6 Classic Cocktails Everyone Should Know

The definition of a "classic" is something that has been "judged over a period of time to be of the highest quality and outstanding of its kind." When it comes to classic cocktails, these are the drinks that have stood the test of time and are still ordered often today. 

Savage Scorpions is featuring 6 classic cocktails in today's blog that are worth knowing about. Once you master these, you'll have the knowledge needed to easily handle variations on these basic drinks. 

According to "The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks" by David A. Embury, cocktails can be categorized into 2 main types: aromatic and sour; and the ingredients into 3 categories: the base, modifying agents, and special flavorings and coloring agents. While there are more than 6 classic cocktails that could have made this list, the following drinks are a good sampling of the most popular.     

While most well-known as a vodka drink, the martini was originally most often made with gin. Basically, this cocktail is made with your liquor of choice (gin or vodka) and vermouth at a ratio of 2:1, stirred in a mixing glass with ice and then strained into a chilled glass. The addition of orange or aromatic bitters is optional and the cocktail is usually garnished with a green olive or a twist of lemon peel. 

For a dry martini, dry white vermouth is added. The perfect martini adds equal amounts of sweet and dry vermouth, and the dirty martini has the addition of a splash of olive juice.

Old Fashioned
This cocktail is made by muddling together sugar and bitters in the bottom of a glass. A small bit of water may be added to make the muddling work better.  Next, the glass is filled with ice cubes, then whiskey is added and the drink is garnished with a cocktail cherry and a twist of citrus peel, most commonly orange. 

The original old fashioned recipe used some type of whiskey, usually Irish, Bourbon, or rye whiskey. In some regions, brandy was used as a substitute. Today many enjoy making this cocktail with gin instead.  

Next up, yet another whiskey drink. It is one of five cocktails named for a New York City borough. It was created in the Manhattan area at some point in the mid-1800s. (There are conflicting stories on the actual date.)  

A Manhattan consists of rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters stirred over ice, strained into a glass, and then garnished with a cherry. It may also be served in a lowball glass on the rocks. Substitutions for the rye whiskey include Canadian whisky (which was used most often during Prohibition due to its availability), bourbon, blended whiskey, and Tennessee whiskey.

The most popular daiquiri ordered today is probably the frozen strawberry daiquiri, which is even offered without the alcohol on many kids' menus. The original recipe is actually served straight up after being both stirred and shaken.  

The main ingredients are rum, citrus juice (usually lime), and sugar or some other sweetener. All ingredients are added to a cocktail shaker and stirred well enough to dissolve the sugar. Ice is then added and the drink is shaken and then strained into a chilled glass.  

This cocktail is one of the classic sour varieties, which is a drink containing a base liquor, lemon or lime juice, and a sweetening agent. The sidecar's exact origin is unknown but most likely was created around the end of World War I and named after the motorcycle sidecar used by an army captain. To create this classic cocktail, cognac, triple sec, and lemon juice are shaken with ice and then strained into a cocktail glass.    

A classic sour cocktail that is much more commonly enjoyed today is the margarita. It's a very versatile drink that can be served on the rocks, frozen, or straight up in many different delicious flavors. 

The original margarita recipe consists of tequila, orange liqueur, and lime juice. A salted rim on the glass brings out the vibrant flavors of this drink.

Once you've mastered the classics, you should be ready to tackle just about any cocktail recipe. To truly become a master mixologist, you'll want to add your own uniquely delicious twists here and there. 

An incredibly simple way to take any cocktail or shot from ordinary to extraordinary is to add our creative drink ingredient to the mix. You can easily order Savage Scorpions online and always have them on hand behind the bar to make all of your favorite cocktails just a bit more savage! 

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