Food / Wellbeing

15 easy and delicious last-minute cocktail recipes you can create from pantry staples

easy cocktail recipes

There's no greater fear than a visit from unexpected guests – especially when your fridge and pantry is barren. As we make our way through the festive season, 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 15 of our favourite easy cocktail recipes you can make anytime.

1. Classic Liquor and Soda

easy cocktail recipes

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  • 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

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  • 50ml vodka
  • 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

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  • 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.


4. Appletini

easy cocktail recipes

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  • 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

easy cocktail recipes

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  • 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

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  • 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.


7. Margarita

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  • 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

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  • 60ml dry gin
  • 25ml-30ml simple syrup or maple syrup
  • 30ml lemon juice
  • ½ cup soda water
  • ice
  • maraschino cherry and lemon wheel to garnish

9. Black Tea Hot Toddy

Image: The Spruce Eats
  • 1 cup water
  • 5 cloves, optional
  • 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
  • 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

easy cocktail recipes

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  • 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.


11. Aperol Spritz


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  • 30ml  prosecco
  • 60 ml Aperol
  • A splash of soda water
  • Garnish: orange slice

Add the prosecco, Aperol and club soda to a wine glass filled with ice and stir. Garnish with an orange wedge.

12. Caprioska


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  • ½ large lime cut into fourths
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 1.5 oz vodka
  • crushed ice

Place lime in a cup and muddle enough so the lime juice fills the bottom of the cup and the oils and aroma from the peel are released. Add sugar and stir. Then add vodka and fill the glass ¾ of the way with crushed ice. Stir for 20 seconds or until the ice starts to melt into the mixture. Top with more crushed ice, essentially creating an ice dome on top of the glass. Garnish with a wedge of lime and a straw and serve immediately.

Do not worry about dissolving all of the sugar for a fun and crunchy surprise.

13. Negroni sbagliato

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  • 25ml Campari
  • 25ml sweet vermouth
  • prosecco to top up
  • 1 orange slice

14. Paloma

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  • 50 ml  tequila, we like Patròn Silver Blanco
  • 1/2 tbsp agave syrup (optional)
  • 15 ml lime juice, about 1tbsp
  • 50 ml pink grapefruit juice
  • Soda water
  • Grapefruit slices, to garnish

Fill a shaker with ice and combine the first four ingredients. Shake vigorously for about 15-20seconds. Fill a highball glass with ice, strain the mixture into the glass and top with soda water. Garnish with a grapefruit slice.


15. Champagne Cocktail

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Blend some chilled champagne with brandy and bitters for a sophisticated champagne cocktail. Garnish with an orange twist to serve. Easy Breezy.

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