There's no greater fear than a visit from unexpected guests – especially when your fridge and pantry is barren. As we get closer to the festive season (and with New South Welshmen finally able to entertain again), we believe there's nothing more useful than a list of easy cocktail recipes that you can whip together from the pantry and fridge staples you already have. Trust us – it'll save you on more occasions than you might even realise.
Not only is this a must when you're in a pickle, but these cocktails are also great if you're hosting a large group of people and are looking to create a drinks menu that is minimal fuss. From traditional cocktails that always hit the spot, to classics with a twist; here are 10 of our favourite easy cocktail recipes you can make anytime.
1. Classic Liquor and Soda
- 60ml of the liquor of your choosing (vodka, gin, rum, tequila, whiskey, scotch)
- top with soda water to top – anywhere from 120ml-180ml. You can also use tonic water or any of you favourite flavoured sparkling water
- finish with a squeeze of lemon or lime (or any citrus, orange or grapefruit would work here too)
Fill a highball glass with ice. Pour 60ml of liquor then top with the mixer of your choice and a squeeze of citrus.
2. Moscow Mule
Top with Bundaberg Ginger Beer
25ml lime juice
2 x small pieces of ginger (optional)
finish with lime to garnish
Muddle ginger then add all remaining ingredients (besides ginger beer) into a cocktail shaker. Shake then strain into a copper mug then top with ginger beer. Add ice and garnish with a lime wedge.
3. Whiskey Sour
- 2 ounces liquor
- 3/4 ounces lemon juice
- 1/2 to 3/4 ounce simple syrup
- a dash or two of bitters (if you have them)
- 1 egg white (optional)
Add all ingredients except the bitters to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake then strain into a glass of your choice. Top with a few dashes of bitters on top.
- 60ml vodka
- 60ml apple juice
- 7ml lemon juice
- 7ml ounce simple syrup or honey
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until combined and strain into a martini glass.
5. Vodka Martini
- 60ml vodka
- 22ml dry vermouth
- lemon twist or olives
Add vodka and dry vermouth into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until combined and strain into a martini class. Garnish with olives or lemon twist.
6. Gin Gimlet
- 60ml gin
- 25ml lime juice
- 25ml simple syrup or pure maple syrup
- splash of soda water (optional)
Add gin, lime juice, and syrup to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a glass and top with a splash of soda water, if desired. Garnish with a lime wheel and serve.
- 60ml tequila
- 30ml lime juice
- 25ml simple syrup, honey or agave
- salt (rim of glass)
Add tequila, lime and your sweetener of choice in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until well blended and pour into a salt rimmed glass.
8. Tom Collins
- 60ml dry gin
- 25ml-30ml simple syrup or maple syrup
- 30ml lemon juice
- ½ cup soda water
- maraschino cherry and lemon wheel to garnish
9. Black Tea Hot Toddy
Image: The Spruce Eats
- 1 cup water
- 5 cloves, optional
- 1 stick cinnamon, optional
- 1 pod star anise, optional
- 1 tablespoon black tea leaves
- 1 tablespoon honey, or to taste
- 60ml brandy, dark rum, or whiskey
- 1 lemon wedge
In a small pot, combine the water and spices. Bring the water to just below boiling and remove it from the heat. Add tea leaves and soak for four minutes. Strain into a large mug and stir in the honey. Float the brandy, rum, or whiskey on the top of the drink by pouring it over the back of a spoon. Finish by squeezing the juice from a lemon wedge into the mug.
10. Lounge Lizard
- 55ml dark rum
- 25ml amaretto liqueur
- 120ml-180ml cola, to taste
- maraschino cherry or lime wedge to garnish
Fill a collins glass with ice and pour the dark rum and amaretto. Top the drink with cola and stir. Garnish with a cherry or lime wedge to finish.