Posted April 1, 2020

4 Essential Cocktail Recipes to Try

Eat + Drink

Now that you’ve fully stocked your bar cart with must-have tools and spirits, it’s time to master the go-to recipes you’ll need to play bartender at home. These work perfectly for casual weeknights now and will have you ready for New Year’s Eve later. Get ready to mix, shake and stir with these essential cocktail recipes from our bar team pros.

1.) Martini or Manhattan

Vodka is the classic choice for martinis, while whiskey transforms the drink into a Manhattan.

  • 2 oz. spirit of choice
  • 1 oz. vermouth
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Garnish of choice

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake, strain and garnish.

2.) Old-Fashioned

“Super easy and delicious!” — Jen Keyser, Chief of Bar Operations at Geraldine’s in Austin, TX

  • 2 oz. spirit of choice (typically a rye whiskey or bourbon)
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 0.25 oz. simple syrup*
  • Orange peel, for garnish

Combine ingredients and stir over ice. Garnish with an orange peel.

3.) Daiquiris, Margaritas, Whiskey Sours or any sour-style cocktail

“Just change the main spirit depending on which cocktail you’re making: rum for daiquiris, tequila for margaritas. To make additional cocktails like mojitos or a Rickey, use the same recipe but add a mixer such as seltzer water.” — Brendan Dorr, Lead Bartender at B&O American Brasserie in Baltimore, MD


  • 2 oz. rum
  • 1 oz. simple syrup*
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • Lime wheel, for garnish

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake, strain and garnish.

4.) The Brooklyn

“When I am making drinks for myself, my go-to is The Brooklyn. It’s a great play between booze, bitter and sweet.” — Benjamin Harris, Lead Bartender at Pennyroyal in Seattle, WA

  • 2 oz. rye whiskey
  • 0.5 oz. Amer Picon
  • 0.5 oz. dry vermouth
  • Bar spoon of maraschino liqueur
  • Lemon peel, for garnish

Add ingredients over ice to a mixing glass. Stir then strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon peel.

*How to Make Simple Syrup:

Experiment with more flavorful sweeteners like Demerara sugar (use a 2:1 sugar-water ratio for the best taste).

  • 1 part sugar
  • 1 part water

Heat in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves completely. Cool before using and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.


–Meredith Black