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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

Dating back all the way to 1806, the Old-Fashioned has a well deserved moniker.
But the perfect balance of brandy, bitters, citrus, fruit and a splash of soda (a favorite addition via Wisconsin), make this cocktail an enduring classic.

Check out these other easy mixed drinks you should know.

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Martini

Shaken or stirred, the Martini is the quintessential classic cocktail. Made with gin or vodka, this drink harkens back to bygone eras, though it’s a perpetual favorite.

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

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Bloody Mary

In the early part of the 20th century, vodka and tomato juice was a popular pairing. Soon, though, bartenders began adding a little spice to the drink transforming it into the Bloody Mary that we love today – spicy, savory and served with plenty of garnishes.

Learn how to make the best ever Bloody Mary. 

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Mai Tai

Though it’s origins are subject to debate, the Mai Tai ushered in a new wave of mixology in the United States. This tropical, rum drink is synonymous with mid-century tiki culture (and it’s darn good to boot).

Mai tais are one of our favorite birthday cocktails!

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Gimlet

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.

These vintage drinks deserve a comeback.

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Moscow Mule

In recent years, the Moscow Mule has surged in popularity. However, its history can be traced all the way back to the early ’40s right here in the USA. With strong ginger flavors paired with lime and vodka, we’re not surprised this cocktail had a major comeback.

Love mules? Try one of these fun variations.

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Refreshing Mojito

This drink first swelled in popularity during the 1920s in Cuba. The combination of fresh mint, a squeeze of lime and white rum was so irresistible that tourists and servicemen demanded the drink upon coming back to the US. And we’re happy they did!

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

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Fresh Lime Margaritas

Coming from south of the border is the ever-popular Margarita. This tequila and lime combo made it’s debut in Mexico in the early part of the 1900s, and it’s been a regular on bar menus ever since.

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

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.

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

Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is an editor at Taste of Home where she gets to embrace her passion for baking. She pours this love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. Lisa is also dedicated 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.