Manhattans, Margaritas, Mojitos and More: 5 Drink Recipes Every Host Should Know How to Make

Nothing says summer like sipping a refreshing cocktail by the pool. From mojitos to margaritas, you can easily up your entertaining game by learning to make a few crowd-pleasing cocktails for your friends. Here are some of the top drink recipes you should have up your sleeve.

basic recipes mojito

1. Mojito

Impress your guests by serving classic Cuban cocktails at your next summer soirée. To make a traditional mojito, place some ice cubes in a drink shaker and add 6 ounces of light rum, a handful of broken mint sprigs, 6 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lime juice and 4 tablespoons of sugar. Shake well and serve on the rocks in a highball glass. Then, top it off with a splash of club soda and add a lime wedge and mint sprig for an eye-catching garnish. Equal parts sweet and citrusy, it’s a refreshing cocktail certain to counter scorching summer days.

basic recipes manhattan

2. Manhattan

Allegedly invented in the late 1800s by a New York City bartender, Manhattans are an iconic and time-tested cocktail beloved by drinkers of all stripes. Channel your inner Manhattanite by shaking 2 dashes of Angostura bitters into a cocktail or coupe glass. Top with 1 ounce of sweet vermouth and 2 ounces of rye or bourbon. Add a handful of ice cubes, and use a bar spoon to mix the drink for about 30 seconds. Finally, use a julep strainer to strain the drink into a chilled glass and garnish the Manhattan with a cocktail cherry. Strong and slightly bitter, a good Manhattan recipe will transport you back to the glamour of turn-of-the-century speakeasies.

basic recipes gin and tonic

3. Gin and Tonic

Making this long-standing bar favorite in the comfort of your home requires just four simple ingredients. While the amount of gin you should use depends on your preference, most drinkers like a gin/tonic ratio between 1:1 and 1:3. Start by placing highball glasses in the freezer for 20 minutes or until chilled. Next, fill each glass with large ice cubes, and use a shot glass to measure 2 ounces of your choice of gin. Squeeze in the juice of one to three lime wedges, top with 3 to 4 ounces of tonic water and garnish with a lime wedge. Voila!

basic recipes margarita

4. Margaritas

Bring some south-of-the-border flavor to your next party by whipping up a crowd-pleasing batch of margaritas. To make a tangy batch that will serve four guests, start by rubbing the rims of four rock glasses with lime juice, and then dip them in coarse salt. If you want to serve the margaritas on the rocks, add enough ice cubes to fill the glasses three-quarters-full. Next, in a cocktail shaker stir together 1 cup tequila, 2/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, 1/3 cup orange-flavored liqueur and 2 teaspoons sugar. Shake well and pour into the glasses. Then, garnish with lime before serving. 

Pop some ice and the same ingredients you added into your cocktail shaker into your blender to whip up frozen margaritas, or mix things up by adding in other ingredients to create twits on the classic drink like mango margaritas.

basic recipes mojito champagne

5. Champagne Cocktail

Celebrate your next special occasion by breaking out the champagne and serving these festive cocktails. For the classic champagne cocktail rendition, soak a sugar cube with a few dashes of Angostura bitters in a champagne flute. Top with your choice of champagne or sparkling wine, and add an orange or lemon twist for garnish. For a refreshing summer variation, puree 1 to 1/2 cups of fresh or frozen strawberries in a blender and then squeeze the juice from one lime on top. Refrigerate the puree mixture for about 15 minutes or until chilled. Pour 1/4 cup of the fruit mixture into flutes and top with champagne. (For some added pizzazz, serve your cocktails in these silver speckled flutes.)

Regardless of which cocktail recipe you decide to try first, it’s important to serve each variation in the proper glass. From champagne flutes to shot glasses, Cheryl Saban Glass offers an array of whimsical, durable glasses designed for every occasion. Cheers to making your next cocktail party even more fun!

Rebekah Bell is a writer who lives in Los Angeles.

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