America’s cocktail landscape is large and deep, with seemingly endless options available to any drinker in the lower 48. But before you go to some fancy new cocktail bar where your drinks comes with dehydrated-this, or deconstructed-that, maybe think about the classics. They’re called that for a reason.
Aperol Spritz: The Aperol Spritz gets a bad rap for being bitter and basic. But for daytime drinking, you really can’t beat it. Just ask all the bar patrons crowding the patio around you, Spritzes in hand.
Margarita: The Margarita is the workhorse of summer. It’s best made with a splash of Cointreau or Grand Marnier, and if you like it a little sweeter, ask your bartender to add agave syrup.
Espresso Martini: Coffee and booze in one drink—you really can’t complain about that. Just make sure the bar has fresh espresso on hand before you order it.
Manhattan: While quality whiskey is important, the key to a great Manhattan is the sweet vermouth. So always ask for Carpano Antica. Trust us, it will make all the difference.
Daiquiri: Speaking of summertime cocktails, the Daiquiri is a citrusy marriage of rum and lime (and the preferred drink of Ernest Hemingway). Strained is preferred.
Moscow Mule: Russia may be a heated subject right now, but this cocktail is crisp and refreshing, and good for any season. Plus it (usually) comes in a cool copper mug.
Whiskey Sour: For those nights when you want to cleanse your palate, opt for a puckery Whiskey Sour. Specify bourbon for this one.
Dry Martini: A classic martini technically should be made with gin, although if your prefer vodka, that’s no sin either. Order it up and stirred, not shaken (sorry 007).
Negroni: The Negroni is the epitome of summer drinking: sweet, sun-kissed, and refreshing.
Old Fashion: The Old Fashioned is as classic as they come, and perfect for anyone who likes their whiskey drinks on the sweeter side. Rye will make it spicier.