• 05/15/2024

Easy Cocktails to Make at Home with 2 or 3 Ingredients

A pink cocktail in a martini glass.

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The weekend is here, and you have a house or dinner party to host. Everyone is bringing delightful snacks, games and vibes, and you feel responsible for amplifying that with exquisite cocktails. What are easy cocktails to make at home that will convince guests to enjoy themselves and trust your bartending abilities?

Know the Language and Tools

You can make most of these cocktails with no tools — simply pour the ingredients into a glass, and you’re good to go. However, if you look at some recipes, you might see the use of some terms and tools. If you’re new to home bartending, here is a brief on beginner terms so you don’t get lost in the sauce, as they say:

  • On the rocks: Served on ice.
  • Neat: Served without ice.
  • Muddle: Use a muddler tool to grind and mash ingredients.
  • Chaser: A drink alongside a cocktail, usually a shot, to make the alcohol less overwhelming.
  • Rim: Used as a verb, referring to lacing the rim with an ingredient like salt or sugar.

Now, let’s talk tools. You are likely aware of a shot glass, which comes in several sizes, between one and two ounces. This helps measure liquor. Another tool for this is a jigger, which is shaped like an hourglass and has two sides to pour one or two ounces, though some include a 1.5-ounce side. 

Then, there is the shaker, which comes in several forms. All you have to know is some drinks require shaking as opposed to stirring. Some are shaken with ice and others are not. There is a strainer to place on top of the shaker to hold the ice and other ingredients back and pour cleanly into a glass. You might want other tools, like bar spoons, zesters, bottle pourers, or hand juicers, though these are not necessary for most beginner-friendly drinks.

lineup of cocktails on a bar

2-Ingredient Recipes

There are two types of these recipes — ones with fun names and others where the ingredients are the names. Let’s start with a fairly comprehensive list of named cocktails that you’ve probably caught wind of at a bar at least once in your life:

  • Greyhound: Vodka and grapefruit juice
  • Martini: One part vodka or gin with two parts vermouth
  • Mimosa: Champagne with a splash of orange juice
  • Rusty Nail: Scotch and Drambuie
  • Bellini: Champagne with a splash of peach juice or purée
  • Kir: Dry white wine with a splash of crème de cassis
  • Godfather: Three parts Scotch with one part amaretto
  • Americano: Campari and sweet vermouth
  • Paloma: Tequila and grapefruit soda
  • Gibson: Gin and vermouth
  • Cape Codder: Vodka and cranberry juice
  • Screwdriver: Vodka and orange juice
  • Black Russian: One part Kahlua with two parts vodka or replace vodka with tequila to make a Brave Bull
  • Dark and Stormy: Dark rum and ginger beer
  • Gimlet: Gin and lime juice

What about the drinks where the name is the recipe list? These are easy cocktails to make at home because you’ll never get the parts mixed up, and you can ask your guests how strong to make them — precise measurements are not always necessary.

  • Gin and tonic or vodka tonic
  • Malibu and pineapple juice
  • Vodka, scotch or tequila soda
  • Rum and Coke, or make it a Cuba Libre by adding a lime
  • Vodka Red Bull
  • Jack and Coke
making a cocktail with a Boston shaker

3-Ingredient Recipes

Several cocktails may contain two liquid ingredients and a third for garnish, but these are drinks containing three ingredients in the mixture. Feel free to mix and match juices and fruits for different variations of these famous drinks.

  • Old Fashioned: 1 ½ ounces Bourbon, 1 sugar cube, several dashes of Angostura bitters
  • Sea Breeze: 1 ½ ounces vodka, 1 ½ ounces grapefruit juice, 3 ounces cranberry juice
  • Moscow Mule: 1 ½ ounces vodka, 4 ounces ginger beer, lime juice to taste
  • Caipirinha: 2 ounces Cachaça, half a lime, 2 teaspoons of brown sugar
  • Dry Martini: A martini with olive juice
  • Daiquiri: Two parts like rum, one part lime juice, ½ ounce of simple syrup
  • Aperol Spritz: 2 ounces Prosecco, 1 ½ ounces Aperol, topped with soda water
  • Negroni: Equal parts Campari, gin and sweet red vermouth
  • Adonis: One part sweet vermouth, two parts sherry, a splash of orange bitters
  • Gold Rush: Bourbon with lemon and honey
  • Manhattan: 2 ounces of whisky, ¾ ounces sweet red vermouth, Angostura bitters
  • White Russian: Black Russian with cream or milk

Some of these drinks are often spruced up with additional ingredients. For example, an Old Fashioned can have cherries and orange wheels. White Russians may use different flavors of cream to make it taste like caramel or even peppermint. Always feel free to experiment!

Feeling adventurous? These recommendations for even more complex beverages will wow guests on any occasion if you think these are too easy.

lineup of cocktails on a bar

Mocktail Recipes

There are plenty of easy cocktails to make at home without alcohol if you don’t feel like imbibing or have sober friends. It’s not always fun for people who don’t drink to go to a party if they have to resort to just water or soda. They should get to participate in the fun too! 

So, here are a few mocktails that are just as easy to make, especially if you already have some of these ingredients on hand from the cocktail menu:

  • Mock Mojito: Glass of soda water, with lime, mint, and simple sugar to taste
  • Piña Colada: Coconut milk, simple syrup, pineapple juice
  • Berry Daiquiri: Frozen berries, soda or tonic, lime, and simple syrup, blended
  • Shirley Temple: Ginger ale, lime juice, splash of Grenadine
  • Mock Mimosa or Bellini: Orange or peach juice, respectively, with ginger ale

Nonalcoholic variants of liquors are also becoming more and more popular. It might not be out of the question to find a no-ABV rum or tequila replacer, making the taste even closer to the original drink with none of the alcohol.

Easy Cocktails to Make at Home with Few Ingredients

There are plenty of impressive, gorgeous cocktails out there that look good in Instagram pictures, but they are expensive and time-consuming. You can host an equally stunning party with less effort. Once you learn these staples and build out your bar, you’ll be able to expand your repertoire until you don’t have to look at a recipe list anymore.

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