Here at VinePair, we don’t shy away from elaborate cocktail projects. We’ll clarify and infuse and fat-wash when the occasion calls for it. But when making cocktails at home, complex recipes requiring a laundry list of ingredients or labor-intensive techniques are sometimes more effort than we’re looking to expend after a long week.
That’s why we’ve compiled a list of some of the easiest-to-make cocktails in the VinePair recipe library. Best of all? They’re made with just three ingredients — many of which you hopefully already have on your home bar cart.
Ready for a drink? Read on for 10 of the best three-ingredient cocktails to make this winter.
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The Manhattan Recipe
An old-school cocktail with a delightfully simple recipe, the Manhattan was first invented in New York City in the 1870s. The classic version of the sweet and smoky drink is made with rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and a couple dashes of Angostura bitters. Top with a cocktail cherry and enjoy.
The Negroni Recipe
Traditional yet trendy, the Negroni is a classic Italian aperitif created in the early 1900s. Legend has it that the drink was first made for an Italian count named Camillo Negroni, who requested an extra strong Americano while drinking at Florence’s Caffe Giacosa. The riff, made with gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth, was therefore named in his honor.
The Ranch Water Recipe
Easy to throw together and even easier to clean up, Ranch Water is a drink traditionally made by Texas ranchers to take on the go — no fancy glassware required. To make one, simply pour out (or drink) 2 ounces from a bottle of Topo Chico, then add in blanco tequila and lime juice in its place. Voilà, your very own bottled cocktail.
The Dirty Martini Recipe
One of the most popular cocktails in the world, the classic Martini is made with just two ingredients: gin and vermouth. The Dirty Martini adds olive brine into the mix, imparting a savory salinity that makes the boozy tipple a little more sessionable.
The Moscow Mule Recipe
Vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice are the only ingredients you need to build this fan-favorite cocktail. First invented in 1941 in Manhattan, the drink was initially crafted as a solution to an overstock of ginger beer. It has since become a hit — served in a copper mug with plenty of crushed ice.
The Old Fashioned Recipe
The world’s most popular cocktail, the Old Fashioned is one of the oldest beverages in existence and remains endlessly riffable. It’s also easy to make at home: All you need is bourbon, Angostura bitters, and simple syrup to drink like Don Draper.
The Gold Rush Recipe
First made at the now-shuttered Milk & Honey by famed bartender Sasha Petraske, this riff on the Whiskey Sour is now considered a modern classic. Made with bourbon, lemon juice, and honey syrup, the drink is bright, refreshing, and delicious in its simplicity.
The Boulevardier Recipe
Like the Negroni, the Boulevardier is made with just three ingredients and employs both Campari and sweet vermouth. Unlike its cocktail sibling, the Boulevardier uses bourbon rather than gin. Stir it all together, garnish with an orange twist, and enjoy a richer variation on the Italian classic.
The Margarita Recipe
Beloved in the U.S. and beyond, the Margarita is a summer staple. To make one, shake up blanco tequila with lime juice and orange liqueur, and serve up or over ice with a lime garnish and an optional salted rim.
The Brandy Alexander Recipe
The Brandy Alexander, also known as the Alexander #2, is made with brandy, crème de cacao, and cream. Invented in the early 1900s, the drink is full of decadent chocolate and dried fruit notes, making it a fantastic dessert companion.