Close-up of a woman holding one of the top 10 cocktails

The Top 10 Cocktails to Serve when Entertaining


Christine Barbara


There is nothing like a well-made cocktail to satisfy your taste buds at the end of a long week. More than a simple drink, cocktails offer a carefully crafted, perfect blend of flavours – and with such a wide variety of cocktails available, everybody is bound to have a favourite! Admittedly, tastes vary from person to person but there are a number of classic cocktails that cocktail lovers have grown to expect from their favourite bars.

If you’re curious to discover which ones made the list, we’re taking a look at the top 10 cocktails that are most popular and served at almost every happy hour. Whether craving a sweet and fruity drink, or a more spicy and savoury cocktail, anyone can find their next favourite drink amongst these top 10 cocktails. Including short, easy-to-follow cocktail recipes and a description to wet your appetite, we guarantee you’ll be itching to try these at home when next entertaining guests, or want to try them at your next cocktail gathering with friends.

This article contains affiliate links

**Cocktails are great… but be sure to always drink responsibly!**

The Top 10 Cocktails To Try

1. Margarita 

A popular cocktail in America and Mexico, Margaritas have a deliciously sour taste with just the right hint of sweetness. The classic Margarita allows citrusy notes to play against the smoothness of the tequila and is typically served in a salt rimmed, chilled Margarita glass. Yet, if sweet cocktails are more up your alley, there are plenty of fruity variations of this beloved classic cocktail to satisfy your sweet tooth.

To make a classic Margarita, start by salting the rim of the glass – and here you might want to try rubbing a lime wedge along the rim to help the salt easily stick to the glass. Then, simply shake all the ingredients together in your favourite cocktail shaker until the outside is frozen and serve in that same salt-rimmed Margarita glass with a wedge of lime.


  • 1 part silver tequila
  • ½ part triple sec liqueur
  • 1 freshly squeezed lime
  • 1 lime wedge for garnish
  • Ice cubes
  • Coarse salt for glass rims

2. Cosmopolitan

A zesty blend of cranberry, lime juice, triple sec and vodka, the Cosmo is a refreshing sweet and sour cocktail that closely resembles the classic Margarita. Trading tequila for vodka and boasting an additional splash of cranberry juice, the Cosmopolitan is just as satisfying and a touch more complex than the Margarita. To enjoy this at home, place the ingredients – including the ice – in a shaker, shake thoroughly until it’s frozen from the outside and strain it into a martini glass.


  • 1 part vodka
  • ½ part triple sec
  • ½ part cranberry juice
  • 1 freshly squeezed lime
  • Ice cubes
  • Orange peel for garnish

3. Old Fashioned

Made by muddling sugar with bitters and adding a dose of whiskey, an Old Fashioned is the perfect drink for whiskey lovers. Its simplistic combination of ingredients make it incredibly easy to make, whilst letting its main ingredient – the whiskey – shine through. It is typically served in a low ball glass, on the rocks, as is the fashion with most whiskey-based drinks. Avid fans of whiskey can’t help but love this classic cocktail, and even if you’re not a whiskey lover, it is such a popular drink that it’s worth trying at least once!

How to make it perfect? Simply stir together the sugar cube or syrup, water and dashes of Angostura bitters in a decorative tumbler glass for a minute or so – the ‘muddle’ part. After, add in the whiskey and stir for another minute, before adding ice cubes and any garnishes of choice.


  • 1 sugar cube or 2 teaspoons sugar syrup
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 3 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • 60 ml whiskey (typically Bourbon or Rye)
  • Ice cubes
  • 1 orange slice for garnish

4. Negroni

An Italian classic that exudes style and simplicity, Negronis certainly pack a punch – especially for those who like to drink vermouth, bitters or gin individually. Served in a simple, unpretentious tumbler, this visually appealing bright red cocktail is typically served as an aperitif but, in reality, may be enjoyed any time.

Made by stirring (not shaking!) a combination of gin, sweet vermouth like Martini Rosso and bitters like Campari in equal parts, this mixture provides a surprisingly pleasant bittersweet taste which is typically enjoyed on the rocks. And whilst it may be simple in terms of serving glass and ingredients, remember that it is one you’re going to want to sip and savour slowly, it’s definitely one that will go straight to your head if not careful!


  • 1 part sweet vermouth such as Martini Rosso or Cinzano
  • 1 part Campari (for a true Negroni)
  • 1 part gin 
  • Ice cubes
  • Orange peel for garnish

5. Espresso Martini

Espresso, coffee liqueur and vodka all in one drink! Simply put, an espresso Martini is a coffee-lover’s adult treat. Whether enjoyed as a delicious after dinner boost or ordered at brunch with friends for a suitable pick-me up, this caffein-packed cocktail is as delectable as it is energising! To make this cocktail yourself, shake the vodka, coffee liqueur, espresso and syrup together in a cocktail shaker and strain the mixture into a chilled martini glass.


