The entire reason this website exists is to shine a light on the great cocktails of the world.
This could be classic cocktails that have stood the test of time. Modern drinks made by some of the best bartenders in the world. Or simply libations I’ve come up with on my own that I feel stand up to some of the drinks I’ve tasted in my cocktail travels.
Regardless of the history though: a good drink is a good drink.
And today I want to share with you some of the best cocktails in the world.
Regardless of your taste preferences, I tried to include a wide array of cocktails in this list, so that there’s something for everyone.
So whether you like strong and spirit-forward, delicate and tart, or sweet and fresh – we’ve got you covered.
Use this as a resource when trying to figure out what to make friends, or if you’re simply in a cocktail rut and are looking for some new ideas to reinvigorate your taste buds.
Best Whiskey Cocktails: 6 Classics Everyone Should Try
Whiskey is one of the most diverse spirits out there, considering there are so many different styles and varieties. Fortunately, there’s an equally broad spectrum of whiskey cocktails out there you can make. Here are some of our favorites.
Old Fashioned: The Most Popular Whiskey Cocktail in the World
This was the drink that got me into classic cocktails, and to this day is one of my favorite drinks in the world. There are a ton of variations on it, but for the whiskey lover who wants to actually taste the spirit, without having to drink it straight? This is about as good as it gets.
Manhattan Cocktail: The Whiskey Version of a Martini
It’s the end of a long day and you need something stiff. You’re not a gin or vodka fan, so what do you do? You make yourself a Manhattan. 2 parts whiskey, 1 part sweet vermouth, some bitters – and away you go. If a drink is going to be named after the most famous island in the world – then it better be able to live up to it. Fortunately, a well made Manhattan most certainly does.
Whiskey Sour: A Beginner Friendly Whiskey Drink
Are you new to whiskey? Maybe you’ve never thought it was your thing? Then I bet you haven’t tried a whiskey sour. Lemon and simple syrup help make whiskey more approachable with this absolutely delicious cocktail. And if you do like whiskey already? Don’t worry, you’ll love it too.
Mint Julep: An Often Overlooked Classic
There aren’t many drinks that truly only get one day out of the year to shine, but with the mint julep? That’s exactly what happens. Millions get consumed on the day of the Kentucky Derby, just to be forgotten about for another 364 days. But for such a delicious and easy to make drink? You might find the mint julep to be a worthy contender for your cocktail rotation.
Sazerac Cocktail: Whiskey and Anise
There are few drinks more worthy of the title of “classic cocktail” than the New Orleans drink, the sazerac. This whiskey drink has notes of anise due to the Peychaud’s bitters and absinthe rinse – so if that’s a flavor you like? Then you’ll love a sazerac.
Recipe: How to Make a Sazerac Cocktail
Boulevardier: A Close Sibling to the Negroni
Do you like negronis and Campari? Then this is for you. Simply switch out gin for bourbon, and you have the boulevardier. It’s a strong, spirit forward sipper that’s more of an “advanced cocktail” taste wise. But if you like the bitterness of the Campari, then there may not be a better drink in the world. This is one of my personal favorites.
Recipe: How to Make a Boulevardier
Best Tequila Cocktails
Ready to get the party going? Want something to help you feel like you’re on a beach somewhere, rather than quarantined in your house? Then tequila may be the way to go.
Avocado Margarita: The Best Drink I’ve Ever Created(?)
I won’t lie, I feel like I’ve created and featured some pretty good drinks on this website. But the very best, or at least the most approachable to the most people? It might very well be this avocado margarita. It’s absolutely delicious, and was born out of the original Avocado Daiquiri from Portland bar Mint/820 (may it RIP). Looking for a unique take on a classic tequila drink? Give this a shot.
Margarita: Popular for a Reason
There are countless ways to make a margarita. Some of them result in delicious drinks. Others? Well I’m sure they’re good after you’ve already had a few. This is the margarita recipe I use most often at home. It takes a bit of a higher end approach when compared to just throwing some Cuervo mix and tequila in a blender.
Repossession Cocktail: An Earthy Take on a Tequila Sour
I’ve spent the last 6 years traveling to some of the best cocktail bars in the world, and when possible I try and highlight some of our favorite drinks along the way. The Repossession Cocktail is from the NoMad Bar in NYC, and is featured in the NoMad Cocktail book. It uses amontillado sherry to add some interesting flavors to the standard tequila sour.
Best Gin Cocktails
Gin is far more versatile than most people give it credit for. You can go strong and spirit forward, or let it fade into the background of more citrus or liqueur heavy drinks. The ones listed below will exemplify both of those styles.
Atlas Martini: My Favorite Martini
The martini is a very personal drink. There are countless ways to make it, and the “right” way usually comes down to personal preference. The Atlas Martini from Atlas Bar in Singapore is my favorite martini. The biggest departure from tradition is in the addition of champagne vinegar to the drink. Sounds weird, right? Try it.
Bees Knees: For People Who *Think* They Don’t Like Gin
A lot of people think they don’t like gin. And to those people? I say, let me make you a Bees Knees.
Unlike, say a Last Word, where you really can’t taste the gin, in a Bees Knees you typically can. It’s subtle, but it’s there. And even if you think you don’t like that flavor, I’d be willing to bet you’ll enjoy this classic blend of gin, honey, and lemon.
French 75: Classy Yet Simple
So you’re at home and you’re looking for something….fancy. You want to treat yourself. Or maybe you’re celebrating something. Or having guests over. Whatever it is, the French 75 is an underrated cocktail that is perfect for any of those occasions.
Negroni: A Staple Classic
The negroni cocktail is another one of my favorites. The difference between a good one and a bad one is usually much less pronounced than in many drinks, and it’s about as easy to make as it gets. Similar to the boulevardier listed above, if you love Campari, then well, you probably already love the negroni.
