We love experimenting with homemade bitters and infused syrups as much as the next aspiring mixologist (just take a peek at our bar cart if you want proof), but sometimes you just want a cocktail that's edited and streamlined. Enter this list of easy mixed drinks for simplified sipping. Surprisingly, many of the most iconic classic cocktails are composed of only a pair of ingredients. That's right, just two ingredients.
For those days when you're in the mood to simplify, or if you're looking to serve a crowd with a turnkey flourish of mixology, turn to this list of mixed drinks featuring rum, tequila, vodka, and nearly any other liquor you can think of. From tropical cocktails to true classics, these drinks are too good to wait for happy hour. Ahead are 11 of the best mix drinks that only require two ingredients. 'Cause three's a crowd anyway, right?
A nice break from the everyday margarita, one of Mexico's most beloved mix drinks, the Paloma, is made by mixing equal parts (1/4 cup) of tequila with grapefruit-flavored soda (such as Fresca or Jarritos). Serve it on the rocks with a lime wedge—salted rim optional. This mixed drink with tequila is a classic for a reason.
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 two ounces of vodka and five 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 to give this mixed drink with vodka an herbal touch.
The Snakebite is one of the easiest-to-make mix drinks, only requiring 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 this mixed drink instead of lager.
To make a snakebite, chill a pint glass. Pour in eight ounces of chilled cider, and then float eight ounces of lager on top of it by holding a spoon over the glass and slowly pouring it over the back of the spoon to keep the layers separated.
The gimlet is a gin-based cocktail that dates back to the '20s. The classic combo is crafted by shaking two 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 this mixed drink with a wedge of lime.
The Screwdriver Mule
A marriage of the 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 two ounces of Smirnoff Ice Screwdriver, and then top with ginger beer. Add a squeeze of lime, and garnish this mixed drink with a lime wedge if you wish.
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 two ounces of purée into a champagne flute and top with three ounces of prosecco. The champagne cocktail 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 OJ, and stir.
The Rum and Coke
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 two 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 the ice to this mixed drink.
The Dark 'n Stormy
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 works, but two ounces of rum to four ounces ginger beer is how we like it. This mixed drink is especially refreshing on a hot summer day, but it can be enjoyed any time of year.
The Arnold Palmer
Named after the American golfer, the Arnold Palmer is 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, fill it halfway with lemonade, and top it with sweet tea vodka.
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This article was originally published on September 16, 2017, and has since been updated.
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