Do you want to know more about iconic cocktails? Here is our ultimate list of 15 famous cocktail recipes, hand-picked from the best in the world. Make them all, and you will have a complete range of historic drinks that helped shape modern cocktail culture. Most of these mixed cocktails date back to the 1920s, but others are much older (like the classic Old Fashioned or Daiquiri).
This list includes famous classic cocktails based on spirit, as well as similar cocktails mentioned below it.
1. Aperol Spritz
The Aperol spritz is a timeless cocktail that is fizzy, citrusy, herbal, slightly bitter, and mildly sweet. Mix prosecco, Aperol, and club soda in a wine glass filled with ice, in a ratio of 3:2:1. Serve with an orange slice as a garnish. Related cocktails include Americano, Amaro Spritz, and Campari Spritz.
2. Classic Mojito
Here’s a traditional rum cocktail: The Mojito. The Mojito’s roots are murky: some claim it was developed in the 1500s, while others claim it was created in the 1800s with the establishment of the Bacardi rum company. It’s flawlessly blended with lime, rum, simple syrup, and fresh mint. To make it, muddle the mint with lime juice and syrup in a cocktail shaker, then add the rum, shake and serve. Related cocktails are Classic Mint Julep, Caipirinha, Southside Cocktail, and Classic Daiquiri.
3. Classic Manhattan (Martinez)
The Manhattan is an iconic whiskey cocktail with a long history that has recently gained popularity. It has many things going on: vanilla, wood and caramel note from the whiskey, sweet and spicy from the vermouth, and salty and herby from the bitters. You need to stir in all the ingredients together and serve it with Luxardo cherry as a garnish. Related cocktails: Try the classic Martinez, which is like a gin-based version of Manhattan. This version is somewhat cleaner and more balanced than the previous one.
4. Classic French 75
The French 75 is a popular champagne cocktail. It’s a cocktail from the 1920s with a cryptic name that’s tangy, bubbly, and a little botanical. It’s made simply with just lemon juice, simple syrup, and champagne and garnished with a lemon twist. Related cocktail: The Classic Champagne Cocktail.
5. Tom Collins Cocktail
The Tom Collins is a popular gin cocktail. Shake up gin, lemon juice, and syrup in a cocktail shaker with 4 ice cubes. Pour the drink into a glass filled with ice cubes. Then add soda water to finish. The garnish is what defines Tom Collins. For the full impact, garnish with a maraschino cherry. If desired, garnish with a lemon wheel. Related cocktail: Southside Fizz.
6. Classic Martini
The martini is among the most well-known drinks of all time. It has been consumed for over a century. The formula is easy: only gin and dry vermouth. It is usually served in a chilled glass and garnished with olives, although you can also use a lemon twist. However, there are several well-known variations like Dirty Martini, Vesper Martini, Lemon Drop Martini, Cucumber Martini, Pomegranate Martini, Watermelon Martini, Espresso Martini, and French Martini.
7. Classic Negroni (Boulevardier)
The Negroni is yet another traditional gin cocktail. The taste of this cocktail made with Campari, gin, and sweet vermouth, can be polarizing. Stir the components together in a mixing glass with 1 handful of ice for 30 seconds. This chills and dilutes the drink less than shaking it in a cocktail shaker might. Strain into an ice-filled lowball or a traditional glass. Related cocktails: Old Pal, Negroni Sbagliato, Americano and Mezcal Negroni.
8. Classic Old Fashioned
The Old-Fashioned cocktail is amongst the most well-known retro cocktails. This popular whiskey cocktail dates back to the early 1800s, long before the terms ‘classic’ and ‘cocktail’ were even used in the same sentence. It’s fast and easy to make; just shake and muddle a sugar cube with water, add the bitters and bourbon whiskey, garnish with an orange peel or a cherry for a genuinely elegant cocktail. Related cocktail: Sazerac.
9. Classic Sidecar
The Sidecar is one of the best old-school sour cocktails of all time. You have to rim the glass with sugar. Then shake the lemon juice, Cointreau, and brandy in a cocktail shaker with some ice and strain into that sugar-rimmed glass and serve with a lemon twist. Related cocktails: Vodka Sidecar, Bourbon Sidecar, White Lady, Between the Sheets, and Corpse Reviver.
10. Classic Gin Gimlet
The gimlet is also another famous gin cocktail. All you have to do is shake the gin, lime juice, and syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour into a glass and top with soda water if needed. Serve with a lime wheel as a garnish. Related cocktails: Vodka Gimlet, French Gimlet, Basil Gimlet, and Cosmopolitan.
11. Classic Moscow Mule
The Moscow mule is perhaps the most classic vodka drink. This retro cocktail was created in the 1940s. Fill a copper mug halfway with vodka, ginger beer, and garnish with lemon and ice cubes. It’s that easy. Now you may ask what the significance of the mug is. When you take a drink, the cooling effect of the cup allows it to taste ice cold. Related cocktails: Mexican Mule, Watermelon Mule, Cider Mule, Mezcal Mule, Kentucky Mule, Gin Gin Mule, and Dark and Stormy.
12. Classic Margarita
The margarita is the greatest classic tequila drink of it all. The margarita, which is thought to have originated in the 1930s, is among the most classic sour. Rim the lowball glass with salt. Shake together the tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice in a cocktail shaker with 4 ice cubes. Fill a glass halfway with ice and strain the drink into it. Related cocktails: Mezcal Margarita, Jalapeño Margarita, Skinny Margarita, Beer Margarita, Cadillac Margarita, and Paloma.
13. Classic Daiquiri
The daiquiri seems to be the most famous rum cocktail. This beautifully balanced drink features lime juice, rum, and just simple syrup in the ratio 3:2:1, and serve with a lime wedge. A typical daiquiri is not frozen at all; it is consumed straight up in cocktail glasses. Related cocktails: Hemingway Daiquiri, Strawberry Daiquiri, and Lime Frozen Daiquiri.
14. Classic Gin Fizz
The gin fizz is one of the simplest gin cocktails. The gin fizz is fresh and elegant. In a cocktail shaker, mix the gin, fresh lemon juice, syrup, and egg white without ice first, and then add ice and strain into two glasses. When you add soda water to each glass, the carbonation reacts with the egg white to create a frothy foam top. Related cocktails: Tom Collins, Southside, Bees Knees, Gin Sour, and Clover Club.
15. Classic Whiskey Sour
The whiskey sour is one of the popular and favourite whiskey cocktails of all time. It’s easy to make, simply shake the bourbon whiskey, lemon, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker until cold. You may also stir them together until the syrup is dissolved. Serve with plenty of ice and enjoy. Whiskey sours are typically served with an orange slice and a cocktail cherry. You may also incorporate an egg white for a frothy foam topping, transforming it into a Boston Sour. Related cocktails: New York Sour, Amaretto Sour, Vodka Sour, Tequila Sour, and Pisco Sour.