Show Mobile Navigation

Top 10 Classic Cocktails

Friday has arrived again, so I have decided to do a cocktail list. I am a great fan of cocktails and have many a messy cocktail evening. In this list I will introduce you to the best version of each recipe for 10 classic cocktails. The recipes come from my own experience based upon my education in cocktails courtesy of some incredible cocktail bars and David A. Embury, the author of the finest book on cocktail making: The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks. I strongly urge any person interested in cocktails buy his book – it is unsurpassed. This book is so sought after that you will rarely find a copy for less than $200 US (it is a basic paperbook format). Fortunately for two lucky people, it is currently available on Amazon for $120 and $161 (both are used but good condition). You can buy them here.

Aside from glasses, you will need some kind of hard object for squashing fruits in the glass (this is called a muddler). You will also need a cocktail shaker (a large lidded jar will do if you can not get a cocktail shaker), a tall glass, a stirrer, and a strainer. This is what they look like:

NeedsSome things to note about cocktails: a true cocktail will never include milk or cream. Additionally, none of the cocktails below use vodka as the aim of a cocktail is to enjoy the flavored spirit and vodka is a raw spirit – if you must have vodka, stick to a a vodka and orange – don’t waste expensive cocktail ingredients by mixing them with this bland spirit.

One final word of advice: the images in this list are almost all over-garnished – please use the instructions in the list, not the images as a guide for the finished result. We are trying to make fine drinks, not fruit bowls. Oh – and I challenge each of you to try at least one of these cocktails this weekend!

10. Tom Collins


1 tablespoon sugar syrup
Juice of 1 medium lemon
3-4 ounces of gin (2 measures)

Stir all of the above together in the Tom Collins glass (see image above) and add 4 ice-cubes. Fill with soda water, stir again, and serve immediately. If you use Old Tom Gin (see below), use half the quantity of sugar syrup.

Originally a Tom Collins was made with Old Tom Gin which is a sweetened type of gin. Unfortunately it is not seen often these days so we have to substitute regular gin and sugar syrup1. A collins is served in the tallest glass used for cocktails which is, appropriately, named a Tom Collins glass. It will normally hold 12-16 ounces.

9. Mint Julep


In a tall bar glass (this is not used for serving – just mixing) put 1 tablespoon of sugar syrup, a dozen young mint leaves, and 2 or 3 dashes of angostura bitters. Bruise the mint gently with a muddler and blend the whole mix by stirring and pressing slightly (do NOT use a blender). Do not crush the mint leaves or it will release bitter juices. Pour 2 ounces of Bourbon over the top.

Remove julep glasses from the refrigerator and fill with crushed ice (being careful not to touch the glasses with your bare hands. Pour the julep over the top and stir for a few minutes. Add some more ice and top with enough Bourbon to fill the glass to 1/4 inch from the top. Insert two long straws and decorate with sugared mint leaves and serve.

Everyone has their own take on the julep (particularly the mint julep) so it can be very controversial to present a recipe as the “best”. Nevertheless, I think after tasting you will agree with this one.

8. Gin Sling


1 teaspoon of sugar syrup
2 teaspoons of lemon juice
3 ounces of gin

Combine the ingredients in a goblet or highball glass. Fill the glass with chilled soda water. If you wish, you can omit the lemon juice, but I recommend keeping it. This is now ready to serve.

The generic term sling refers to a drink made of sweetened spirits and water. You can substitute virtually any spirit for gin in this recipe to produce a whiskey sling, a rum sling, a brandy sling, etc.

7. El Presidente


1 part French vermouth
3 parts rum
1 dash of grenadine

Put all three ingredients in to an old fashioned glass (an old fashioned glass is the type of glass you normally serve a whiskey on the rocks – “old fashioned” here does not mean antique,) with large cubes of ice. Drop a twist of orange peel (and optionally a cherry) on to the top and serve. NOTE: many people mistakenly think that grenadine is a raspberry liqueur – that is not correct. Grenadine is made from pomegranates and you should not substitute raspberry in this recipe.

This recipe is for the “Cuban” El Presidente. There is also an “American” El Presidente which includes lemon juice and curacao.

6. Daiquiri


1 part sugar syrup
2 parts lime juice
8 parts white rum (Bacardi is best)

Shake all of the above vigorously and strain in to chilled old fashioned or cocktail glasses.

Interestingly, this drink was originally called a Bacardi, but the Bacardi company won a copyright suit so the name daiquiri has stuck.

5. Sazerac


1 teaspoon of sugar syrup
3 dashes of bitters
2 – 2.5 ounces whiskey

Fill small old fashioned glasses with ice and set aside to chill.

Stir the above ingredients with large ice cubes until thoroughly chilled. Empty the old fashioned glasses and swirl a dash of absinthe in each one – discarding any left over liquid. Strain the liquor into each chilled and swirled glass. Twist a peel of lemon over each glass and drop it on top as a garnish. Serve with a small glass of ice water on the side as a chaser.

I have added the Sazerac mainly out of historical interest as it is one of the earliest (and in fact, may be the earliest cocktail known. Due to the combination of absinthe and whiskey, it is not to the liking of many people.

4. Margarita


1 part tequila
1 part Cointreau (or any orange liqueur
1 part lime juice

Combine the above ingredients in a small old fashioned glass with crushed ice and stir to combine. Serve immediately.

The origins of the Margarita are unknown. What is known is that it is not a drink that is meant to be blended in an electric blender and served like a slushy!

3. Sidecar


1 part cointreau
2 parts lemon juice
8 parts brandy

Shake the above ingredients over ice and strain in to a glass of your choice (see below).

These are normally served in a sour or delmonico glass, but you can use a standard cocktail glass. This happens to be my favorite cocktails.

