There’s no better way to get a party started or kick off a feast than with cocktails. But you don’t need to buy in specialist ingredients and fancy kit to make impressive drinks. These simple cocktails are easy to make at home. Each requires just three ingredients and is ready in minutes. With many sharing the same components and only a small group of core spirits needed, mix up a storm with minimum mess and fuss.
This Italian concoction is not for the faint-hearted. Combining three different spirits with a healthy dose of bitters to kickstart your appetite, negronis make a great apéritif before a meal.
With three ingredients combined in equal proportion, negronis are a doddle to make. Mix one part gin, one part red vermouth and one part Campari (a bitter-tasting liqueur) over ice cubes in a tumbler glass. Garnish with orange peel and you’re done.
One of the most famous cocktails worldwide, the perfect martini is something everyone should master. Once you’ve got the basics down, endless riffs on the original are possible.
Pour one part dry vermouth and six parts gin over ice cubes in a cocktail shaker, and stir or shake. Strain into a v-shaped martini cocktail glass.
A dry martini will have more spirit (closer to 100 percent gin) while a wet cocktail will have more vermouth. For a dirty martini, add olive brine and an olive or for a martini with a twist, add lemon peel. Twist the peel before you add it to the glass to release the fruit’s natural oils.
The Moscow mule
Originating in 1940s Manhattan rather than Moscow, legend has it the cocktail was created after two traders wanted to sell more of their wares: one sold vodka, the other ginger beer. They combined them in a drink and the Moscow mule was born.
A Moscow mule is typically made and served in a copper mug. Squeeze around one tablespoon of lime juice over ice cubes then add a lime wedge. Pour in one part vodka, top with three parts ginger beer, stir and serve.
The Kir Royale
French priest Felix Kir is said to have popularised this cocktail in Burgundy after the Second World War to promote two key local ingredients: wine and crème de cassis. The original is traditionally made with the white wine Bourgogne Aligot but the ‘royale’ indicates it’s made with Champagne.
Add one part crème de cassis, a blackcurrant-based liqueur, to a Champagne flute. Slowly top with Champagne for a bubbly royale or any other white wine for a straight kir. Garnish with fresh blackcurrants or raspberries and serve chilled.
This celebratory cocktail was invented after the Spanish-American war when Cuba won its freedom. It’s a simple mix of three widely available ingredients that balance sweetness and bitterness for a refreshing long drink.
Fill a highball glass with ice cubes, squeeze in the juice of half a lime and drop in the spent lime. Add a generous measure of white or medium rum and top with cola. Stir well and serve with an optional mint garnish.