5 Cocktails You Need to Know How to Make

Think of this as your digital “Bartender’s Guide”

Tending bar (even if that bar is located in your kitchen) takes skill; these five recipes will get you there. 

Even if you don’t drink them, you should know how to make certain classic cocktails. It’s a personality elevator. It’s a rite of passage. A barometer of maturity, and — who are we kidding — a decent way to up your cool factor. Even if you just learn the most popular five, you’ll know the basics of bartending, bringing you one step closer to awesomeness. Now go, purchase a few basics (i.e. shaker, spoon, jigger, etc.) and some libations; here are the top cocktails in order of popularity, gauged by Google Trends. Remember: Once you learn to play by the rules, you can break them — now get shaking!

1. Martini

Flickr/Meredith Nutting

Shaken, not stirred, remember? Or, it could be the other way around. Nevertheless, this is the quintessential cocktail.

2. Bloody Mary

Flickr / Viewminder

Nothing perks up a morning (or cures a hangover) quite like this staple.

3. Manhattan

Flickr / Mark H

This whiskey-based cocktail is an easy recipe, yet rich and warming.

4. Mint Julep


Flickr / Jeremy T. Hetzel

Fragrant mint and sweet bourbon make this the perfect cocktail for late spring into early fall.

5. Cosmopolitan

Flickr / Ralph Daily

There are some people that order Jameson straight, and there are some that order a cosmopolitan. If you happen to be the latter (and there's nothing wrong with that), this with come in handy.