreshing cocktail made with sparkling wine and citrus juice, typically orange juice. They are perfect for brunches and celebrations, and can be customized with different types of sparkling wine or juice.
Mimosas are typically served in champagne flutes, adding a touch of elegance to any gathering. If you're looking for a simple yet sophisticated cocktail, mimosas are the perfect choice.
17. Negroni Cocktail
The Negroni Cocktail is a classic Italian drink made with gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari. It has a bitter-sweet taste, deep red color, and sophisticated aroma. The drink is named after Count Camillo Negroni, who first requested the addition of gin to his Americano.
The Negroni is considered a strong cocktail with a moderate to high alcohol content, and it pairs well with strong flavored foods. It is a classy and sophisticated drink, often enjoyed in upscale bars and restaurants.