You don’t have to fork out an unrealistic amount of money at a sassy bar to enjoy one of these 5 great classic cocktails that never go out of style. From the Margarita to the G&T, you can easily learn how make them at home and always depend on these recipes when entertaining.
Like most cocktails, the origin of the Margarita is murky at best. Most place the drink’s creation in Tijuana — either it was as a salute by a man to a woman named Margarita who did not return his love; or a Tijuana nightclub owner who crafted it to impress a performer named Margarita Cansino, who eventually become famous under her stage name Rita Hayworth. In restaurants you’ll usually get your Margarita in a giant blue glass, but when made simply at home it is a balanced, elegant drink that perfectly harmonizes sweetness and acidity whether preferred on the rocks, frozen version as “on the beach,” or straight up with a salted rim.
Ingredients: Blanco tequila, fresh squeezed lime juice, orange liqueur or triple sec
1. 2 oz. silver tequila
2. 1 oz. Cointreau
3. 1 oz. fresh-squeezed lime juice
4. Rub a lime wedge over the rim of a rocks glass (or Margarita glass) then twist on a plate of coarse salt so it attaches. Shake the ingredients with cracked ice, then strain into a glass over ice.
2. Champagne Cocktail
The Champagne Cocktail began when legendary barman Jerry Thomas described the standard recipe for a sparkling wine cocktail his 1862 book “How to Mix Drinks: Bon Vivant’s Companion.” Known back then as “Chorus Girl’s Milk,” it remains one of the few celebrated and sophisticated classic champagne cocktails with the strength of brandy and the effervescent, classiness of champagne.
Ingredients: Champagne or sparkling wine, sugar cube, bitters
1. 3 oz. Champagne
2. ⅓ oz. Cognac
3. 2 dashes Angostura bitters
4. 1 sugar cube
5. Add 2 dashes of Angostura bitter and a sugar cube into a Champagne flute. Add cognac then gently pour in chilled champagne. Express a lemon twist over top.
3. Gin & Tonic
The clever gentlemen in the army of the British East India Company decided to combine a gin with tonic making the famous G&T. With malaria present in 1800s India, the soldiers had taken to mixing water, lime, sugar, and gin with quinine — the bitter medication used to treat malaria among other ailments.
Ingredients: London Dry gin, tonic water, lime wedge
1. Gin (amount to preference)
2. Tonic water (amount to preference)
3. Pour over ice, garnish with lime wedge.
Mr. Bond made it a household name, but the most famous of all cocktails had been around since a century earlier. The Italian vermouth brand Martini appeared in 1863, which may lend the drink its name. Simultaneously, in San Francisco, something called the Martinez became a popular local beverage and contained gin and vermouth, bitters and Maraschino. Dropping the last two ingredients left the classic Martini. Martinis can be tailored for those who prefer it super-dry, way-dirty, on the rocks or off — and for Mr. Bond, don’t forget “shaken, not stirred!”
Ingredients: Gin or vodka, dry vermouth, orange bitters (optional for gin, not necessary for vodka)
1. 2 oz. gin
2. 1 oz. dry vermouth
3. Add contents to ice-filled mixing glass or metal shaker. Stir for about 10 seconds. Strain into a coupe or cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon peel.
5. Bloody Mary
While the origin of this popular brunch cocktail is debatable, the Bloody Mary’s staying power leaves no question. The Bloody Mary is a vodka-soaked nutritional breakfast and hangover cure all in one. What more can you ask for?
1 lemon wedge
1 lime wedge
2 oz. premium vodka
4 oz. tomato juice
2 dashes tabasco sauce
2 tsp. prepared horseradish
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 pinch celery salt
1 pinch ground black pepper
1 pinch smoked paprika
Garnish: 1 celery stalk and lime wedge
1. Pour some celery salt onto a small plate
2. Rub the juicy side of the lemon or lime wedge along the lip of a pint glass
3. Roll the outer edge of the glass in celery salt until fully coated
4. Fill with ice and set aside
5. Squeeze the lemon and lime wedges into a shaker and drop them in
6. Add the remaining ingredients and fill with ice
7. Shake gently and strain into the prepared glass
8. Garnish with a celery stalk and a lime wedge
It’s not difficult to celebrate many time-tested classics in your very own home. Sometimes all it takes is the ability to squeeze a few limes or pour a mixer until you’re happy with the proportions. Cheers!