45 Classic co*cktails That'll Upgrade Your At-Home Mixology Skills (2024)

These popular drink recipes have endured for a reason.

By Susan Choung and Catherine Lo
45 Classic co*cktails That'll Upgrade Your At-Home Mixology Skills (1)

You don’t need to hit up a foofy “mixology” bar for the best co*cktails. With just a few ingredients, you can make these tried and true classic co*cktails. Think of them as your drink equivalents of a white tee shirt and blue jeans — they never go out of style. No fancy equipment or bartender tricks required. Just pick your poison: vodka, gin, whiskey, tequila, mezcal, rum or brandy, perhaps?

If hard liquor packs too much of a punch for you, choose from gentler tipples, like champagne co*cktails where sparkling wine and affordable champagne will give a mellower buzz. For teetotalers or guests who are going alcohol-free for Dry January or Sober October, many of these classic co*cktails can be revamped as delicious mocktails. So you still get the celebratory vibes without the booze. You could also simply make life easy by popping open the best non-alcoholic drinks (or for those partaking, the best canned co*cktails) you can buy online.

Browse our list to find the best co*cktail recipes perfect for any occasion, any time of the day. Boozy brunch? We’ve got your mimosa, Bellini and Bloody Mary. Pre-dinner aperitifs? Aperol Spritz and Pimm’s Cup are here to say, “Hold my beer.” Looking for stiffer drinks to serve as an after-dinner nightcap? Sazerac and Manhattan have entered the chat. So stock your bar cart with the staple spirits, fill up your ice cube trays (or step it up with crystal-clear ice cubes) and get ready to shake up some good, good, good libations.

1

Margarita

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One of the most popular drinks in the U.S., this refreshing co*cktail originated in Mexico and was discovered by Americans in the early 1920s. Stories differ on how it came to be, but the name gives a hint: Margarita is Spanish for "daisy," a flower, but also once a variety of mixed drinks consisting of a spirit plus citrus and a sweetener.

Get the Classic Fresh Lime Margarita recipe or kick things up with the Spicy Margarita recipe.

2

Piña Colada

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If you like Piña Coladas... come sit with us. This tropical party drink became popular at the legendary Trader Vic's restaurant in New York City back in the '70s. Today it's a crowd fave and a must at any pool party.

In a blender, combine 4 cups of ice cubes with 3/4 cup fresh pineapple juice and 1/2 cup amber rum. Blend everything together until the mixture is smooth and frothy. Pour into chilled glasses and garnish with a wedge of pineapple. To complete the vacay vibes, don't forget the little co*cktail umbrella.

Shop co*cktail Umbrellas

3

Paloma

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This tequila-based highball is a lighter alternative to the more famous margarita. It can be made with grapefruit soda (pink or yellow) or for an easy upgrade, fresh grapefruit juice and club soda. Our version here adds a zingy hit with ginger beer.

Get the Grapefruit Ginger Paloma recipe.

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4

Bellini

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Nothing says simple elegance like a Bellini. This two-ingredient co*cktail was invented by Giuseppe Cipriani, founder of Harry's Bar, in Venice, Italy. Pro tip: Freezing the white peach puree will help keep the Prosecco nice and chilled. You could also switch up the fruit with your favorite berries.

Get the Berry Bellini Party Ice recipe.

5

Egg Nog

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Is there a more divisive drink for the holidays? Creamy, rich and nicely spiced, this quintessential Christmas co*cktail can be spiked with brandy or rum.

Get the Old-Fashioned Egg Nog recipe.

RELATED: 48 Christmas co*cktails to Get the Holiday Party Started

6

Dirty Martini

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Olive brine gives this martini a savory edge that's even more delicious with the blue cheese–stuffed olives.

Get the Dirty Martini With Stuffed Olives recipe.

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7

Negroni

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This classic co*cktail couldn't be easier to make. It's equal parts gin, Campari and vermouth plus an orange twist.

Get the Negroni recipe.

RELATED: 8 Best Drinking Glasses for Stylish Sipping

8

Cosmopolitan

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Have your Carrie Bradshaw moment with this eye-catching co*cktail made with vodka and cranberry juice.

Get the Cosmopolitan recipe.

RELATED: 24 Best Valentine's Day co*cktails Perfect for a Romantic Toast

9

Espresso Martini

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Fun fact: This co*cktail was reportedly created in the 1980s specifically for model Naomi Campbell. It features vodka, Kahlúa and of course, espresso.

