Here at VinePair, we love a good cocktail. The amount of speakeasies and craft-cocktail bars popping up all over the country make it a great time for cocktail aficionados to be alive. However, most of the time, those intricate, 10-ingredient, obscurely worded cocktails aren’t always an option at places where we drink the most.
Take, for example, a wedding. The basic wedding bar generally doesn’t have much, but will usually have at least one bottle of the following: whiskey, Scotch, gin, vodka, tequila, and vermouth. For mixers, you can expect soda, tonic, and seltzer. There are actually a handful of great cocktails that can be made from basic, minimal ingredients. Here are some of the best classic cocktails to drink at a basic wedding bar.
Gin Martini – Gin, Dry Vermouth, Olives/Lemon (optional garnish)
The OG classic cocktail, this one is made with two simple ingredients: gin and vermouth. The cocktail’s popularity skyrocketed during Prohibition, thanks to the easy crafting of illegal gin. The cocktail still remains a staple at nearly every alcohol-serving establishment in the present day.
Whiskey Ginger – Whiskey, Ginger Ale
Always a safe choice, because really, even the most inexperienced of bartenders would have a hard time messing this one up.
Kalimotxo – Red Wine, Cola
Not a super popular order, but definitely possible to make at any wedding. Do as the Spanish do and throw some cola into the sub-par red wine hiding on the back of that bar shelf. Instant upgrade!
Gin and Tonic – Gin, Tonic
A staple at any wedding. Tart, refreshing, and super simple. As with Whiskey Gingers, even the newest of bartenders would have a hard time screwing this one up.
If Bitters Are Available…
Old Fashioned – Whiskey, Sugar, Bitters, Cherry (optional garnish)
No sugar behind the bar? No problem! There’s bound to be coffee served with cake, meaning that those little sugar caddies are hiding somewhere in the venue. Snag a few packets and you’re all set with this classic cocktail choice.
Manhattan – Whiskey (Rye if available), Sweet Vermouth, Bitters, Maraschino Cherry
You can’t go wrong with a Manhattan, right? Start your night with a few of these and you’re sure to have a solid evening.
And If All Else Fails…
Long Island Iced Tea – Rum, Vodka, Gin, Tequila, Lemon, Cola
O.K., sure, the bar may not have Triple Sec, but will you really notice its absence among the plethora of well liquors and cola meshed together in the glass? We didn’t think so. Revert back to your early college years for the evening and throw back a few of these train wrecks. We recommend holding yourself to a two-drink max limit with this particular option.