15 Classic Cocktails Everyone Should Know

If you like to drink cocktails, you should definitely know these classics - if you don't already. Familiarizing yourself with these drinks, their ingredients and the methods in which they are made will help you when you are making them or ordering them out. 

What Makes A Cocktail A Classic?

Before we dive into some recipes, it's important to note what exactly constitutes a "classic" cocktail. While it might be easy to recognize a classic cocktail, it's a bit more difficult to explain exactly what one is. If you look up the term classic in the dictionary you're bound to find an explanation similar to this: something that has been judged over time proving to be the highest quality, typical or traditional, outstanding or something that will never go out of style. 

We've turned to bartenders to help us decipher exactly what the term means in the cocktail world. If a cocktail has one or more of the following qualities, then it most likely it is a classic! 

They are instantly recognizable. 

Take the margarita for instance. Most people are familiar enough with a margarita to know that it's a tequila based drink that's citrusy with a balanced sweetness. It is one of the most customizable drinks out there, so to a bartender, it's easy to make tweaks, add flavors and so on, while still staying well within the boundaries for the drink. Think frozen strawberry margarita or spicy margarita on the rocks with salt. You probably just pictured both of those cocktails in your head the moment you read them even though they are wildly different. This may be the most important attribute in recognizing a cocktail as a classic. 

They aren't specific to an establishment.

Many bars and restaurants have a signature drink or a house curated cocktail list however, if you went to another bar and ordered one of these drinks, the bartender would probably have no idea what you are talking about. For a drink to be a classic it has to be known outside of the bar or region of origin. Some cocktails simply cannot be recreated at most bars so no matter how amazing the cocktail is. If you're serving something that only you and a handful of bars have the tools or ingredients to make it's not going to reach the level of let's say an Old Fashioned that just about anyone can make. 

They're damn tasty!

If it doesn't taste good, it's probably not a classic! Why? Well, classics withstand the test of time. Cocktails that taste shitty will die out while cocktails that are delicious will stick around, even through the trends. 

15 Classic Cocktails You Should Know

Here's a list of our absolute favorite classic cocktails that we think everyone should know! These classics (as many others) contain 4 or less ingredients, are easy to make, can be found in most bars around the world and are simply delightful!