Instant Expert: Classic Drinks Every Host Should Know How to Make
We’re not all mixologists. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to make a decent cocktail when you have to. We’re not saying you have to be foraging for and then muddling blackberries on a regular old Saturday (although if you are, please invite us over). But you should be able to throw together a pitcher of margaritas when the occasion strikes. Here are the five drinks you should know how to make.
When you think of iconic cocktails, the martini is probably the first that comes to mind. There are many ways to make this classic– vodka or gin, shaken or stirred, sweet or dry, dirty or clean, with a twist or with olives. But everyone should know the basics.
- 2½ oz gin or vodka
- ½ oz dry or sweet vermouth
- Lemon peel or olives
Pour all ingredients into a mixing glass, and stir or shake for around 20 seconds. Strain into a martini glass, and add lemon peel or olives to garnish. Serve.
A pitcher of margaritas is always a good idea. It’s a great drink to make in bulk so you don’t have to play bartender/mixologist all night, and there are a lot of ways to dress it up. Go simple with salted glasses, or make jalapeño-infused tequila if you really want to go wild. Here’s how to make a basic margarita:
- 2 oz tequila
- 1 oz triple sec
- 1 oz lime juice (freshly squeezed, if possible)
- Salt to garnish (optional)
Multiply the recipe by as many people as you’re serving. Mix together and pour over ice. Serve.
The Manhattan is a classic for any whiskey lover, and the key is to keep it simple. Here’s how:
- 2 oz rye whiskey (or any whiskey you prefer)
- 1 oz sweet vermouth
- 1–2 dashes of bitters
- Maraschino cherry
- Orange twist to garnish (optional)
Chill a martini glass. Add whiskey, vermouth, and bitters. Stir. Add maraschino cherry and orange peel, if desired. Serve.
This is another classic, super-simple whiskey drink. Try it with large ice spheres for a great (and fun) experience. To make your own simple syrup, use a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water, and stir. Here’s the recipe:
- 2 oz rye or bourbon (or other whiskey)
- 1 sugar cube (or 1 scant teaspoon simple syrup)
- 1–2 dashes of bitters
- Orange twist
Muddle the sugar cube and bitters with one teaspoon of water at the bottom of a short glass. If you’re using simple syrup, combine the simple syrup and bitters together. Add a large iced cube (see below!) or a few small cubes. Add whiskey. Stir. Garnish with orange twist, and serve.
A fun, fruity punch is the perfect way to add a nonalcoholic beverage to the mix. This one is simple and combines citrus juices and soda. If you do choose to imbibe, just add a little rum and you’ve got yourself a drink. Find it here!