2. Manhattan

Milehigh Manhattan

1 part Italian vermouth
5 parts whiskey
1 dash angostura

Stir (never shake) the above in a bar glass with ice. Strain in to a cocktail glass and garnish with a single maraschino cherry – if it does not have a stem, place it on a toothpick.

The Manhattan is normally made with rye whiskey, but you can substitute bourbon if you prefer.

1. Martini


1 part Lillet Vermouth (French)
7 parts best quality gin (I recommend Tanqueray No. 10)

This is likely to be the most controversial cocktail on the list as the true martini has been greatly maligned in film and bars all around the world. First of all, let us just clarify a few points. A martini is made with gin. Always. If you use vodka, it is not a “Martini” it is a “Vodka Martini” – only an ignorant person would ask for a martini and complain if it is not made from vodka. Using a twist of lemon instead of an olive in a Vodka Martini, gives you an entirely different drink which is called a Kangaroo.

The second serious issue that needs clarification is that you never shake a Martini. James Bond is wrong – a Martini is always stirred. If you ask for a Martini shaken, you merely show your ignorance. The reason for this is that all white cocktail are stirred – shaking introduced bubbles, introduces too much water, and the shaken wine (vermouth) makes the final result murky. Incidentally, if you absolutely must have it shaken – it is not a Martini, it is a Bradford. Now, on to the recipe. This is the best Martini recipe you will find.

Stir ingredients (don’t stir too vigorously) in a bar glass with ice. Strain in to a chilled cocktail glass and twist some lemon peel over the top (do not put the peel in the drink – just twist it to spray the top with the juices). Serve with one stuffed olive on a toothpick (for some reason it has become fashionable to serve a martini with 2, and sometimes even 3 olives. This changes the flavor of the drink and should not be done).

If you use a cocktail onion instead of an olive, you have a Gibson rather than a Martini.

* Sugar syrup can be made at home by combining equal parts of sugar and water and cooking until the sugar has completely dissolved. It is much easier to use this for cocktails as sugar can be difficult to dissolve in alcohol and you can up end up with grains in your cocktail. When using sugar syrup, you can substitute one for one.

Listverse Staff

Listverse is a place for explorers. Together we seek out the most fascinating and rare gems of human knowledge. Three or more fact-packed lists daily.

Read More: Twitter Facebook YouTube

  • Kai4a

    My cocktail of choice: extra-dry, dirty Bombay Sapphire Gibson- basically a Martini with onions instead of olives, some onion juice added for extra flavor (making it "dirty") and go really easy on the vermouth. I know it's sacrilege, but I prefer them in rocks glasses because I'm a hand-talker. I want to enjoy my drink, not polish the floor.

    As for the Caesar, wow, wouldn't drink it on a dare.

    • Kanaka

      Hi Yolanda, thanks for snarihg this cookbook. I have been looking at their website for an hour now and so inspired by them! I needed a cookbook that I can easily follow recipes and this is perfect. Can’t wait to try the Asparagus Bread Puding!

  • Jona

    Great List!! Maragaritas are my faaaaaaavorite! mmmmmm

  • cparker

    there certaintly is a lot with sugar and citrus.

  • I have to admit I’m not much of a drinker, so I haven’t actually tried any of these…

    I love the band ‘El Presidente’ though, I didn’t realise they were named after the coctail.

  • teacherman

    Give me a nice Pale Ale over any of these any day.

    (hmmm, gives me an idea…top 20 beers list perhaps?)

  • riley

    Problem here is cocktails vary huge depending on the part of the world you are from… I’m Canadian and could have an entirely different list and so could anyone else.
    Although you definitely need the Caeser on there. Very famous (at least here).
    2 parts vodka over ice in a glass rimmed with celery salt
    dash of Tobasco sauce
    dash of worchestshire sauce
    7 parts Clamato juice (clam broth and tomato juice mixed)
    squeeze in a lime and serve
    (mmmm now I want one)

    • warnersouth

      That's a Bloody Mary isn't it?

      • guest

        Nope, Mloody Mary is with Tomato juice

  • SocialButterfly

    Wicked list.. I love love love tequila, I prefer it straight though so I’ve never really gotten into margaritas. I really enjoy sidecars too, always been a fan of all things citrus flavoured.

    I’ve heard that people are really picky about their martinis regarding whether it’s shaken or stirred… I never knew it was called something else if it was shaken though.

    Learn something new every day with this site! :D

  • thedeafguy

    or top mix drinks and liquors!

  • longball

    The Jumping John –

    2 Parts Aftershock (cinnamon liqueur)
    2 Parts Everclear (grain alcohol w/ 190 proof)
    1 12oz can Dr. Pepper.

    Mix in Large cup. Four will black you out. Enjoy.

  • SocialButterfly

    riley: Don’t forget the garnish… celery is the best(you can use it to stir) but I’ve seen it made with everything from jalapeno peppers to pickled asparagus!

  • Mystern

    Fantastic list! I’m going out with my honey for Valentines Day tonight and I’ll have to try a few of these. Fortunately, my favorite restaurant has good bartenders. Though I will say that I’ve never been partial to margaritas. Out of the items I’ve tried on this list, I’d say the mint julep is my favorite, though not my favorite drink. That distinction goes to either a white russian, or a jamacian coffee.

  • Randall

    GREAT list! All my faves (never had an El Presidente or Sazerac though). Only things missing, for my taste, are my beloved Gin and Tonic and the hard-to-take-but-always-good Bloody Mary.

    Nothing better than G&Ts on a warm summer evening by the water, sipping away with a few friends while the sun sets. Ahhhhhh… soon…. very soon.

  • Mandie

    I enjoy anything with a mini-umbrella.

    And a half dozen cherries.

