7 Classic Cocktails Amateur Bartenders Should Know
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Whether it is raising a toast or simply lounging with friends, having a decent home bar that can be used to make some delicious cocktails, is always a cherry on the cake. From employing the right garnishes to choosing the right glassware, having a sense of how to be a great host can really reflect in how you make a cocktail. No matter what your spirit of choice, knowing a selection of classic cocktails instils the confidence to whip up a drink at a moment’s notice, without blinking an eye. Hence, knowing a handful of classic recipes aids greatly in making a moment feel even more special.


Dating back to 1898, this cocktail was supposedly named after the Cuban town where it was created. The invention of the daiquiri has been attributed to Jennings Cox, an American mining engineer who believed that the mixture of lime and alcohol would protect his workers from getting Spanish flu. Back then the cocktail was usually shaken, although today it’s made with blended ice.

Old Fashioned

Truly where it all started. When the term ‘cocktail’ was first used in print back in 1806, it referred to a mixture of spirits, sugar and bitters – exactly the combination that became the Old Fashioned. Typically made with bourbon or rye whisky, it can also be made with other spirits. It’s literally the foundation of cocktail culture and should be a part of every budding mixologist’s arsenal.

Moscow Mule

Vodka may be a bar staple today but back in 1940s America, it was still a novelty. The Moscow mule is thought to be the creation of an enterprising lady called Sophie Berezinsky who owned a copper factory and moved to the US with 2000 copper mugs and needed a way to sell them. She then met John Martin and Jack Morgan, owners of a vodka distillery, and together they created the vodka-based drink served in a copper mug which served both parties well.


As with so many great things in the culinary world, the negroni was born by a happy accident. It was in 1919, at the Cafe Casoni in Florence, Italy where Count Camillo Negroni requested his favourite cocktail – the Americano, but asked the bartender Fosco Scarselli to add something for more of a kick. Scarselli improvised and added gin instead of the regular soda and replaced the usual lemon garnish with an orange slice to signify the birth of this new beverage.

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This bubbly Cuban refresher has been around so long that its true origins can’t be determined. Some say it was created by African slaves working in the sugarcane field while others believe explorers to Cuba brought the idea with them. Wherever it came from, it quickly rose to fame and became a favourite in Cuba and beyond. 

Bloody Mary

Though most-often touted as a hangover cure, this cocktail has a bevy of followers who love the cocktail for its simplicity. It began in Paris in the 1920s when an enterprising bartender had a surplus of tomato juice and vodka and decided to create something new. Today, it can be found on cocktail menus all over the world.


It may be a simple combination of tequila and citrus, but its origins are heavily debated. The Mexican spirit was quickly gaining popularity in the United States in the 19th century, and it’s thought that the Margarita is an evolution of the classic Daisy cocktail which used to be made with brandy (Margarita translates to ‘daisy’ in English). Today it comes in a host of flavours but the classic citrus flavours are still the default.