These easy, quick cocktails are perfect for a last-minute get-together or a big New Year’s Eve shindig. Celebrate a special occasion in style and become your very own bartender with our best-ever cocktail recipes and brilliant boozy inspiration.
Starting your party by handing round the cocktails is a great way to welcome your guests and kick off an event or festive gathering. However, most cocktail shakers hold only enough for a couple of drinks and some cocktail recipes have lengthy ingredients lists. If you have more than four people coming over there’s a danger that half the party will have finished their main course before you’re done serving everyone their first cocktail.
Impressing your guests doesn’t have to be so laborious. Classics like an elegant bellini, a simple gin and tonic or a fruity Kir royale are all happy solutions to this problem (and may already be in your entertaining repertoire). They’re all drinks that can be put together at speed, for as many guests as you have glasses for, because they only have two ingredients. Want to liven up the standard serve? Try our five ways with gin and tonic.
To make your guests feel even more special, why not try something new? Here we’ve gathered together a collection of some of our favourite two-ingredient drinks to choose from (not including ice and garnish) that are big on flavour and low on effort – leaving you plenty of time to spend with your guests. Cheers!
Try our easy two-ingredient cocktails
Vermouth & soda
Serves 1For a longer drink and to open up some of vermouth’s aromatic complexities, try it with a splash of soda. Use any vermouth you like for this perfect pre-dinner tipple.
- 50ml vermouth (red, white or rosé)
- 200ml (approx.) sparkling water to top up
Fill a highball glass with ice, then pour in the vermouth and top up with the sparkling water. Garnish with skewered olives and a lemon slice.
Our experts share their favourites…
‘A B&B is one of my favourites. It’s strong, full of flavour and fun to order at the pub as it usually takes ages for the bartender to find the Bénédictine.’ Miriam Nice, BBC Good Food
- 25ml brandy
- 25ml Bénédictine
Serve in a tumbler with ice and a cocktail cherry.
Scotch & soda
‘It would have to be a Scotch & soda. It’s simple, light and easy to drink. My top whiskies to use would be Bowmore 15, Talisker Storm or Oban 14. The hint of smoke really carries through.’ Tom Jolly, beverage manager, Gleneagles.
- 50ml whisky
- 125ml soda
Serve in a wine glass with ice and a slice of lemon.
‘I’ve familiarised a lot of my guests with the Alaska. Yellow Chartreuse is a herbal liqueur with a variety of spices and honey – perfect for the season.’ Dominic Whisson, Head bartender, American Bar at the Savoy.
- 60ml gin
- 20ml yellow Chartreuse
Stir together in a mixing glass with lots of ice, then strain into a small cocktail glass.
- 100ml Campari
- 200ml dry white wine
Divide the Campari between two wine glasses, add two to three ice cubes to each glass, then top with the dry white wine. Add the lemon wedges, stir to gently combine the flavours and serve.
Traditionally this has two parts champagne to one part fresh orange juice. Alternatively, go for a mimosa: equal parts orange juice and champagne.
- 100ml orange juice, freshly squeezed
- 200ml chilled champagne
Pour 50ml of the orange juice into each glass. Very slowly top up each glass with 100ml champagne.
- 50ml dark rum
- 100ml ginger beer
Pour the ingredients into a collins or highball glass over lots of ice, stir gently and garnish with a wedge of lime.
A festive classic, simply made from advocaat and lemonade.
- 50ml advocaat
- 50ml sparkling lemonade
Add the advocaat and lemonade to a tall glass filled with ice. Stir gently until the outside of the glass feels cold. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.
Want more cocktail inspiration? Check out our easy party drinks…
What’s your favourite super-simple cocktail? Leave a comment below…