  • teacherman: you better put that one together – i know absolutely nothing about beer!

    riley: These are all international – I have not been to a country yet that does not have these basic ten cocktails either on the menu or in the head of the barman :)

  • Mystern

    Hey JF, I’ve never been partial to wine, but I know you are. How about a top 10 Wines for people who don’t (usually) like wine?

  • Oh – and the two vodka based cocktails (Caesar and Bloody Mary) are not on the list because I intentionally excluded any vodka based cocktails for the reason given in the early paragraphs of the list :)

  • Mystern: Wine is what I usually drink each day – but to be honest I always drink the same ones (Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc – as cheap as I can get it) :) Having said that – perhaps a good list would be one that describes the difference between the main wine types – sauv, cabernet, etc. I will put that on my list of todos :)

  • Bondles

    Great list! It’s always a pleasure to find someone as anal about martinis as I am. I’ll walk right out of a bar that asks me if I want gin or vodka, when I order a dry martini. Heathens.

    Ever tried an Alaska? Chartreuse and vermouth, very tasty.

    I was a little surprised not to see Cosmopolitans on the list. They’re very popular around here.

  • TMo

    teacherman: I believe a top beers list will best the bible list in comments and friendly warring. I’m all for it.

  • Jackie

    Um dumb question here, what’s “bitters”?

    I wish the Cosmopolitan were on here, it’s my favorite and I make them all the time.

  • Bondles: Cosmos are vodka based – no vodka cocktails on this list – intentionally :)

    TMo: haha that may be the only thing that would :)

  • Jackie: it is a very slightly alcoholic (about as much as vanilla extract) flavored liquid with a recipe that no one knows except the makers :) It has a very strong flavor and is very bitter – it adds depth to certain cocktails.


  • Mom424

    My favourite cocktail,,,no idea of the name
    1 part good gin over ice
    2 parts Rose’s Lime Cordial
    Lightly stir, should still be kinda swirly looking, tart and yummy,(this is pretty good mixed 50/50 if you like drier beverages, or are in hurry)

  • By the way guys – these recipes are all very strong – they are traditional – you are meant to taste the flavor of the liquor – and you certainly do :)

  • Mom424: that sounds nice – I bet there is a cocktail like that with gin, real lime, sugar syrup with a name.

  • MzFly

    Cool List for a Friday morning. I can’t wait until Happy Hour! I am definitely going to try and make El Presidente this weekend.

  • Mom424

    Jfrater; my Grandfather religiously drank what he called a rob roy every night before bed….2 parts good dry vermouth, 1 part good scotch (foul stuff, I have yet to acquire a taste for something I should be tilling into the soil of my garden), a shake of bitters.
    (swore bitters as a cough remedy, can’t be any worse than DM)
    by the way he lived till he was 90 or so…(smoked a pipe too)

  • Randall


    I know I’ve been super-busy lately and promising you lists, but if you want help with that wine list, I’m with you, man. It’s a major interest of mine. (also, I live in upstate wine country, and my mother owned a liquor store for several years).

  • MzFly: have one for me!

    Mom424: I am excactly like you on scotch! There is one cocktail that uses it that I love – but that is the only way I can take it. The cocktail has a muddled orange slice in it and cointreau.

    Randall: definitely – go for it – it will give me time to do something different :)

  • khen913

    As a college student in Louisville, KY, I have to say the Mint Julip means the most to me (they are sold at the Derby in $1000 gold cups), and is probably the best tasting cocktail on the list.

  • SlickWilly

    Hmmm…I enjoy a good Bombay martini. My only preference is that I *like* the olive flavor. I generally do a “dirty” martini, with just a dollop of olive juice, and generally 2 large olives or 3 smaller ones. Just as a side note, this does not happen to make me ignorant about good cocktails. I just happen to like the taste of olives, particularly when they have been soaking in a good gin.

    For a little bit of a change, I sometimes go for the jalapeno stuffed olives. Those things are to die for. Also, I could be wrong about this, but I believe gin is essentially vodka that has been spiced with juniper berries.

  • stormy617

    Mystern: I am with you on the White Russians but I usually add a shot of Absolute to mine, gives it a nice kick. Vodka is my favorite liquor so I was a little disappointed that you didnt include any recipes with vodka JFrater!!! LOL

    But cool list anyway!!

    And Eggnog shakes from McDonalds are great with rum added!!!

  • Mystern

    Hey, I’ve got a question to show my ignorance concerning alcohol. Would a Washington Apple be considered a cocktail?

  • stormy617

    OH and something else I like to do especially for a party. I use Absolute but you can use any liquor.

    Take a jar of Maraschino cherrys w/stems and pour out 3/4 of the juice, refill the jar with your favorite liquor put in the fridge for a couple of weeks…….shorter or longer will work……the longer you let them soak the stronger they will be . Yummy!!!!! The juice is good too!!!

    Once at an Italian wedding the father of the bride brought out a jar of cherries (real ones) that had been soaking in whiskey for over 20 years, I thought my tongue was going to fall off from the alcohol in them.

  • islanderbst

    i’ll have a vodka gimlet please!
    lime juice

    or anything with some nice canadian whiskey
    canadian club 12 year reserve is good

  • SocialButterfly

    Jamie: I know the drink you are describing as a Barn Door. except instead of a muddled orange slice my fave bartender uses orange bitters. The recipe as follows:

    dash of orange bitters
    1oz. Cointreau
    1 1/2 oz. Scotch

    Shake all ingredients together and strain into a glass. My bartender adds an orange slice and a cherry for me.

  • SocialButterfly

    islanderbst: Don’t forget the hockey stick… the other kind of Canadian Club :D

  • islanderbst

    social: :)
    hockey stick=marty mcsorleys choice for top10 badass weapons

  • islanderbst

    ive never had a mint julep, will have to try one, but i thought it was only for foo-foo horse racing cotillion dancing southern belles?

