Classic Cocktails Everyone Should Know

Start practicing these essential cocktails and you'll be a pro when it comes to making drinks for family and friends.

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Photo By: Matt Armendariz

Photo By: Matt Armendariz

Photo By: Matt Armendariz

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Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

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Dark and Stormy

Despite the name, this classic cocktail will be the highlight of any night with friends. Pro Tip: Lay a spoon upside down over the glass when pouring the shot of rum, so it doesn’t mix into the drink right away — that way, you'll achieve that “stormy” look.

Get the Recipe: Dark and Stormy

Moscow Mule

For a refreshing spin and an extra pop of flavor, add ginger ice cubes — they'll give the drink even more spicy goodness as they melt.

Get the Recipe: Moscow Mule

Old Fashioned

Craving a smooth, simple cocktail? The traditional drink (muddled with sugar, bitters and orange zest) pairs nicely with its strong whiskey counterpart.

Get the Recipe: Old Fashioned

Mint Julep

Alton Brown muddles fresh mint leaves and sugar to create a refreshing base for your favorite bourbon.

Get the Recipe: Mint Julep

Rob Roy

This cocktail was created in 1894 by a bartender at The Waldorf Hotel in New York City for the opening night of an opera entitled Rob Roy. It can be made sweet, dry or perfect, but is always exclusively made with Scotch whiskey.

Get the Recipe: Rob Roy

Bloody Mary

Whether it’s a classy brunch with friends or a way to treat yourself on Saturday morning, a Bloody Mary is the perfect way to start any weekend.

Get the Recipe: Bloody Mary

Val's Classic Negroni

A savory drink that leaves nothing to waste! When everything is combined, add strips of orange peel to amplify the flavors even more.

Get the Recipe: Val's Classic Negroni

Sparkling Bourbon Lemonade

Bobby makes a from-scratch lemonade of simple syrup, fresh lemon juice and fresh orange juice plus club soda before adding bourbon. 

Get the Recipe: Sparkling Bourbon Lemonade

Classic Manhattan Cocktail

Rich and warm with a hint of sweetness — it’s no wonder whiskey lovers favor this classic drink.

Watch the Video: Classic Manhattan Cocktail

Hot Ginger Toddy

Make a ginger syrup from fresh ginger for this whiskey cocktail. The syrup can be made ahead of time and will keep for up to a week in the fridge.

Get the Recipe: Hot Ginger Toddy

Pimm's Cup

A sweet and fruity concoction in a highball glass makes for a fun drink.

Get the Recipe: Pimm's Cup

The Little Italy (Manhattan with Aperol)

Rye whiskey and vermouth are the signatures of a classic Manhattan. This version adds a touch of Aperol, an aperitif containing bitter orange, gentian and rhubarb.

Get the Recipe: The Little Italy (Manhattan with Aperol)

Chipotle Margarita

You can garnish Guy Fieri's margarita with salt or just a slice of orange. Chipotle juice (from canned chipotles) gives the citrus base a nice kick.

Get the Recipe: Chipotle Margarita


The popularity of the Cosmo can be easily traced back to the early 90s but it’s still an attention-grabbing cocktail today! Something about its beautiful pink color and fancy glass will never go out of style.

Get the Recipe: Cosmopolitans

Hemingway Daiquiri

This daiquiri, also known as the Papa Doble, was named in honor of the writer Ernest Hemingway, who was said to have had more than his fair share while living in Havana. This is not the frozen variety you might find coming out of a Slurpee machine. In fact, the lightly sweet drink is most definitely strong and should be imbibed with caution.

Get the Recipe: Hemingway Daiquiri

Grilled Orange Boulevardier

Complexity at its finest. The Orange Boulevardier combines splashes of bourbon, vermouth and Campari with an added bonus of straight-from-the-grill oranges for a sweeter taste.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Orange Boulevardier

Southside Cocktail

Made with only a handful of ingredients, Geoffrey Zakarian's impressive-looking gin-lime cocktail comes together quickly in a cocktail shaker. Top with fresh mint for a fragrant garnish.

Get the Recipe: Southside Cocktail

Southern Driver

Sandra Lee serves her Southern Driver the traditional way — in an old-fashioned glass, with a maraschino cherry and an orange slice for garnish.

Get the Recipe: Southern Driver

Ramos Gin Fizz

The Ramos gin fizz, one of the many variations in the fizz family of cocktails, was invented in 1888 by Henrico C. Ramos in New Orleans. Its signatures are cream and orange-blossom water.

Get the Recipe: Ramos Gin Fizz

Ruby Smash

Top off this classic bourbon cocktail with a splash of ginger beer for a fizzy finish.

Get the Recipe: Ruby Smash

Rum Lemonade

Save time by using store-bought lemonade for Bobby's dark-rum drink.

Get the Recipe: Rum Lemonade


This rye whiskey creation is often called the world's first cocktail. In 1838, the owner of a New Orleans apothecary, Antoine Amedie Peychaud, started making toddies for friends. He used as a measuring cup a double-ended eggcup, then known as a "coquetier," from which the word "cocktail" was derived. And today, Peychaud's bitters are still used in this cocktail.

Get the Recipe: Sazerac

Classic Martini

This classic and classy cocktail never goes out of style. Traditionally it's made with gin and vermouth, but you can also swap in your favorite brand of vodka.

Get the Recipe: Classic Martini

Italian Manhattan

This take on the classic Manhattan gets a touch of Italian bitters like Campari before being topped with a maraschino cherry.

Get the Recipe: Michael's Italian Manhattan

White Russian

Sometimes referred to as an adult milkshake, the White Russian is a classic cocktail that's creamy, boozy and has just the right amount of coffee flavor. When making each one, the cream is poured off the back of a spoon for a neat layer on top. Enjoy this subtly sweet three-ingredient drink as an after-dinner indulgence.

Get the Recipe: White Russian

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