Let’s Get Boozy: The Classics

If you’re looking for some simple cocktails to make this New Year’s you’ve found the right place.  With four ingredients or less these classic cocktails are quick to make, and easy to cater to personal tastes.  Perfect for when you’re serving a crowd. Fair warning, while these drinks may seem easier to assemble than more complicated cocktails, they can actually be much harder to master. Everyone knows what they should taste like, and you have high expectations to live up to when serving them.  So before starting to assemble your drinks make sure you have the appropriate hardware, and high-quality ingredients. So go make some ice, grab you cocktail shaker, THROW AWAY those pre-made mixes, and join me for this classic edition of Let’s Get Boozy.

The most important thing to remember with these cocktails is that the quality of your ingredients will directly effect the quality of your cocktail. If you make a screwdriver with Smirnoff and orange juice that’s been sitting out since breakfast, don’t expect it to taste award-worthy. Another thing to keep in mind is that these recipes are my personal takes on the classics, for example I always prefer bourbon whiskey, but if you prefer rye feel free to substitute.  Make it easy on yourself and prepare some simple syrup ahead of time.

Gin & Tonic

• 2 oz of gin

• 5 oz of tonic water

• 1 lime

Pour gin and tonic water into highball glass with ice.  Stir, garnish with large lime wedge.


2 1/2 oz gin

• 1/4 oz dry vermouth

Pour vermouth into mixing glass with ice. Shake for a few seconds until ice is coated with vermouth, pour out the excess liquid.  Add gin to the shaker and shake.  Strain and pour into martini glass, garnish with two olives.

Dirty– add 1 oz of olive brine

Perfect – equal parts of sweet and dry vermouth


• 2 1/2 oz bourbon whiskey

3/4 oz sweet vermouth

• 1-2 dashes Angostura bitters

For a perfect Manhattan use equal parts of dry and sweet vermouth.  For a Dry Manhattan use a few dashes of dry vermouth instead.

Combine ingredients in mixing glass with ice cubes and stir (do not shake).  Strain into chilled cocktail glass and garnish with maraschino cherry.

SidecarTraditionally made with cognac, it is now common to use bourbon instead. If you’re ordering this in a bar, make sure to specify which you prefer.

• 1 ½ oz of cognac or bourbon

• 3 /4 oz Cointreau

• 1 /2 oz fresh lemon juice

Shake all ingredients together, and strain into chilled cocktail glass. If you like, rub lemon around the rim and dip in sugar before adding drink.

Tom Collins

• 2 oz gin

• 1 oz fresh lemon juice

• simple syrup to taste

• club soda

Shake gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Pour into a colins glass filled with ice. Top with club soda and garnish with an orange slice and maraschino cherry.

Whiskey Sour

• 2 oz. whiskey (I really prefer Maker’s Mark for this particular drink)

• 3 /4 oz fresh lemon juice

• simple syrup to taste

Shake all ingredients and strain into an old fashioned glass.  Garnish with maraschino cherry and orange slice.

Old Fashioned

• 2-3 dashes Angostura bitters

• 3 oz bourbon whiskey

• 1 sugar cube

• club soda

Place sugar cube at the bottom of an old fashioned glass. Wet cube with a few dashes of bitters, and a splash of club soda. Muddle until sugar coats the bottom of the glass. Drop in an ice cube and pour in bourbon. Garnish with stirring stick, maraschino cherry and orange wedge.


• 1.5 oz reposado or blanco tequila

• 1/2 oz triple sec

• 1 oz fresh lime juice

• agave nectar to taste

Shake all ingredients together. If you like a salt, moisten rim of cocktail glass with lime and dip into coarse salt mixed with lime rind. Garnish with lime wedge.

Enjoy! And don’t be scared to experiment.

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