18 Amazing Cocktails That Require Only 2 Ingredients
We love experimenting with homemade bitters and infused syrups, but sometimes you just want a cocktail that's edited and streamlined. Enter our list: Many of the most classic cocktails are composed of only a pair of ingredients. For those days when you're in the mood to simplify, or if looking to serve a crowd with a turnkey flourish of mixology, these 18 delectable beverages only need two ingredients. Cause three's a crowd anyway, right?
An easy favorite with a delicious pairing of spicy notes, a whiskey ginger is a classic ginger ale highball made with rye whiskey and ginger ale. Just fill a highball glass with ice and add 1.5 ounces of rye. Then fill with the glass with ginger ale.
Raise the Bar
An essential cocktail recipe to add to your arsenal, the Screwdriver is made with equal parts (1.5 oz.) vodka and orange. Just add the vodka to a highball glass filled with ice and top with OJ.
A staple of Basque culture, the kalimotxo is an easy twist on sangria, made with equal parts dry red wine and Coca-Cola poured over ice. You can dress it up with a squeeze of lemon or orange, but purists might say those additions are even too fussy. Overdid it last night? Kalimotxos make quite the restorative hangover cure, too.
A Don Draper favorite, this refreshing Mad Men–era cocktail is made with vodka and grapefruit juice. Just fill a rocks glass with ice, pour in 2 ounces of vodka and 5 ounces of grapefruit juice, and stir well. Garnish with a grapefruit peel if you so desire. Want to get fancy? Add 1/2 ounce of rosemary syrup and a rosemary sprig for an herbal touch.
The most classic cocktail of all, the martini, is made with two simple ingredients—gin and vermouth. The proportion of the gin to vermouth, however, is a variable that many discerning drinkers choose to play with. A two-to-one ratio is common, but four-to-one and even five-to-one are also popular. And of course, you can choose to garnish with olives if you please, or mix in a splash of olive brine to make “a dirty martini.”
To make this classic two-to-one martini, pour the gin and vermouth into a mixing glass. Add ice and stir until chilled, about 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lemon or orange peel twist.
Shaken Not Stirred
A Snakebite is a cocktail made with equal parts lager and cider. In the United Kingdom, it’s often served with a dash of black currant liqueur, which is known as “snakebite and black” or “diesel.” In the U.S., stout is often used to make it instead of lager.
To make a snakebite, chill a pint glass. Pour in 8 ounces of chilled cider, and then float 8 ounces of lager on top of it by holding a spoon over the glass and slowly pouring it over the back of the spoon.
The Gimlet is a gin-and-sweetened-lime-juice cocktail juice that dates back to the '20s. The classic combo is crafted by shaking 2 ounces of gin with 1/4 ounces of Rose’s Lime Juice with ice in a shaker, and then straining into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.
A marriage of the aforementioned Screwdriver and the Moscow Mule (another two-ingredient cocktail), the Screwdriver Mule adds a bit of ginger for some kick. To make it just fill a rocks glass with ice and add 2 ounces of Smirnoff Ice Screwdriver, then top with ginger beer. Add a squeeze of lime and garnish with a lime wedge if you wish.
Thanks to L&A Pineapple Coconut Juice, you can actually make a mean piña colada in just 90 seconds. Just add one shot of good white rum to a glass filled with ice and top with the pineapple coconut juice. Garnish as you please with a slice of pineapple or fresh mint, or even a dash of Angostura bitters.
Originating in Venice, Italy, in the '30s or '40s, the Bellini is a simple yet elevated cocktail made with chilled fruit purée and prosecco. Traditionally peach is used, but feel free to mix it up by subbing in passion fruit purée or garnishing with fragrant lavender. Just pour 2 ounces of purée into a champagne flute and top with 3 ounces of prosecco. The drink is served straight up.
Also known as Campari-Orange, the Garibaldi is a classic Italian aperitivo made with, you guessed it, Campari and orange juice. We prefer a one-to-three ratio of Campari to orange, but some recipes call for a one-to-one ratio. Just fill a tumbler or Collins glass with ice, add the Campari, top it with O.J., and stir.
Good old rum and Coke is a fuss-free cocktail that’s been around since the early 20th century. To make it, just add ice to a rocks or Collins glass, pour in 2 ounces of white rum, and fill it with cold Coca-Cola. Step it up a notch and make a Cuba Libre by muddling a lime in the glass before you add in ice.
Play It Cool
A shandy is a refreshing summer drink made from beer mixed with lemonade. It’s usually made with equal parts of each ingredient, but it can be adjusted to your liking. Just add ice and give it a stir!
The big brother to the more widely known White Russian, the Black Russian dates back to 1949 and has a deep, rich color and distinct flavor. To make it, just fill a rocks glass with ice, add one part Kahlúa and two parts vodka, and then give it a stir.
A staple in the sailing community and the national drink of Bermuda, the Dark ’n’ Stormy is a highball cocktail made with Gosling’s Black Rum and ginger beer over ice. Any ratio really works, but 2 ounces of rum to 4 ounces ginger beer is how we like it.
Named after the American golfer, the Arnold Palmer is actually a non-alcoholic drink made with one-to-one iced tea and lemonade, but it’s been revised with a boozy twist. To make the adult version, fill a rocks or Collins glass with ice, then fill it halfway with lemonade and top it with sweet tea vodka.
Any others to add to this list?