Cocktails are an adult pleasure, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy many of these drink recipes as “virgin” non-alcoholic versions too. Because, I also have some non-alcoholic cocktail recipes if you wish to check them out too.
If you prefer the adult versions, then make sure to be a responsible adult and avoid driving. Some of these go down very easy and you won’t know how big the buzz is until too late. But, better to weather a big hangover than a DUI any day of the week!
The Most Typical Booze For Cocktails
If you want to be ready for almost any style of cocktail, then I recommend keeping these alcohols handy in the bar.
- Vodka, the most popular, mixes with everything and allows the mixer to be the star of the drink.
- Gin gives you more flavor than vodka and uses more savory notes to add layers of flavor to any mixer. Gin doesn’t hide behind the mixer, like vodka, but helps add complexity to the drink.
- Tequila makes the margarita, but you can use tequila very similarly to whiskey or even gin. Since tequila has savory and smoky notes, especially certain brands and typical in Mezcal, you can create very interesting drinks.
- Whiskey serves as the heart and soul for some of the most classic cocktails, but can also be great in variations of other popular cocktails, like the Kentucky Mule.
- Rum isn’t just for Pirates and Jimmy Buffet. Rum cocktails like this sparkling tropical cocktail make the summer party more summery.
Types Of Cocktails
Cocktails fall under a few categories.
- Booze mixed with cream, ice cream or sherbert. Check out this Grasshopper.
- Hard alcohol mixed with a less potent alcohol like a liqueur or vermouth, like a Martini.
- Wine cocktails like sangria, and beer cocktails like Red Beer.
- Crushed Ice cocktails include ones like the New Orleans favorite, the Hurricane Slush
- High proof alcohol with a non alcoholic mixer like cranberry juice, or tomato juice like a Bloody Mary.
Cocktail Recipes, What Ingredients To Keep Handy
If you want to make the classics, or try unique new cocktails, then keeping a few basic ingredients handy helps. From sweet to spicy, bitter, to salty, even a touch of umami, you can get by with a few ingredients to start.
- Bitters - Bitters are essentially tinctures of various herbs or fruits. For example, orange rinds and peels are key ingredients in orange bitters.
- Tabasco or other hot sauce. - A bloody mary just isn’t the same without that extra bit of zing.
- Olives - Not all martinis require olives. But when you want a good dirty martini, then you need plenty of olive brine.
- Simple syrup - You can make your own simple syrup, or just use sprite or 7up. (Even if it has gone flat)
- Cocktail cherries - The sweet syrup also works as a sweet bitters too.
- Kahlua - Nice to have around and you can even make it yourself.
- Limoncello - Also easy to make your own of this sour citrus spiked syrup.
- Orgeat Syrup - This almond flavored syrup is handy for some drinks. Think of it as a nutty form of bitters. It is used in a classic Mai Tai, but you could also use a few drops of it in a dirty monkey too.
Classic cocktails oftentimes have a great movie that celebrates it. James Bond has his martini shaken, not stirred. Lebowsky loves his white russians. In each case, the drink informs something about the character’s defining traits.
If you had to pick a cocktail that symbolizes something about you, what would it be? If you say Grown Up Orange Julius, then I know we’ll get along just fine!
Top Ten Cocktail Recipes For Holidays
Some holidays just beg for the perfect cocktail to celebrate the occasion. I have a few to recommend.
- White Chocolate Peppermint Kiss - Christmas or Valentine’s Day
- Bailey’s Irish Martini - St. Patrick’s Day
- Redrum frozen punch - Halloween
- Hurricane Slush - Mardi Gras
- Jello Shots - 4th of July
- Bourbon Lemonade - Labor Day
- Pumpkin Spice Hot Toddy - Thanksgiving
- Pink Squirrel - New Years Eve
- Strawberry Margaritas - Cinco De Mayo
- Nutty Monkey Smoothie - Birthdays
Enjoy responsibly, and let me know what you think. I am always up for trying something new too, so let me know if you want to see any cocktail recipes on the site.