Five Classic Cocktails Made Easy

Categories Lifestyle

Essential know-how to class up Saturday night drinks at your place…

1. Old Fashioned

This was known as an Old Fashioned back when your grandpappy was in a papoose because it was the no-fuss drinker’s response to fancy-pants new-fangled cocktails. Awesomely, it’s also not dependent on a particular type of liquor. Though usually made with whisky, you can try other spirits.


How to make: Add half a teaspoon of sugar, a splash of water and two or three dashes of Angostura bitters to a tumbler. Use a wooden muddler to crush the sugar and mix with the bitters. Turn the tumbler so the solution lines the glass. Add a shot or two of whisky (or bourbon, cognac or even gin) and an ice cube. Garnish with a slice of orange. Stir and enjoy.

2. Martini

James Bond’s drink preference is famously a martini “shaken not stirred”, which horrifies many martini purists. That’s because shaking has the effect of melting the ice faster, diluting the drink, and also “bruises” the gin’s taste, making it a little bitter. That said, it’s not an issue if you’re making a vodka martini.


How to make: Pour 10ml dry vermouth into a chilled cocktail glass, swirl so that the vermouth lines the glass. You can discard or retain the vermouth. Add 50ml gin and ice cubes. Stir. Place three skewered olives into the glass. Enjoy!

3. Manhattan

While legend has it that this drink was born at the Manhattan Club in New York City in 1874, it seems more likely it dates in its present form to the city’s Prohibition-era speakeasies in the 1920s. Whatever the truth, it’s a bracing strong concoction and perfect for a wintry night.


How to make: In a cocktail shaker, stir 60ml rye whisky, 30ml of Italian vermouth and two dashes of Angostura Bitters with cracked ice. Then strain into a chilled cocktail glass and serve with two Maraschino cherries.

4. Margarita

If you want to get the party started, there’s no better cocktail. Fun fact: the name means “Daisy” in Spanish. This is a cocktail that calls for shaking and the icier the better.


How to make: Run a lime wedge around the rim of your Margarita glass to moisten. Press the glass lightly onto a plate covered with salt to line the rim. Add 60ml tequila, 30ml triple sec, 30ml lime juice and cracked ice to a shaker. Shake vigorously and strain into your glass. If you prefer an icier version, add ingredients to a blender.

5. Cosmopolitan

You’re sure to impress any female guest by casually whipping up a Cosmopolitan. After all, it was Carrie’s favourite cocktail in Sex And The City. As this one is made with vodka, you don’t need to worry about shaking bruising the alcohol.


How to make: Add 30ml vodka, 15ml triple sec, 30ml cranberry juice, juice of half a lime and cracked ice to a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously and strain into a large chilled cocktail glass (a martini glass is fine). Garnish with a twist of lemon.