  • 40ml vodka
  • 20ml coffee liqueur (Kahlua is recommended)
  • 20ml freshly brewed espresso coffee
  • 10ml simple syrup
  • Ice cubes
  • Optional 3 coffee beans for garnish

6. Long Island Iced Tea

Don’t be fooled by the word tea in its name! Made from equal parts of vodka, gin, tequila, rum and triple sec, this alcoholic drink that features all the whites is, of course, much stronger than your typical iced tea – in fact there’s no tea in there at all! Tasting like Coca-Cola with underlying notes of citrus, this cocktail is definitely refreshing, but certainly not for the faint hearted!

Despite its long list of ingredients, this cocktail is very easy to make; just add the vodka, gin, tequila, rum, triple sec and lime juice to cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake. Pour into a high ball or hurricane glass and finish by topping up the glass with Coca-Cola. Stir, add a straw, garnish with a wedge of lime and enjoy!


  • 1 part vodka
  • 1 part dry gin
  • 1 part tequila
  • 1 part rum
  • 1 part triple sec
  • ½ part Coca-Cola
  • 1-2 parts fresh lime juice (or sour mix)
  • Ice cubes

7. Mojito 

Refreshing yet sweet, Mojitos are the perfect cocktail to enjoy on a hot summer’s day. Originating in Cuba, this classic cocktail incorporates simple ingredients that are easily found anywhere, but the making of a mojito is what may put people off.

Instead of adding the ingredients to a cocktail shaker like many of the other top 10 cocktails, the first step is to use a muddler to muddle the mint, lime and sugar together with just a splash of soda water. This is to release the flavours of the mint, and is all done in the same glass you will be serving. Next, squeeze one lime into the muddled mixture. Many like to drop one squeezed half of the lime into the glass for extra flavour. Add the rum and stir. Lastly, fill the glass to the brim with ice and top up with the remaining soda water. A sprig of mint is optional for garnishing!


  • 1 part white rum
  • ½ part freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ½ part soda water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Fresh mint leaves
  • 1 lime
  • Crushed ice

8. Mai Tai

One of the most well-loved (and quintessential!) Tiki drinks in the world, the Mai Tai can transport drinkers to the tropics with just one sip. The name Mai Tai allegedly comes from the person to first try the cocktail. Apparently, it was so good that the taster exclaimed ‘maitaʻi‘ after the first sip, which means “great” or “excellent” in Tahitian. To be fair, this drink is so flavourful it’s hard to disagree!

The sweetness of the tropical fruit juices are perfectly balanced out by the more complex flavour of the rum to achieve a pleasantly sweet and tart drink. To make this cocktail at home, simply shake all the ingredients together with ice and serve in a double rocks glass or a tiki glass!


  • 1 part white rum
  • 1 part gold or dark rum
  • ½ part triple-sec or orange curaçao 
  • 1 part fresh lime juice
  • ½ part pineapple juice
  • ½ part orange juice
  • ½ part orgeat or almond syrup
  • 1 dash grenadine
  • Ice cubes
  • Lime slice, cherry or pineapple slice for garnish

9. Bloody Mary

For cocktail lovers that crave a salty, savoury and spicy taste, a Bloody Mary is the perfect indulgence. Ideal for brunch or other afternoon drinks with friends, this tomato-based cocktail is extremely easy to make. Shake all the ingredients together in a cocktail shaker and pour the strained mixture into a highball glass filled with ice. Garnishing is all down to personal preference, but we love a Bloody Mary that’s garnished with a lemon slice and a celery stick for stirring!

Like many classic cocktails, the Bloody Mary has inspired other variations, including the ‘Caesar‘ (a Canadian version that uses Clamato® juice), the ‘Bloody Maria‘ (made with tequila) and the ‘Red Snapper‘ (which adds gin to the mix). If you’re a fan of the traditional ‘Bloody Mary’, be sure to check these out!


  • 1 part vodka
  • 2 parts tomato juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • Dash of Tabasco
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • A celery stick for garnish
  • A lemon slice for garnish
  • Ice cubes

10. Moscow Mule

Vodka, spicy ginger beer and fresh lime juice make up this simple yet mouthwatering cocktail. Also called a ‘vodka buck‘, this drink is traditionally served in a copper mug to help the liquid retain its cold temperature. This frosty temperature, combined with the mule-like kick of flavour provided by the ginger beer, the Moscow Mule provides a refreshing choice for hot days by the pool or on the beach. To create a Moscow Mule, pour the vodka and lime juice into your copper glass (or a high ball glass), add the ginger beer and ice cubes and finally stir to combine. Don’t forget to add garnish for the finishing touch!


  • 2 parts vodka
  • 1 part fresh lime juice
  • 4 parts ginger beer
  • 1 lime wedge for garnish
  • Ice cubes

Don’t forget to pin this article if you found it helpful, and follow Dukes Avenue on Pinterest for more!

Christine Barbara


Download our free daily personal planner and become part of the Dukes Avenue family!

the welcome gift