Classic Cocktail Recipes

They are classics for a reason. There is an art to mixing a great drink — the ritual, the perfect glassware, the garnish, the lounge atmosphere. The 1960s were the golden age of cocktail parties held in offices, mid-century living rooms, even the 3 martini lunch. We have the recipes for these concoctions so you can sharpen your skills. You'll save $$$ at the local lounge and on the Lyft ride home.

Glassware — The appropriate glass enhances the perfect drinking experience!

  • Martini

  • Coupe

  • The Collins tends to be taller and more narrow, more of a chimney shape.

  • The highball tends to be stouter and usually tops off at 10 oz.

  • Old-Fashioned / Rocks

Barware and Cocktail Tools — You could use a canning jar to shake a drink but why be so trailer parkish? Kick it up a notch and show off your bartending skills and get some cool equipment for your bar.

  • A Cocktail Shaker or two — One is great for mixing, two fit together for a tight seal so you do not splash your drink and cry like a little girl. Yes, men do cry. Spill a drink and sit back and watch the show.

  • Cocktail Strainer — Keeps the ice from watering down your baby.

  • Shot glass or Jigger — A shot is a 1 1/5 oz. mini measuring cup. A jigger is a cool metal, hourglass device with not one, but two measuring cups, one at each end.

  • Cocktail Picks — Holds garnish or for fishing that yummy olive out of your martini.

  • Bar spoon — A super long twisted, elegant spoon used to stir cocktails.

  • A MuddlerAn essential bar tool used to smash or muddle ingredients.

  • A Citrus Squeezer — Do I have to explain it?

  • Cocktail Napkins — Do not even think of putting a delicious Manhatten on a Brawny. Sacrilege! Go to Amazon and find some cool conversation starters.

  • Coasters — Please! Do not leave a ring on my Googie table. Save your surfaces from condensation rings and buy cool coasters while you're at Amazon or Etsy.

  • A BarYes, an actual bar! If you have room, build it! A special place of your own. A corner, a basement, an outside pub. WARNING: You'll become the neighborhood watering hole and new friends will start cozying up to your bar. Just ask JR Mayo.

Classic liquor — The ads for these liquors were just wrong.

  • Seagram's Seven (American blended whiskey)

  • Canadian Club (Canadian blended whiskey)

  • Seagram's VO (Canadian blended whiskey)

  • Windsor (Canadian blended whiskey)

  • Imperial Whiskey

  • Crème de menthe (green and white)

  • Campari (Can't find Campari? Blame Stanley Tucci for that!)

  • Peppermint Schnapps

  • Gilbey's Gin

  • Gordon's Gin

  • Smirnoff Vodka

  • Bacardi White Rum

  • Martini & Rossi Sweet Vermouth

  • Martini & Rossi Dry Vermouth (Ok, these two vermouths are old-school. If you want to drink delicious Vermouth, do like the Spaniards and sip botanical Spanish vermut every afternoon. Fact: You can go to a bodega there and have your own bottle filled at the barrels. Grab some chorizo tapas and you are golden.

Beer Back-in-the-day brews. You will not find a crafty IPA here. No can do.

  • Schmidt's

  • Schlitz

  • Stroh's

  • Pabst Blue Ribbon

  • Iron City

Accoutrements & Old-timey Mixers

  • ReaLemon & ReaLime — Plastic juice bottles shaped and colored like the fruits

  • Seven-Up — Originally 7 ingredients plus the 'UP' of lithium to lift spirits.

  • Coca-ColaWhen there was ONE Coke flavor.

  • Squirt — They even had a towheaded mascot name Lil Squirt.

  • Canada Dry Ginger Ale — The original label featured a beaver on a map of Canada.

  • Schweppes Tonic — The Madmen of yore coined it 'Schweppervescence'.

  • Maraschino Cherries — Glowing, nuclear red, tooth-achingly sweet nonfruit.

  • Club Soda — A fizzy type of H2O.

  • Twists — A fruit peel garnish. You twist it to get citrus oil into your drink.

  • Simple Syrup — A staple in any beverage maker's repertoire. Make it, it's simple.