Get the Espresso Martini recipe.

RELATED: How to Make Espresso at Home

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10

White Russian

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This decadent co*cktail is the perfect thing to cozy up with. You can include a bit of pumpkin pie spice for a seasonal drink, or omit it if you want a more classic recipe.

Get the Pumpkin Spice White Russian recipe.

RELATED: 35 Best Fall co*cktails That Will Keep You Warm All Season Long

11

Coquito

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Spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, this creamy Puerto Rican rum drink features not one, not two but three different kinds of milk.

Get the Coquito recipe.

12

Aperol Spritz

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Give your Aperol spritz a festive upgrade with this icy version. It's extra bright from fresh orange juice and zest.

Get the Aperol Spritz Granita recipe.

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13

Michelada

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Take your next brunch up a level with these flavorful, colorful drinks made with beer, tomato juice and spices.

Get the Zesty Michelada recipe.

14

Gin Fizz

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A classic gin fizz combines the spirit with citrus, sugar and sparkling water. This pear version gets sweetness from honey and the sparkle from Prosecco.

Get the Pear Gin Fizz recipe.

15

Whiskey Sour

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This sophisticated co*cktail comes together in just five minutes, and uses ingredients you probably already have on hand.

Get the Maple Whiskey Sour recipe.

SHOP co*ckTAIL PICKS

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16

Classic Daiquiri

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This citrusy drink is said to have started its path to popularity by thirsty Americans (Ernest Hemingway, for one) living or visiting Cuba during Prohibition. Although you’ll see variations churning away in frozen slush machines in bars and restaurants all over, the original was once served, very cold, over ice.

Get the Classic Daiquiri recipe.

17

Classic Old-Fashioned

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Even in the late 1800s, the basic three-ingredient version (whiskey or brandy, sugar and bitters) of this spirits-based drink was considered a throwback to the “good old days,” when co*cktails were made without trendy additions like vermouth or curaçao. In the early 20th century, the occasional addition of muddled citrus and cherries became an embellishment we still love today.

Get the Classic Old-Fashioned recipe.

RELATED: 30 Best Gifts for Bartenders and Aspiring Mixologists

18

Classic Mai Tai

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In 1944, Victor “Trader Vic” Bergeron, founder of the international Polynesian restaurant chain (yes, that Trader Vic) served his new tiki drink to friends visiting from Tahiti. One sip and it was declared “Maitai’i roe a’e” (“out of this world, the best,” in Tahitian).

Get the Classic Mai Tai recipe.

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19

Big-Batch Watermelon Margaritas

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These co*cktails are basically summer in a glass, thanks to the watermelon and lime flavors. But there's definitely no rule saying you can't make this easy big-batch recipe for any party in fall, winter or spring!

Get the Big-Batch Watermelon Margaritas recipe.

RELATED: 28 Refreshing Summer co*cktails That Totally Beat the Heat

20

Bees Knees

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The name of this Prohibition era classic is slang for "the best." Fitting for this top-tier gin and honey co*cktail that we kicked up with black pepper.

Get the Bees Knees recipe.

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Susan Choung

Recipe Editor

Susan (she/her) is the recipe editor at Good Housekeeping, where she pitches ideas, parses words, and produces food content. In the Test Kitchen, she cooks (and samples!) recipes, working with developers to deliver the best written versions possible. A graduate of Brown University and a collaborator on several cookbooks, her previous experience includes stints at Food & Wine, Food Network, three meal kit companies, a wine shop in Brooklyn and Chez Panisse, the pioneering restaurant in Berkeley, California. She enjoys playing tennis, natural wines and reality competition shows.

45 Classic co*cktails That'll Upgrade Your At-Home Mixology Skills (24)

Catherine Lo

Food Editor, Hearst Lifestyle Food Group

Catherine (Cathy) Lo is Senior Food Editor for the team that produces culinary content for Hearst brands such as Good Housekeeping, Woman’s Day, Prevention and Women’s Health and spends her time helping to write and perfect recipes in the test kitchen, testing food products and beverages (both alcoholic and non) and keeping up with the latest food trends. Cathy has an advanced certificate in Wines and Spirits from the International Wine Center, a culinary degree from the Institute for Culinary Education and a BA from Binghamton University. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, where they’ve been known to push aside the furniture and dance swing and salsa in their living room.

45 Classic co*cktails That'll Upgrade Your At-Home Mixology Skills (2024)
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