Bartender Cocktails: 20 Most Popular Drinks Every Bartender Should Know

A well-crafted bartender cocktail may be the cherry on top of a fantastic occasion — something people like and remember. While the list of most popular cocktails is ever-changing and expanding, there are a few that every professional bartender should know by heart.

While there is seldom just one version of a cocktail, these recipes may serve as foundation blocks to which you can add, change, and create your own as your skills grow. We’ll leave the complicated shaker techniques and bottle juggling methods up to you.

We put up a huge collection of bartender drink recipes and lists. They were divided into three categories. You don’t need a bartending license to use them, but if you don’t have one, earning a bartender wage may be tough. Knowing these drinks is sure to assist you if you want to work at a place that serves clients from around the world.

Our list includes typical beverages, such as margaritas and martinis. These are the most well-known cocktails in the world. They’re so popular because everyone orders them.

Second, we offer simple cocktails. These are beverages that people enjoy and are easy to prepare. You probably already have a complete bar liquor list prepared with everything you’ll need.

Finally, there are the expected drinks. These might not be the most popular or simple to make, but every bartender worth their salt knows them, and they’re profitable cocktails. They’re just a product of bartending’s unique mixology techniques.

Popular Bartender Cocktails

bartender mixing drink

1. Margarita

The margarita is the most popular cocktail in the United States. It’s also the most popular drink in every major market in the United States, except Chicago, where margaritas are strangely absent from the top 5. Even more astonishing is that margaritas cost approximately 50 cents more than the national average cocktail price of $9!

Bartenders must be able to make margaritas on a whim. Especially in the early evening and late afternoon, when they are most popular. They’re also an excellent opportunity to attempt to sell a client something additional.


  • 2 oz. tequila
  • 1 oz. Cointreau
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice
  • One lime slice
  • One pinch of salt (for salted rim)


  1. Coat the rim of the chilled cocktail glass with salt and fill with ice
  2. Add tequila, Cointreau, fresh lime juice, and ice to a shaker. Shake well.
  3. Strain contents into a shot glass
  4. Garnish with a slice of lime

Tips for Making a Margarita

  • A margarita should be shaken, not stirred.
  • Tequila made with 100 percent agave should always be used.

2. Martini

Martini cocktails are probably the easiest drink to prepare. They belong in our easy, basic cocktails category. They’re insanely popular worldwide. In the United States, they are the second most popular classic cocktail drink, after the margarita.

They’re also most often consumed at night. That says a lot about the martini, in my opinion. After all, gin is included in some aphrodisiac drinks. It has maintained a sort of effortless mystique at home throughout its history since it was created in 1863.

MUST READ: 27 Popular Easy shots Recipe For Bartenders


  • 3 oz. gin
  • 1.5 oz. dry vermouth
  • 1 speared olive or lemon twist


  1. Fill the mixer halfway with gin and vermouth, add ice, then mix.
  2. Strain into a chilled martini glass.
  3. Garnish with a twist of lemon or olive.

Tips for Making a Martini

  • To ensure that you have a properly chilled martini glass available, put the chilled cocktail glass in the freezer for a few minutes.
  • To gather any zest that falls, lay the lemon twist on top of the glass.

3. Mimosa

Mimosa is a cocktail drink that is most popular in the morning and afternoon. In 1925, it was reportedly created by a bartender at the Ritz in Paris. It’s also said to have been developed in the Mediterranean around 1900.

The name alludes to the mimosa plant, which blooms with a yellow-flowering bloom. That’s certain. If you have a brunch service, expect to handle many wine bottles or cases of wine.


  • 2.5 oz. Champagne or sparkling wine
  • 2.5 oz. orange juice
  • One orange slice or orange peel


  1. Fill a champagne flute halfway with Champagne
  2. Add orange juice
  3. Garnish with a slice of orange peel

Tips for Making a Mimosa

  • Use dry sparkling wine with sweeter fresh-squeezed orange juice and a sweeter sparkling wine with concentrated tart orange juice.
  • If you’re preparing mimosas for a crowd, don’t pre-mix it more than 10-15 minutes ahead of time, or the bubbles will dissipate; ten to fifteen minutes before serving is about right.

4. Cosmopolitan

According to legend, the cosmopolitan was invented in 1987 by Toby Cecchini of The Odeon on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. In the broad realm of cocktails, the Cosmo is a relative newcomer. There’s an old recipe from the 1930s that contains gin, Cointreau, lemon juice, and raspberry syrup.

