Classic Martini 1 - photo copyright Cheri Loughlin

21 Must Try Classic Cocktail Recipes

Martini - photo copyright Cheri Loughlin

This post has been updated from The Intoxicologist Is In blog. Three more ‘Must Try Drinks’ have been added to the list. If you have suggestions, please add them to the comment section or drop a line through the email. Thanks!

Martini Fruit Background photo copyright Cheri LoughlinYou have heard about, seen it and possibly gone out and tried it yourself.  What am I talking about?  The 21 Drink Salute.  You know the one.  Turn twenty-one and it is the rite of passage to go out and drink twenty-one alcoholic drinks within the day.  This rite of passage is a bad idea for reasons too numerous to count.

However, thinking on the whole idea of people going out to drink when they turn twenty-one sets the thinking cap in motion.  They are dipping into the waters of drinking, assuming they have never imbibed before coming of age.  These newbie drinkers will try anything their buddies place before them and dare them to throw down the hatch.  Not a quality drinking experience to be sure.  But it gives one pause to think.  There certainly are a fair amount of partakers out there who drink whatever is on the cocktail menu or never veer from their tried and true standard.

Why not be like the twenty-one year old newbie and dabble in cocktails that revolutionized the cocktail as we know it?   Instead of trying them all in one day, take the time to savor the flavor.

Americano

Campari Neat copyrigh Cheri Loughlin2 ounces Campari

2 ounces Sweet Vermouth

Club Soda

Orange Slice for Garnish

Fill a Collins glass two-thirds full of ice.  Pour in Campari and Sweet Vermouth.  Top off with club soda.  Garnish with orange slice.

Bacardi Cocktail

2Blue Sapphire Gin Martini and Bacardi Cocktail - photo copyright Cheri Loughlin ounces Bacardi Superior

1 ounce Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice

1/2 ounce Grenadine

Maraschino Cherry for Garnish

Combine all ingredients in cocktail shaker filled one-third full of ice.  Shake for 10 to 15 seconds.  Strain into a well chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with maraschino cherry dropped to the center.  Bacardi Rum must be used in this cocktail for it to be a true Bacardi Cocktail.

Bellini

1 ounce Pureed White Peaches

1/4 teaspoon Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

Prosecco Sparkling Wine

Peach Slice for Garnish

Pour pureed white peaches and lemon juice in bottom of a champagne flute.  Carefully top off with Prosecco.  Stir gently.  Garnish with peach slice.  A 1/4 ounce of peach schnapps may be added to the pureed white peaches to give this cocktail added punch.

Russian Cherry Espresso - created by Cheri Loughlin - - photo copyright Cheri LoughlinBlack Russian / White Russian

2 ounces Espresso Vodka

1 ounce Kahlua Especial

Fill a rocks glass two-thirds full of ice.  Build drink in glass beginning with vodka and then Kahlua.  Insert stir straw.  To turn this into a White Russian:  1 ounce Vodka, 1 ounce Kahlua, 1 ounce half and half.  Build in a rocks glass in the same manner.

Bloody Mary - copyright Cheri LoughlinBloody Mary

2 ounces Pepper Infused Vodka

1/2 Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice

6-8 Dashes Worcestershire Sauce

4-6 Dashes Tabasco Sauce

2-3 Dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

3 Dashes Celery Salt

2 Dashes White Pepper

2 Dashes Garlic Powder

2 Dashes Onion Powder

Clamato Juice

Coarse salt for rimming

Garnishes:  Celery stalk is standard.  Try a dill pickle spear, jalapeño stuff olives on a skewer or shrimp cocktail for something off the beaten track.

Rim a Collins glass with salt.  Fill glass half full with ice.  Season ice with sauces, bitters, powders, peppers and salts.  Pour in vodka.  Top off with Clamato Juice leaving a half inch at the rim of the glass.  Squeeze in lime and drop into glass.  Garnish.  For a fantastic Bloody Mary Vodka infusion recipe click on my recipe here Bloody Mary

Variations: Red Snapper and Cry Me a River

Buck’s Fizz

2 ounces Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice

Brut Champagne

Pour freshly squeezed orange juice into the bottom of a champagne flute.  Carefully top off with Brut Champagne.

