Classic recipes for delicious cocktails

July 28, 2015

Wow your guests by mixing them up some classic cocktails. Here are some simple recipes to help you get started.

Classic recipes for delicious cocktails

A quick introduction to cocktails

These sophisticated, colourful drinks, blending alcoholic and non-alcoholic ingredients, date back to the early 19th century.

  • Stock your drinks cabinet with a few essentials and become a mixologist.
  • Most classic cocktails are based on one of six spirits: gin, vodka, brandy, rum, tequila and whisky.
  • You'll also need a range of liqueurs and mixers — and plenty of ice.
  • The following recipes use spirit measuring cups called jiggers.

Making a mojito the right way

A Cuban cocktail that was a favourite tipple of Ernest Hemingway's.


  • 50 ml (2 measures) rum
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) caster sugar
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) lime juice
  • 8-10 mint leaves
  • 1 lime
  • Dash of sparkling water
  1. Put the sugar and lime juice into a lowball glass. Add the mint leaves.
  2. Muddle or crush the leaves and sugar with a muddler or with the back of a spoon.
  3. Pour in the rum.
  4. Add four or five ice cubes and some lime slices.
  5. Top with sparkling water, and stir.

Easy martini tips

One of the earliest recorded cocktails, the martini is known the world over as James Bond's drink of choice — though he preferred it shaken, of course, not stirred, and with a little vodka added. Vary the ingredients to your taste, using dry or sweet vermouth. A dirty martini is a modern twist, made cloudy by adding 30 millilitres (two tablespoons) of brine from the olive jar.


  • 50 ml (2 measures) gin
  • 12 ml (½ measure) dry vermouth
  • Olives
  • Orange or Angostura bitters (optional)
  1. Pour the ingredients into a mixing glass filled with ice cubes. Stir for 30 seconds.
  2. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  3. Add a dash of orange or Angostura bitters if desired.
  4. Garnish with the olives.

How to make a quick margarita

This most famous tequila-based cocktail makes for a perfect summer aperitif.


  • 40 ml (1½ measures) tequila
  • 25 ml (1 measure) Cointreau
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) lime juice
  • 1 lime
  • Fine sea salt
  1. Rub the wedge of lime around the rim of a margarita glass or a martini glass. Dip the glass into a saucer of salt, coating the whole rim.
  2. Fill a shaker with ice. Pour in the tequila, Cointreau and lime juice and shake well.
  3. Strain and add a twist of lime.

Create a delicious manhattan

Some people like dry vermouth in their Manhattan, others prefer sweet. Either way, the cherry is essential.


  • 50 ml (2 measures) whisky
  • 25 ml (1 measure) vermouth
  • 2 or 3 drops of Angostura bitters
  • Maraschino cherry, on its stalk
  1. Half-fill a tall glass with ice cubes.
  2. Pour in the whisky and vermouth, add the bitters and stir well to chill.
  3. Strain into a well-chilled martini glass, and drop in the cherry.

Try a tropical piña colada

To make this punchy, fruity cocktail extra fun to drink, serve it in the hollowed-out shell of a pineapple.


  • Generous bowl of crushed ice
  • 75 ml (3 measures) white rum
  • 50 ml (2 measures) coconut cream
  • 75 ml (3 measures) pineapple juice
  • 1 pineapple
  1. Put the crushed ice into a blender.
  2. Pour in the rum, coconut cream and pineapple juice. Add the pineapple chunks.
  3. Blend until smooth. Pour straight into a tall goblet (poco) or into a pineapple shell.
  4. Top with pieces of fruit, if you wish.

Bartending has never been easier! Impress your guests by serving these delicious drinks at your next party.


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