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13 Best Classic Cocktails for Men (and how to make ’em)

Playboy lifestyle’s mean you need to know your classic manly cocktails. And know how to make them!

If you’re looking to throw the coolest party, impress a lady or just have a great drink with your buddies at home, it pays to know how to make an awesome classic cocktail.

These are all simple classics, nice and manly, which use just a few of the essential spirits and mixers you probably have in your drinks cabinet. Sorry: screwdrivers, espresso martinis and cosmos don’t make the grade…

Drinks you should have in your cabinet

  • Vodka (Stolichnya, Ciroc or Grey Goose)
  • Scotch Whisky (Highland Park, Jura or Glenlivet – Johnny Walker Black also a solid shelf warmer)
  • Whiskey/Bourbon (Makers Mark, Bulleit or Woodford Reserve)
  • White rum (Havana Club)
  • Dark rum (Brugal Anejo or Havana Club- we also like Old Salt Rum)
  • Gin (Hendricks, Plymouth or Sipsmith)
  • Tequila (El Jimador, Patron silver) AND/OR
  • Mezcal (QuiQuiRiQuiri)

Mixers that are always good to have in the store cupboard include:

  • Vermouth (Red and White – Martini is fine)
  • Campari
  • Absinthe
  • Soda water (Fever Tree)
  • Tonic water (Fever Tree)

Other essentials include:

  • Triple sec (such as Cointrea, Bols or any other orange liqueur)
  • Angostura bitters
  • Sugar syrup
  • Fresh limes, oranges and lemons

Lets take it as standard that you have a Boston shaker or premium cocktail set. If not, click below for our recommended cocktail kit. These come with all of the essentials such as the shaker, strainer, jiggers and zester. (Bartenders cocktail shaker set on Amazon)

You probably already have a few Old Fashioned glasses, but a couple of Martini glasses are always a good idea. In the absence of Martini glasses, freestyle with whatever you’ve got.

Now you’re all good to go, heres how to make the best classic cocktails for men.

1: Negroni

This is an essential for the discerning cocktail making gentleman. The best bit… Its too easy!

  • 25ml Campari
  • 25ml Plymouth gin
  • 25ml Red vermouth

Take an old fashioned glass, fill with ice. Measure and pour the ingredients. Rub the rim with a slice of orange peel, then twist the peel over a lighter to ignite the oils. Drop the peel into the glass and enjoy…. A classic manly cocktail.

2. Old Fashioned

Another super easy cocktail but one that needs to be done right to really enjoy. Best made with a sweet bourbon but can be made with an oakey Scotch. Peat flavours don’t tend to work too well in this.

  • 50ml Makers Mark
  • Dash of bitters
  • Sugar cube
  • Orange peel, or slice of orange

In an Old Fashioned glass, pop in the sugar cube or dash of sugar syrup. Shake over the bitters (no more than two or three drops). Pour over the double shot of bourbon and then the ice. Stir steadily for around two minutes, or until the ice has started to melt and the sugar has dissolved.

Rub the rim with orange, ideally twist the orange peel over a flame to ignite the oils. Drop the orange into the glass and enjoy.

Photo by Adam Jaime on Unsplash

3. Manhattan

Are we ever going to do a shaken cocktail? Well, yes we will but this refined classic is a more manly version of a Martini. If you want to order a cocktail glass based drink, or just look like James Bond, order this one.

  • 50ml Makers Mark
  • 25ml Red vermouth
  • Orange bitters
  • A Maraschino cherry for garnish

In a cocktail shaker full of ice, pour in the whisky, vermouth and bitters. Stir to mix. Strain the mix into a cocktail glass and serve with a cherry on a cocktail stick.

Image by odddogdani from Pixabay 

4. The Sour

Not as sour as it sounds. In fact this refreshing drink can be made with pretty much any spirit and is a good way to enjoy rum, tequila, pisco or whisky. Although it’s made with egg white, it can also be made ‘vegan’ by using aquafaba (or chickpea juice). Personally, I prefer the aquafaba these days (and I’m not even vegan).

  • 50ml of your spirit of choice
  • 30ml lemon juice
  • Egg white or 40ml of aquafaba
  • Dash of angostura bitters
  • Dash of sugar syrup

In a cocktail shaker, add all the ingredients. Put one ice cube in the shaker and shake to emulsify the ingredients, around 15-20 seconds. Open the shaker and top up with ice then shake to chill for around another 30 seconds.

Pour the mix over ice into a tumbler or Old Fashioned glass. Decorate with a dash of bitters or a cherry garnish.

Photo by Johann Trasch on Unsplash

5. Sidecar

This is a drink your Great Great Grandaddy probably sunk a few of. It’s a classic and delicious to boot.

