Everyone knows that bartenders are well versed in many, many drinks. But what are the most important cocktails that every established bartender should be sure to know? Which drinks are the most popular in 2018? Which classic cocktails are timeless? Some of these are drinks that have been popular for many years and continue to be favorites. Some of them are gaining popularity in the recent past, due to movies or youth culture. The National Bartending School has compiled a list for you. Whether you’re tending bar at a busy establishment, or slinging drinks at a neighborhood barbeque, this list will make sure you’re prepared for whatever specialty cocktail comes your way!
A margarita is a tried and true favorite. Generally served in a margarita glass, it can be prepared on ice (on-the-rocks) or blended. A salted rim around the glass is optional, but almost always preferred. Margaritas are a refreshing drink on a hot summer night, a tasty addition to Mexican food, or simply a fruity treat for an adventure out on the town.
Recipe: 1.5 ounces Tequila .75 ounces Triple Sec .75 ounces Lime Juice
Serve blended or shaken and strained, in a margarita glass. Garnish with a lime wedge. Salt the rim of the glass.
Long the classy cocktail favored by James Bond, martinis have been a staple for decades. Served in a martini glass and garnished with an olive or two, they stir up images of old Hollywood glamour.
Recipe: .5 ounce Dry Vermouth 2.5 ounces Gin or Vodka
Shaken or stirred. Serve in chilled martini glass, garnished with an olive.
Moscow Mules are a very trendy drink at the moment, especially in an urban setting and among the youthful hipster crowd. The combined tastes of vodka, ginger and lime are delightful on the palate.
Recipe: 2 ounces Vodka .75 ounces Lime Juice 4-6 ounces Ginger Beer
Build and serve in a copper mug with ice. Garnish with lime wedge.
Gin and Tonic
Ever the classic, the Gin and Tonic will never go out of style. Whether you’re tending bar at an upscale event, or a dive bar, this is one drink that will be ordered quite often. Crisp and refreshing, the need to know this drink is a must!
Recipe: 1.5 ounces Gin Fill with Tonic
Build and serve in bucket glass with ice. Garnish with a lemon or lime wedge.
When you think classy, you think Manhattan. Reminiscent of the big city glitz, and nights under the bright lights, a Manhattan is always a popular drink, especially among the ladies.
Recipe: 2 ounces Whiskey 1 ounce Sweet Vermouth 2 dashes bitters
Stir and strain, and serve in a martini glass. Garnish with a cherry.
Long Island Iced Tea
Ah, the Long Island Iced Tea, that drink that, while not tasting like alcohol, contains basically every liquor available! For a fun, free vibe, these are often ordered at clubs and parties. Be careful not to serve too many to the same person- they’re very strong and hence, they pack a punch!
Recipe: .5 ounce each Vodka, Rum, Tequila, and Gin .5 ounce Triple Sec Splash of Coke
Build and serve in a Collins glass with ice. Garnish with a lime wedge.
Classic Old Fashioned
Another of the down-home beverages served in a copper cup, an Old Fashioned is a favorite everywhere! Popular among all ages and demographics, this one is a must-know for all bartenders!
Recipe: Muddle mint leaves with .5 ounces of Simple Syrup Fill with Ice 1.5 ounces Bourbon
Build and serve in Copper tin. Garnish with mint leaves.
The good ol’ Whiskey Sour. This drink is a staple of all occasions, whether you’re at a busy nightclub or a quiet neighborhood tavern. It’s a great suggestion if someone isn’t sure what to order or doesn’t like extremely strong drinks, and prefers something slightly sweet.
Recipe: 1.5 ounces Bourbon 1.5 ounces Sweet and Sour 75 ounces Egg White (optional)
Shake well and serve in an Old Fashioned glass with ice. Garnish with a cherry.
Made popular in the nineties by the sleeper hit “The Big Lebowski” many people channel The Dude and opt to order a White Russian.
Recipe: 1.5 ounces Vodka .5 ounce Kahlua .5 ounce fresh cream
Build in rocks glass with ice.
This drink has been gaining popularity lately. A cross between a beer and a Bloody Mary, it’s a refreshing twist on an old brunch favorite. It’s often served at cantinas alongside mexican dishes.
Recipe: .5 ounce Lime Juice 2-4 dashes Worcestershire Sauce 2-4 dashes hot sauce Tomato Juice Fill with beer
Build and serve in chilled pint glass. Salt the rim.