Recipe: How to Make a Negroni Cocktail
Last Word: A Unique Herbal Gin Drink
This is one of my favorite drinks to make for people who aren’t super well versed in cocktails. Why? Because the combination of gin, lime, maraschino and green chartreuse results in a unique herbal flavor that they’ve probably never tasted before. And more often than not? They’ll love it.
Aviation Cocktail: A Beautiful Gin Sour
Instead of the beautiful green of the Last Word above, the aviation cocktail gets a luxurious purple hue from the addition of creme de violette. It’s another crowd pleaser both due to the color and the fact that well, it tastes delicious.
Recipe: How to Make an Aviation Cocktail
Dirty Martini: Olive, Olive, Olive
I mentioned above martinis are a very personal thing. So if I prefer the delicate Atlas Martini, a dirty martini is the exact opposite. You crank up the gin, and add salty olive brine to have an extremely assertive drink that some people swear by. And others…hate.
Best Rum Cocktails:
Lately I’ve been on a huge rum kick. In part because there’s more variation in styles of rum than any other primary spirit. This can lead to a huge array of different cocktails you can make.
Dockside Rum Old Fashioned
This rum old fashioned was inspired by London Dockside Rum. Never heard of it? That’s because it went extinct a century ago. The team at the Dead Rabbit revitalized it by blending Banks 7, Smith and Cross, and Cruzan Blackstrap. I took those same rums and put my own spin on it.
Lost Lake Cocktail: A
Passionfruit Tiki Drink
Ever since the first
Pineapple Daiquiri: The Best Use for Plantation Pineapple Rum
I first had Plantation Pineapple rum at Canon in Seattle in a drink they called the Stiggins Daiquiri #2. Now, our home bar is never without a bottle of this rum. Do yourself a favor, pick up a bottle and then go make this daiquiri. It will lead you down a fantastic pineapple rum journey. Try this rum negroni next.
Recipe: How to Make a Pineapple Daiquiri
Classic Daiquiri: No, There is No Strawberry in This
I’m always amazed at how many people don’t know what a daiquiri is. No not those strawberry monstrosities, a real daiquiri with nothing but sugar, lime, and rum. If I could only make 5 drinks for the rest of my life? This would certainly be one of them.
Fish House Punch: Another Delicious Crowd Pleaser
Whether you’re making the elaborate punchbowl version from the Dead Rabbit, or a one off drink from Cocktail Codex – the Fish House Punch is delicious. Rum, peach liqueur and more combine to make a punch that will appeal to both the cocktail novice and veteran alike.
Best Vodka Cocktails:
I’m not gonna lie, I don’t usually drink a ton of vodka at home. Because of this, our vodka recipes here are a bit more limited. That said, there is one that is VERY worth of being on this list.
Moscow Mule: The Perfect Summer Drink
Who doesn’t like a Moscow Mule? Seriously, is there anybody? It’s a delicious blend of lime, vodka, and ginger beer that’s served in a delightful copper mug. It’s easy to make, and depending on the ginger beer you use, you can end up with a wildly different drink. Trust me, we discovered the best ginger beers for a Moscow Mule.
I know, we’re doing difficult work over here.
Recipe: How to Make a Moscow Mule
Best Mezcal Cocktails: Tequila’s Smokier Older Brother
As someone who likes all things smoky, it’s no surprise that I love mezcal cocktails. They’re often not quite as popular as other classics, but if you try these mezcal drinks listed below? I have a feeling you’ll fall in love too.
Smoking Banana: A Smoky Old Fashioned
When I’m traveling for bars and I want to see a bartender show off for me, I usually say “Make me a smoky old fashioned. Whatever that means to you.” Sometimes it’s mezcal, sometimes it’s Islay Scotch. Occasionally it’s even actually smoked. But if you were to ask me to make you one, this is what you’d get.
Blackjack Redux: A Wonderful Coffee and Banana Combo
Clearly banana goes well with mezcal as evidenced by these last two drinks. But throw coffee into the mix? And a bitter amaro like Cynar? You have something that sounds totally weird on paper – but absolutely delicious in practice.
Mezcal Margarita: A Smoky Take on a Classic
One of my favorite things about mezcal, is you can generally just switch it out for anything you’d normally use tequila for. So if you’re new to this agave spirit, it’s pretty easy to start experimenting. This mezcal margarita is a great example of that. But you can up the complexity even more, by using both mezcal and tequila.
The Gardener: As Fresh as it Gets
The Gardener cocktail takes a little bit of prep, but once you’ve made the syrup you can freeze it and make these all summer. This drink was made famous at Matsuhisa in Vail, and is a total crowd pleaser. It’s great because it can be made with gin, tequila, or my personal favorite mezcal – so regardless of what your guests are in the mood for, there’s an option here.
Oaxacan Old Fashioned: For Fans of Mexican Spirits
Ok, so you’ve run through the classics for people who like spirit-forward cocktails. Old Fashioned, Manhattan, Negroni – check, check, and check.
What do you make next?
A Oaxacan Old Fashioned is a great next step. A beautiful combination of mezcal and tequila, that tastes like a smoky old-fashioned. Just be careful not to use too much agave, as it can be more potent than simple syrup.
Want to Make These Drinks at Home?
There you go over 20 of my favorite cocktails that are both delicious and easy to make at home.
But if you are going to make it at home, you’ll need some proper tools and a well(ish) stocked bar.
Fortunately, I put together an entire book called The Ultimate Guide to Stocking Your Home Bar.
I walk you through all the tools, equipment, and spirits you need in order to make any cocktail perfectly, and easily at home.
Sign up below and I’ll send it over immediately!