Best Cocktail Recipes for Every Type of Alcohol
By The Editors

"Best Cocktail Recipes" is subjective of course; for instance, this list doesn't include "Sex on the Beach" or "Sex in the Jungle" because we're trying to act somewhat mature. (But we do include a link to "Dirty, Sexual Cocktails" from Pinterest, just in case you need it.)

Best Cocktail Recipes for Every Type of Alcohol

“I never should have switched from Scotch to martinis.”

Those were rumored final words of the late, great actor Humphrey Bogart.

Even if it’s true, we must take issue with his objections.

Cocktails, if done correctly, really are a lost art…

Scotch on its own is exquisite, but a perfectly made martini… well, you don’t have to be James Bond to feel like you’ve tasted something that truly proves the existence of God.

Cocktails, if done correctly, really are a lost art, something younger generations sometimes don’t seem to appreciate.

Sure, a can of PBR is all well and good, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the type of cocktails that our fathers and grandfathers once mixed to celebrate the arrival of another five o’clock.

A true man doesn’t do shots. Vodka or bourbon or gin on its own is like a slap in the face. But if mixed with the right ingredients, it can create a beverage that will renew your faith in human ingenuity. With that in mind, we present to you three of the most classic concoctions for five of the most iconic alcohols.


Old Fashioned

This is a top-shelf bourbon drink. There are other cocktails you can make with the bottle your neighbor gave you at Christmas, but this cocktail requires a pure high-class bourbon. It’s consistently called the oldest recorded cocktail on record. You can’t argue with almost 200 years of history. 

1/2 teaspoon sugar

3 dashes Angostura bitters

1 teaspoon water

2 ounces bourbon

Garnish: orange peel


Add the sugar and bitters to a rocks glass, then add the water, and stir until the sugar is nearly dissolved.

Fill the glass with large ice cubes, add the bourbon, and gently stir to combine.

Express the oil of an orange peel over the glass, then drop in.


The pride and joy of New York City’s Manhattan Club, this straightforward classic has been getting people soused since circa 1880. This one is made with bourbon, but for a spicier, smokey version, you can substitute rye whiskey. And it might be a pain in the butt to find, but the brandied cherry is worth the effort. 

2 ounces bourbon or rye

1 ounce sweet vermouth

2 dashes Angostura bitters

1 dash orange bitters

Garnish: brandied cherry


Add the bourbon (or rye), sweet vermouth, and both bitters to a mixing glass with ice, and stir until well-chilled.

Strain into a chilled coupe.

Garnish with a brandied cherry.

Paper Plane

This one can impress at a cocktail party or intimate dinner for two. And has only two steps. It looks like a vintage cocktail but was only invented in 2008 by Sam Ross, co-owner of Attaboy and Diamond Reef in New York City. Because of its youth in the cocktail market, there are many who haven’t tried it yet. You can be a trendsetter with this one. 

3/4 ounce bourbon

3/4 ounce Aperol

3/4 ounce Amaro Nonino Quintessentia

3/4 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed 


Add the bourbon, Aperol, Amaro Nonino, and lemon juice into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.

Strain into a coupe glass. And done. 


Gin Fizz

More accurately called The Ramos Gin Fizz, a tip of the hat to its inventor Harold C Ramos, who concocted the cocktail in 1888 in a club in New Orleans. The Fizz is not for the faint of heart, thanks to its frothy texture created by an egg white.

2 ounces gin

1 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed

3/4 ounce simple syrup

1 egg white (about 1/2 ounce)

Club soda, to top (about 1 ounce)


Add the gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white to a shaker. Then madly dry shake it. That means shake without ice for at least 20 seconds. (That’s where the FIZZ comes in.)

Add 3 or 4 ice cubes and shake vigorously until well-chilled.

Double-strain into a chilled Collins glass and top with club soda.

Gin Gimlet

A spoonful of gin helps the medicine go down. The Gin Gimlet was created by Rear-Admiral Sir Thomas Desmond Gimlette to fool sailors into getting vitamin C, in order to prevent scurvy.

Is there a better reason to make this cocktail? Upping your vitamin C intake is never wrong. 

2 oz Gin

¾ oz Lime

¾ oz Simple syrup


Combine all ingredients in a shaker tin.

Add ice.

Shake vigorously, until tin is frosted over.

Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Garnish with a lime wheel and enjoy.


The Negroni is an old-timer drink but has been having quite the renaissance more than a hundred years after its creation. In 1919, Count Camillo Negroni in Florence, Italy, pulled out his gin and Campari and made an enduring classic. For best results, use an herbaceous gin like Bombay Sapphire, not a cucumber gin like Hendricks. 

Equal parts

1 ounce gin

1 ounce Campari

1 ounce sweet vermouth

Garnish: orange peel


Add the gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth to a mixing glass filled with ice, and stir until well-chilled.

Strain into a rocks glass filled with large ice cubes.

Garnish with an orange peel


Tequila Sunrise

In the ’70s in Sausalito California, two men at the trident bar perfected this layered concoction. At the 1972 kick-off party for the Rolling Stones tour, Mick Jagger tasted it and dubbed it the “cocaine and Tequila Sunrise tour.” 

2 ounces blanco tequila

4 ounces orange juice, freshly squeezed

1/4 ounce grenadine

Garnish: orange slice

Garnish: cherry


Add the tequila and then the orange juice to a chilled highball glass filled with ice.

Top with the grenadine, which will sink to the bottom of the glass, creating a layered effect.

Garnish with an orange slice and a cherry.