  • riledupone

    Love a good Rusty Nail-
    1 1/2 oz Scotch whisky
    1/2 oz Drambuie Scotch whisky
    1 twist lemon peel

    Pour the scotch and drambuie into an old-fashioned glass almost filled with ice cubes. Stir well. Garnish with the lemon twist.

  • Mystern

    Islanderbst: Mint Juleps, assuming they are made correctly, are phenomenal. Very strong, and very tasty.

  • such a mouth-watering list

  • riledupone

    On a cold winters night, of which we have many in Toronto, nothing will warm you up faster than an Errol Flynn. It’s equal parts of cognac and Grand Marnier and served in a snifter. It’ll warm you up from from you head to your toes, guaranteed.

  • Lucky

    Why did you choose a gin martini *shudder* It’s all about the Grey Goose Martini (I like mine extra dirty, but that’s just the kind of girl I am ;) )

  • Lucky: did you read the paragraph on the martini? A martini is made from gin. There is no such thing as a “Gin Martini” – there is, however, a “Vodka Martini” or “Kangaroo” which is what you are describing – this did not exist until many years after the Martini. When you order “a Martini” you should never be given a drink with vodka in it – you should ask for a Kangaroo or “Vodka Martini” if you don’t like Martinis :)

  • SocialButterfly

    LOL @ islanderbst!! (#37)

    riledupon: A very good dessert coffee mixes 1/2 oz cognac with 1 oz. of grand marnier and 1/2 oz. of cointrreau in coffee with whipped cream on top. mmm yummy!

  • WillFull

    It’s because of lists like these that I wish had a print function that trimmed down the printout to the bare essentials of the list. This Top 10 was fun, but very useful as well!

  • Yogi Barrister

    SocialButterfly’s cocktail sounds a lot like the Old Fashioned” my grandfather made for me the first time I got loaded.
    Two Shots Whiskey
    A Dash of Bitters
    A lump of Sugar
    Muddled Orange Wedge, Cherry, lemon peel

  • WillFull: I am going to do an eBook with a selection of my favorite and best lists – with a special chapter of lists not printed on the site – I will almost certainly include this list :) It will be a much more print friendly layout.

  • Mystern

    JF: Have you finally decided to do an eBook? Last I heard it was still up in the air.

  • Mystern: yeah – I am definitely going to do one – it is just a matter of picking a layout I like – learning how best to go about it with Indesign, and finding time to copy in the lists. I want to revise each list I include and maybe add one or two of the best comments from each list.

  • Mystern

    Cool! I’ll withhold my secret for copying these lists without including the pictures. Are you gonna do a coffee table book too?

  • filipinoknight

    I am very patial to Mojitos very refreshing on a hot summer day

  • Mystern: a real book would be really expensive – so it will just be an eBook unless a real publisher wants to make a real book for me :)

    filipinoknight: I like mojitos too!

  • toolnut

    mmmm. . . . margaritas, I think I’m gonna have one tonight, although tequila does bad things for my memory

  • saxplayer

    Actually, James Bond was correct in having his martini shaken but only because it was a vodka martini. While you should never shake gin, the only good way to mix a vodka drink is to shake.

  • Teacherman

    jfrater- beer list is in the works!

  • saxplayer: that is not correct – the “Vodka Martini” – AKA Kangaroo is also a clear liquid and contains vermouth (a type of wine) – it would result in a muddy appearance which should always be avoided. One normally only shakes a dark liquor. Additionally, he should have asked for a Bradford which is a shaken variation on a Martini. And, just for fun, did you know that Ian Flemming – author of the Bond Books wrote that Bond asked for his drink to be “stirred, not shaken” – some idiot in the process of putting it to the movie obviously knew nothing about fine liquor and got it backwards.

  • Teacherman: great!

  • Mom424

    Mystern; I prefer a Black Russian for sipping; equal parts Vodka and Kalhua (I prefer mine with a little more vodka than kalhua – a little warmer going down and a little less sweet)

  • Mom424: The black Russian is quite nice – though most people ruin it by thinking you are meant to put coke in it – bleah!

  • Mom424

    Coke is only required with shitty liquor or at the beach….

  • heavybison

    This definitely looks like Jamie’s fav topic..

  • indiefreak19

    As a student..a refined student of course haha…this is an awesome list and I want to go and try the few I have not yet had the joys of tasting lol

    Martini’s are always lovely when done well and Daiquiris are gorrgeous!

    I don’t know how many people know about Cheeky Vimto’s but they are freaking gorgeous too!

  • Mystern

    Mom424: I prefer the White Russian because I like the creamy taste. Although, my friend makes homemade kalhua, and a Black Russian with that is to die for. I will generally have a W. Russian in relaxed social situations without a meal. I will always have my Jamaican Coffee after a meal.

  • Mom242: ah – a lady after my own heart!

    heavybison: haha – is it so obvious? This one was written from the heart!

  • Cathysferret

    How about a list of fufu girly drinks? I love vodka because when you mix it with fruit juices you don’t really taste the alcohol and after a few you feel real good!

  • Cedestra

    I’d love to be able to add a dash of Absinthe to any drink, but it’s unfortunately illegal in the States.
    First two that come up for me are the Stinger and the Cape Codder. I usually drink Long Island Iced Teas, which wouldn’t technically count as a cocktail.

  • TMo

    Cedestra: Absinthe actually IS legal in the US. Big screw-up kept it out for a long time, but it’s slowly being re-introduced (the real stuff, mind you, there’s been fakes around for a while). Check out

    Can’t wait til it comes to my area!

