Bartenders Love Making These Cocktails at Home

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Plenty of bartenders spend their entire shifts making complicated, fancy cocktails for thirsty patrons. So it’s no surprise to us that most of them want to sip on a simple classic when they return home after the end of a long shift. To get a better idea of what bartenders are drinking off the clock, we asked 15 of them, “What’s your favorite simple drink to make at home?” Check out their responses and let them inspire your next after-work home bar happy hour.

Old Fashioned

“I love making the Old Fashioned at home, which is also available at the restaurant: Angel's Envy Kentucky Bourbon, two dashes orange bitters, two dashes Angostura bitters, a dash of sugar, stirred and strained over a large ice cube, garnished with a fresh shaved orange peel.” —Nick Lunn, Mastro’s Steakhouse New York

“I always have demerara syrup in the fridge, bitters on my shelf and rye whiskey in the cabinet. To be honest, by the time I get home, I am usually pretty lazy and drink whiskey on the rocks with a High Life. But when I can be bothered or when we have guests, I have been known to knock up an Old Fashioned or two.” —Gareth Howells, VNYL

Gin Cocktails

“Honestly, I really love gin and sodas because they’re simple, easy and refreshing. It's what I enjoy when going out and what I'll make for myself at home.” —Bridget Maloney, Frolik Kitchen + Cocktails 

"I call it 'Pink Gin for an Evening Out,' and instructions are as follows: Take a small cocktail glass. Dash some Angostura bitters in it, swirl it around and toss it out. Put the glass in the freezer. Pour a couple of ounces of gin into a tumbler or mixing glass. Add six to eight ice cubes. Don't stir it. Put the whole thing in the freezer. Now go take a shower. When you get out and are somewhat dry, strain the gin off the ice into the bitters-washed cocktail glass. Drink this while you tie your tie, button your cufflinks and adjust your pocket square." —Robert Krueger, Employees Only New York and Singapore

"My go-to drink is a Tom Collins. All you need is gin, lemon juice, sugar and club soda, and you have yourself a delicious and easy-to-make drink. It’s citrusy, bubbly and perfect for the summer.” —Michael Alexandrakis, Ling Ling Mykonos

Manhattan

“My all-time favorite is a Manhattan. Growing up in the Midwest, my father would always make a ‘true’ Maker’s Mark Manhattan, as he would like to call them. It was the first drink I made, and there is something very nostalgic about them to this day. Three ingredients is all it takes—Makers Mark, Dolin Sweet Vermouth and two dashes of Angostura Bitters, and you have the perfect Manhattan.” —Caitlin Hula, Cliff House Maine

Negroni

“A White Negroni, which I make with 1.5 ounces of Mulholland New World Gin—or any new world, not as juniper forward—1 ounce Salers Aperitif and 1 ounce Cocchi Americano Blanc. Stir over ice until very chilled and garnish with a lemon twist.” —Matthew Alper, Mulholland Distilling

“I am really loving a Mezcal Negroni, made with 1 ounce mezcal, 1 ounce Campari and 1 ounce vermouth. Shake, strain and serve with an orange peel. It has perfect accents of citrus, earthiness, fruit and bitter. I'm also a long-time pastis drinker—a classic Ricard on the rocks with a splash of water is a perfect evening cocktail.” —Elliott Coon, GEM&BOLT Mezcal

“A Negroni Spagliato, aka a Mistaken Negroni. It’s low ABV, so I can enjoy a few of them without getting too tipsy. Also, no real equipment is required to make it other than a nice wine glass and some good ice. I pour about an ounce each—feel free to eyeball and avoid using a jigger—of sweet vermouth and Campari into the glass. Fill it with ice and then top it with some great prosecco or Champagne. Last but not least is a nice big orange peel to add some freshness and citrus aromatics to the drink.” —Cody Goldstein, The Horny Ram and The Flying Cock

Tequila Cocktails

“At home, I love to make anything with tequila! It's an extremely versatile spirit and great for any warm weather cocktail. Mix it with Fever Tree Ginger Beer and a squeeze of fresh lime for a Mexican Mule. Do equal parts with any San Pellegrino Sparkling Italian Soda for a refreshing, effervescent delight—Pompelmo (grapefruit) is my personal favorite. If it's been a long day, a simple splash of fresh lime in any tequila will get the job done, quick and painless.” —Nick Bill, LAVO New York

“My favorite drink to make at home is a Tommy’s Margarita. It’s super fresh, clean and really easy to make: 2 ounces of your favorite tequila, 1 ounce of fresh pressed lime juice—must be freshly squeezed—and 1 ounce of agave syrup. Add everything to your shaker with ice, shake and serve. It’s a perfectly balanced cocktail, great for the summer and super refreshing. And if you want to add extra flavor, slice up some strawberries, throw a couple mint or basil leaves in, or spice things up with one to three thin slices of fresno chili peppers and a nice pinch of cilantro. Shake and serve over ice, and garnish with your modifiers.” —Brian Freed, Stache Drinking Den + Coffee Bar

Sour Whiskey Cocktails

“I like to relax with a drink of bourbon, some lemon juice and honey syrup on the rocks.” —David Atwood, Industry Kitchen

“This summer, I've been making a lot of Whiskey Smashes with the addition of fresh apricots from my sister's backyard.” —Becky McFalls-Schwartz, Bar Moga

“A Lion’s Tail, which is made with bourbon, a couple drops of Allspice Dram, Angostura bitters, and the juice of half a lime. I add everything to a glass and stir. The flavor is unique and complex, but it's super simple to make.” —Jared Meisler, The Friend, Roger Room and Bar Lubitsch 

White Russian

"A White Russian because they're delicious, but I'd be too self-conscious to order one in public." —Ky Belk, El Five

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