6 Classic Cocktails + Summer Twists
Brush up on the basics for making classic cocktails, then experiment with fresh summery flavour twists—you’ll be whipping up drinks like a pro before you know it.
Classics never get old. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be updated. Even the most tried-and true recipes can be tweaked to include new ingredients and flavours that suit the summer season a little better. Bartenders riff off classic cocktails all the time because they’re made according to well-tested formulas and have “good bones,” making them the perfect foundation for creative expression. Here are six essentials from the cocktail canon, offered up two ways—in their traditional form and with a fresh and contemporary twist.
Trends come and go, but the Daiquiri is timeless. For over a century, this zesty little number that got its legs in the bars of Old Havana has been charming cocktail lovers around the world. The secret to this evergreen classic? Simplicity. Three ingredients, expertly shaken, chilled and served up with care.
Less is more when it comes to making the uber-popular, sturdy Old Fashioned, so skip the muddled cherries and lemons and keep it simple instead.
Our vote for the most playful classic cocktail goes to the Mojito, a seriously refreshing summer highball that’s got it all — cool mint, sweet rum and tart lime, all topped off with a splash of fizz. Since it’s built on classic proportions, you can play with a range of different spirits and mixers and the drink will still hold up.
Cocktail Tip: Shaken or Stirred?
There’s an easy rule for that. Straight spirit cocktails like Martinis and Manhattans are always stirred. Got juice, eggs or dairy? Get shaking.
The secret to a great Manhattan is a healthy pour of sweet vermouth that rounds out this elegant and perfectly balanced classic.
Some like them dirty, others like them neat. Wet, dry, perfect, shaken, burnt or even filthy, the Martini seems to come in as many versions as there are people who like to drink them. The traditional, though, is a simple blend of gin and vermouth, stirred and served straight up — olive optional.
Probably the most versatile classic, the Whisky Sour easily fits in just about anywhere, from casual hangs to fancy celebrations. Plus, it’s delicious.