Bar Guide to Mixed Drinks

Serving a selection of mixed drinks is a fun and easy way to welcome your party guests. If you don't know how to bartend, don't worry! Here are our tips for bringing delicious, bar-worthy alcoholic drinks to your home, complete with a party drink shopping list and several easy alcoholic drink recipes.


Party Drink Supply List

Before your party, decide what mixed drinks you'd like to serve, and make a list of the supplies you will need.

Our checklist for essential party drinks:

  • Liquor: Choose spirits your guests will love, or base your liquor list off of your favorite alcoholic drink recipes. If you're unsure what mixed drinks to serve, buy a few basics: whiskey, Scotch, gin, vodka, tequila, rum, or vermouth.
  • Mixers: Mixers are an essential part of most cocktails. Some basic mixers include carbonated water, tonic water, lemon-lime seltzer, and ginger ale.
  • Garnishes: Top off mixed drinks with garnishes. Maraschino cherries, olives, lemon peels, and lime and lemon wedges are popular drink garnishes.
  • Ice: To keep your cocktails cool and refreshing, have about a pound of cubes per person, and more for warm-weather parties.
  • Bar glasses: You don't need a huge selection of glassware. Ten- or 12-ounce all-purpose glasses will work for nearly every alcoholic drink.
  • Various bar tools: Be sure to have a few essential bar tools handy, like a bottle opener, corkscrew, cocktail napkins, small towel, sponge, and wastebasket. You may also want to have a blender nearby to make frozen drinks, like blended margaritas or daiquiris.
Easy Mixed-Drink Recipes
Enlarge Image Even if you're new at mixing drinks, you can make gorgeous and delicious cocktails with the help of our alcoholic drink recipes.

For delicious drinks in a snap, refer to this list of alcoholic drink recipes. Print your favorites to keep by the bar during your party.

  • Bloody Mary: In a cocktail shaker combine ice cubes, 1/3 cup chilled tomato juice, 3 tablespoons vodka, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, dash Worcestershire sauce, dash celery salt, and dash black pepper or bottled hot pepper sauce. Shake well to mix. Pour into a chilled glass; add ice cubes, if desired. Garnish with a celery stalk. Makes 1 serving. (Note: You may prefer to make Bloody Marys ahead and chill for flavors to blend. Stir before serving.)
  • Tom Collins: In a tall glass stir together 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar or simple syrup. Stir in 3 tablespoons gin, vodka, or light rum. Add ice cubes. Pour 3/4 cup chilled carbonated water down the side of the glass. Garnish with an orange slice and a maraschino cherry. Makes 1 serving.
  • Frozen Daiquiris: In a blender combine one 6-ounce can frozen limeade or lemonade concentrate and 2/3 cup rum. Cover and blend until smooth. With blender running, add 2-1/2 to 3 cups ice cubes, one at a time, through opening in lid. Blend until slushy. Makes 6 (about 4-ounce) servings. Also check out our recipes for peach daiquiris and strawberry daiquiris.
  • Gimlet: In a cocktail shaker combine ice cubes, 3 tablespoons gin or vodka, and 1 tablespoon bottled sweetened lime juice. Shake well to mix. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Makes 1 serving.
  • Gin and Tonic: Place ice cubes in a glass. Add 1/4 cup gin. Pour 1/2 cup chilled tonic water (quinine water) down the side. Squeeze a lime wedge into glass; stir gently. Add wedge to drink. Makes 1 serving.
  • Manhattan: In a cocktail shaker combine cracked ice, 3 tablespoons blended whiskey, 1 tablespoon sweet vermouth, and dash aromatic bitters. Shake well to mix. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry. Makes 1 serving.
  • MargaritaIn a cocktail shaker combine ice cubes, 3 tablespoons tequila, 2 tablespoons orange liqueur, and 2 tablespoons lime juice. Shake well to mix. For a salt-rimmed glass, rub the rim of a chilled cocktail glass with a lime wedge; invert into a dish of coarse salt. Strain drink into glass. Makes 1 serving.
  • Martini: For a classic martini, in a cocktail shaker combine cracked ice, 1/4 cup gin, and 1 tablespoon dry vermouth. Shake well to mix. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a green olive or a lemon twist. Makes 1 serving.
  • Old-Fashioned: Pour 1 tablespoon simple syrup into an old-fashioned glass. Stir in dash aromatic bitters. Add ice cubes and 3 tablespoons bourbon, brandy, Scotch whisky, or Southern Comfort. Pour in 3 tablespoons chilled carbonated water; stir gently to mix. Garnish with an orange twist and a maraschino cherry on a skewer. Makes 1 serving.
  • Screwdriver: Place 3 or 4 ice cubes in a tall glass. Add 3 tablespoons vodka and, if desired, 1 tablespoon orange liqueur. Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup orange juice to fill the glass; stir to mix. Makes 1 serving.
  • Whiskey Sour: In a cocktail shaker combine cracked ice, 3 tablespoons bourbon or blended whiskey, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons simple syrup. Shake well to mix. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. If desired, add cracked ice. Garnish with an orange twist and a maraschino cherry on a skewer. Makes 1 serving.

