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10 Classic Cocktails Every Real Drinker Should Know

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In order to call yourself a true cocktail enthusiast, you must first know how to properly shake a drink, rim a glass and express a citrus peel. But there are also a handful of classic drinks you should be intimately familiar with. These mainstay cocktails are the backbone of the drinking world—and modern mixology wouldn’t be the same without them. Here, 10 classic cocktails you have to try at least once in your life.

If you’ve never enjoyed a crisp, cold, gin Martini, you’re not living your cocktailing life to the fullest. Whether you prefer it dry, dirty or garnished with cocktail onions for a Gibson, everyone should have their go-to version of this undeniable classic.

The Essentials

Gin
Dry Vermouth
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Perhaps the most iconic drink on this list, the Old Fashioned is a model of sophisticated simplicity. Every cocktail enthusiast should know how to make this blend of whiskey, sugar and bitters blindfolded.

The Essentials

Whiskey
bitters
sugar cube
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There’s no cocktail more beloved than the sweet, tart and satisfying Margarita. It’s great whether it’s given new life with spicy peppers, served as a Jello Shot, or enjoyed in tried and true form on the rocks. Warm weather wouldn’t be the same without it.

The Essentials

Blanco Tequila
Lime Juice
Agave Nectar
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This brunchtime staple is a lip-smacking umami treat and many drinkers’ first foray into the world of savory cocktails. Once you’ve mastered the original, try the tequila-spiked Bloody Maria, clam juice enhanced Bloody Caesar and ultra savory Bullshot on for size.

The Essentials

Vodka
Beef Broth
Worcestershire sauce
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Forget about the frozen monstrosities of spring breaks past—this Daiquiri recipe is the real deal. Get to know the simple mix of rum, lime juice and simple syrup, and you’ll crave it until the end of time.

The Essentials

White Rum
Demerara Syrup
Lime Juice
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Although caçhaca—a sort of rum made from sugarcane juice—is the most obscure spirit on this list, the Brazilian Caipirinha has been around long enough that serious drinkers should recognize the funky, citrusy cocktail. Muddle your favorite seasonal fruit into the classic to make it your own.  

The Essentials

Cachaça
Lime
sugar
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Fans of bubbly know all about this bright citrus-infused cocktail, and it’s time you got acquainted too. Named after a giant gun used by French soldiers in WWII, this seemingly delicate drink packs a deceptive punch—especially if you’re sipping it for the first time.

The Essentials

Gin
lemon juice
Champagne
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Another classic that should have a healthy turn in your whiskey cocktail rotation, the Manhattan is as strong and cool as the island for which it’s named. The original recipe calls for spicy rye, but mix it with bourbon if that’s what your heart desires.

The Essentials

Whiskey
Sweet Vermouth
bitters
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The Dude really knew what he was doing by downing so many White Russians. The coffee liqueur-flecked classic is creamy, sweet and delicious, making it a perfect dessert sipper or hair of the dog at breakfast to cure what ails you.

The Essentials

Vodka
Coffee Liqueur
Heavy Cream
Matthew Kelly/Supercall
Love it or hate it, the Negroni is here to stay. Though the original is mixed with equal parts gin, Campari and sweet vermouth, try an equally simple—and delicious—variation to keep your palate guessing.

The Essentials

Gin
Campari
Sweet Vermouth

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