The 22 Best Classic Cocktails You Have to Try

Shaken not Stirred. You probably know this quote from a well-known Hollywood movie. While not all of us know the difference, you don't have to be Mr. Bond to enjoy a good cocktail.

What will this article be about? We're going to give you a list of the best classic cocktails for the most common cocktail categories in the form of a table. Maybe you'll discover one or the other you haven't known before and fall in love with it.

Most of them are easy to make at home, even for beginners. 

Here is the overview to help you navigate through this article:

  • Classic New Orleans Cocktails
  • Classic Irish Cocktails
  • Classic Tiki Cocktails
  • Classic Italian Cocktails
  • Classic Scotch Cocktails
  • Classic Cognac Cocktails

Classic New Orleans Cocktails

New Orleans has more to offer than the French Quarter, jazz, and fried chicken. NOLA knows how to party. No surprise then that the city has become a true cocktail oasis.

Here is an overview of the best Classic New Orleans cocktails:

New Orleans Cocktail

Description

Ingredients

Brandy Milk Punch

Similar taste to eggnog. Very sweet.

  • 2 oz brandy
  • 1 ½ oz cream
  • 1 oz syrup

French 75

Sparkling in taste. Very refreshing. Ideal for the summer.

  • 2 oz dry gin
  • 2 oz champagne
  • ½ oz fresh lemon juice
  • ½ oz syrup

Sazerac

This cocktail has shaped the cocktail history of New Orleans. Today there are dedicated Sazerac Bars in NOLA.

  • 2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • 1 sugar cube
  • 1 ½ oz cognac
  • ½ oz absynthe

Vieux Carré

Vieux Carré is French and means "old quarter". This cocktail refers to the french quarter in New Orleans.

  • 1 oz rye whiskey
  • 1 oz cognac
  • 1 oz sweet Vermouth
  • 1 bar spoon Bénédictine
  • 2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

We particularly recommend the Sazerac and French 75, the latter being an excellent companion on a warm summer day. At the same time, the Sazerac is possibly the most important cocktail in the New Orleans cocktail scene.

Classic Irish Cocktails

The Irish like to drink, and that's no secret. They love their beer and a fine Irish whiskey, but if you think you can't drink a good Irish cocktail, you're wrong. The Irish have many cocktails that most people don't even know. You could be walking into a real treasure trove here.

Here is an overview of the best Classic Irish cocktails:

Irish Cocktail

Description

Ingredients

Irish Coffee

The absolute classic for a real Irish start into the day.

  • 1 ½ oz Irish whiskey
  • 4 oz hot coffee
  • 1 ½ oz cream (chilled)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Irish Maid

This drink proves that cucumber and whiskey works in one drink. Simple to prepare, the Irish Maid convinces all along the line. 

  • 2 slices cucumber
  • 2 oz Irish whiskey
  • ½ oz St-Germain
  • ¾ oz fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ oz syrup

Gaelic Grasshopper

With this Cocktail, you’ll learn Gaelic in no time.

  • 2 oz Irish whiskey
  • 3 oz cream
  • 1 oz Créme de Cacao
  • 1 oz Branca Menta
  • Fresh mint
  • Chocolate shaving

Perhaps best-known from the list is the Irish Coffee. The others might be the unusual drinks you were looking for. They are the hit at every party, even if it isn't St. Patrick's Day.

Classic Tiki Cocktails

If you're into exotic flavors, you'll love Tiki cocktails. Although there is no universal definition of what makes a cocktail a "real" Tiki Cocktail, most of them have one thing in common: a lot of rum.

Here is an overview of the best Classic Tiki cocktails:

Tiki Cocktail

Description

Ingredients

Blue Hawaiian

The blue Curaçao gives the Blue Hawaiian its refreshing blue color. 

  • 1 ½ oz ​rum
  • ¾ oz blue Curaçao
  • ¾ oz ​coconut cream
  • 2 oz ​pineapple juice

Mai Tai

What sounds like a traditional martial art from Thailand is actually a very delicious cocktail.

  • 2 oz dark rum
  • ½ oz orange liqueur
  • ⅓ oz sugar syrup
  • ⅓ oz almond syrup
  • 1 ½ oz pineapple juice
  • Lime

Navy Grog

If we had to choose "the one" classic Tiki cocktail, it would probably be the Navy Grog.

  • 1 oz white rum
  • 1 oz dark rum
  • ¾ oz lime juice
  • ¾ oz grapefruit juice
  • 1 oz honey syrup
  • 2 oz club soda

Piña Colada

The sweet and creamy cocktail from Puerto Rico is an essential element of a modern bartender's bar.