Our Best Drink Recipes and Party Tips
Enlarge Image Our low-calorie mixed drinks pack plenty of flavor, and you won't miss the extra calories! Pictured here is The Porcupine, a four-ingredient white wine cocktail. Get the Recipe!


Make Low-Calorie Cocktails

Easy Cocktail Party Ideas

Delicious Cocktail Classics to Try

What's Your Dream Dessert? Find Out!

More Easy Cocktail Recipes
  • Bourbon Sour: In a cocktail shaker, combine ice cubes; 1/4 cup bourbon, Scotch whisky, or rye whiskey; 2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice; and 2 teaspoons powdered sugar. Shake well to mix. Strain into a chilled glass. Pour 2 tablespoons chilled grapefruit carbonated beverage down the side of the glass; stir gently to mix. Add ice cubes, if desired. Garnish with an orange twist and a maraschino cherry on a skewer. Makes 1 serving.
  • Vodka Sour: Prepare Bourbon Sour as directed, except substitute 1/4 cup vodka for the bourbon.
  • Daiquiri: In a cocktail shaker, combine cracked ice, 3 tablespoons light rum, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1 teaspoon powdered sugar, and 1 teaspoon orange liqueur. Shake well to mix. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Makes 1 serving.
  • Raspberry or Strawberry Daiquiris: Prepare Daiquiris as directed, except use half of a 6-ounce can (1/3 cup) frozen limeade or lemonade concentrate. Add one 10-ounce package frozen red raspberries or sliced strawberries and, if desired, 1/3 cup sifted powdered sugar. Makes 7 (4-ounce) servings.
  • Peach Daiquiris: Prepare Daiquiris as directed, except use half of a 6-ounce can (1/3 cup) frozen limeade or lemonade concentrate. Add 3 ripe medium peaches, peeled, pitted, and cut up (1-1/2 cups) or 1-1/2 cups frozen unsweetened peach slices. If desired, add 1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar. Makes 8 (about 4-ounce) servings.
  • Kir: Pour 3/4 cup chilled dry white wine into a chilled wine glass. Add 1 tablespoon crème de cassis; stir gently to mix. If desired, add ice cubes. Garnish with a lemon twist, if desired. Makes 1 serving.
  • Dry Manhattan: Prepare Manhattan as directed, except substitute dry vermouth for the sweet vermouth. Garnish with a green olive.
  • Frozen Margaritas: In a blender container, combine one 6-ounce can frozen limeade concentrate, 2/3 cup tequila, and 1/2 cup orange liqueur. Cover and blend until smooth. With blender running, add 4 cups ice cubes, 1 at a time, through opening in lid. Blend until slushy. Serve in salt-rimmed glasses. Garnish with lime slices, if desired. Makes 8 (4-ounce) servings.
  • Orange Champagne: Thinly peel 1/2 of a medium orange into a spiral of peel about 12 inches long; place in a chilled champagne glass. Add 2 teaspoons orange liqueur; pour in 1/2 cup chilled champagne. Stir gently to mix. Makes 1 serving.
  • Rusty Nail: Place 2 ice cubes in a cocktail glass. Pour in 1/4 cup Scotch whisky and 2 tablespoons Drambuie; stir to mix. Makes 1 serving.
  • Wine Spritzer: Combine 3/4 cup chilled dry white, red, or rose wine with 1/4 cup chilled club soda or lemon-lime carbonated beverage. Serve over ice. Makes 1 (8-ounce) serving.
  • Simple Syrup: Pour 1 cup boiling water over 1 cup sugar; stir until sugar dissolves. Chill in the refrigerator before using; store in the refrigerator.
  • Lime and Tonic: Place ice cubes in a tall glass. Add 2 teaspoons lime juice. Pour 1 cup chilled tonic water (quinine water) down the side of the glass; stir gently with an up-and-down motion to mix. Garnish with a lime wedge. Makes 1 serving.
  • Orange Collins: Squeeze the juice from 1 medium orange (about 1/3 cup). Combine the freshly-squeezed orange juice and 1/4 cup chilled collins mixer. Pour over ice cubes in a tall glass. Pour chilled carbonated water (about 1/2 cup) down the side of the glass to fill; stir gently with an up-and-down motion to mix. Garnish with an orange slice and a maraschino cherry. Makes 1 serving.
  • Spicy Tomato Cocktail: In a cocktail shaker, combine several ice cubes, one chilled 9-ounce can vegetable juice, 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, dash bottled hot pepper sauce, and dash celery salt. Shake well to mix. Strain over ice cubes in a tall glass. Garnish with a celery stalk. Makes 1 serving.

Make an Arnold Palmer in Five Easy Steps!
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