The 6 Essential Cocktails You Need To Know How To Make

These days, there seems to be no shortage of chic craft cocktail bars. At these establishments, when you peruse the menu, you’ll be able to find ingenious twists on traditional cocktails and inventive combinations of liquors.

In the comfort of your own home, however, there are likely no talented mixologists around to whip up whatever you request. Whether you’re having guests over or drinking alone, check out this handy guide to some common cocktails.


A Dry MartiniJames Bond’s signature drink is a popular cocktail choice for a variety of occasions. Gin or vodka, shaken or stirred, a martini is a simple crowdpleaser.

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  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce dry vermouth
  • Ice
  • Green olive or lemon twist (optional)


Manhattan This sweet whiskey cocktail is old school. If you want to make the drink less sweet, replace half the sweet vermouth with dry vermouth.


  • 2 ounces rye whiskey or bourbon
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes angostura bitters
  • Ice
  • 1 maraschino cherry

Long Island Iced Tea

Long Island Iced Tea I’ll be honest, I think this drink is kind of a nightmare. In fact, the combination of four liquors in a drink that doesn’t taste alcoholic is so dangerous that many bars have a two drink minimum on orders. If you’re looking to get drunk fast, though, this is your best bet.


  • 1/2 ounce vodka
  • 1/2 ounce gin
  • 1/2 ounce tequila
  • 1/2 ounce light rum
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce triple sec
  • 1 teaspoon superfine sugar
  • Cold cola
  • Wedge of lemon


margaritaThe number one key to my heart is a mango margarita, but a traditional margarita is pretty great too. Knowing how to make one of these bad boys is a pretty useful skill as far as I’m concerned.

  • Salt, for rimming the glass (optional)
  • Ice
  • 1 1/2 ounces tequila
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce Cointreau

Old Fashioned

Old Fashioned This fifties-era cocktail is another sweet, simple crowd-pleaser. Try this one out if you’re a bourbon drinker.


  • ⅕ Oz Bourbon
  • 2 Dashes Angostura bitters (or something similar)
  • 1 Sugar cube


Negroni Negronis are super “in” right now. Make one at home and skip the $15 pricetag.


  • 1 ounce gin
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 1 ounce Campari
  • Orange twist, for garnish