Caipirinha

Caipirinha photo copyright Cheri Loughlin2 ounces Cachaca

1 lime cut into wedges

1/2 ounce Simple Syrup

Place lime wedges in cocktail shaker, reserving one for garnish.  Muddle.  Pour Cachaca and bar syrup into cocktail shaker and fill two-thirds with ice.  Shake to combine well.  Place ice into old-fashioned glass.  Do not overfill.  Strain contents of shaker into glass.  Garnish with one reserved lime wedge.

Cosmopolitan Dale DeGroff Original recipe - photo copyright Cheri LoughlinChampagne Cosmopolitan

The Cosmo has been done so many times, so here is one with a twist from a friend of mine, Dan Crowell.

1 ounce Citrus Vodka

1 dash Premium Orange Liqueur

1-1/2 ounce Cranberry Juice

1/2 ounce Fresh Lime Juice

1 Twist Orange

1 ounce Moet & Chandon White Star Champagne

Shake Vodka, Grand Marnier, cranberry juice and lime juice over ice in a cocktail shaker.  Strain into a chilled champagne flute.  Top off with champagne.  Garnish with orange twist.

Screaming Fantasma - Harvey Wallbanger adaption - photo property of Cheri LoughlinHarvey Wallbanger

2 ounces Vodka

Orange Juice

1/2 ounce Galliano

Build in a Collins glass filled two-thirds full of ice.  Pour in the vodka.  Add orange juice leaving room for the Galliano to float on top.  A simple drink yes, but how often do you find Galliano in a cocktail?

Variation: Screaming Fantasma

Horse’s Neck with a Kick

This recipe is credited to Difford’s Guide Cocktail’s #7.  It makes the list for the garnish alone.

2-1/2 ounces Bourbon

3 dashes Classic Bitters

Ginger Ale

Garnish: Peel entire rind of a large lemon in a spiral and place in glass with end hanging over rim

Pour ingredients into an ice filled Collins glass.  Stir.  Add garnish.

Irish Coffee – Unsweetened

Irish Mock-achino - Coffee Mocktail created by Cheri Loughlin - photo copyright Cheri Loughlin1-1/4 ounce Irish Whiskey

Hot Strong Coffee

Whipped Cream (optional)

Three Whole Coffee Beans for Garnish

Place a metal spoon in hot toddy glass.  Measure in whiskey.  Top off with hot coffee.  Optional whipped cream may be added to the top with three coffee beans sprinkled on top.

Irish Coffee – Sweetened

1/2 ounce Irish Whiskey

3/4 ounce Irish Cream

Hot Strong Coffee

Whipped Cream (optional)

Three Whole Coffee Beans or three chocolate covered espresso beans for Garnish

Place metal spoon in hot toddy glass.  Measure in whiskey and Bailey’s Irish Cream.  Top off with coffee.  Optional whipped cream may be added to the top with coffee bean garnish sprinkled atop.

Kamikaze Cocktail

While most twenty-one year olds are throwing back shots, this Kamikaze is a cocktail instead.  An easy way to remember this one; throwing back too many will make for a Very Tough Landing.

Kamikaze Shot photo copyright Cheri Loughlin1-1/2 ounce Vodka

1 ounce Triple Sec

3/4 ounce Lemon Juice

Lime Wedge for Garnish

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled two-thirds full of ice.  Shake for ten to fifteen seconds.  Strain into a well chilled cocktail shaker.  Garnish with a lime wedge.

Variation: Blue Kamikaze

Mai Tai – Original

This is an adaptation of the original formula as interpreted in The Joy of Mixology by Gary Regan.

Mai Tai Teenie - photo copyright Cheri Loughlin2 ounces 17 year old J. Wray Nephew Jamaican Rum

1/2 ounce French Garnier Orgeat

1/2 Holland DeKuyper Orange Curacao

1/4 ounce Rock Candy Syrup

1 ounce Fresh Lime Juice

1 Sprig Fresh Mint for Garnish

Combine all liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker.  Shake for 10 to 15 seconds.  Strain into an old-fashioned glass filled half with crushed ice.  Add mint sprig garnish.

Mai Tai – Variation

These ingredients are much easier to find and this makes a fantastic Mai Tai.  Credited  to Dan Crowell.