A light and refreshing alternative to a margarita, it can be made with Blanco or light Resposado Tequila for a deeper taste. Often made with Jarritos soda for the grapefruit effervescence, but Fever Tree makes a pink grapefruit soda that works well and is available at Target.  

2 ounces tequila

1/2 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed

Grapefruit soda, chilled, to top

Garnish: lime wheel

Garnish: salt rim 


Rub a lime wedge around the edge of a highball glass, and dip the rim in salt.

Add the tequila and lime juice to the glass, and fill with ice.

Top with grapefruit soda, and stir briefly and gently to combine.


The classic. There are many versions and flavors out there but this is the traditional recipe. Fresh lime is key. And there’s much debate over Cointreau or Triple Sec for the orange liqueur, but it’s a matter of personal taste. (Psst. Cointreau has a higher alcohol percentage, we’re just saying.)

2 ounces blanco tequila

1/2 ounce orange liqueur

1 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed

1/2 ounce agave syrup

Garnish: lime wheel

Garnish: kosher salt (optional)


Add tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice, and agave syrup to a cocktail shaker filled with ice, and shake until well-chilled.

Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice.

Garnish with a lime wheel and kosher salt rim (optional).


Moscow Mule

Remember those copper cups in the back of your bar? Here’s what you do with them. This cocktail was created out of desperation. Two men got their “you got my chocolate in my peanut butter” moment. One had too much ginger beer at their bar, the Cock n Bull pub on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, and the other a liquor distributor with too much Smirnoff Vodka on hand. The result, the Mule. 

2 ounces vodka

1/2 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed

3 ounces ginger beer, chilled

Garnish: lime wheel


Fill a Moscow Mule mug (or highball glass) with ice, then add the vodka and lime juice.

Top with ginger beer.

Garnish with a lime wheel.     

Bloody Mary

Make a list. Lots of ingredients but totally worth it if you’ve got the killer recipe at any brunch. And if you want to garnish with a slider or a simple piece of celery, either is acceptable. Here’s how to make a pitcher, because you can never have just one. And if you want to pour a maybe not-so-stellar vodka, this is your opportunity. 

1/2 cup finely grated peeled fresh horseradish

2 ounces Worcestershire sauce

2 ounces Sriracha chile sauce

Finely grated zest of 1 small lemon 

2 teaspoons celery salt

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper

32 ounces tomato juice


16 ounces vodka 

Lime wedges 

Pickled or fresh vegetables (optional)


In a pitcher, combine the horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, Sriracha, lemon zest, celery salt, kosher salt and 2 teaspoons ground pepper. Add the tomato juice and stir well. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours.

Pour the tomato juice mixture into 8 ice-filled rocks glasses. Add 2 ounces vodka to each glass and stir. Garnish each drink with a pinch of ground pepper, a lime wedge, and pickled vegetables.

White Russian

The Dude Abides. And you should too. This old-school fabulous cocktail is surprisingly good. It oddly came from a Belgium Bartender to honor the US Ambassador to Luxembourg. Huh? Where’s the Russian? Who cares, it’s delicious and unexpected. It’s also a seriously easy cocktail to make, and you can get a dose of calcium and vitamin D. 

2 ounces vodka

1 ounce Kahlúa

1 splash heavy cream


Add the vodka and Kahlúa to a rocks glass filled with ice.

Top with heavy cream and stir.


Drunk Uncle

You need to make this even if it’s just so you can watch Bobby Moynihan clips from SNL and get the jokes. It’s actually a play on a Negroni but with Scotch. If a Negroni is made with Bourbon, it’s called a “Boulevardier,” which is pretentious and hard to pronounce after you drink one. But the “Drunk Uncle,” well, that’s a name you can always slur to the bartender. 

1 1/2 ounces Islay scotch (such as Bowmore or Laphroaig)

3/4 ounce Cynar amaro

3/4 ounce Martini & Rossi bianco vermouth

Garnish: grapefruit twist


Add the Islay scotch, Cynar amaro, and Martini & Rossi Bianco vermouth into a mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled.

Strain into a chilled coupe glass.

Garnish with a grapefruit twist.

Penicillin Cocktail

Seriously, Scotch has the best cocktail names. And this one requires both a blended and a super peaty single malt. This cocktail was created in this century by Sam Ross, who also gave us the Paper Plane (see bourbon cocktails above). Using both types of Scotch and pulling out some honey, this is a cocktail guaranteed to be the cure to just about anything that ails you. 

3 slices fresh ginger root

¾ ounce honey simple syrup

¾ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 ounces blended Scotch


¼ ounce heavily peated single-malt Scotch (such as Bruichladdich)


In a cocktail shaker, muddle the ginger root with the simple syrup.

Add the lemon juice and blended Scotch.

Add ice and shake to chill.

Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice.

Pour the single malt over the back of a spoon to float on the top of the drink.


Blood And Sand

This is a funky little cocktail with some kick. First mentioned in the 1930s and no one seems to have any clue about its origins, other than that it was named after a Rudolph Valentino movie so possibly it might be a good date-night drink. 

3/4 ounce scotch

3/4 ounce sweet vermouth

3/4 ounce Heering cherry liqueur

3/4 ounce orange juice, freshly squeezed

Garnish: orange peel


Add the scotch, sweet vermouth, cherry liqueur, and orange juice into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.

Strain into a chilled coupe or cocktail glass.

Garnish with an orange peel.

All kinds of other “Dirty, Sexual Cocktails” from Pinterest