Our 5 Favorite Classic Cocktails

Manhattan, Negroni, Sazerac, Vodka Martini, Old Fashioned — classic cocktails have been around for ages and should be your go-to when making a drink at home. Try them all to discover which one is your style!

Certain cocktails are classic for a reason: they’ve been around a long time, they’re easy to make (sometimes you only need three ingredients), and they’re the perfect thing to make when you, well, want a drink. A good, strong drink.

If you don’t know where to start with making cocktails at home, start here! You can’t go wrong with one of these greats.

  • If you’re looking for even MORE delicious cocktail recipes check out our Cocktail Page.
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Red Negroni cocktail made with gin campari and sweet vermouth

Made with one part each of gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth, the Negroni is super simple to make at home and a fantastic combination of earthy, bitter, and sweet flavors.

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Vodka Martini Stirred Recipe two martinis on gold tray

A Vodka Martini is made with vodka, vermouth, and lemon peel, stirred not shaken. Super simple but quite potent, so watch out!

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Close up horizontal view of sazarec drink. Sazarec ingredients are in the background.

Considered to be America's oldest cocktail, the Sazerac is similar to an Old Fashioned but calls for Peychaud’s bitters instead of Angostura. And, of course, it has a very important defining feature: a bit of absinthe!

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Manhattan cocktail with cherry garnish

Whiskey (usually rye), sweet vermouth, and bitters, a Manhattan is as classic as it gets! Anytime you find whiskey and sweet vermouth together, you know you're in for something great.

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Old fashioned cocktail ingredients

The granddaddy of them all: the Old Fashioned! If you're looking to highlight a particularly great bottle of whiskey, this is the drink for you.

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Cambria Bold

Cambria Bold is the Product and Lifestyle Director for Simply Recipes. She has almost a decade's worth of online editorial experience and know-how, first as the Managing Editor for Apartment Therapy's green living site Re-Nest (RIP) and later as the Design and Lifestyle Editor for Kitchn. She lives in the Twin Cities with her husband and their two little girls. And, yes, this is her real name.

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No ImageOur 5 Favorite Classic Cocktails

  1. Steve

    Historically called the Kangaroo Kicker, the Kangaroo is a spirit swap of vodka for gin in a Martini.

    Kangaroo Kicker, 1943 Cocktail Digest by Oscar Haimo of the Hotel Pierre, p49

    Kangaroo Kicker, The Stork Club Bar Book by Lucius Beebe, 1946



    Also, the Old Fashioned predates the presidency of Abe Lincoln. In an editorial response in The Balance and Columbian Repository of May 13, 1806 the “cocktail is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters.” Those four ingredients made a cocktail. Over the next 75 years, people kept tweaking the cocktail, hanging ornaments on it. The “old-fashioned cocktail” appeared by name in print in The Chicago Tribune in 1880, and it was a reference to the original, the “Old Fashioned” cocktail. A cocktail made in the original, old fashioned way. The true roots.

    So have fun with it!
    Spirits of any kind, sweetner, water (from ice, stirred), and bitters

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