It became popular like wildfire in the 1990s thanks to Carrie Bradshaw, and it now stands for a certain level of social refinement.


  • 1.5 oz. vodka
  • 1 oz cranberry juice
  • .5 oz. Cointreau
  • .5 oz. fresh lime juice
  • One lime or lemon wheel


  1. In a shaker, combine 12 ounces each vodka and cranberry juice, 1/4 cup of Cointreau, and one teaspoon of lime juice. Mix well.
  2. Pour into a cocktail glass.
  3. Garnish with a lime or lemon wheel

Tips for Making a Cosmopolitan

  • To catch any zest that may fall, cut the lemon twist over the cocktail glass.
  • Shake until the shaker is extremely cold and your hands hurt.

5. Moscow Mule

The Moscow Mule is a well-liked cocktail in the United States, which was surprising since it necessitates specialized equipment that many popular cocktails do not.

A Moscow Mule is only perfect if it’s served in chilled copper mugs. They don’t serve Moscow Mules in copper mugs, or every bar across the country has them. Here’s how to prepare it.


  • Four oz. ginger beer
  • 1.5 oz. vodka
  • One teaspoon of lime juice
  • One lime slice


  1. Combine ginger beer and vodka in a highball glass half-filled with ice.
  2. Stir in the lime juice
  3. Garnish with lime slice

Tips for Making a Moscow Mule

  • To avoid the sensation of a vodka ginger ale, try drinking a spicy, extra-gingery ginger beer.
  • Use a chilled copper mug to serve

6. Old Fashioned

The Old-Fashioned is a cocktail that has been around for centuries. There were only a few cocktails before there were thousands of them. Only one drink existed back then. And it was defined in 1806 as “a strong mixture of spirits, bitters, water, and sugar.”

It didn’t matter whether you used bourbon, brandy, or rye. It was a simpler time. Of course, it wasn’t referred to as old-fashioned back then. After creating hundreds of new mixed drinks, the drinking community looked back at the original recipe with nostalgia. “Give


  • 1.5 oz. bourbon or rye whiskey
  • One sugar cube
  • Two dashes of Angostura bitters
  • One teaspoon water
  • One orange slice or cherry


  1. Cover a sugar cube in an old-fashioned glass with bitters.
  2. Add a teaspoon of water to the muddler and crush until the sugar cube dissolves.
  3. Fill a glass halfway with ice and whiskey.
  4. Garnish with an orange slice or a cherry.

Tips for Making an Old Fashioned

  • The traditional approach uses bourbon or rye whiskey, scotch, and brandy are common alternatives for those who want less of the vanilla and caramel characteristics of bourbon.
  • If sugar cubes aren’t available or there’s not enough time or room to muddle, use sugar syrup instead.

bartender mixing some drinks

7. Bloody Mary

The name ” Bloody Mary,” like the drink’s origins, is uncertain. It’s difficult to determine how this cocktail acquired its moniker. So let’s accept it for what it is.

The Bloody Mary has now become a term. It’s kind of like a sandwich or a taco, according to some people. There is no strict formula for making one, but certain broad guidelines must be followed. However, whatever you decide on will result in a traditional fall beverage.


  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 6 oz. tomato juice
  • One tablespoon of ground horseradish
  • Two dashes of hot sauce
  • Two dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • One pinch of celery salt
  • One pinch of ground black pepper
  • One lemon slice
  • One celery stalk
  • Two speared green olives


  1. Fill a highball glass halfway with ice, then sprinkle the rim with celery salt.
  2. Place ice in a mixing glass, add all ingredients except the celery stalk and olive spear and shake well.
  3. Strain the shaker into a highball glass.
  4. Garnish with a celery stalk and olive green olive spear.

Tips for Making a Bloody Mary

  • Tabasco is the most widely recognized brand, but any hot sauce may be used.
  • Garnishes, such as meat sticks or pickled vegetables, add to the drink’s versatility.

8. Aperol Spritz

The Aperol spritz is a wonderful cocktail because it’s made with potable bitters, which means you may drink it. If you want to construct the entire beverage, learn how to make bitters using a bitters recipe. It’s good for your digestion. It also has a low alcohol content, with 11 percent ABV.


  • 3 oz. Prosecco
  • 3 oz. Aperol
  • Club soda
  • One orange slice


  1. Add ice to rocks or old-fashioned glass
  2. Add Aperol, followed by Prosecco
  3. Pour club soda on top
  4. Garnish with a slice of orange

9. White Russian

The white version of the Black Russian is a cream-based White Russian. They have nothing to do with Russia and only use vodka as a base. Finally, vodka was invented in Poland.

