Classic Cocktails 101

Timeless is a word used to describe objects, people or events that are not affected by the change of time. As I look at the ever evolving world of creative mixology and barmanship, it occurred to me that there are so many timeless cocktails that should not be forgotten. While I highly encourage change and the progressive nature of the beverage industry, there’s an old soul inside of me that cannot let go of the dry martini that the likes of Frank Sinatra drank in the Las Vegas hay day. I have outlined what i think are the 5 most important classic cocktails that all beverage professionals and amateurs alike should know.

  • Dry Martini: Sometimes made with vodka, this is a classic, clear, and very strong cocktail. Serve chilled in (you guessed it) a martini glass.
    • ½ oz Dry Vermouth
    • 4 oz Gin
    • 2 Pimento-stuffed green Olives
    • Directions: Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour in the vermouth, followed closely by the gin. Shake while counting to 30. Divide into 2 cocktail glasses. Garnish with 1 olive each.


  • Manhattan: Similar to the martini, but with a touch of sweetness. This 100-year-old cocktail can also be made with bourbon. Serve in a martini glass or a short tumbler–always chilled.
    • 2 oz Rye Whiskey
    • ½ oz Sweet Vermouth
    • 1 dash Angostora bitters
    • 1 Maraschino cherry
    • Directions: Combine whiskey, vermouth, and bitters in a cocktail mixing class. Add ice and stir until chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.


  • Bloody Mary: Usually served at breakfast or brunch, the Bloody Mary is easy to customize depending on how strong you like your drinks–and how much spice you can handle. Serve over ice in a tall glass with the vegetable garnish of your choice.
    • 4 oz tomato Juice
    • 1 ½ oz Vodka
    • ¼ Ounce fresh lemon juice
    • 4 dashes hot pepper sauce
    • 2 dashes Worchester sauce
    • 1 pinch of salt and pepper
    • Directions: Combine tomato juice, vodka, lemon juice, hot pepper sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt, black pepper, and 1 cup ice in a mixing glass. Stir until chilled and strain into ice-filled pint glass or goblet.


  • Margarita: A sweet party drink that’s easy to make in batches. Blend in some fruit for extra flavor. You can serve in special rounded margarita glasses or whatever’s handy (serving in a mason jar is increasingly popular).
    • 1 – 6oz can frozen limeade concentrate
    • 6 oz Tequila
    • 2 oz triple sec
    • Directions: Fill blender with crushed ice. Pour in limeade concentrate, tequila and triple sec. Blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve.


  • Old Fashioned: A sweet, sophisticated cocktail that’s simple to make and goes down smooth. Serve over ice in a short tumbler (also known as an Old Fashioned glass).
    • Sugar cube
    • 1 teaspoon water
    • 1 dash bitters
    • 2 oz Whiskey
    • 1 lemon twist
    • I Orange slice
    • I maraschino cherry
    • Directions: Muddle sugar cube, water, and bitters in an old fashioned glass for 1 minute. Pour in whiskey and stir for an additional minute. Squeeze the lemon twist over the glass and drop it in. Add ice cubes. Garnish with a slice of orange and a maraschino cherry; serve with a swizzle stick.

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