Food & Drink

16 Classic Drinks to Order at a Bar

When you're having a professional mix you a drink, here's how to make sure it's a good one.

Barflies have been sipping classic cocktails for decades because they're timeless—a martini, old fashioned, and daiquiri will simply never go out of style. Here are 16 of the best ones to order at a bar.

Old Fashioned

There may be no better test of a bartender's mettle than ordering an Old Fashioned. The recipe is simple:

2 oz bourbon or rye whiskey

2 dashes Angostura bitters

1 sugar cube or 1 tsp sugar

Orange twist garnish

Put sugar in glass. Cover it with dashes of bitters. Add whiskey and stir until sugar dissolves. Add ice, stir again, and serve. If the barman starts shaking the ingredients or muddling fruit, have your next round at another bar.


Cloyingly sweet margarita mixes have given this drink a bad name. A well-made version is a fresh mix of lime juice and tequila, with a hint of sweetener:

2 oz silver tequila

1 oz Cointreau 

1 oz lime juice

Salt for the rim

Since this recipe includes fresh juice, it should be shaken. Serve over ice in a glass with a salted rim.


A favorite of bartenders all over the world, the Negroni is a simple three-ingredient cocktail:

1 oz gin

1 oz Campari

1 oz sweet vermouth

Stir ingredients with ice.

Moscow Mule

Popular for good reason, the Moscow Mule is one of the most refreshing things to sip on a hot summer day. Its suggested vessel, a copper mug, also just looks sharp.

2 oz vodka 

4 to 6 oz ginger beer

.5 oz lime juice

Squeeze lime juice into a Moscow Mule mug. Add two or three ice cubes, pour in the vodka, and fill with cold ginger beer. Stir and serve.

Whiskey Sour


Perhaps the most refreshing whiskey cocktail, this is an old reliable favorite.

2 oz whiskey

1 oz lemon juice

1 tsp sugar

1 egg white (optional)

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake (bartenders use this "dry shake" to incorporate the egg white). Add ice and shake again. Strain over ice in a rocks glass.


Created sometime in the mid-1800s, the Manhattan is one of the booziest classic drink recipes.

2 oz rye whiskey

1 oz sweet vermouth

2 dashes Angostura bitters

Stir ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Strain into chilled martini glass or cocktail coupe.


We'd like to salute Frank Meier, the bartender at the Ritz Paris who in 1925 reportedly served the first mimosa. The recipe just might be the simplest cocktail ever created: just combine equal parts of the ingredients in a champagne flute.

2.5 oz champagne

2.5 oz orange juice


The classic recipe calls for gin, but this drink is just as tasty if you substitute vodka instead.

2 oz gin or vodka

.75 oz simple syrup

.75 oz lime juice

Shake ingredients with ice and strain into cocktail glass.


If you like a drink with some bite, give this classic New Orleans concoction a try.

2 oz rye whiskey

.5 oz simple syrup

2 dashes Peychaud's bitters


Rinse a chilled glass with absinthe and discard the absinthe. Stir the other ingredients in a mixing glass, strain into the chilled glass, and garnish

Pimm's Cup

The first official Pimm's bar popped up at the 1971 Wimbledon tournament, and now more than 80,000 pints of the quintessential British summer cocktail are served to spectators every year. Here's the official recipe courtesy of Pimm's:

50 ml (about 1.75 oz) Pimm's No.1

150 ml (about 5 oz) lemonade

Mint, orange, strawberries

Cucumber to garnish


Pile all the ingredients in a tall glass, mix, and sip.


This simple mix of brandy, lemon juice, and orange liqueur dates to the 1920s. Once you try one you'll understand why the recipe has survived so long.

2 oz VS or VSOP Cognac

1 oz Cointreau

.75 oz lemon juice

Shake ingredients with ice. Strain into a rocks glass or a cocktail glass with a sugar-coated rim.

Mint Julep

The official drink of the Kentucky Derby is worth ordering even when you're not at Churchill Downs.

2 oz bourbon

8-10 mint leaves

.25 oz simple syrup

Muddle the mint leaves and simple syrup in a mint julep cup. Add bourbon and fill with with crushed ice. Stir until the cup is frosted. Fill with more crushed ice. Serve with a straw and a mint sprig garnish.

French 75

Created during World War I, the name of this drink was supposedly inspired by the fact that taking a sip of it feels like getting shelled with a French 75mm field gun, a powerful piece of artillery.

2 oz gin

2 dashes simple syrup

.5 oz lemon juice


Shake gin, simple syrup, and lemon juice with ice. Strain into a champagne glass. Top with champagne.

More14 Champagne Cocktails to Serve at Your Next Party


James Bond was wrong—whether you drink it with gin or vodka, stirred is the way to go when ordering a martini.

3 oz gin or vodka

.5 oz dry vermouth

Lemon peel or olive

Stir ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Strain into chilled martini glass. Squeeze oil from lemon peel into the glass or garnish with olive.


Forget the sweet frozen version made with a blender. A classic daiquiri is one of the most well-balanced cocktails around.


2 oz light rum

1 oz simple syrup

1 oz lime juice

Shake ingredients with ice and strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with lime wheel.


Not quite a Manhattan and not quite a Martini, the Martinez uses "Old Tom," a slightly sweeter version of gin that debuted in the mid-1800s. For the authentic taste, ask for it by name.

1.5 oz Old Tom gin

1.5 oz sweet vermouth

.25 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur

2 dashes Angostura or orange bitters

Stir ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Strain into chilled martini glass or cocktail coupe.

This story originally appeared on
* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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Sam Dangremond
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