  • I think alcoholic drinks are stupid. Drinking is fine, I’m talking about all these dumb rules for making these drinks. For a Tom Collins, 1 tablespoon of sugar syrus, juice from a moderate sized lemon, 4 ounces of gin, then add 4 ice cubes. What if I only add 3 icecubes, or add 5? Is it no longer a Tom Collins? Stuipid rules for equally stupid drinks. Whatever happened to the standard BEER?

  • Maxx_the_Slash: Welcome to mediocrity :)

  • SlickWilly


    I wouldn’t think that the number of ice-cubes would matter in creating a mixed drink, other than more than the standard number of cubes would dilute the drink, which is underdesirable (because above all, a mixed drink is about the way the mixers bring out the subtlties of the flavor of the spirit). However, as mentioned just previously, following the instructions in a mixed drink is extremely important; otherwise you wouldn’t have all these different named drinks. One of the best things about cocktails is that they are supposed to taste pretty much the same from one cocktail to another. Doing anything differently than the instructions say alters the flavor of the drink, and thus also alters the drink itself. What is simply a vodka martini becomes a “kangaroo” when lemon peels are added. This is because they change the flavor of the drink; thus it is no longer considered a “vodka martini.” This rule applies throughout the cocktail world.

    If beer is your only thing, drink it up and leave the fine liquors and cocktails to the grown-ups. There is something to be said for taste in this world.

  • SocialButterfly

    Zing!! Wow SlickWilly I felt the sting off of that one and it wasn’t even directed at me…lol. ;)

    Mystern & Mom424: I don’t know much about the difference between Black & White Russians… what exactly is in them?

  • Mystern

    SocialButterfly: A black Russian has 1 part coffee liqueur 2 parts vodka. A white Russian has 1 part coffee liqueur 1 part light cream and 2 parts vodka.

  • SocialButterfly

    Oohh.. those sound good! A White Russian is similar to a Paralyzer then, right? I mean without the cola of course.

  • SlickWilly

    SocialButterfly: Well, not to say I don’t enjoy beer. But I’m long past my “drink to get drunk” stage. Now, whenever I order an alcoholic drink, I want it to be the best-tasting, most reasonably priced drink they have (or, if I’m ballin’ at the moment, price is no option :) ). Thus, when I go for beer, I never tend to drink domestics, and, when givin the option, almost always go with a cocktail. So long as it’s before or after the meal. My father always taught me that it is not proper to drink a cocktail with dinner, and that wine is always preferable for the meal itself. Cocktails are best drunk before or after the main course.

  • Mystern

    SocialButterfly: Yes you could say the Saskatchewan Paralyzer evolved from the White Russian. But I urge you to see comment 62.

  • SocialButterfly

    LOL!! I know, I know… I am not a fan of Paralyzers by any means…hahaha my one aunt drank nothing but paralyzers growing up.

    I had no idea that they were from Saskatchewan though… hmm guess everyone knows where I grew up…

    Seriously though, Tequila is my drink of choice.

  • SocialButterfly

    Your father taught you as my own did… my father always stated (and I quote) “only discivilized yard apes do not understand why wine is the prefered choice for a refined palatte.”

    Did I mention he is a bit of an ass. :)

  • TMo

    SlickWilly: I am personally offended. I don’t drink beer to get drunk (umm, anymore), otherwise I would still be all over Coors Light and Milwaulkee’s (sp?) Best… yuk. I drink beer for the delicious, silky smooth lusciousness that trickles down my throat and warms my yearning belly… DogFishHead, Blue Moon, Sam Adams Seasonal, to name a few. The pumpkin ales that come out every fall are quite a trip.

  • TMo

    Oh, also, wine is awesome. And my favorite cocktail is Jack & Coke. Or 7 & 7.

  • Mystern

    I understand why people drink wine. I can understand why people drink beer. But I’ve only ever liked either under very specific circumstances. I think the issue has to be I’ve never been exposed to the proper setting to drink said beverages.

  • Csimmons

    I have had a mint julip before, it is the best drink ive ever had.

  • Mystern

    Csimmons: Aren’t you too young to drink?

  • SlickWilly

    TMo: Don’t be personally offended….all those beers you listed are good. Sam Adams, Yuengling and this new stuff called Sweetwater are about the only domestics I drink. Blue Moon is good once in a while but I’m not a big fan of the wheat ale. When I spoke of “domestics” in my previous post, I was speaking of mostly the crappy domestic beers that come readily to mine (i.e. bud, bud light, miller, coors, the beast, etc. etc.)

    I think a great idea for a top 10 list would be “top 10 shittiest-tasting beers.” I know that high life, PBR and……*hurk*….(sorry just threw up a little in my mouth) steel reserve.

  • SlickWilly

    Also, I could be wrong, but I think jack & cokes, 7 & 7’s, etc. are considered highballs and not cocktails. Not sure if highballs are considered a kind of true cocktail.

  • TMo

    Yea, i knew i’d get flack for considering a highball a cocktail, but i wasn’t sure. Yuengling is the shit, by the way, and so is Killian’s Irish Red, speaking of domestics. Also, I’ve been known to down an Old English 40oz or 2 on occasion :-) But I’ll never pass on a Blue Moon on tap with an orange slice.

  • TMo

    …thank god it’s friday.

  • SlickWilly

    TFGIF, as well. All this talk about cocktails and highballs makes me want to go have a good stiff drink. Who’s with me?

  • TMo

    i’m so thirsty

  • Mystern

    Slick: Hear Hear! I’m glad I’m off in 1 and a half hours.

  • macabresoren

    Wow, you can tell I’m not a drinker cause I only know half of these. I can live with that. ^^;

  • toolnut

    Dude!!! White Russians. . . “Donnie, you’re out of your element”

  • SocialButterfly

    I’m with you Slick… I’m off in 2 hours. Who want to meet me in Margaritaville?? I’ll buy the first round… nothing with Coke in it of course… ;)

  • SUN

    I figured he said shaken, not stirred because the presumption was that it would naturally be stirred.

