15 Minimalist Cocktail Recipes You Can Whip up in a Flash

The world of cocktail making can be rather intimidating when you’re first introduced. Fancy cocktail shakers and an array of glassware can baffle the mind, not too mention, how someone can even remember all the ingredients that go into a book worth of cocktail recipes. Not all cocktails require an elaborate recipe, however, that only master bartenders at famous cocktail bars could conjure up.

There are some cocktails, especially when it comes to summer drinks, that even the newest of drinkers know by heart. Using few ingredients, you can opt for a shaker or simply free pour your liquor ’til your heart’s contempt. By having a few of the basic bar tools on hand and picking up a couple ingredients from the grocery store, you’ll be ready to mix like the masters.

To give you some inspiration waiting for that chilled cocktail glass, here are 15 cocktail recipes that you can have ready as easy as 1-2-3. Maybe your new favorite drink is on this list.

1. Gin & Tonic

You don’t need a recipe to make a killer Gin & Tonic. All you need is some quality gin and an ice-cold tonic. Toss in a few wedges of lime, large ice cube chunks to keep it chilled, and you’re ready for a refreshing cocktail.

And as a bonus, you can throw in a hint of mint to top it all off. For the gin and tonic lover at heart, hop on over to  Drizzle and Drip for some pointers. Don’t forget the lime wedge, that citrus zing elevates the delicious cocktail even further.

2. Martini

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When it comes to a classic vodka drink, you don’t get much simpler than the martini. Measure or don’t measure, it’s really up to you. You could free pour into a glass, or do like the experts do and bust out your cocktail shaker to impress your guests.

To make, pour about 2 1/2 ounces of gin, 1/2 ounce of dry vermouth, and ice into your shaker. Then shake it up, strain, and bingo! You’ll feel like you’re on a rooftop patio in New York City or San Francisco when you’re really in your own backyard.

If you’re feeling fancy, top it with some olives or add a twist of orange. It’s your martini, so make it how you please.

3. Mimosa

No brunch would be complete without a refreshing mimosa. While you may go all out with preparing a lavish meal, the great thing about a mimosa is no measuring is required.

In a champagne flute – or glass of your choice – free pour the desired amount of champagne. Top with orange, cranberry, grapefruit, or lemon juice, and you’re ready to brunch like a pro.

4. Bloody Mary

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If you don’t brunch with a mimosa, then you’re probably brunching with a Bloody Mary. This is the one cocktail that everyone has expertise in from making at some point. While there really is no right or wrong way to make Bloody Marys, you do need some sort of tomato juice and vodka to technically make it a Mary.

If you sub in blanco tequila, it becomes Bloody Maria, and adding Kentucky bourbon turns it into a Bloody Molly. Either way you enjoy it, this classic drink is a staple for hangover mornings where the hair of the dog is totally necessary.

The rest of the fixings are up to you. Horseradish, fresh lime juice, hot sauce, and all the tiny foods you can put on a toothpick make this cocktail a hit. Rather than relying on a recipe when hosting brunch, set up a Bloody Mary bar with all the fixings and get the party started.

5. Margarita

The Imperial Margarita at The Anderson Bar because tequila is always a good idea 👑 full recipe on thirstymag.com #thirsty

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Is the sun shining? It’s margarita time! Nothing says summer like sipping on a frosty marg with chips and queso for the table. While you could go all out and through in some spicy jalapeños and maybe add some sweet mango, you really don’t need a recipe when it comes to a margarita – especially when using a pre-made mix.

Pour tequila in a glass until it looks about right – we’re not judging – then top off with the mix. For the best cocktail experience though, you can skip the mix and use pineapple juice, or another kind of citrus juice. When it comes to tequila drinks, you should compliment the complex flavor, not mask it!

Not using a pre-made mix? Simple syrup, lime, and Grand Marnier (or any other kind of orange liqueur) turn your classic into a Cadillac margarita to die for.

6. St. Germain + Champagne

Associez aussi la liqueur St-Germain à votre champagne favori! #LiqueurStGermain

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Yes, this cocktail is exactly like it sounds. You mix 1/2 ounce St. Germain and 4 ounce of champagne – that’s it. The elderflower of St. German gives the champagne a nice floral quality making for a fizzy, refreshing treat.

Do yourself a favor and treat yourself to a glass of the bubbly and you’ll feel like you’re on a Caribbean beach.

