20 Cocktail Recipes That Are Easy Enough to Know by Heart

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

Stirring or shaking cocktails in your own kitchen is so much fun and a whole lot easier than you might think. In fact, once you start making cocktails at home, you may never go out to that fancy bar again. (Who needs to pay $12 for a cocktail when you can make one at home for a fraction of the price?)

While the possibilities of what you can pour in your glass are nearly endless, learning how to make the most classic drinks is the best place to start. So reach for this list of 20 classics whenever you feel like being your own bartender. Make them a few times and you’ll know them by heart.

Clear-Spirit Cocktails

Vodka, gin, white rum, and silver or blanco tequila fit into the clear spirits category. They’re brisk and clean, and a Martini, Negroni, or Mojito wouldn’t be the same without them.

How to Make a Classic Old-Fashioned Cocktail(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

Dark-Spirit Cocktails

Brown spirits, like bourbon, rye, brandy, and dark rum, have richer, deeper flavor characteristics that make for cocktails with similar heft, like a classic Old-Fashioned, Manhattan, or Dark and Stormy.

Aperol Spritz(Image credit: Sara Kate Gillingham)

Wine-Based Cocktails

Both still and sparkling wine, along with the fortified wine, vermouth, can be a great cocktail base when you’re in the mood for something a little bit lighter before, during, or after dinner.