Food

21 Cocktails You Should Learn To Make In Your Twenties

It’s time to graduate from gin and tonic.

1. A Delicious Bloody Mary

This drink is super versatile (not just for brunch!), and while there are tons of ways to jazz it up with insane garnish, a basic yet delicious Bloody Mary is easy to make.

To learn how to make the Sriracha rim salt in the picture, check this out.

2. A Classic Margarita on the Rocks

Jennifer Boscacci / Via chow.com

Here’s the recipe for the classic 2:1:1 ratio. Important here is making sure you use quality orange liqueur, preferably Cointreau.

Once you’ve perfected this, you can move on to frozen margaritas, which surprisingly, are more complicated than just putting a marg on the rocks in the blender.

3. A Sidecar

Andrew DeVigal / Via seriouseats.com

Once you perfect your margarita, its cousin the sidecar (made with brandy) will be a piece of cake.

4. An Old-School Manhattan

Jonathaon Kambouris / Via bonappetit.com

Made with whiskey, sweet vermouth, and Angostura bitters, this classic cocktail definitely requires more precision than the sugary, citrus drinks above. But that’s also its greatest virtue: It’s all booze.

You can also check out this video for step-by-step instructions.

5. Simple Sangria

Dana & John Shultz / Via minimalistbaker.com

You can obviously feel free to add more kinds of fruit, but this five-ingredient recipe will give you an awesome red-wine sangria with minimal effort. Having a good recipe for this in your arsenal is like having a well-curated résumé — it pays off again and again.

6. And Also White Wine Sangria

Lauren Rea / Via adashofsoul.com

They say sangria can’t buy you love, but…it might.

7. A Gin Fizz

Joanne Gallagher / inspiredtaste.net

So easy that you can probably guess the recipe if you’ve ever tried one.

8. A Tom Collins

Joanne Gallagher / Via inspiredtaste.net

Despite seeming like a country-clubbing dad drink, a Tom Collins is definitely something you should learn to make in your twenties because it’s quick and delicious. It’s almost the same as a gin fizz, but with additional citrus flavor from the orange slice, and the delightful bonus of a maraschino cherry.

If you’re up for it, learn how to make delicious homemade maraschino cherries, without all of the creepy chemicals.

9. A Refreshing Mojito

Flickr Creative Commons / Via Flickr: cierah

This is a great party trick to have up your sleeve. It’s also a great thing to make at home, since bartenders will give you so much side-eye if you order a mojito on a busy night (fresh mint requires serious muddling). Get the recipe here.

10. A Whiskey Sour

A delicious whiskey sour requires good whiskey (Bourbon or Tennessee Whiskey) and fresh citrus — NOT sour mix from a bottle. If you’re a thrill-seeker, you can even add egg white for froth.

11. A Moscow Mule

For this drink, just mix 1 part vodka with 2 parts ginger beer, a squeeze of lime, and ice in a collins or highball glass. That is, unless you have an authentic copper Moscow mule mug.

12. A Basic Lime Daiquiri

James Ransom / food52.com

Not the smoothie-esque beach resort kind of daiquiri, but a simple, stripped-down version like this.

13. A Negroni

Geoff Peters / Flickr Creative Commons / Flickr: gpeters

The negroni is extremely easy to make, has high alcohol content, and extremely yummy if you like the bittersweet taste of Campari.

Be warned: This cocktail has a very impassioned cult following (and a backlash to go with it).

14. A Gimlet

This one is 3 parts gin or vodka, 2 parts fresh squeezed lime juice, and 2 parts simple syrup on ice. These look really impressive with a lime wheel as garnish.

Instructions here.

16. A Classy Champagne Cocktail

Lucas Allen / foodandwine.com

This is the perfect classy drink to serve at your grown-up functions/New Year’s Eve parties.

Soak a sugar cube with two or three dashes of Angostura bitters and drop it into a glass of brut champagne. Top it off with a fancy little lemon twist.

17. A Dark and Stormy

Jennifer Boscacci / Via chow.com

One part dark rum (technically the “Dark ‘N Stormy” is trademarked by Gosling’s Black Seal Rum), 2 parts ginger beer, lime juice, and ice. The trick to a really great dark and stormy is adding a bit of raw ginger or sweetened ginger syrup for an extra kick.

Recipe here.

18. A Mint Julep

Jennifer Hess / Via drinks.seriouseats.com

This one you should learn to make at home because if you order them at a bar, or on Kentucky Derby Day, you’re likely to get a gross, pre-mixed impostor.

A real Mint Julep is slightly labor-intensive, but totally worth it.

19. A White Russian

Mixing cream and liquor tends to creep a lot of people under the age of 40 out, but so what, the Dude drinks these.

20. A Martini

Don LaVange / Flickr: wickenden

You should probably know how to make a Martini even if you don’t enjoy drinking them, because you will inevitably be asked to make one should you ever invite friends over for drinks.

A helpful recipe that distinguishes normal from “dry” from “bone-dry” here.

21. A Batch of Jello Shots

Flickr Creative Commons / Via Flickr: tmab2003

For when you need to prove you’re still fun.

Note: You will need a cocktail shaker to make a lot of these drinks properly (but if you just stir them instead, we won’t tell).

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