15 Classic Cocktails to Master at Home

I’ve always had this vision for myself of stepping foot into a swanky bar and easing myself into my seat, politely declining when offered a menu, telling the bartender that I know exactly what I want, and getting a nod of approval from them, signaling something across the lines of: damn, this girl has it figured out.

A year ago, I made it a mission for myself to find out what that ~signature drink~ could be. To do so, I decided that I wanted to get cultured on the classics, instead of continuing to fall victim to overhyped cocktails that would only look good on Insta (you know the kind). One by one, I began to try these universally-known beverages that had been enjoyed and respected by people over the course of several decades—centuries, even. Each one I sipped transported me to a different part of the globe, a different moment in time, and evoked a certain type of feeling.

You might be like me, wanting to figure out what the best drink is that you can just order without any thought or hesitation, but unfortunately don’t have the option to do so at a bar at the moment. But hey—what better time to start learning to craft cocktails on your own than now? To help you find your drink, I’ve rounded up 15 of the world’s most classic cocktails that you can master at home. They’ll give you real bartender creds and a true skill you can add to your back pocket by the end of this. Once you perfect the classics and figure out what you like most, go ahead and experiment with other flavors and variations! 


1. Manhattan

The Vibes: Overlooking the New York City skyline at night from a sophisticated rooftop bar 

The Base: whiskey


2. Classic Margarita

The Vibes: A spicy summertime happy hour with your best friends

The Base: tequila


3. Aperol Spritz 

The Vibes: Golden hour spent sipping and people watching in the Italian riviera 

The Base: prosecco, Aperol


4. Martini

The Vibes: Being at the center of the bustling 1960s social scene

The Base: gin or vodka


5. Mojito

Source: Isabel Eats

The Vibes: Sunbathing by the pool in a Caribbean villa 

The Base: white rum


6. Negroni

The Vibes: A long, luxurious Italian dinner at the chicest restaurant in town

The Base: gin, Campari, sweet vermouth


7. Aviation

The Vibes: Date night at a swanky speakeasy

The Base: gin


8. French 75

The Vibes: A nightcap slowly enjoyed at a dimly lit, cozy Paris bistro

The Base: gin or cognac, champagne


9. Cosmopolitan

The Vibes: A girls’ night out on the town à la Sex and the City

The Base: vodka


10. Moscow Mule

The Vibes: Chatting with your best friend for hours on your porch on a hot summer day

The Base: vodka


11. Old Fashioned

The Vibes: Relaxing in a big leather armchair in a mood-lit 1920’s jazz club

The Base: whiskey


12. Paloma

The Vibes: Grilling in the backyard with the whole family

The Base: tequila


13. Mint Julep

The Vibes: VIP seats at the Kentucky Derby

The Base: bourbon


14. Bloody Mary

The Vibes: Brunch at your favorite neighborhood spot with your family 

The Base: vodka


15. Piña Colada

Source: Port & Fin

The Vibes: Cabana service at a private island beach club 

The Base: white rum


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