  • 1 ½ oz dark rum
  • 2 oz fresh pineapple juice
  • 1 ¼ oz coconut cream
  • ¼ oz lime juice
  • ¼ oz sugar syrup

Although the Piña Colada and Mai Tai are probably the most popular drinks: there are many other exotic Tiki Cocktails to compliment your holiday at the pool or beach. 

Classic Italian Cocktails

La Dolce Vita and known for its wine: Italy. The boot-shaped country is good at many things, cocktails being one of them. The elegance of the country and la dolce vita come through in the way Italian cocktails are made. 

Here is an overview of the best Classic Italian cocktails:

Italian Cocktail

Description

Ingredients

Milano-Torino

From the year 1800, the Milano-Torino is possibly the oldest Classic Cocktail from Italy.

  • 1 ½ oz Campari
  • 1 ½ oz sweet Vermouth

Americano

The Americano is based on the Milano-Torino cocktail and is one of the most famous Italian cocktails on the market.

  • 1 ½ oz Campari
  • 1 ½ oz sweet Vermouth
  • Club soda

Aperol Spritz

The Aperol Spritz is probably THE drink at a party. It's easy to drink and tingly in taste.

  • 4 ½ oz Prosecco
  • 1 oz Aperol
  • 1 oz soda 

Negroni

The Negroni is one of the most famous Italian cocktails. The unique combination of Gin, Campari, and Vermouth are perfectly balanced.

  • 1 oz gin
  • 1 oz Campari
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth

The Aperol Spritz and Americano are probably the most famous cocktails from this list. If you like adventurous drinks, you should try the Negroni.

Classic Scotch Cocktails

Hold on. "Scotch" and "cocktail" in the same sentence? That must be a mistake, right? For many whiskey connoisseurs, the mere thought of putting good whiskey into a cocktail gives them chills. However, we have a different opinion, which is why we have summarized the most essential Classic Scotch Cocktails for you.

Here is an overview of the best Classic Scotch cocktails:

Scotch Cocktail
Description
Ingredients

Rob Roy (classic)

The Rob Roy is a Manhattan, only with scotch.

  • 1 ½ oz scotch
  • ¼ oz bitters
  • ¼ oz Vermouth

Blood and Sand

Blood and Sand is a reference to the colors of the drink:  The cherry liqueur represents the blood, and the orange juice represents the sand.

  • ¾ oz scotch
  • ¾ oz sweet vermouth
  • ¾ oz cherry liqueur
  • ¾ oz orange juice

Scotch Sour

Easy to prepare, this classic Scotch cocktail is a great companion for your evening.

  • 1 ½ oz scotch
  • ¾ oz lemon juice

Old Fashioned

The Old Fashioned must not be missing in this list. It's one of the first cocktails ever and therefore THE classic among all cocktails and not only the Scotch Cocktails.

  • ½ tablespoon sugar
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 oz scotch

If you like unusual cocktails, with a revolutionary spirit, you will definitely want to check out our Boozy Brownies.

Classic Cognac Cocktails

There's nothing like a good cognac. The l'eau de vie (Water of Life) is one of the most famous types of brandy and has made a name for itself as a noble cocktail component.

Here is an overview of the best Classic Cognac cocktails:

Cognac Cocktail

Description

Ingredients

Brandy Crusta

Originating in New Orleans, the Brandy Crusta is both: a classic cognac and classic New Orleans cocktail.

  • 2 oz cognac
  • ⅓ oz lemon juice
  • ¼ oz sugar syrup
  • ¼ oz Curaçao
  • 2 dashes aromatic bitters

Sidecar

Descendant of the Brandy Crusta.

  • 2 oz cognac
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • 1 oz lemon juice

Almond Crusta

Almond Crusta is also served as Crusta with a crust around the glass.



  • 1 oz cognac
  • ½ oz Gin
  • ¾ oz lemon juice
  • ½ oz orgeat
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • fine sugar

The most popular New Orleans cocktails, French 75, Sazerac and Vieux Carré, can also be classified as classic cognac cocktails. 

Conclusion

This was our overview of the best classic cocktails, divided into different categories.

No matter if Irish, New Orleans, Italian, or Tiki: you will find great cocktails all over the world.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Mix different cocktails and find out what you like most. You can always modify a cocktail’s recipe and add new ingredients or change the way you mix them. 

Have you noticed that none of our Classic Cocktails are made with vodka? That doesn't mean you can't enjoy vodka with style. Take a look at our article on Classic Vodka Cocktails.

Did we forget your favorite cocktail? Let us know in the comments! Thanks for reading.

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