There is something special about being able to use your home bar to make a delicious cocktail for your guests. Not only do you get to practice your mixologist skills, but by following these cocktail recipes, you will blow away their taste buds.
But first, the basics. If you’re new to mixology, you might be wondering which liquors to get for your home bar. We determined the five basic liquors that are affordable and can be used to create a variety of cocktails: gin, vodka, light rum, tequila, and whiskey. Here are some of our favorite cocktail recipes using these five simple liquors.
Cocktails With Gin
By definition, gin is distilled (or redistilled) with botanicals, most noticeably juniper, for an intentional flavor. Gin today is produced in a variety of different ways, and is often flavored with botanical and herbal, spices, and floral or fruit-flavors. Fun Fact: Gin began its life as a medicinal liquor made by monks in Italy.
Cocktail #1 – Gin & Tonic
- In a cocktail glass filled with ice cubes, pour the gin, then top with tonic.
- Lightly stir the drink but not so much so that you lose carbonation.
- Rub a wedge of lime around the brim of the glass and then add the lime wedge to the drink.
Cocktail #2 – Negroni
- 1 ounce gin
- 1 ounce sweet vermouth
- 1 ounce Campari
- 1 strip orange zest
- Pour the gin, vermouth, and Campari into your favorite rocks glass over ice.
- Stir it down to your preferred taste.
- Zest the orange using a zester or a vegetable peeler and a knife.
- Add the zest to your drink and enjoy!
Cocktails With Vodka
Vodka (meaning “little water” in Russian) is made primarily with water and ethanol alcohol of agricultural origin, such as rye, potato, corn, or barley. Vodka is one of the most mixable and useful liquors to have in your home bar. The spirit's clear, clean taste pairs well with lots of flavors, from sweet to savory, and dry to spicy. Fun Fact: October 4th is National Vodka Day.
Cocktail #3 – Moscow Mule
- 1-2 ounces vodka
- 4 to 5 ounces ginger beer
- Lime wedge, ginger bitters, mint leaves
- Pour 1-2 ounces of vodka into a metal mug, julep tin, or tumbler.
- Add some ice then fill to the top with ginger beer, stir gently to combine.
- Add a few dashes of ginger bitters, a slice of lime, and a sprig of mint to serve.
Cocktail #4 – Cosmopolitan
- 1-2 ounces vodka
- 2 ounces cranberry juice
- 1 tbsp orange liqueur
- 1 strip orange zest
- Pour 1-2 ounces vodka into a shaker with 1 tbsp orange liqueur.
- Add 1 tbsp lime juice and 2 ounces of cranberry juice.
- Fill up the shaker with ice then shake hard.
- Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a slice of orange zest.
Cocktails With Light Rum
Light rums are commonly used in cocktails, whereas “dark" rums are typically consumed neat or iced ("on the rocks"). The production of rum comes mainly from the Caribbean and America, but also in other sugar-producing countries, such as the Philippines and India. Fun Fact: Rum is the oldest spirit in the world.
Cocktail #5 – Mojito
- 10 fresh mint leaves
- ½ lime, cut into wedges
- 2 tablespoons white sugar, or to taste
- 1 cup ice cubes
- 1 ½ ounces light rum
- ½ cup club soda
- Place mint leaves and 1 lime wedge into a sturdy glass. Use a muddler to crush the mint and lime to release the mint oils and lime juice.
- Add 2 more lime wedges and sugar, and muddle again to release the lime juice. Do not strain the mixture.
- Fill the glass almost to the top with ice. Pour the rum over the ice, and top up with carbonated water.
- Stir, taste, and add more sugar if desired. Garnish with the remaining lime wedge.
Cocktail #6 – Daiquiri
- 2 ounces light rum
- 1 ounce fresh lime juice
- 3/4 ounce sugar syrup
- A lime twist for garnish
- Add all the ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.
- Strain into a chilled coupe.
- Garnish with a lime twist.
Cocktails With Tequila
Tequila was first produced in the 16th century near the location of the city of Tequila, Mexico. It is made from the fermentation of the sugars found in the blue agave plant once it has been cooked. A little goes a long way with Tequila, so once your bar is stocked up, you’ll be prepped to make cocktails at the drop of a hat. Fun Fact: Tequila is a cure for more than just Mondays. During the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic, patients were instructed to drink tequila with lime and salt to ease their symptoms.
Cocktail #7 – Margarita
- 3 cups water
- 1 ½ cups fresh lime juice
- 1 ½ cups cointreau
- 1 ½ cups silver tequila
- 1 lime, cut into 8 wedges
- 1 tablespoon coarse salt
- Combine the water, lime juice, tequila, and cointreau in a half-gallon pitcher. Stir to mix.
- Rub the rim of a margarita glass with lime, and dip in salt.
- Fill the glass with ice, and top with the tequila mixture. Garnish with a slice of lime.
Cocktail #8 – Tequila Sunrise
- 2 ½ cups ice
- 2 ounces tequila
- 4 ounces orange juice
- ¾ ounce grenadine syrup
- Fill a highball glass with 1 ½ cups ice.
- Combine tequila and orange juice in a cocktail mixing glass.
- Add 1 cup ice to the cocktail mixing glass, stir, and strain into the prepared highball glass.
- Slowly pour in grenadine and let settle.
- Stir, and enjoy!
Cocktails With Whiskey
Whiskey is a type of distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented grain mash. It can be drunk neat or used in mixed drinks, which makes it the perfect liquor to have on hand for any given occasion. Fun Fact: “Whiskey” is a Gaelic word which means “water of life.”
Cocktail #9 – Whiskey Sour
- 2 ounces of whiskey
- ¾ ounce of fresh lemon juice
- ¾ ounce simple syrup
- ½ orange wheel
- Maraschino cherry for garnish
- Combine whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker.
- Fill the shaker with ice, cover, and shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker is very cold, about 20 seconds.
- Strain the cocktail through a strainer or a slotted spoon into an old-fashioned or rocks glass filled with ice.
- Garnish with orange wheel and cherry.
Cocktail #10 – Old Fashioned
- 2 teaspoons simple syrup
- 1 teaspoon water
- 2 dashes bitters
- 1 cup ice cubes
- 1 (1.5 fluid ounce) jigger bourbon whiskey
- 1 slice orange
- 1 maraschino cherry
- Pour the simple syrup, water, and bitters into a whiskey glass. Stir to combine, then add ice cubes.
- Pour bourbon over the ice.
- Garnish with the orange slice and maraschino cherry.
With these 5 popular liquors in your home bar you’ll be spoiled for choice when making cocktails. Be sure to check out your local liquor stores on the Flipp app for the latest deals.