  • SUN

    And maybe Ian Flemming is doing a little cover your arse

  • SlickWilly

    Social Butterfly: I’ve already got my flip-flops and baggies. :)

  • A Gimlet is far superior to a martini, IMHO: 1.5 parts vodka or gin to 1 part lime juice, shake with ice and serve either straight up or on the rocks, do not garnish at all – it slows the consumption. Be sure to use quality Gin like Bombay Saphire or in a pitch you may use Vodka. One may use Roses lime juice or better yet, make your own fresh squeezed lime juice, but you have to sweeten it.
    A Sazerac is a great drink but be sure to use genuine Peychaud’s Bitters or it’s not really a Sazerac.

  • Jen

    For #9 (the mint julep), is there any particular reason you specified to add the ice “with your bare hands?” Just curious.

  • Yondofan12

    Teacherman: “Top 20 beers list perhaps”


  • goof_ball

    I like the cup in #6

  • I hold the Record among my friends for the number of Jager-Bombs consumed in the shortest amount of time Without retching: 13 drinks in 1hr. 20min. One can redbull, One shot jagermeister, Good way to start off the night.

  • Borg

    I can appreciate a good cocktail, especially a gimlet done right. But if I just want to get a good buzz, nothing gets me going like Jim Beam. I don’t have any idea why, but Jim Beam is to me as spinach is to Popeye. It makes me feel absolutely euphoric and invincible. Everytime. I love whisky. I’m drinking it right now. I’m gonna go for a bike ride and then out with friends. It’s wrong that alcohol makes me so happy. Yay alchohol!

  • gr8 list ,so i am gonna have something new for this weekend
    and r u sure vodka is not a gr8 choice for a cocktail cos bloody mary and vodka redbull r my favs

  • stormy617

    OK i obviously don’t know what is in a white russian. So here is the drink that I make.

    2.5 shots Baileys
    2 shots Absolut Vodka

    Combine in a 16 ounce glass filled 3/4 of the way full of ice, and fill the rest of the way up with Half and Half or milk. I prefer Half and Half as it gives it that much creamier taste.


    Oh but I guess this is not a true cocktail as JF said a true cocktail never has milk or cream :( OH well I still like them and after a few or four of them I am feeling very very good!!! :D

  • You can still enjoy drinks made with milk or cream, but true cocktails (traditionally) are meant to be dry – not too sweet :)

  • Am I getting this totally wrong, but I do believe that a martini is made by simply shading the glass with vermouth (dry) emptying the cocktail glass then pouring the gin over crushed ice from the shaker?

    I think these cocktails are the american versions rather than english

  • ihavelegs: that idea is one of the many modern “trendy” concepts of a martini where snobbish people demand their martini be drier than dry – other variations include using an atomiser spray to squirt the vermouth on top of the gin. All are silly and you might as well drink straight gin. There is a little joke about this from the TV show MASH:

    Hawkeye declares, “actually, I’m pursuing my lifelong quest for the perfect, the absolutely driest martini to be found in this or any other world. And I think I may have hit upon the perfect formula.” Trapper responds, “five-to-one?” Hawkeye replies, “Not quite. You pour six jiggers of gin, and you drink it while staring at a picture of Lorenzo Schwartz, the inventor of vermouth.”

    Oh – and the Americans invented Cocktails – so a British variant would not be authentic :)

  • Drogo

    Has anyone heard of a “Bull Shot.” I’ve asked Several bartenders just to see if they know it, and they don’t… I wrote down the recipe but I can’t find it. I remember it had Vodka, worschester(sp?), celery salt, lime juice, and Beef Consumee(sp?). Some celebrity liked it.

    I remember Hawkeye on MASH asking for a martini so dry that it was “parched, arid, dying of thirst, and so on.” (haha)

  • jocsboss

    My drink of choice is Drambuie, neat in a warmed brandy glass.

    Sugar does not dissolve in pure alcohol at all which is why you should use sugar syrup.

    I keep my liquor (rum, vodka, whiskey)in a freezer. It won’t freeze because of the alcohol content and negates the necessity of ice cubes.

  • YES!!! Jamie that was one of the best quote EVER on this site!

  • Crimanon: I agree! Hawkeye rocks!

  • Jadester

    Borg, you said it! A little bit of crown royal and i feel like a million bucks. I thought I was the only one with the whiskey/spinach theory.

  • Idreno

    Great list – and I am in complete agreeance about the definition of TRUE Martini’s and Manhattans. It should also be noted that daiquiri’s and margherita’s are NOT frozen drinks, as most Americans assume they are – what is normally served in our country are actually called “Frozen Daiquiri’s/Margheritas.”

    Alas, I happen to enjoy Vodka very much, so I tend to make cocktails that are vodka based, but I also love gin (Tanqueray No. 10 is my FAVORITE).

    For a simple and tasty cocktail recepie:

    A White Grape Martini
    Mix equal parts Welch’s 100% White Grape Juice and Ciroc vodka (which is distilled from grapes) – Belevedere Vokda also works well, but Ciroc is encouraged.
    Garnish with 2 or 3 seedless white grapes.

    It’s a very refreshing cocktail during the summer and you will never taste a better grape after you’ve eaten the grapes that marinate in this drink!

    Not to mention the ever delicious French Martini which, while there are some variances to the recepie, to my knowledge is a combination of Chambord and vodka (I often use Belvedere or Blue Sapphire for this) with a champagne float and is always delicious!

  • copperdragon

    was hoping to see Mojitos on the list

  • amanda

    Jfrater my husband just fell in love with you. He was a bartender when we met, and I witnessed him kick someone out of the bar for throwing a fit about not getting vodka in his martini. He says that the recipe you printed is the ONLY way to make a martini. My personal favorite is a Mojito. My hubby makes it the traditional cuban way.