2 ounces 10 Cane Rum (or 1 ounce each 10 Cane and Captain Morgan Private Stock)

3/4 ounce Orange Curacao

3/4 ounce Fresh Lime Juice

1/4 ounce Orgeat Syrup

2 Mint Springs & Lime Wedge for Garnish

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled one-third with ice.  Shake well.  Strain into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice.  Garnish with mint springs and wedge of lime.

Manhattan – Dry, Perfect, Sweet

Manhattan Dry

Manhattan on the Rocks 2 photo copyright Cheri Loughlin2-1/2 ounces Bourbon

1 ounce Dry Vermouth

3 Dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

Orange Twist for Garnish

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker.  Shake well.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with orange twist.

Manhattan Perfect

2-1/2 ounce Bourbon

1/2 ounce Sweet Vermouth

1/2 ounce Dry Vermouth

3 Dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

Orange Peel & Maraschino Cherry for Garnish

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker.  Shake well.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with a skewered maraschino cherry wrapped with an orange peel creating a flag.

Boardwalk Manhattan with Canadian Club adapted by Cheri Loughlin - The IntoxicologistManhattan Sweet

2-1/2 ounces Bourbon

1 ounce Sweet Vermouth

Bar Spoon of Syrup from Maraschino Cherry Jar

3 Dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

Maraschino Cherry for Garnish

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker.  Shake well.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with maraschino cherry.

Mockup Margarita Mocktail created by Cheri Loughlin - photo copyright Cheri LoughlinMargarita

Everyone has their version of the perfect Margarita and their favorite tequila to add to the equation.  Here is a basic recipe to build upon so you won’t have to pick up a mix from the corner grocery.

2 ounces Tequila

1 ounce Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice

1/2 ounce Triple Sec

Lime Wedge for Garnish

Salt for Rimming

Rim edge of margarita glass with salt.  Combine liquid ingredients in cocktail shaker filled two-thirds with ice.  Shake for 10 to 15 seconds.  Place ice in margarita glass.  Strain contents of shaker into margarita glass.  Garnish with lime wedge.  To upgrade this margarita use quality tequilas such as Patron Silver or Reposado and Cointreau or Grand Marnier in place of the Triple Sec.

Van Gogh Vodka Martini - photo copyright Cheri LoughlinMartini

A “real” martini doesn’t have to be difficult, yet there are so many ways to mess it up.  Stirred, shaken, up with a twist (is that a lemon or lime?), with an olive (stuffed with blue cheese, almonds, jalapeño, or pimento?) gin or vodka and did you say dirty or dry or extra dry?  Oh, so many questions.  This martini is pretty straight forward.  When you saddle up at the bar all you have to say is, “Tanqueray 10 Martini dry, up with a twist, please” and then sit back and watch an inexperienced bartender squirm and an experienced bartender do their job.  Make sure you get that “please” and “thank you” in there with a nice tip.

2-1/2 ounces Tanqueray 10 Gin

Noilly Pratt Dry Vermouth

Lemon Twist

Place ice in a martini glass.  Drizzle approximately 1/4 to 1/2 ounce of dry vermouth in the ice and set aside.  Measure out Tanqueray 10 Gin into a cocktail shaker filled one-third full of ice.  Shake or swirl the gin (depending on your theory of “bruising” the gin) for at least fifteen seconds.  Your goal is to chill the gin thoroughly.  Take the martini glass with vermouth in hand.  Swirl the glass so the vermouth coats the inside and pour out.  Do not shake the glass until every drop is gone.  Strain the contents of the cocktail shaker into the vermouth coated martini glass.  Take your lemon twist and circle it around the rim of the martini glass before placing it halfway on the edge and partially inside the gin as garnish.  Serve and drink while still chilled.

Cinnabar Negroni created by Jason MacDonald - photo copyright Cheri LoughlinNegroni

1 ounce Gin

1 ounce Campari

1 ounce Sweet Vermouth

Orange Twist for Garnish

Fill an old-fashioned glass half to two-thirds full of ice.  Add liquid ingredients in the order given.  Garnish with orange twist.

More Negroni Variations: Cinnabar Negroni, Negroni Virtuoso, Unusual Negroni and Naughty Negroni

Muddled Old Fashioned - photo copyright Cheri LoughlinOld Fashioned

There is much debate over what is “real” Old Fashioned and what is just a fruity version of one.