  • 50ml of brandy or cognac
  • 20ml of triple sec
  • 20ml of lemon juice

Pop all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake over ice. Strain into a martini glass, optional sugared rim.

6. Gin Martini

Don’t even THINK about ordering a vodka martini. And for the love of God, DO NOT say shaken and not stirred. This is how you make a martini like a real man.

  • 50ml Plymouth gin (or Hendricks)
  • 25ml white vermouth

Pop the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. STIR through the ice for a good minute or two. Strain into a chilled martini glass and serve with a twist of lemon peel (with a twist).

If you prefer to man it up a bit, substitute the lemon peel for an green olive (dry martini). If you’re going to step it up a level, a dirty martini has a spoon of olive brine added to the mix when stirring. A filthy martini has several olives mashed in the mix and then stirred. Don’t forget to strain or you’ll end up picking bits of olive out of your teeth.

Photo by Johann Trasch on Unsplash

7. Long Island Ice Tea

Lots of booze in this one so be careful… You have been warned!

  • 15ml vodka
  • 15ml gin
  • 15ml tequila or rum (rum for purists, tequila for adveturous types)
  • 15ml triple sec
  • 15ml lemon juice
  • 15ml orange juice
  • A dash of sugar syrup
  • Cola to top up

Add all of the ingredients except the cola to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and then strain into a highball glass with a couple of cubes of ice. Top up with coke and serve with a slice of lemon or orange.

8. Rusty Nail

This is the cocktail you drink while sat around the fire after a hard days chopping wood.

  • 50ml Scotch whisky
  • 20ml Drambuie

Pour the ingredients into a whisky tumbler with a couple of ice cubes. Stir and garnish with a slice of lemon or orange peel.

9. Corpse Reviver No 2

The hair of the dog? Maybe not. This is a good one to get the party started, or as an aperitif. And as far as cocktails for men go, it has a pretty hardcore name – like the drink Ash from Evil Dead might drink.

  • 25ml Gin
  • 25ml Lillet Blanc or other white vermouth
  • 15ml Triple Sec
  • 25ml lemon juice
  • A dash of absinthe

Put all of the ingredients except the absinthe into a coctail shaker filled with ice and shake. Strain into a cocktail glass and drop a dash of absinthe on top.

Photo by John Fornander on Unsplash

10. Bloody Mary

Is this the only cocktail it’s acceptable to drink for breakfast? Possibly. Done right it is delicious and actually, the devil is in the customisation.

  • 50ml vodka
  • 100 ml tomato juice
  • 20ml lemon juice
  • Dash of Worcester sauce
  • Dash of Tabasco pepper sauce
  • Pinch of pepper

Pop all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake. Serve in a highball glass filled with ice and with celery salt and pepper on the rim. Customise to taste and serve with a stick of celery.

Photo by Johann Trasch on Unsplash

11. Tom Collins

This refreshing gin based cocktail is a great summer cooler. If you’re lounging on the deck of a super yacht, or propping up the corner of a summer dance party, this is the perfect accompaniment.

  • 50 ml dry gin
  • 25 ml lemon juice
  • 15 ml sugar syrup
  • Club soda to top

Put the gin, lemon juice and sugar syrup into a highball glass. Add cubes of ice and then pour over club soda water. Give a gentle stir to mix and garnish with a slice of lemon and a sprig of mint.

12. Daiquiri

A Caribbean classic right here. There are a number of jazzed up drinks that call themselves a daiquiri, but the original daiquiri is a genuine manly cocktail.

  • 50 ml white rum (Havana Club)
  • 25 ml lime juice
  • 15 ml sugar syrup

Mix all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake well. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a twist of lime peel.

Note that you can make those ‘funky’ daiquiris by adding in flavoured sugar syrups, and pouring the mix over crushed ice, like a mojito. Talking of which…

13. Mojito

A perfectly made mojito is a thing of simple pleasures. The tang of the lime with the fresh mint really makes this one of the best poolside drinks ever made.

  • 50 ml white rum
  • Half a lime cut into slices
  • A large sprig of mint
  • 20 ml sugar syrup
  • Soda water to top

In the bottom of a sturdy bottomed highball glass, mash a few slices of lime. Add a generous sprig of mint and muddle with the lime juice. Be careful not to break the mint up, you just want to bruise it to release the oils. Too much muddle with the mint will results in bits of mint floating in your drink, which isn’t so good.

Add sugar syrup and rum.

Add ice – crushed ice is best but you can use cubed too.

Pour over soda water to top. Garnish with a sprig of mint.

We hope this selection of manly cocktails has inspired you to pick up the shaker. It’s a great skill to be able to make a couple of really good classic cocktails, so get stuck in!

If you have a favourite manly cocktail that you think should be on this list, let us know in the comments below!

Don’t forget to share!

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