How To: Classic Cocktails You Should Know How to Make

Brianna Kozlarek / Thursday January 31, 2019


I grew up watching old fashioned, black and white movies. There’s something about the charm, style and class of these old (albeit highly idealized) films that instantly transport me to a calm, relaxed place. The fashion is incredible and in nearly every scene the cocktails are flowing. Think the party scene in Breakfast at Tiffany’s: colorful, loud and just a bit over the top, AKA my idea of a perfect night. This is probably where my pride in being a good host comes in. I always make sure to have a few good cheeses, olives and cornichon pickles on hand so that I can whip up a cheese board at a moment’s notice (this literally happened last Thursday when my girlfriends came over and we realized two glasses in that we hadn’t eaten dinner yet – WHOOPS). As a good host, there’s a few cocktails that you should absolutely know how to make without question. I’m not talking about a Sex on the Beach or Long Island Ice Tea or whatever trash drink you ordered in college to look cool (guilty over here too, no judgement). I’m talking classic, chic and most importantly. high alcohol content. Scroll, practice and achieve your hostess goals:

Old Fashioned

My dream guy is Don Draper, bad temperament and all. This is his go-to order, and you’re damn straight that I learned to make it during a Mad Men marathon. My favorite part of this drink is the boozy cherries:

Main alcohol: Whiskey
Ingredients: 1 1/2 oz Bourbon or Rye whiskey, 2 dashes Angostura bitters, 1 Sugar cube, Few dashes plain water
Preparation: Place sugar cube in old fashioned glass and saturate with bitters, add a dash of plain water. Muddle until dissolved. Fill the glass with ice cubes and add whiskey. Garnish with orange slice, and a cocktail cherry.
Served: On the rocks; poured over ice
Standard garnish: Orange slice, Cocktail cherry


Insert James Bond pun here. I used to order these dirty (this means add a splash of olive juice straight from the jar) but as ya girl has entered her 30’s that sodium’s making me puffy as hell, so these days I just take em straight:

Main alcohol: Gin, traditionally. But Vodka is also allowed, and more commonly ordered. 
Ingredients1/2 oz (1 part) Dry vermouth, 3 oz (6 parts) Gin
Preparation: Straight: Pour all ingredients into mixing glass with ice cubes. Stir well. Strain in chilled martini cocktail glass. Squeeze oil from lemon peel onto the drink, or garnish with olive.
Served: Straight 
Standard garnish: Olive, Lemon twist
Drinkware: Martini glass


A Manhattan is a classic cocktail made with whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitters. This was my beautiful cousin Liz’s favorite drink. Cheers to her, always <3

Main alcoholWhiskey
IngredientsMaraschino cherry (Garnish), Dash Angostura bitters, 2 oz Rye or Canadian whisky, 3/4 oz Sweet red vermouth
Preparation: Stirred over ice, strained into a chilled glass, garnished, and served straight up.
Served: Straight up; without ice
Standard garnish: Cherry
Drinkware:Cocktail glass


This is on the list because of my mother. She calls it her fancy lady drink. If you want to impress a snobby hipster bartender, order this.

Main alcohol: Campari, Vermouth, Gin
Ingredients: 1 oz (1 part) Gin, 1 oz (1 part) Campari, 1 oz (1 part) Sweet red Vermouth
Preparation: Stir into glass over ice, garnish and serve.
Served: On the rocks
Standard garnish: Orange peel


This is definitely a summer drink, and leans southern. I’m still calling it a classic and including it here. Ready your muddlers:

Main alcohol: Rum
Ingredients: 1 1/2 oz White rum, 6 leaves of Mint, Soda Water, 1 oz Fresh lime juice, 2 teaspoons Sugar
Preparation: Mint sprigs muddled with sugar and lime juice. Rum added and topped with soda water. Garnished with sprig of mint leaves. Served with a straw.
Served: On the rocks; poured over ice
Standard garnish: Sprig of mint, Yerba buena
Drinkware: Collins glass

Moscow Mule

This is NOT a classic drink but Kunbi told me to include it cause we’re basic. And honestly we should use all those copper mugs we bought in 2016 right?

Main alcohol: Vodka
Ingredients: 4 oz Ginger beer, 1 1/2 oz Vodka, 1/6 oz Lime juice
Preparation: Combine vodka and ginger beer in a copper mug or highball glass filled with ice. Add lime juice. Stir gently and garnish with a lime slice.
Served: On the rocks; poured over ice.
Drinkware: Copper mug 
Standard garnish: Lime slice