here are literally thousands of recipes for cocktails and mixed drinks, but there are a select few that are universal to the entire drinking public. You can find these classic cocktails being made in almost any bar or lounge anywhere in the world. If you're an aspiring bartender (professional or at home), this is also a good list to begin memorizing because they include many of the most asked for martinis, highballs, lowballs, shooters and tropical drinks. Also keep in mind that there are often many variations of the same drink, so you may not get the same drink everywhere you go, but hopefully it's relatively close.
There is a cocktail for almost every season and every reason. These drinks, in particular, are ideal for the various holidays and special occasions that occur throughout the year.
Ahh, the infamous shooters. What started with a shot of whiskey or tequila for a quick jolt of "reality" or to cure whatever might ail you has transformed into a long list of short shooters that come in any color and flavor possible. Bartenders have pulled out all the obscure liqueurs lying dormant in the wells to create many of these fun party drinks that are meant to get you buzzed really quick. Surprisingly, many shooters taste really good (while many are absolutely dreadful), it's just a shame that there's not enough time to enjoy the flavor combinations.
As the winter winds begin to blow the tastes of many drinkers change and the chilled cocktails just won't do. Thank goodness there are plenty of hot cocktails that can warm you up from the inside out. Almost any liquor can be added to coffee for a warm, spiked cup of java, and the list of "cafe" cocktails is almost endless. If coffee is not your cup of tea (so to speak) there are some other, much more classic, hot cocktails that might fit your tastes. Drinks like the Hot Buttered Rum, Hot Toddy and Tom and Jerry have long been favorite warm drinks and are requirements of many family's holiday traditions.
Many tropical cocktails first became popular in the 1920's and 30's and are as famous today as they were then. It was during that time that Ernest Hemingway helped bring the Daiquiri out of the obscurity of Havana bars and Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic opened up their first tiki bars which were to become great hits. Rum is the dominant spirit of most tropical cocktails, but tequila and vodka are also found in some of the favorites. Tropical cocktails typically have a mix of sweet and sour flavors and include almost any fruit you could think of.
On the Rocks
Some of the best-known drinks are lowballs, or those served on the rocks without the high volume mixers you find in highballs. Lowballs are mixed drinks that are mostly made of a mix of distilled spirits which are either shaken and strained over ice or built in the glass and stirred. You'll find these drinks are more alcoholic than highballs, but as the ice melts they are diluted to a perfect mixture. A few of these cocktails are also commonly shaken then strained into a cocktail glass for a neat, up alternative.
Martinis & Other Up Drinks
The Martini is the classic of classic cocktails, but there are many variations of the dry drink that, although not technically Martinis, are often referred to as such. To be technical about it these drinks are neat drinks, served in a cocktail, or martini, glass, but popular culture has deemed them all to be martinis. At any rate, these include some of the most popular up drinks, a few classics and a few more modern creations born out of the cocktail resurgence of the last few decades.