    1 teaspoon powdered sugar
    Juice from 1 lime (2 ounces)
    4 mint leaves

    1 sprig of mint
    Havana Club white Rum (2 ounces)
    2 ounces club soda

    crush the mint with the crusher thing in the bottom of a Collins glass, add the rum, lime, and soda, top with a ‘floater’ of powdered sugar and mint leaves. Yummy!

  • albert0

    I LOVE THIS LIST!!!!! Before now I hadn’t been able to make any of these cocktails!

  • Nice set, thank you

  • dave4248

    Excellent job Jfrater. Very good list. I like my martinis more medium (less dry) than your recipe. I prefer 3 parts gin and 2 parts vermouth, with two olives. But I’m glad to see you made it #1. I also like that you didn’t give any blog space to one of those sissy “appletinis” or “peachtinis.” EECCCHHHH!

  • Mystern, re your friend and his homemade kahlua: In my family we have a Secret Family Recipe for homemade kahlua, which goes by the name of “Grandma’s Christmas Cookies.” While most grandmas would bake batches of cookies decorated in red and green frosting and give those out at Christmas, my mother’s mother would brew up batches of this stuff, bottle it in small bottles, and hand those around as presents to friends and family.

    Tells you something about Grandma, doesn’t it? Quite a gal.

  • biisis

    Why does listverse insist on stamping their name on the bottom of every picture. A lot of these are simply the first hit on a basic google image search. It’s not like these are copywrit images to which listverse has exclusive rights. Strikes me as a touch idiotic.

  • suzi

    Great info on the Martini, I love a perfect, classic one about 5:00pm. Really enjoyed the hawkeye quote, I catch rereuns of that show whenever I can.
    I do love mojito when we have people for barbeque. We make ours with simple syrup, otherwise the same as Amanda.

  • Mystern

    Steve T: That’s really interesting. My friend only makes the stuff at Christmas and gives it out as presents. I wonder if it’s a coincidence?

    So I went to a restaurant on Friday for Valentines Day and ordered a sidecar. The guy asked me what I wanted it with. Interesting bit of trivia, here in Utah a sidecar is a shot on the side of another drink because state laws prohibit ordering a double. I was finally able to find someone in the place who knew the recipe and got my drink on. It was yummy and later in the night I had a Tom Collins. I really couldn’t decide between the two which I liked more.

  • Mystern: well done! The sidecar is great.

  • Mystern

    JF: My wife certainly liked it (and she hates most alcoholic drinks). I can say that before last Friday I did not have an appreciation of cocktails. Thanks Jamie. Now I know, and knowing is half the battle.

  • Mystern: a love of cocktails really opens up a whole new world of drunken fun :)

  • Bob

    A Manhattan with Jameson Irish Whiskey is great. Shaking is fine, though; it’s only a myth that it’s bad.

  • Louis

    sorry. The long island iced tea is the best cocktail made by man.

  • NSEW

    what about the white russian man?

  • AcrylicPop

    Bar staff should be forced to read this list! I can’t tell you how frustrated I get when I ask for a cocktail list, am informed that they can make “anything”, then find out they can’t even make a martini properly – “no, with gin in it!” Once I asked the girl to stir my martini instead of shaking it and she outright refused and told me I didn’t know how to make them properly; I should have left…

    My very favorite cocktail is a journalist, though it’s hard to find.
    1/2 tsp Triple Sec
    1 1/2 oz Gin
    1 1/2 tsp Dry Vermouth
    1 1/2 tsp Sweet Vermouth
    1/2 tsp Lemon Juice
    1 dash Bitters

    Try it, it is life changing.

  • the first time i looked through this list, I just looked at the names. I was just told in the chat the recipie on here for a sidecar…

    Sorry but that is not a sidecar a sidecar is a cocktail made of

    1 part cognac
    1 part triple-sec (or cointreau)
    1 part lemon juice

    Brandy is an alternative to the cognac.

  • Why would you waste the cognac on a mix?

  • Crimanon: It is the traditional mix for the cocktail. Alot of people sub with brandy (i think they just can’t handle cognac)

  • When I’m making a drink I sure don’t use my uh, “special stock”, I use the crap at the bottom. The only difference between the two are a couple of years in the barrel. It would be like making your mothers prized breakfast omelets by pouring them from a cardboard carton.

  • but if you are in a bar or resturant, then it is not your stock of the drink you would be using. I am just saying that cagnac is the traditional and people do use brandy as an alternative. I am not saying you are wrong.

    Also on a side note. After a bit of research I did find an 8:2:1 like what Jamie has posted. I guess I need to go back to bartending school because I have never heard of that mix.

  • point taken.

  • Jake

    “You can still enjoy drinks made with milk or cream, but true cocktails (traditionally) are meant to be dry – not too sweet”

    Then why do half of the drinks include simple sugar syrup?

  • rushfan

    What a great idea for a list. My fave is the Long Island Iced Tea :)

  • thirtytwo

    I too would love to see mojito on here.

  • Ash

    Suprised that Cosmopolitans aren’t on here

    Sex On The Beach should be too
    They are MMMMMMMMMM

  • Mystern

    hey Jamie, they released a 2nd printing of the book. 39.95 USD on Amazon

  • Mystern

    sorry for the 2nd comment, but the link didn’t work. Here it is again

  • victorious

    I came on looking for some cool cocktails for my birthday…And all I got was a load of drivvel from a pretentious twat. Shut up man! And you should know i’ve never left a comment on anything on the internet in my life… But this guy really wound me up.

  • Cyn

    144. victorious –
    and hopefully be your last. :)

    an extremely rude comment your only legacy online.

  • Crimanon

    Learned a new drink. The Lindsey Lohan” It’s a redheaded slut ( with a little bit of coke.