In 1949, a Belgian named Gustave Tops created the cocktail in honor of the U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg’s visit to Brussels. We’ve spoken about five different countries in the previous few paragraphs. You might be forgiven for thinking that the White Russian’s backstory doesn’t make sense.

White Russian Ingredients

  • .75 oz. coffee liqueur
  • 1.75 oz. vodka
  • 1 oz. cream

How to Make a White Russian

  1. Fill your rocks or old-fashioned glass with ice.
  2. Add coffee liqueur and vodka, and stir well to combine.
  3. Add a little extra cream to finish it off.

10. Whiskey Sour

The whiskey sour is the most popular summer bourbon drink. Wisconsin has the distinction of being the first place where this historical cocktail was mentioned in print—back in 1870.

Sour is a family of classic mixed drinks that should be thought of as a mixological principle. They’re one of the most well-known methods for preparing classic beverages. It’s a simple, time-tested combination: alcoholic drink + sour mixer + sweetener.


  • 1.5 oz. bourbon whiskey
  • 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • .5 oz. simple syrup
  • One cherry
  • One orange slice


  1. Add whiskey, fresh lemon juice, and simple syrup to a shaker without ice.
  2. Fill a glass with ice and add the strained mixture.
  3. Garnish with cherry and orange slice

Tips for Making a Whiskey Sour

  • To make the most basic whiskey sour possible, add an egg white to the shaker with the whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup.

11. Daiquiri

The daiquiri is a type of drink that is highly regarded among bartenders. It’s one of the “six basic drinks” in The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, an epic and influential 1948 cocktail book. In Cuba in the 1890s, an American mining engineer named Jennings Cox worked at a Cuban iron mine.

In the early 1900s, rum began to appear in bars along with other spirits. Rum became more readily available during World War II than whiskey or vodka. During the war, FDR’s “Good Neighbor” policy boosted trade incentives between the United States and Latin America.


  • 1.5 oz. dark rum
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • .5 oz. simple syrup
  • One lime twist


  1. Fill a shaker with ice, then add all of the ingredients, shake
  2. Strain into a cocktail glass that has been chilled.
  3. Garnish with lime twist or wedge

Tips for Making a Daiquiri

  • Make your simple syrup with two parts cane sugar to 1 part water.
  • Continue to shake until the outside of the shaker tin has frosted.

12. Gimlet

The Gimlet’s origins lie at sea when limes were a required portion of the British sailor’s diet to fight scurvy. Many British sailors in the 18th century preferred gin as their drink of choice. It was also an excellent match for the limes they were forced to consume. The lime juice made the gin more palatable, and as a result, hundreds of seamen were saved from vitamin deficiency. It’s a simple drink if I’ve ever seen one.


  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • One lime wheel


  1. In a shaker, combine the gin, lime juice, and ice cubes. Shake well.
  2. Pour the strained liqueur into a chilled cocktail or martini glass.
  3. Garnish with a lime wheel

Tips for Making a Gimlet

  • Instead of the fresh lime juice, use a citrus cordial like Rose’s Sweetened Lime Juice.

13. Gin Fizz

The cocktail was created in New Orleans in the 1870s and became popular throughout the United States during the first half of the twentieth century. It became so popular that bars needed whole teams of bartenders just to prepare them.

The cocktail became popular throughout the world in the 1950s. In most cases, people use gin, whiskey, and fizzes, but gin is most preferred. It’s undoubtedly one of our all-time favorite classic drinks.


  • 1.75 oz. gin
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • .75 oz. simple syrup
  • Club soda
  • One lemon wedge


  1. Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice cubes, and shake well.
  2. Pour the remaining 3 oz. into a highball rocks glass with no ice.
  3. Pour club soda on top
  4. Garnish with a lemon twist or wedge.

Tips for Making a Gin Fizz

  • Shake without ice first, then add the ice and shake again to increase the froth.
  • For the classic gin fizz, add an egg white to the shaker.

14. Boulevardier

The boulevardier is a French recipe that was created with bourbon. Rye, on the other hand, is recommended because of the spice’s influence on the flavor and roundness. Rye boulevardiers, in particular, are fantastic.


  • 1.5 oz. rye or bourbon whiskey
  • 1 oz. Campari
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth
  • One orange twist


  1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and stir well.
  2. Fill a rock glass with ice cubes and strain it into it.
  3. Garnish with an orange twist

Tips for Making a Boulevardier

  • For maximum elegance, serve in a lowball rocks glass.

