Best three-ingredient cocktails to try
From an Aperol spritz to a classic negroni, we've selected the best three-ingredient cocktail recipes to make cocktail hour at home a breeze.
Making cocktails at home doesn't mean you have to have a fully-stocked bar with dozens of bottles – many of which you might only use a couple of times. Plenty of familiar, classic cocktails are based on just three ingredients – from martinis and margaritas to spritzes or a negroni.
The perfect cocktail needs to be a balance of sweet, tart, bitter, boozy but this can be done with just a few cleverly chosen ingredients that blend together well. We've picked 10 of the best three-ingredient cocktails to try, plus twists once you've mastered the basics.
For more easy cocktail inspiration, check out our easy cocktail collection or make it even simpler with our two-ingredient cocktail recipes. Add a perfect finishing touch with our 10 easy cocktail garnish ideas to give the bartender touch.
Our classic negroni recipe is all about balance: combining gin, vermouth and Campari for a blend of boozy, bitter and sweet. Once you've perfected the classic, try our pink negroni recipe using pink gin and aperitif for a new twist. A boulevardier is another three-ingredient cocktail based on a negroni, using bourbon instead of gin.
Traditional whisky is swapped out for rum in this rum old-fashioned recipe, which is stirred slowly together to allow the flavours to blend together for smooth sipping.
Crack open a bottle of fizz and be transported to an Italian piazza: a bright Aperol spritz is easy to stir together, and making it at home means you can find your preferred balance of prosecco and soda water.
For fans of a fruity drink, a French martini is a brilliant three-ingredient cocktail to master. A blend of raspberry liqueur, vodka and pineapple juice, it has just enough tang from the pineapple juice to balance the sweet liqueur. If you prefer it sweeter, you can use vanilla vodka.
A staple of cocktail bars, a classic margarita is a good recipe to know if you're hosting parties – it is sure to be someone's favourite request. The standard margarita has just three ingredients (tequila, triple sec and lime juice) but you can use this as the basis to experiment and add more flavours: try a spicy margarita with chilli syrup or make a mango margarita with frozen mango chunks for a tropical, slushie twist.
Serving a crowd is easy with this simple punch that makes enough for at least 10 people. Orange juice, amaretto and two bottles of sparkling wine make a generous jug of this amaretto fizz and saves you mixing up cocktails all night long. It's ideal for the festive season, but there's nothing to stop it being enjoyed all year round.
A cocktail with serious history: the sidecar originates from the 1920s and has clearly stood the test of time. Cognac, triple sec and lemon juice are shaken with plenty of ice until well chilled for a grown up tipple.
Cream is a rare find in cocktails, but it is a key component of an indulgent white Russian. If you're a fan of espresso martinis, a white Russian is another coffee-infused drink to try (coffee liqueur and vodka complete the three ingredients), with a rich and silky-smooth finish.
Zesty grapefruit juice essentially plays the role of soda water in this grapefruit spritz, a twist on an Aperol spritz. Serve in a chilled coupe instead of the classic big gin glass for a delicate drink worthy of a cocktail menu.
If you're looking for unexpected edible gift inspiration, a batch of this salted caramel martini can be pre-mixed, bottled and wrapped for a very welcome present. It's rich and sweet – blending caramel sauce, Irish cream liqueur (check out our round-up of the best Irish liqueurs to buy if you're in need of a bottle) and vodka. If you're not giving as a gift, the big batch is just as handy for serving a party crowd easily.