Whether you’re relaxing at the poolside on holiday or enjoying dinner at home with loved ones, a cocktail can be a fun (and tasty!) alternative to your regular pint or reliable glass of pinot.

Not only does a great cocktail look beautifully decorative, but it’s also the perfect balance between strong, sweet, and sour. Plus, it can be enjoyed as a single glass or made in larger batches to be shared with friends and family.

If you enjoy being adventurous with your drink choices, then the cocktail world has plenty to offer. You can stick to classic cocktail recipes (of which there are many!) or mix things up by experimenting with different ingredients.

More good news is that while cocktails in bars and restaurants can be quite pricey, making cocktails at home can be significantly cheaper – and it’s entertaining too!

So without further ado, here are 17 easy cocktails to make at home.

1. French martini

French martini

The French martini emerged in the 1980s at one of Keith McNally’s New York City Bars, before making its way to one of his Soho bars in 1996.

This flamboyant contemporary classic combines vodka with the taste of sweet raspberries (Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur) and tart pineapple (pineapple juice), which when shaken together with ice, makes for a smooth, creamy drink with a luxurious frothy top.

French martinis are typically served with a couple of raspberries, a strawberry, or a wedge of pineapple on the rim.

2. Banana daiquiri

Banana daiquiri

Balancing flavours of sweet rum, sugar syrup, and tart lime or lemon juice, the daiquiri – which originated in Cuba – has a distinct, unforgettable taste. And because it’s often made with blended ice and served frozen, it’s also ideal for cooling off on a warm summer’s day.

Modern twists to the classic daiquiri include the addition of fruit flavours such as strawberry, pineapple, watermelon, and our favourite… banana! 

Simply blend a single banana into your cocktail mixture.

3. Old fashioned

Old fashioned

Considered ‘the original cocktail’, the old fashioned is one of the most classic cocktails of all time. It’s said to have been invented by a bartender in a gentleman’s club in Louisville, Kentucky in the 1800s, before going on to become a popular morning cure for ailments and hangovers.

Old fashions are easy to make at home because you simply add sugar syrup, water, and bitters to a whisky glass and stir. Then add ice, pour the bourbon over it, and garnish with a wedge of orange and a maraschino cherry.

The flavours of this traditional drink are whisky-led, so you can expect a strong taste with subtle herby notes and sweetness.

4. Sangria


Originating in Spain and Portugal, Sangria’s bold red colour and punchy, fruit taste make it the perfect summer drink. 

The ingredients in sangria can vary considerably, but it’s typically made with red wine, brandy, fruit (like orange, apple, and lemon), and sparkling water.

If you’re trying to save money, then you might be pleased to know that sangria works best with budget red wine, as the taste of more bold, intense red will get lost among the other fruity flavours.

There are also plenty of ways you can customise your sangria, for example by swapping brandy for whisky, adding a handful of berries, or using orange juice instead of sparkling water.

5. Piña colada

Piña colada

If you could put white sandy beaches, turquoise crystal waters, and sun-soaked fiestas into a drink, then the piña colada would be it!

This famous tropical drink was invented in Puerto Rico and is a deliciously rich mix of light rum, fresh pineapple juice, and coconut cream shaken with ice. It can also be served with a wedge of pineapple on the rim and a maraschino cherry on top! 

If you’re looking for something sweet, creamy, and easy to drink, then a piña colada is a must-try.

6. Negroni


Hugely popular, the Negroni is an Italian cocktail that’s often traced back to Caffe Casoni in Florence, Italy in 1919. 

Supposedly, it was here that Count Camillo Negroni ordered an Americano made with gin instead of his usual soda water. The bartender also replaced the slice of lemon with orange and the drink took off.

A mix of three simple ingredients in equal measures – gin, vermouth, and Campari – a Negroni is bitter, sweet, fruity, and herbal all at the same time. 

Not a fan of gin? Just substitute for bourbon or rum.