    I laughed my ass off when I learned it.

  • howie

    ” Can you make a Bull Shot?”
    ” Can YOU make a shoe smell?”

  • Ashley R

    i wish i was older…these look so good!!

  • Ganja God

    My gf. is OBSESSED with Mojito’s.

  • gabi319

    If you like mojitos, you might like caipirihnas. Similar in appearance but a caipirihna has a bit more of a bite to it. I thought nothing could supercede my love of mojitos but I was wrong! …and now that mojitos are all the rage, everyone’s making it and lots of times it tastes too sweet. I still love mojitos when I come across a good one but sometimes I need something stronger.

    As a thank you, a visiting designer had given us a alcohol goody bag along with a really great recipe for caipirinha (the play was set in Brazil…so it was a themed thank you gift). Unfortunately, that’s halfway across the country now so I just googled a generic recipe:
    Here is what you need:
    1 Lime
    2 shot Cachaca
    2 Tablespoons White Granulated Sugar
    Crushed Ice

    Here is what you do:
    Cut lime into 8 pieces. Muddle lime and sugar in the bottom of a glass or cocktail shaker. Add rum. Add about 1 cup crushed ice. Cover and shake vigorously. Garnish with a lime wedge and serve with a straw.

  • tinnei

    its small and beautiful list of classic cocktail ………………… thankyou

  • Pingback: {cocktails} classic 10 «

  • Pingback: COCKTAILS « Sushantskoltey's Blog()

  • Dionysus

    Now that's crazy. Wherever I have been, 70% of the people had Mojito.

  • Evan

    I actually heard that Fleming had Bond order his martini shaken, not stirred because it’s something that Bond would never do (he was trying to conceal his identity, perhaps). But the “shaken, not stirred” meme has lasted with such strength that “martini shaker” has become a standard synonym for “cocktail shaker.”

  • chand

    Enter your comment here.

  • manish kumar

    this list is amazing

    these cocktails are nice to drink.

  • axelf

    OMG.! Where is Dell boys favourite? Pina Collada

  • vagabontinat

    thanks,especialy for martini info :) may the booze be with you:)

  • desnapriya nanayakkara.


  • ARealBartender

    I briefly skimmed over this article because what i read in the first few paragraphs was such crap I didn’t really bother with the rest, best advice: leave it to the professional bartenders to give you real advice on the art of making cocktails not an ignorant neophyte. And remember, you won’t get the same result as a professional bartender without the proper setup / skill and knowledge but good luck anyway

  • Seamus

    I always have my Martini shaken because I love upsetting elitist pricks like yourself.

  • Alex – Barman

    “the aim of a cocktail is to enjoy the flavoured spirit”

    Sorry sir, but No.

    “The fine art of mixing drinks”, Embury, 1948, this book stresses frequently that cocktails, in the classic meaning of the word are a pre-dinner drink and should whet the appetite, not dull it, and thus should be dry, not sweet and flavourful…. For this purpose, vodka is ultimately perfect…

  • Staven Gregario

    On the contrary Vodka Martini’s are amost always shaken. Go Bond get u some Kettle!!

  • Pingback: It’s Happy Hour! | Food 4 thought()

  • melroy rodrigues

    d info is jst awesome ,,, m satisfied …

  • Sripal

    I want to share this page in facebook

  • Pingback: Hit me with your Swizzle Stick | Dead clever()


    I like your analysis of the “Martini” perfect. Yet, i have an issue with the proportions on your Manhattan, really 5:1? If you take such care to discuss the Martini, why use this Contemporary, definetely not classic ratio?


    You’re full of crap. Martinis are shaken and you load them up with 2 or three olives, and it doesn’t matter if they’re made with gin or vodka you pussy.

  • dinesh

    great cocktail lists and also great explanation i like & love this keep it up

  • Akhil

    I’m also a Bartender in Indore a growing city in India. I’m really glad after learned about the origional recipe method of making an Martini. from now on I concider you a my Guru [Teacher] & I need ur guidence and reply is must.

  • petet2112

    Here’s a challenge for you and for any bartender to attempt. If you succeed in making this, you could probably work at any bar in the world. Name of the drink : St. Moritz Pousse-Cafe (A layered drink) Ingredients : Raspberry Syrup, Anisette, Parfait Amour, Yellow Chartreuse, Green Chartreuse, Curacao, Cognac. Directions : Layer ingredients in the order given, one on top of the other in a Pousse-Cafe glass. When making this, pour the liquid slowly over the back of a barspoon. Any agitation will cause the layers to mix. Remember, this is a seven-layered drink.

  • Roger

    Looks like a whole lot more people in the cmemonts agree with me. Compare Duluth to the Twin Cities and there is virtually no nightlife. Hell, even suburbs of the cities have alot more to do. It does however have some very scenic places to visit in the day, but as far as nightlife goes, there is not much to do. Period.

  • drink blender

    I was recommended this web site through my cousin. I am not certain whether this publish is written by way of him as no one else understand such unique about my problem. You are amazing! Thank you!

  • I’m basically a barman.can u mail me more new cocktail list.thank u

  • AndyJ

    Since my drink driving ban I’ve been cutting back on the alcohol. But as soon as it expires it’ll be a big night out on the cocktails for me! Thanks for this list!

  • Pingback: Top 10 Blenders 2014 - test()

  • Pingback: Top 10 Classic Cocktails | Sinister News Network()

  • Pingback: Top 10 Classic Cocktails |

  • Pingback: Top 10 Classic Cocktails -()

  • Pingback: Amazon Drink Muddler | Smiling Experts()

  • Pingback: Top 10 Classic Cocktails – Para-SciFi()

  • Pingback: Top 10 Unexpected Outcomes Of Prohibition – Khu Phim()