Ever walk up to the bar and the feel intimidated by all the cocktail options? With drinks lists ever increasing it can be hard for an amateur to hit on the right one. So here are seven classics that you can begin with before adding some of your own flavours and ideas.

 The Daiquiri

This classic is a versatile rum-based cocktail that comes in many flavours thanks to the addition of fruit and even frozen yoghurt if that’s your top tipple. But if you really want to try this sour delicacy at its best then you should focus on the rum and sugar elements. A versatile favourite is Mount Gay Light Rum with Vanilla Sugar. This is a refreshing after-dinner mix with sweet and sour in perfect harmony.

 The Cosmopolitan (Cosmo)

A relic from the days when cocktails were just spirits and not much more, this classic is not to be misjudged. Made famous by the show Sex in the City, this is actually a strong cocktail with citrus aftertastes. Try using Grey Goose orange to extend the smoothness and drink it at absolute zero. 

 The Margarita

A well-known tequila cocktail, this classic has been mistreated in the past with cheap knock-offs and horrible hangovers. But if you choose the tequila more carefully, then you might be in for a pleasant surprise. Try using Tequila Jose Cuervo Tradicional Reposadofor mouthwatering results. Also, don’t settle for lime or sour mix and always use fresh juicy limes to get the best flavours.  


Originating during the US Prohibition era, this classic was made famous in the Savoy for its versatility as an aperitif or after-dinner drink. A simple mix of lemon juice, sugar, a small amount of egg whites and a dark spirit of your choosing give a surprisingly complex flavour. A classic favourite is a whiskey or with a nice heavy Bourbon as its base, but you can use your own favourite spirit to get started.

 The Martini

This most famous of classic drinks can be too strong for most cocktail lovers, but with the right class of vodka or gin it can be something very special. For vodka lovers, try the trusty Grey Goose or Stolichnaya Crystal. For a touch more flavour, try a classic Gin Martini with Hendrix and a slice of cucumber. Also, remember if you have shaken it will help to smoothen the spirit and also make it nice and icy cold. 

 The Old Fashioned

If ever there was cocktail that is not simply mixed, but instead is built, this is the one. This masterclass in any bartender’s skill set is slowly built by bringing out the flavours of the core spirit. This is a process that can take 12 to 18 minutes, depending on the patience of the bartender and customer. For something different try a Re-Fashioned with rum instead of bourbon and use an XO-aged product with orange bitters and slice of orange or lime peel.

 The Mojito

This minty fresh beverage is a close relative of the Classic Daiquiri. Well known by many a traveller who has graced any Bali beach or a Jakarta hotspot, this is a classic for good reason. Simple, fresh ingredients and the muddling (not crushing) of the mint bring out a truly refreshing drink. Add a dash of Citron Vert Liquor if possible for an extra layer of freshness on a hot day.  

(pictures credited Facebook)

Tags: cocktails, mojito, cosmo, cosmopolitan, Rum, Vodka, Sour, Martini, Bourbon, Whiskey, Gin, Margarita, Grey goose, Daquire,