7. Cosmopolitan


Sweet and sour, vibrant pink, and iconic, the cosmopolitan shot to fame after it was the favourite drink of the ladies in the 90s American sitcom, Sex and the City. Though, before this, it was said to have been created by Cheryl Cook, head bartender at The Strand on Washington Avenue in South Beach, Miami in the 1980s.

Just four ingredients are responsible for the dynamic flavour of the cosmo – vodka, triple sec, lime juice, and cranberry juice – all of which are shaken with ice until chilled. 

For a little extra flair, you can also garnish with a lime wedge.

8. Caribbean rum punch

Caribbean rum punch

Caribbean rum punch is a cheerful summer drink that makes a wonderful accompaniment to a party or barbecue. 

Not only is it easy to make in large batches, but it’s so delicious that it can be difficult not to get carried away!

Rum punch is one of the earliest cocktails and though its exact origins are unknown, it’s often said that it was created by British sailors working for the British East India Company in the 1700s, who were looking for an alternative to beer and wine. They mixed Indian arrack with other easily-available ingredients like lemon juice. Then, in the mid-1600s, when the drink was bought from India to England, arrack was replaced with Jamaican rum.

Today, this irresistible cocktail is typically made with a mix of dark and light rum, grenadine, and a mix of juices (pineapple, orange, lime). 

It’s vibrant, fruity, and certainly packs a punch!

9. Amaretto sour

Amaretto sour

Nobody really knows where the elusive Amaretto sour came from, though many believe it was invented in America in the 1970s when Italian spirits and liqueurs were becoming trendy. 

Its sunny yellow appearance and refreshing sweet and sour taste are enticing – and an Amaretto sour is often likened to a boozy lemonade.

As the name suggests, Amaretto sours are made with Amaretto (a sweet liquor which tastes a lot like marzipan), lemon juice (which adds bitterness and balances out the sweetness of the Amaretto) and egg white (to create a velvety texture, and to bind the sweet and sour flavours together).

To finish, you can garnish with a slice of orange or lemon and a couple of brandied or maraschino cherries.

10. White Russian

White Russian

Created by Belgian barman Gustave Tops in 1949, the white Russian is a twist on the classic black Russian (made from vodka and coffee liquor), because it has the addition of cream.

This indulgent cocktail shot to fame after it appeared as The Dude’s drink of choice in the Coen brothers’ film, The Big Lebowski. And, it couldn’t be easier to make yourself because it only requires three ingredients, which are added in equal proportions.

A white Russian is often likened to an alcoholic chocolate mocha and this, coupled with its stylish simplicity, and rich, creamy texture, make it a top choice for a homemade cocktail!

11. Mojito


Simple yet genius, the mojito is a cocktail favourite around the world. 

It first became a hit in 1930 in the beautiful, sun-soaked Cuban capital of Havana – and since then, celebrities such as Ernest Hemmingway and Brigitte Bardot have made it even more fashionable.

A mojito is traditionally made with white rum, sugar, fresh lime juice, fresh mint, sparkling water, and plenty of ice. It’s fresh, light, and herby, and the rum flavour is subtle. 

Many people say it tastes a bit like a fizzy mint lime drink with a sweetness to it.

12. Sidecar


The sidecar epitomises the glitz and glamour of a 1930’s party, which is fitting because it’s said to have been founded at the Ritz Hotel in Paris around the end of World War I.

Though this bright, citrusy drink has three main ingredients – cognac, orange liquor, and lemon – bartenders tend to have different preferences over the ratios. Which you choose will depend on whether you prefer a sweeter or sourer cocktail, a stronger taste of cognac, or a balance of all three.

However, a popular choice is the 3-2-1 ratio (cognac, orange liquor, and lemon juice). This balances out the orange and lemon flavours (making the cocktail less tart) and allows the warmth of the cognac to come through.

For a decorative finish, simply add sugar to the rim of the glass!

