Flickr: Kenn Wilson

Easy Cocktails to Make With Bar Essentials


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If you miss going out to bars for drinks, or if you'd just rather save some money and make your own drinks at home, you don't need much to be your own mixologist. You can create your own list of easy cocktails that only need a few essential ingredients; keep these items in your bar and you'll be ready for any brunch or dinner party.

Some cocktails don't need much of a recipe. For example, a basic mimosa is pretty much just champagne and orange juice, with the ratio of each based on personal preference. But other classic cocktails depend more on getting the mix of ingredients right, so we've rounded up our favorite cocktail recipes for you. These work best if you have some basic bar equipment, including a cocktail shaker, and while it's nice to have certain types of glasses, it's not a must.

Keeping some basic ingredients on hand will make mixing cocktails easy. In addition to your favorite gin, vodka, rum, tequila and whiskey, you want to stock good tonic water, vermouth, and your favorite liqueur. Ginger beer is always a winner, too, and your favorite bitters and a DIY simple syrup can elevate any drink. Fresh citrus is best when you want to add a twist or juice to your easy cocktail.

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These easy cocktail recipes will make you an expert DIY bartender in no time.

Margarita

Skip the machine-made margaritas; making your own is so much better. All you need for this margarita recipe is tequila, lime juice, orange liqueur (triple sec or Cointreau), simple syrup and salt. Beach bag, sunglasses and floppy hat optional, but recommended.

Get the recipe here.

Manhattan

This classic cocktail is easy to make, but you need quality ingredients. Good bourbon or rye, sweet vermouth (note: not dry vermouth) and Angostura bitters are all you need. Stir, don't shake, pour and feel like your sophisticated self.

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Get the recipe here.

Daiquiri

The classic daiquiri isn't the frozen concoction you find in beachside bars. Those are great, but the original drink is light and refreshing and far more sophisticated. Plus, you only need three ingredients (light rum, lime juice and simple syrup) and a cocktail shaker, no freezing or slushy machine required.

Get the recipe here.

Mojito

There are all sorts of variations on the mojito, but the classic is classic for a reason. Muddle mint, sugar and lime juice, add white rum and club soda and pour over ice. It's a beach vacation without going anywhere.

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Get the recipe here.

Moscow Mule

Ginger beer is my favorite mixer. You can add any kind of liquor and fruit juice for all sorts of easy cocktail combinations. This version adds vodka and lime juice to ginger beer for a spicy-sweet refreshing drink.

Get the recipe here.

Aperol Spritz

Aperol is a classic Italian apéritif made of gentian, rhubarb and cinchona; mix it with Prosecco, club soda and an orange slice for summer in a glass.

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Get the recipe here.

Negroni

Campari is another bitter Italian liqueur; mix it with sweet vermouth and gin for a negroni. This gin cocktail is not overly sweet, but it is light and refreshing, perfect for a summer sipper. Garnish with a twist of orange peel to make it extra special.

Get the recipe here.

Black Russian

Vodka and a coffee liqueur like Kahlua are all you need for a classic Black Russian. If you stir in some cream, you get a White Russian and the sudden need to quote "The Big Lebowski."

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Get the recipe here.

Sea Breeze

Vodka and fruit juice is another classic combination. Here, you mix cranberry juice and grapefruit juice with vodka over ice. You can also leave out the grapefruit juice for a Cape Cod, or swap in pineapple juice for a Hawaiian Sea Breeze. Add a lime wedge and go sit on the beach!

Get the recipe here.

Raspberry Vodka Lemonade

This easy cocktail is perfect for one glass or a giant pitcher for a party. It's just vodka, lemonade (or lemon juice, sugar and water) and fresh raspberries for a delightful summer drink. You can also add soda water for more fizz and to turn it into a day-drinking punch.

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Get the recipe here.

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