23 Classic Cocktails You Need to Learn

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Here are my favorite classic cocktail recipes that are must-try libations. This list includes Prohibition-Era cocktails to modern-day classics such as the Paper Plane and Cosmopolitan. Explore the vast array of spirits from all over the world ranging from whiskey, cognac, vodka, rum, tequila, gin, and more!

1. Old Fashioned

Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe

How to make the classic old fashioned drink the right way. Bourbon, bitters, simple syrup (sugar cube), and an orange peel.

2. Manhattan

Manhattan Cocktail Recipe

The Manhattan drink made two slightly different ways (classic versus perfect). Either way, it’s always constructed with bourbon, vermouth, and bitters.

3. Corpse Reviver 2

Corpse Reviver 2 Recipe

A brightly refreshing and citrusy classic cocktail made with gin, Lillet Blanc, orange liqueur, and fresh lemon juice.

4. Sazerac

Sazerac Cocktail Recipe

The official cocktail of New Orleans. Rye, sugar, Peychaud’s bitters, absinthe, and lemon peel.

5. Aviation

Aviation Cocktail Recipe

One of my all time favorite classic cocktails from the early 1900’s. Gin, maraschino liqueur (cherry), crème de violette, and fresh lemon juice.

6. French 75

7. Last Word

Last Word Cocktail Recipe

The Last Word is a well-balanced elixir consisting of equal parts gin, green chartreuse, maraschino liqueur, and fresh lime juice.

8. Boulevardier

9. Whiskey Sour

Whiskey Sour Recipe

A classic Whiskey Sour cocktail recipe made with bourbon, lemon, simple sugar, and egg white. Frothy, citrusy, and refreshing.

10. Tuxedo No. 2

Tuxedo No. 2 Cocktail Recipe

The tuxedo no. 2 is a fantastic riff on the classic gin martini made with dry gin, dry vermouth, absinthe, maraschino liqueur, orange bitters, and a lemon twist.

11. Negroni

Negroni Cocktail Recipe

The Negroni cocktail is a classic cocktail originating in Florence, Italy. Made with equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari.

12. New York Sour

New York Sour Recipe

A classic New York Sour recipe made with bourbon, lemon, simple sugar, egg white, and a red wine float. Frothy, citrusy, and refreshing.

13. French 75

14. Paper Plane

Paper Plane Cocktail Recipe

The paper plane is a citrusy cocktail most similar to the characteristics of a more bitter whiskey sour or sidecar. It’s smooth, warm, and refreshing.

15. Cosmopolitan

16. Aperol Spritz

Aperol Spritz Recipe

A classic and simple refreshing Italian aperitivo cocktail. The Aperol spritz is made with prosecco, Aperol, and sparkling water.

17. Sidecar

Sidecar Cocktail Recipe

The Sidecar is one of my favorite classic cocktails, consisting of Cognac, orange liqueur, and fresh lemon juice. A citrusy refreshing classic.

18. Scofflaw

Scofflaw Cocktail Recipe

An unexpected and delicious Prohibition-Era cocktail made with rye, dry vermouth, orange bitters, and a touch of grenadine.

19. Hemingway Daiquiri

20. Mojito

Mojito Recipe

The classic mojito is a refreshing summer favorite made with white rum, fresh mint leaves, lime juice, simple syrup, and soda water for a little fizz.

21. Bee’s Knees

22. Margarita

Classic Margarita Recipe

Stop using margarita mix. A classic and “real” margarita recipe made with tequila, fresh lime juice, triple sec, and simple syrup.

23. Improved Whiskey Cocktail

Improved Whiskey Cocktail Recipe

The improved whiskey cocktail is a mix between a Sazerac and the Old Fashioned. Sound good? This just may be your new favorite whiskey cocktail.

About Shawn Williams

My name is Shawn, author behind Kitchen Swagger. I'm a food & drink enthusiast bringing you my own simple and delicious restaurant-inspired recipes.

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