13. Bloody Mary

Bloody Mary

The story goes that the Bloody Mary was created in the 1920s by a young bartender in Harry’s New York Bar in Paris. He began experimenting with vodka cocktails after an influx of Russian immigrants – who had escaped the Russian revolution – brought vodka to France. An American “tomato juice cocktail” had also hit French shelves around this time.

Since, then, the Bloody Mary has become a popular hangover cure, making it a staple on many brunch menus. It differs from the other cocktails on this list because it has an overall savoury flavour, so it tends to divide opinion.

Made with vodka, tomato juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, and salt and pepper, a Bloody Mary has a subtle sweetness – but most would describe it a bit like a salty, spicy room temperature soup! 

Common garnishes include shrimp, tomatoes, celery, and/or stuffed green olives.

14. Margarita


Nobody knows who invented the mysterious margarita. However, popular opinion says it dates back to 1930s Mexico when restaurant owner Carlos Herrera made it for the beautiful Ziegfeld showgirl, Majorie King. She was allergic to all alcohol except tequila but didn’t like to drink it straight.

Made from tequila, lime juice, orange liqueur, and salt (which is added to the rim of the glass), a margarita is a perfect balance of five tastes: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami (a Japanese word for a savoury/meat taste). 

Though, modern versions of this elegant cocktail are everything from fruity and frozen to spicy and minty.

15. Aperol Spritz

Aperol Spritz

Often described as an Italian sunset in a glass, the Aperol Spritz is said to have been founded in the 1800s in the city of Padua. But around the world, it’s since become synonymous with summer and is the perfect drink to enjoy on a warm evening.

The cocktail’s alluring, orange glow comes from Aperol (an Italian bitter aperitif made from gentian, rhubarb, cinchona, and other ingredients), which is mixed with prosecco and sparkling water (in a 3-2-1 ratio), and garnished with an orange slice.

An Aperol Spritz has a slightly sweet orange taste, which contrasts with the taste of tangy herbs to form a drink that’s refreshing, unique, and bittersweet.

16. Long Island iced tea

Long Island iced tea

The powerhouse drink that is the Long Island iced tea is said to have been invented by bartender Robert Butt in 1972. Butt worked at Long Island’s Oak Beach Inn and was compelled to make the drink during a friendly competition.

This cocktail gets part of its name from its resemblance to traditional, non-alcoholic iced tea – though there’s no tea in this drink! Instead, Long Island iced tea gets its appearance from a heady mix of vodka, gin, rum, tequila, triple sec, lemon juice, sugar syrup, and a dash of cola.

With a mix of five different alcohols, you might expect a strong, overpowering taste but this cocktail is famed for tasting like cola with a hint of lemon. Though, don’t be fooled – despite being easy to drink, Long Island iced tea has an alcohol percentage of 22%, so it can definitely sneak up on you!

17. Passion fruit martini

Passion fruit martini

The passionfruit martini (also known as the ‘pornstar martini’) is a stylish yet down-to-earth drink that’s frequently described as the UK’s most popular cocktail. It was founded by mixologist Douglas Ankrah in London’s The Townhouse Bar in 2003.

Exotic, bright, sweet, tart, and very drinkable, this fun drink combines passion fruit liqueur, vanilla vodka, passion fruit puree, lime juice, sugar syrup, and half a passion fruit (for garnish).

The prosecco is typically served separately in a shot glass, though the exact reason for this is still unclear! Some say it should be taken as a palette cleanser (along with the passion fruit garnish) before drinking the cocktail, while others say that it’s for the drinker to add to the cocktail to release the flavour of the fruit.

Final thoughts…

Though we couldn’t include every cocktail on our list, we hope that you’ve come across a few that you’d like to try.

Experimenting with different cocktail flavours and styles at home can not only be an enjoyable way to spend a few hours, but it can save you money too.

If you’re hosting a social event, then making your own cocktails – or asking people to design their own – can also make for a great conversation starter and really get a party started!