7. Madras

The Madras cocktail is like a screwdriver, but with one extra ingredient: cranberry juice. It’s so easy to make that using a recipe would be like searching for instructions on how to make toast. Do you, if you insist, but trust us.

Grab the orange juice, cranberry juice, and vodka. Pour the desired amount of each into a glass, stir, then add ice. That’s it. If you need a recipe for this, then you probably should lay off the booze.

8. Cape Codder

A fancy name for a simple drink, the Cape Codder is a cross between a screwdriver and a Madras. Requiring only two ingredients – vodka and cranberry juice – a recipe for this guy would be a tad ridiculous.

If you’re wanting to make one just right, however, try one part vodka to three parts cranberry juice. Or, do like everyone else and pour in both until it tastes just right. A dash of white rum or dark rum would up the booze ante, but we’re not telling you how to live your life.

9. Seven & Seven

The Seven & Seven is so ridiculously easy, that if you looked up the recipe you’d wonder why you even bothered. There are only two-ingredients required for it – Seagram’s 7 and 7-Up – hence the name Seven and Seven.

Pour a shot of Seagram’s 7 into a rocks glass and top with 7-Up to make a refreshing Seven & Seven. You could also had a hint of lime if you wish, but it’s not required.

If you’re stumped still, remember that Seagram’s 7 is an American whiskey blend, so just consider this a whiskey and lemon-lime soda mix.

10. Cuba Libre

With the BACARDI Cuba Libre the night doesn’t end when the buzzer sounds. #WeAreTheNight

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Like to add lime to your rum and Coca-Cola? That’s called a Cuba Libre. As rum and coke is a no brainer, a Cuba Libre is the same when it comes to simple rum drinks.

You could fill a glass with ice and free pour or use a standard ratio. When using a ratio, try three parts cola to one part rum. Add a twist of lime and you’re all set.

11. Moscow Mule

Mmmm, Moscow Mules. These not only look gorgeous in the copper mug, but they are incredibly simple. All you need is vodka, ginger beer, and lime – that’s it!

You can make this as weak or as strong as you prefer. I recommend starting of with a ratio of 3:1 – ginger beer to vodka respectively. Squeeze in a slice of lime, taste, and adjust as needed.

Actually now that I think of it, there is one requirement, a copper mug. Drink a Moscow Mule out of anything other than a copper mug and it doesn’t taste the same.

12. Dark and Stormy

Prefer rum to vodka? Go with a Dark and Stormy. A Dark and Stormy is the same thing as a Moscow mule, except with rum. It makes it a bit sweeter, but just as refreshing. A good ratio is 3:1 of ginger beer to rum with dashes of lime juice, though some like coconut rum for its added sweetness.

The lime juice will help cut through the sweetness, so maybe use a touch more than you would in a classic Moscow Mule.

13. Old Fashioned

A shot of bourbon, a hint of simple syrup, a dash of bitters and you have yourself one classic Old Fashioned cocktail. The Old Fashioned is a long-time favorite and a must-know for cocktail lovers.

This classic is so easy, that taking the time to look up a recipe would be harder than just making it. To keep ratios right, try 2 ounces bourbon, 2 dashes of bitters, and a bit of simple syrup. Stir, then toss in large cocktail ice cubes to keep the drink from watering down.

Next, maybe sit in your home library filled with leather bound books and enjoy a night of reading. Like the ratio, it’s merely a suggestion for optimal enjoyment.

14. Manhattan

A Manhattan is always a good idea 👌 check out this beauty Mizuna Manhattan in Denver #thirsty

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Any time is a good time for a Manhattan. This is one of those classic cocktails that are too good to pass up. It’s up to you what kind of whiskey to use, but in true Manhattan form, opt for rye – Bulleit Rye is always a nice option.

Mix in two parts rye whiskey, one part sweet vermouth, and a dash of bitters. If you’re feeling fancy, then top it off with a cherry, a Maraschino, of course.

15. White Russian

If the Dude doesn’t need a recipe to make a White Russian, then neither do you. Grab the vodka, a coffee liquor like Bailey’s, and some cream. You can be as heavy-handed as you like with the vodka and Bailey’s, but the cream is best when added for color. Mix all the ingredients together and sit back for a night of entertainment while watching your favorite Coen brother’s movie in style.

There you have it. You’re probably already an expert at these no-recipe cocktails. With so many good ones to choose from, let us know what your favorite no-recipe cocktail is!