Grabbing a drink doesn’t have to mean you’re forced to drink something unpalatable. Today’s mixology has guaranteed that no matter what your preference, there is something for everyone when it comes to drinking alcohol. But cocktails aren’t just reserved for the menu on a fancy night out – you can craft them yourself for your next dinner party or get together right at home! There is an endless array of the best cocktail recipes out there to suit every palate, whether you like drinks that are light and sweet or dry and smoky.
Beer and wine are easy options, but many people often opt for a more sophisticated drink. A survey of 2,000 adults in the UK, commissioned by the popular alcohol brands Gordon’s, Baileys, and Tanqueray, found that 1 in 5 drinkers prefer a mixed drink over beer and wine. One in four respondents cited mixing cocktails as a skill they would like to master themselves. Cocktails express personality! Exploring new cocktail recipes and learning to make yours or your friends’ favorite drinks not only expands your repertoire of skills, it’s also a great way to impress your guests.
Cocktails have a great amount of history and culture behind them, too. A 2022 foresight report by The Future Laboratory commissioned by Bacardi predicted that the “desire for personal transformation will see 2022’s consumers demand edifying experiences when it comes to cocktails, as they seek to learn all they can about the category, from how to make the best concoctions through to the heritage and history of the spirits on their shelves.” Your own family might have some favorite cocktail recipes that have been in the family for generations!
Not sure where to start? StudyFinds has researched and compiled a list of the best cocktail recipes out there, from dark classics to light refreshers. Our list is made up of the most commonly recommended drinks across 10 expert websites. Share your own favorites in the comments below!
The List: Best Cocktail Recipes, According To Mixology Pros
The Negroni is one of the easiest recipes, combining equal amounts of gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth and garnished with an orange peel. “Something about the bittersweet, botanical flavors of the Negroni make us feel like we’re on vacation,” says Delish. “This classic Italian cocktail amps up the notes of juniper in gin with sweet vermouth and herbaceous Campari.”
It is said that the Negroni was invented after Count Camillo Negroni requested an Americano with more kick while drinking at the city’s Caffe Giacosa. The Negroni is typically served before a meal to whet the appetite, but its versatility allows it to be enjoyed at any time. “This drink is exactly 100 years old, with its debut occurring in Florence, Italy, in 1919. The Negroni has made quite the comeback in popularity in recent years as well,” writes Eat This, Not That.
Liquor names it the second most-classic cocktails you should know how to make. “One cocktail above all others reveals you as a savvy drinker, according to the legendary Gary Regan, who famously said that whether you’re trying to impress a first date or your boss, ordering a Negroni will do it.”
Traditionally served in a short, round glass, an old-fashioned is identified by its orangey aroma with notes of spice and caramel that enhance the depth of flavor in whiskey or bourbon. “It typically calls for bourbon or rye whiskey, but variations abound. In theory, you could swap out the spirit, sweetener or bitters for endless new versions of the Old Fashioned. But the original is so solid, it’s definitely where you should start,” advises Liquor.
An old-fashioned is one of the first cocktails ever recorded, and is great for those who like darker, more complex drinks to sip. “The classic old-fashioned is the oldest cocktail in the book! It dates back all the way to the early 1800s, and the fact that it’s still around today is a true testament to how good it is,” writes Insanely Good Recipes.
Eat This, Not That says the old-fashioned is iconic. Why? “The old fashioned cocktail is arguably one of the most commonly ordered cocktails. In fact, when Drinks International conducted its annual poll surveying bartenders among the world’s best bars about ranking their 10 bestselling cocktails of 2022, it was reported that ‘it’s still the most likely cocktail to find its way into a glass in 20% of bars polled and was among the top-two classics.'”
3. Dirty Martini
A martini is made with gin and vermouth, and garnished with an olive or lemon twist. Adding olive juice or brine makes a martini “dirty.” “It doesn’t get any more classic than this! Serve with stuffed olives for a drink and an appetizer in one,” says Good Housekeeping.
A popular variation of the dirty martini swaps out the gin for vodka. Martinis tend to go excellent with hors d’oeuvres. “Dirty vodka martinis are a staple at television personality Alex Guarnaschelli’s parties, but she also likes to mix it up from time to time,” writes Food & Wine. “A floral gin martini made seriously dirty with olives is a great palate opener, she says, but the real secret is adding the brine from the jar of capers in the door in her fridge.”
4. Aperol Spritz
The Aperol spritz is the perfect drink for those who want a light, fruity getaway with bubbles. It’s light enough to drink before or during a meal. “Aperol spritz is a sparkling wine-based cocktail, normally consumed as an aperitif before dinner,” says BBC. “Originally created in Padua, Italy in 1919, this refreshing alcoholic beverage only became popular around the world in the late 2010s.”
The Aperol Spritz is made with refreshing ingredients that pair well together to remind the drinker of carefree sipping on the beach in Italy. “There are many different recipes for this drink because it’s such a versatile cocktail. The traditional recipe includes Aperol (an Italian aperitif), white wine, soda water, and an orange slice,” writes The Kitchen Community.
“This cocktail just recently made a comeback in popularity,” adds Eat This, Not That. “This drink is perfect for the person who prefers fizzy drinks that are lower in alcoholic content.”
The Bijou has a strong flavor, similar to the Manhattan, and is perfect for those who like more alcohol-forward cocktails. “Crisp and herbaceous, the classic Bijou cocktail from the late 1800s blends gin with a bouquet of herbs and spice from Chartreuse and vermouth,” describes Imbibe.
The Bijou was invented by Harry Johnson, who was also known as the “father of professional bartending.” He chose alcohol the colors of three jewels: gin for diamond, vermouth for ruby, and chartreuse for emerald. “The drink’s name—’Bijou’ (pronounced BEE-shoo), from the French word for ‘jewel’—is inspired by its jewel-toned ingredients,” writes Wine Enthusiast.
Let us know which cocktails you enjoy making in the comments below or if you have luck trying one on our list. Happy drinking!
- Eat This, Not That
- Insanely Good Recipes
- Good Housekeeping
- Food & Wine
- The Kitchen Community
- Wine Enthusiast
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