Popular cocktails are the classic cocktails that have survived the test of time for a reason. Some have hung around the whole time and others go through surges in popularity. Either way, any popular cocktail recipe is great to know and worth the time to get right. These popular cocktail recipes are a great way to build skill and create building blocks.

Martini

A classic martini is a thing of beauty and simplicity. If vodka isn’t your speed, you can easily substitute gin.

Instructions

  1. In a mixing glass, add ice, vodka, and dry vermouth.
  2. Stir rapidly to chill.
  3. Strain into chilled glass.
  4. Garnish with olive.

Manhattan

Manhattans are fairly similar to martinis as they are spirit-forward, but they’re more cousins than siblings.

Instructions

  1. Chill a martini glass, cocktail glass, or coupe.
  2. In a mixing glass, add whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters.
  3. Stir rapidly to chill.
  4. Strain into chilled glass.
  5. Garnish with cherry.

Cosmopolitan

Cosmos don’t deserve their girly reputation. They’re incredibly spirit heavy with a splash of juice for a little color.

Ingredients

  • 1½ ounces citron vodka
  • ¾ ounce orange liqueur
  • ½ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ½ ounce cranberry juice
  • Ice
  • Lime wedge for garnish

Ingredients

  1. Chill a martini glass or coupe.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, add ice, citron vodka, orange liqueur, and juices.
  3. Shake to chill.
  4. Strain into chilled glass.
  5. Garnish with lime wedge.

Gibson

This may seem fairly similar to the classic martini, and it should. It’s a close relative that uses a cocktail onion as a garnish but has slightly different proportions.

Instructions

  1. Chill a martini glass or coupe.
  2. In a mixing glass add ice, gin, and dry vermouth.
  3. Stir to chill.
  4. Strain into chilled glass.
  5. Garnish with pearl onion

Aperol Spritz

The Aperol spritz is a quick and reliable cocktail to keep in your back pocket, great for a lazy afternoon or when you want something a little less heavy.

Instructions

  1. In a wine glass, add ice, Aperol, and prosecco.
  2. Add a splash of club soda.
  3. Garnish with orange wedge.

Americano

This might make you think of coffee, but this popular cocktail is similar to the Aperol spritz.

Ingredients

  • 1½ ounces Campari
  • 1½ ounces sweet vermouth
  • Ice
  • Club soda to top off
  • Lemon wedge for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a highball, add ice, Campari, and vermouth.
  2. Stir rapidly to mix.
  3. Top off with club soda.
  4. Garnish with lemon wedge.

Bees Knees

This cocktail is most popular in the spring and summer because of its floral flavors, but honestly, it’s a great winter drink too.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces gin
  • ¾ ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ ounce honey
  • Ice
  • Lemon wheel for garnish

Instructions

  1. Chill a martini glass or coupe.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, add ice, gin, lemon juice, and honey.
  3. Shake well to mix and chill.
  4. Strain into chilled glass.
  5. Garnish with lemon wheel.

Clover Club

This cocktail has started to see a resurgence in popularity during the most recent cocktail renaissance. It’s well worth adding to your list.

Ingredients

  • 1¾ ounces gin
  • ½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ ounce raspberry syrup or raspberry liqueur
  • 1 egg white or aquafaba
  • Ice
  • Raspberries for garnish

Instructions

  1. Chill a martini glass or coupe.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, add gin, lemon juice, raspberry syrup, and egg white.
  3. Dry shake for approximately 45 seconds to mix ingredients and create a froth.
  4. Add ice to shaker.
  5. Shake to chill.
  6. Strain into chilled glass.
  7. Garnish with raspberries.

Negroni

This is a popular cousin of both the Aperol spritz and the Americano, you have the option of serving this on ice or in a martini glass.

Instructions

  1. In a mixing glass, add ice, gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth.
  2. Stir to chill.
  3. Strain into a rocks glass over king cube.
  4. Garnish with orange peel.

Gimlet

Gimlets are a popular cocktail, a medium between a sour and a martini. This recipe uses gin, but you can just as easily use vodka instead.

Instructions

  1. Chill a martini glass, cocktail glass, or coupe.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, add ice, gin, simple syrup, and lime juice.
  3. Shake to chill.
  4. Strain into chilled glass.
  5. Garnish with lime wheel.

Pisco Sour

Sours going through waves of popularity, and the pisco sour is a star again.

Ingredients

  • 1½ ounces pisco
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¾ ounce simple syrup
  • 1 egg white
  • Ice
  • Bitters and lime wedge for garnish

Instructions

  1. Chill a cocktail or rocks glass.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, add pisco, lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white.
  3. Dry shake for approximately 45 seconds to mix ingredients and create a froth.
  4. Add ice to shaker.
  5. Shake to chill.
  6. Strain into chilled glass.
  7. Garnish with bitters, creating a design, and lime wedge.

Vesper

The vesper is the ultimate martini; it uses both gin and vodka but is popular due to both its prominence in pop culture and unique taste.

Ingredients

  • 2½ ounces gin
  • ¾ ounce vodka
  • ½ ounce Lillet blanc
  • Ice
  • Lemon twist for garnish

Instructions

  1. Chill a martini glass or coupe.
  2. In a mixing glass, add ice, gin, vodka, and Lillet blanc.
  3. Stir rapidly to chill.
  4. Strain into chilled glass.
  5. Garnish with lemon peel.

