You don’t need a Ph.D. or even a cocktail shaker to mix up these drinks — just a glass, ice, liquor, a mixer, and maybe a lime. There isn’t really a recipe for most of them; you can be as liberal as you like with the booze-to-mixer ratio. A lot of them will look familiar, but a couple of them might not. CHEERS.
Top one or two shots of tequila with grapefruit soda. The classic brand to use is grapefruit-flavored (“Toronja”) Jarritos, but you could try it with any brand you like, or DIY with grapefruit juice, seltzer, and simple syrup. Garnish with a lime wedge.
The dynamic duo of bittersweet Campari + fizzy, hoppy IPA (use whatever brand you like) is surprisingly great and very refreshing. Top one or two shots of Campari with about half a bottle of beer. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Top one or two shots of whiskey with ginger ale and garnish with a lemon twist. It’s called a “Horse’s Neck” if it’s served with a long, curly strip of lemon peel.
Top one or two shots vodka with grapefruit juice. Freshly squeezed juice from an actual grapefruit is ideal, but not required. Hot tip: adding salt to the rim a) is good and b) officially turns the drink into a Salty Dog.
Top one or two shots Seagram’s 7 with 7-Up and garnish with a lime wedge. This is a drink where having the specific brands it calls for makes a difference in the taste; if you can’t find Seagram’s 7, probably better to stick with a whiskey ginger.
Top one or two shots gin with tonic water and garnish with a lime wedge. Duh.
Top one or two shots of Campari with seltzer or club soda and garnish with an orange slice. Also great with Aperol if you don’t love the bitterness of Campari.
Becherovka is a spicy, bittersweet Czech liqueur (made with a unknown but delicious muddle of herbs and spices) that’s started to pick up steam in the U.S. It’s very refreshing when you top one or two shots of it with tonic water and garnish with a lemon wedge.
Top one or two shots of rum with Coke and garnish with a lime wedge. (NB that this drink only gets to use the fancy Spanish name if you serve it with lime.)
Muddle a cucumber slice, lemon slice, and a sprig of fresh mint in the bottom of your glass. Add a shot or two of Pimm’s and top with ginger ale.
(Okay, so including the veggies this may be a few more than two ingredients. But it’s still dead easy to make and a perfect summer drink in every way, so hush your mouth.)
Top a shot or two of vodka with orange juice and garnish with an orange slice. You can add a little seltzer if you’re enjoying this drink at brunch (as opposed to a frat party).
The elegant elderflower liqueur is back in style these days. Mix 1/2 oz. St. Germain with 4 oz. champagne and garnish with an orange slice or a strawberry.
Top a shot or two of gin with ginger beer and garnish with a lime wedge. Ginger ale works too, but it doesn’t have quite the same kick.
Top a shot or two of bourbon with iced tea and garnish with a lemon wedge. Bottled tea like Snapple works, but you could also brew or mix your own peach tea (that way you can adjust the amount of sugar in it).