  • Glassware Koozies — Nobody likes a sweaty glass. Cool your baby in a hugger.

  • Swizzle sticks — Cocktail icons, they came in a variety of shapes and colors.

  • Cocktail Umbrellas — A miniature paper parasol that protects your drink from the tropical sun.

  • Matchbook — Comic or promotion, the grandaddy of cheap butane lighters.

Googie Modern's Madman Glenn developed a fascination with cocktails (watch the video above) at a young age as he watched his socializing, party-loving grandparents, Joe and Betty, entertain their friends in the smoky, basement bar. Glenn had a blast gathering (and sampling) these recipes. He has glassware of every shape chilling in the freezer, ready for any occasion. Have fun. A great party is about to begin. Patience, grasshopper. If you wait until 5 PM, the more you will appreciate the golden hour!

Whiskey Sour, Scotch Sour, Amaretto Sour. What the heck, try them all.

Proudly wearing the ‘classic’ badge, this is a versatile cocktail that has stood the taste of time. This would just be a Whiskey Sour recipe but I seem to remember a lot of Scotch (Ballentine’s?) and Amaretto Sours getting sucked down back in the day as well. I’m pretty sure Joe and Betty probably used a sour mix but don’t do it. It’s an entirely different–and better–and softer animal with sugar, lemon, and egg white.

  • 2 oz. Whiskey, Scotch or Amaretto

  • 3/4 oz. simple syrup

  • 3/4 oz. lemon juice

  • 1 egg white

Combine it all into a shaker with Whiskey/Scotch/Amaretto Sour. Normally, ice and shake it, don't break it, baby. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. Enjoy!

Last Word

I never heard of this recipe and I’m sure my grandparents didn’t drink this. I highly doubt they ever owned a bottle of Chartreuse or Maraschino Liqueur. Maraschino cherries definitely, but not liquor. I’m including it here because it shows up on many ‘Classic Cocktails” lists and it just sounds and looks delicious. The title evokes danger. Or death.

  • 3/4 oz. Green Chartreuse

  • 3/4 oz. Maraschino Liqueur (substitute Cherry (Brandy) or Kirsch if you have to)

  • 3/4 oz. Gin

  • 3/4 oz. Fresh Lime Juice

Dump it all into a shaker with ice and shake like hell to get that baby foamy. Strain into a chilled coupe glass or serve with the ice in a highball or collins glass. Drink it!

Singapore Sling

The quintessential queen of all tiki drinks! Reschedule any conflicts and make this. An exotic drink from 'the Orient' that calls for lots of accessories hanging around on top. Umbrellas. Plastic swords. Even hanging monkeys. Pineapple. Cherries. You get the picture. Sing Slings for everyone this weekend, please!

  • 2 oz. London Dry gin

  • 2 oz. Pineapple Juice (preferably unsweetened)

  • 3/4 oz. Fresh Lime Juice

  • 3/4 oz. any Cherry flavored liquor (Heering, Kirsch, Cherry Brandy)

  • 1 oz. Bénédictine (French monks made this as a medicinal tonic)

  • 1/4 oz. Grenadine

  • Coupla dashes Angostura bitters

  • Club Soda

  • Maraschino cherries (yet again)

Fill a shaker with everything but the soda, add ice, and shake ‘er up. Strain into a highball glass, then top with club soda. Insert straw (Paper!), stir it a little, and accessorize it to your liking. Just don’t poke your eye out on that umbrella or sword. Or straw.

Old Fashioned

This is one of my all-time favorite libations! While I’m never disappointed in any of the modern-day “mixologists’” interpretations, including substituting my favorite Stirring’s Blood Orange Bitters for Angostura, I really prefer the old-school way with–YES–Maraschino Cherries and a whole orange wheel. Some recipes call for a splash of soda but why dilute the alcohol I always say. I’m quite sure my grandfather used Canadian Whiskey. He used it in everything. Even coffee.

One of the things I really love about this drink is the way the flavor evolves as you drink it. Just sip it and you start with straight whiskey on top and work your way down to a sweet, syrupy liquor at the bottom. Yes please, I’ll have another.