French 75

Named for the weaponry in World War I, this popular cocktail is great for brunches or when you need to get out of your mimosa rut.

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce gin
  • ½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ ounce simple syrup
  • Prosecco to top off
  • Lemon peel for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a champagne flute, add gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup.
  2. Top with prosecco.
  3. Garnish with lemon peel.

Collins

This cocktail uses gin but if that’s keeping you away from trying this recipe, you can also use vodka.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces dry gin
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ ounce simple syrup
  • Ice
  • Club soda to top off
  • Lemon wheel and cherry for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a highball, add ice, gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup.
  2. Stir to mix.
  3. Top off with club soda.
  4. Garnish with lemon wheel and cherry.

Mint Julep

You’ll usually see a resurgence of mint juleps each year for the Kentucky Derby, but they’re great year-round.

Ingredients

  • ½ ounce simple syrup
  • 5-7 fresh mint leaves
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • Crushed or cracked ice
  • Mint sprig for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a rocks glass, muddle mint leaves with a splash of simple syrup.
  2. Add crushed or cracked ice until glass or three-quarters of the way full, bourbon, and remaining simple syrup.
  3. Stir until glass is frosted.
  4. Top off with remaining ice.
  5. Garnish with mint sprig.

Old-Fashioned

The Old-Fashioned cocktail remains one of the most popular and well-known mixed drinks.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces rye (or bourbon)
  • ½ ounce simple syrup
  • 3 dashes orange bitters
  • 4 dashes angostura or old fashioned bitters
  • Orange wheel and cherry for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a mixing glass, add ice, whiskey, simple syrup, and bitters.
  2. Stir rapidly to chill.
  3. Strain into rocks glass over king cube.
  4. Garnish with orange wheel and cherry.

Whiskey Sour

Whiskey sours have been around for a while, skip the sour mix and make it from scratch to see why it’s remained so popular.

Ingredients

  • 1¾ ounces bourbon
  • ¾ ounce simple syrup
  • ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 egg white, if desired
  • Ice
  • Orange wedge and cherry for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, add bourbon, simple syrup, lemon juice, and egg white.
  2. Dry shake for approximately 45 seconds to mix ingredients and create a froth.
  3. Add ice to shaker.
  4. Shake to chill.
  5. Strain into rocks glass over fresh ice.
  6. Garnish with orange wedge and cherry.

Mojito

Mojitos are most popular in the summer, but they’re great in the fall when you’re trying to use up the rest of your mint before it gets cold.

Ingredients

  • 4-6 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 ounce mint simple syrup
  • ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Mint leaves and lime wedge for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a highball, muddle mint leaves with a splash of simple syrup and rum.

  2. Fill the glass three-quarters full with crushed ice.
  3. Add lime juice and remaining rum and remaining simple syrup.
  4. Stir to mix and chill.
  5. Top off with remaining crushed ice.
  6. Garnish with mint leaves and lime wedge.

White Russian

A classic cocktail that may seem unusual because of its use of milk, but consider it an adult iced coffee without having to wait for the coffee to brew.

Ingredients

  • 1¾ ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce cream or milk
  • 1 ounce coffee liqueur
  • Ice

Instructions

  1. In a rocks glass, add ice, vodka, and coffee liquor.
  2. Top off with cream or milk.
  3. Do not stir.

Margarita

Margaritas are the most well-known tequila drinks. They no introduction, other than it’s worth the time to skip the premade margarita mix.

Ingredients

  • 1¾ ounces tequila
  • ¾ ounce orange liqueur
  • ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ¾ ounce simple syrup or agave
  • Ice
  • Lime wedge, lime wheel, and salt for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, add ice, tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice, and simple syrup.
  2. Shake to chill.
  3. Rub the rim of the cocktail glass with the lime wedge.
  4. With the salt on a saucer, dip either half or the entire rim of the glass in the salt to coat.
  5. Strain into prepared glass over fresh ice.
  6. Garnish with lime wedge.

Moscow Mule

Moscow mules are an incredibly easy and popular drink to make as individual servings or several at once.

Ingredients

  • 1½ ounces vodka
  • ¼ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Crushed or cracked ice
  • Ginger beer to top off
  • Mint sprig and lime wheel for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a copper mug, rocks glass or highball, add ice, vodka, and lime juice.
  2. Top off with ginger beer.
  3. Top with mint sprig and lime wheel.

Paloma

Palomas are a close second in popularity with the margarita. This one is a little less sour but is instead packed with a citrus, grapefruit flavor.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces tequila
  • 2 ounces grapefruit juice
  • ¾ ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ½ ounce simple syrup.
  • Ice
  • Club soda or grapefruit seltzer to top off
  • Grapefruit wedge for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a highball, add ice, tequila, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and simple syrup.
  2. Top off with club soda.
  3. Garnish with grapefruit wedge.

Pop Culture

Just like all things, cocktail popularity will ebb and flow between different drinks. But for now, these popular cocktails are holding strong for a reason. Next time you’re ready to mix up a drink, give a popular cocktail recipe a go, you’re sure to find a new staple.