Bartenders Say These Are The Drinks Everyone Should Know How To Make


The rise of cocktail culture has led to millions of home-mixologists (and people who pretend to be mixologists). Surprisingly, to get on board with this trend, you don’t need to take a bartending course or pick up any bar-back shifts at your local, trendy cocktail bar. According to some of our favorite bartenders, you really only need to master a few drinks in order to impress your friends.

Before you try your hand at that over-the-top ten ingredient cocktail, learn how to make these classic potables. What’s cooler than pulling out a shaker and mixing something tasty up for your pals? Do it the right way. Nobody likes a showboat.

Old Fashioned

From Warren Bayani, head bartender at Chao Chao in New York City


“This is an easy one to answer for me. I believe that every bartender – or mere mortals for that matter, should know how to make this amazing Classic. Its the Old-Fashioned. As a whiskey drinker, this is an amazing sipper. I love that it is served in a rocks glass so your nose gets in there much like a Pinot Noir glass. The aroma I get from the orange peel just sets me to a state of pure comfort.”


From Jim Kearns of Slowly Shirley in New York City


“My answer to this would definitely be a Manhattan. It’s my favorite cocktail, and it’s simplicity and subtlety make it an essential of any home bar. It only requires three readily available ingredients (four, if you count garnish), and all it takes to make a good one is a bit of care in the selection and storage of ingredients and attention to detail when making it.”


From Cody Goldstein, NYLO New York City Hotel’s LOCL Bar


“Negroni has made a big comeback. Made from the base of an Americano, the original recipe calls for equal parts Gin, Campari, and Sweet Vermouth. With so many different brands of Gin, Vermouth, and Bitters out there, it’s great to see bartenders riffing on this classic. I personally like. 2:1:1 ratio and enjoy a lemon twist.”

Gin & Tonic

From Jacob Ryan, Brand Ambassador for Four Pillars Gin


“Start simple. You need to be able to get a basic ‘one and one’ right. Getting the ratio between base spirit and mixer right is the key to an enjoyable drink, like a gin and tonic. Next you can move on to rehearsing your party tricks. Any well balanced drink made with ease and delightful banter should earn you your guests unending adoration.”


From bartender Joe Doose of Arbella in Chicago


“Everyone should know how to make a solid (balanced) sour mix. Once your sour mix is down you can make most things: whiskey sours, margaritas, lemon drops, fresh lemonade, etc.”


From Bill Brooks, Beverage Director of The Cannibal Liquor House in NYC


“My one drink is a daiquiri – and not the fruit puree and blender kind. Simple rum, fresh lime juice and simple syrup — perfectly balanced, it’s truly an amazing cocktail.”

Whiskey Sour

From Chad Solomon of Midnight Rambler in Dallas


“Ideally, everyone should know how to make two drinks, an old fashioned, and a sour. Mastering these two drinks, and the techniques to make them opens the gateway to a myriad of other options by simple ingredient substitutions. With regard to the sour, you learn to shake properly to chill dilute and aerate, and then you can sub lime juice for lemon to make gimlets, and daiquiris, and with the addition of club soda get into fizz, Collins, and Rickey territory, not to mention the simple canvas the sour formula provides for the addition muddled fresh ingredients such as herbs, or fresh fruit.”


From Kat Desonair at ViewHouse Eatery, Bar, and Rooftop in Centennial, Colorado


“Being able to craft the perfect martini is bartending 101 and a skill that is key to opening a vast door of possibilities in mixology. Whether it be a classic drink, such as a Cosmopolitan, a “shaken” martini (as made popular by the infamous James Bond), or a Strawberry Stiletto from my very own ViewHouse. Martini’s take the edge off of a long day of work, or, are the start to a wild night. There’s a reason martinis have been such a popular drink since the 1800’s and continue to play such a huge role in the bartenders’ playbook.”