2 ounces Bourbon

2 Dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

3 Maraschino Cherries (save one for garnish)

2 orange slices (save one for garnish)

Bar Spoon of Maraschino Cherry Juice from Jar

Place all ingredients (save one cherry and one orange slice) into a cocktail shaker.  Muddle.  Fill one-third full of ice.  Shake for ten to fifteen seconds.  Fill an old-fashioned glass half full with ice.  Strain contents of shaker into old-fashioned glass.  Garnish with cherry and orange slice skewered.

Orgasm Cocktail

1-1/2 ounce Cointreau

1-1/2 ounce Irish Cream

1 ounce Grand Marnier

Maraschino Cherry for Garnish

Fill an old-fashioned glass half full with ice.  Place ingredients in glass in the order given.  Garnish with cherry.  Insert cocktail stirrer.

Rob Roy

2 ounces Scotch

1 ounce Sweet Vermouth

2 Dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

Maraschino Cherry for Garnish

Place liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker.  Shake for ten to fifteen seconds.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with the maraschino cherry.  This drink can also be built in an old-fashioned glass on the rocks.

Salty Texan created by Cheri Loughlin - photo copyright Cheri LoughlinSalty Dog

This twist on an old favorite is proof that an old dog can be taught new tricks.

2 ounces Charbay Grapefruit Vodka

2-1/4 ounces Freshly Squeezed Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice

Bar Spoon of Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur

Salt for rimming

Rim a chilled cocktail glass with salt and set aside.  Combine liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker.  Shake for ten to fifteen seconds until well mixed.  Strain into salt rimmed cocktail glass.

Newly added drinks from reader suggestions are listed below:

Rangpur & Tonic - Toxi Low Calorie Low Carb - - photo copyright Cheri LoughlinGin & Tonic

2 ounces London Dry Gin

3 to 4 ounces Tonic Water

Lime Garnish

Build over fresh ice in Collins glass. Garnish with squeeze of lime.

Long Island Iced Tea

1/2 ounce Light Rum

1/2 ounce Gin

1/2 ounce Vodka

1/2 ounce Tequila Blanco

1/2 ounce Triple Sec

1 ounce Fresh Lime Juice

1/2 ounce Simple Syrup

1/2 to 1 ounce Cola

Lemon Slice Garnish

Build over fresh ice in Collins or Sling style glass saving cola topper as last addition. Stir. Garnish with lemon slice.

Russian Quaylude – Shot

1/2 part Galliano

1/2 part Green Chartreuse

1/2 part Vodka

Layer chilled liquids in order given in chilled shot glass. Layering can be achieved by slowly pouring liquids over back of bar spoon.

That is it for the “21 Must Try Cocktails” on this list.  Of course these are only a few of the basics.  Some you may have tried or thought you would get around to one day.  Why not today?

Many more classic cocktails have been suggested as Top 10 classic cocktail favorites.  Have a suggestion to add to the list?  Add a comment or send me a tweet of your top 10 classic drink favorites.  Twitter the Intoxicologist.

Follow Cheri Loughlin’s board 5 o'clock somewhere | Cocktails on Pinterest.

All content ©2014 Cheri Loughlin, The Intoxicologist. All Rights Reserved. Chat with Cheri @Intoxicologist on Twitter and facebook.com/Intoxicologist or str8upcocktails@gmail.com

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  • Brian Yo

    Sweet manhattan? Long Island? Old fashioned with tons of cherry juice? Furthest thing from an actual list of cocktails that I’ve ever seen. Obviously done by a person in their low 20’s from the midwest.

  • eliud mwangi gathui

    kindly send me more created cocktails iam going for a competition national wide and ill appreciate thankyou

  • putu widiarta

    superb,,,This will add my cocktail collection.

  • Melissa Sharp

    I designed this drink in 1995, when I was a cocktail Lounge Owner. Its called an ~Antifreeze~
    1 0unce of Vodka ( I perfer Russian )
    half ounce of Blu Maui ( Blue Hawaiian Schnapps )
    4-6 ounces of orange juice ( depending on if using a ball glass or a 10 ounce tea glass )
    pour over Ice or if making summer beach cocktails, blend all ingredients in blender for an AntiFreeze Slushy!!!
    Garnish with lime wedge!!! Enjoy!!!!

    • Melissa Sharp

      BTW, This taste so Yummy, kool-aid without the syurpy sweetness..goes down smooth, able to drink plenty, without belly ache next day!!! ;)