Our 15 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!

5 Favorite Classic Cocktails

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.

  • Negroni Cocktail

    Red Negroni cocktail made with gin campari and sweet vermouth
    Nancy Mitchell

    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.

  • Classic Vodka Martini

    Vodka Martini Stirred Recipe two martinis on gold tray
    Nancy Mitchell

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

  • Sazerac Cocktail

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

    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!

  • Manhattan Cocktail

    Manhattan cocktail with cherry garnish
    Nancy Mitchell

    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

    Old fashioned cocktail made with bourbon or rye whiskey
    Alison Bickel

    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.

  • Gimlet Cocktail

    gin gimlet cocktail
    Sam Schick

    Gin. Lime. Simple syrup. In the right proportions, they create the classic gimlet—a little sweet, a little sour. The cocktail works with vodka, too, but gin is the OG.

  • Hemingway Daiquiri

    Hemingway Daiquiri
    Nancy Mitchell

    While a daiquiri is a classic, a Hemingway daiquiri celebrates a classic author, Ernest Hemingway. Similar to the one he used to drink, the cocktail's base is rum and lime, like a traditional daiquiri, but it includes grapefruit and maraschino liqueur. It's said the literary giant once drank 16 of them. We suggest two, tops.

  • French 75 Cocktail

    French 75 cocktail
    Nancy Mitchell

    Fancy up brunch with the French 75, a perfect balance of gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and Champagne. Or, serve the cocktail, named for a field gun popular during World War I, to guests as they walk through the door of a cocktail party to start the night on a festive, bubbly note.

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  • Classic Margarita

    margarita cocktail with limes
    Elise Bauer

    With only three ingredients, tequila, lime, and orange liqueur, the tequila you use in a margarita matters. The best tequilas are distilled only from Mexican blue agave plants and labeled 100% de agave. This recipe works straight up or on the rocks.

  • Whiskey Sour

    Whiskey Sour cocktail
    Nancy Mitchell

    Use your favorite whiskey in this classic cocktail, bourbon, rye, Tennessee whiskey, or even scotch. The sour part comes from the combination of citrus and simple syrup. To get the froth, it's shaken with an egg white.

  • Cosmopolitan Cocktail

    cosmopolitan cocktail
    Sam Schick

    A modern classic (classics have to start sometime, right?), this cocktail became popular in the 1980s and became a standard when the women of Sex in the City made it their go-to. Shake citrus vodka, cranberry juice, Cointreau, lime juice, and simple syrup with ice and pour, it's that simple.

  • Negroni Cocktail

    negroni cocktail
    Nancy Mitchell

    Equal parts gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth, the Negroni has been around for over 100 years but it's seen a huge resurgence in the past decade. It's become so popular that there's now Negroni Week each September when bars donate to charities with each cocktail ordered.

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  • Coquito (Puerto Rican Coconut Eggnog)

    Two Glasses of Coquito

    This Puerto Rican classic cocktail is traditionally served during the winter holiday season. A mixture of traditional and coconut milks, rum, and spices. It's a bit egg-noggy (without the egg), yet the cocktail is its own special drink and deserves its own recognition.

  • Classic Mimosa

    Prosecco, orange juice, orange slices and three glasses of the best mimosas are on a tray. Whole oranges are to the left of the tray.
    Elana Lepkowski

    This brunch classic is a classic for a reason. It's so simple—just sparkling wine and orange juice. Grapefruit juice or tangerine juice work, too. It's often served in a flute, but you can use a traditional wine glass, too.

  • Sidecar Cocktail

    sidecar cocktail
    Sam Schick

    What's in a sidecar? Cognac, orange liqueur, simple syrup, and lemon juice, putting it in the sour category. There are lots of variations on the drink, too, including the Chelsea sidecar that replaces the Cognac with gin.