10 Classic Cocktails You Should Know Before You’re 30

From martinis to mint juleps, classic cocktails are time-tested favorites. Check out our top ten picks for libation inspiration.

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Brandy Old-Fashioned Sweet

The concept of an old-fashioned dates back to the early 1800s and includes whiskey, bitters, cherry juice, sugar and water. This old-fashioned recipe, which is extremely popular in Wisconsin, uses brandy in place of whiskey and lemon-lime soda instead of water for a milder cocktail. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen. If you want more recipes, learn how to make this classic old-fashioned cocktail.

Check out these other easy mixed drinks you should know.

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Martinis recipes can be made with either vodka or gin. Our taste panel's preference was for the gin, but try them both and decide for yourself. Be warned, this is a strong and serious drink. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

Have you ever tried a lychee martini? Here’s how to make one.

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Bloody Mary

Horseradish makes this the best Bloody Mary recipe we've tasted. Without the horseradish, you'll have a more traditional Bloody Mary, and without the alcohol, you'll have a Virgin Mary. Serve with a stalk of celery, dill pickle spear or olives. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

Learn how to make the best ever Bloody Mary. 

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Mai Tai

This party favorite has been around for quite some time. It's not overly fruity and features a good blend of sweet and sour. For a splash of color, garnish with strawberries and lime.—Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Greendale, Wisconsin

Check out some other popular rum drinks as well!

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For the light drinker, suggest a Gimlet. The blend of slightly sweet and tart flavors is appealing, but not overwhelming.—Taste of Home Test Kitchen

Simple yet refreshing, it’s no wonder the Gimlet has stood the test of time.
This combination of lime juice and gin (or vodka if you prefer) is the perfect elixir on balmy days.[/rms_recipe]

These vintage drinks deserve a comeback.

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Moscow Mule

Here's an old-time cocktail that was popular in the 1940s and '50s. A Moscow Mule is traditionally served in a copper mug with plenty of ice. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Love mules? Try one of these fun variations.

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Refreshing Mojito

The great mint flavor of mojitos helps balance the spiciness of Cuban food. My recipe calls for apple rum and a purchased mix.—Eric Brill, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin

Also check out how to use bitters in more than just cocktails.

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Fresh Lime Margaritas

This basic fresh margarita recipe is easy to modify to your tastes. Try it frozen or with strawberries. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

Here’s how to take your marg to the next level.

Take a trip to the Big Easy with this sophisticated Sazerac recipe, the official cocktail of New Orleans.

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Mint Julep

It wouldn’t be Kentucky Derby Day without this mint julep recipe! But, really, this Kentucky Derby mint julep recipe is good anytime. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

Go to Recipe

For more flavorful drinks, check out our guide to lychee cocktail recipes. Also what are bitters and how do you use them in cocktails?

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White Chocolate Brandy Alexander

This brandied white cocoa is a wonderful drink to warm up with after coming in from the cold. Whipped topping and chocolate shavings make special finishing touches. —Sharon Delaney-Chronis, South Milwaukee, Wisconsin

On the sweeter side of classic cocktails, you’ll find the Brandy Alexander.
Part brandy, part creme de cacao and part cream, this libation makes a smooth, tasty after dinner drink.[/rms_recipe]

Next, check out these 15 types of cocktail glasses that serious mixologists recommend.

Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is a former Taste of Home editor and passionate baker. During her tenure, she poured her love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. Lisa also dedicated her career here to finding and testing the best ingredients, kitchen gear and home products for our Test Kitchen-Preferred program. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.