15. Negroni

The Negroni is a classic Italian cocktail composed of just three ingredients: gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth. The drink was invented in 1919 by Count Camillo Negroni, who asked for his usual Americano (a mix of Campari, sweet vermouth, and club soda) to be made with gin instead.


  • 1 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. Campari
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth
  • One orange peel


  1. Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice cubes and stir well.
  2. Fill a rocks glass halfway with ice, pour the mixture
  3. Garnish with orange peel

Tips for Making a Negroni

  • Place the orange peel on the glass rim in a downward position.
  • To compete with the strongly flavored Campari, use a full-bodied, robust gin.

16. Sazerac

In the early 1800s, Antoine Amédée Peychaud arrived from the Caribbean islands and built a distillery selling bitters of his invention. A bartender in town used imported Cognac to make a beverage that an apothecary in the area had created. And with time, it grew more popular.


  • 1.5 oz. Cognac
  • .25 oz. absinthe
  • Three dashes of Peychaud’s bitters
  • One teaspoon water
  • One sugar cube
  • One lemon peel


  1. Wash chilled old-fashioned glass with absinthe, set aside
  2. Muddle bitters, sugar cube, and water in a mixing glass
  3. To the mixing glass, add whiskey or Cognac and stir.
  4. Fill a rock glass with ice. Strain into an old-fashioned glass with lemon peel.

Tips for Making a Sazerac

  • For a more sophisticated flavor profile, add both Angostura and Peychaud’s bitters.
  • Replace the Cognac with rye whiskey to make a slightly spicier, drier cocktail.

17. Mojito

Mojitos may appear to be a more recent, hip cocktail, but they have a long history. The indigenous Cubans used sugar cane juice and mint leaves as medicine. The European invaders discovered it in the Caribbean around that time, and it soon became a fun drink thanks to rum.


  • 1.5 oz. rum
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • Two teaspoons sugar
  • Six mint leaves
  • Club soda

Bartender mixing a cocktail


  1. Muddle the mint leaves with sugar and lime juice in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Stir in the crushed ice and rum until combined.
  3. Pour club soda on top.
  4. Garnish with any leftover mint leaves or a lime wheel or wedge.

Tips for Making a Mojito

  • Before adding the mint leaves to the glass, slap them on your palms to release the mint’s oil.
  • Stir gently to prevent the mint leaves from tearing.
  • To develop a more intense flavor profile, use dark rum.

18. Manhattan

The Manhattan is a classic American cocktail with just three ingredients: whiskey, sweet vermouth, and Angostura bitters. The drink was invented in the late 19th century and has been a staple ever since.

The tiny island of fewer than 9,000 people is infatuated with it. They consume it for lunch, supper, a nightcap, and special occasions. Locales featuring images of it are widespread. It’s become a specialty among bartenders. People constantly seek it out.


  • 2 oz. rye, bourbon, or Canadian whiskey
  • .75 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • One cherry


  1. In a cocktail shaker with ice cubes, combine the whiskey, vermouth, and bitters with ice cubes and shake well.
  2. Fill a chilled glass with ice and straining mixture
  3. Garnish with cherry

Tips for Making a Manhattan

  • Add the ice cubes into the cocktail shaker to get a smoother mix and shake. The ice cube should be placed in your palm with the back of a bar spoon.
  • Maraschino cherries are ideal, but a lemon twist can be used instead of the cherry for a more modest version.

19. Mai Tai

This classic Tiki drink was invented in 1944 by Victor J. Bergeron, better known as “Trader Vic.” The Mai Tai is composed of light and dark rum and mint leaves, orange curaçao, orgeat syrup, and lime juice. It’s a refreshing and flavorful cocktail that’s perfect for summertime sipping.


  • 1 oz. white rum
  • .5 oz dark rum
  • .5 oz. orange curaçao
  • .5 oz. lime juice
  • One pineapple wedge
  • Mint sprigs and cherry for garnish


  1. In a shaker with ice, combine the ingredients except for dark rum.
  2. Fill your glass halfway with crushed ice and top it off with the fruit-infused drink.
  3. Garnish with a pineapple wedge, mint sprigs, and cherry. Finish it off with dark rum and a straw.

20. Piña Colada

Do you have a blender on-site? There is no need for one. While this drink is frequently transformed into a frozen slushie to enjoy at the beach or poolside, crushed or pebbled ice will suffice.


  • Two shots of light rum
  • 1 1/2 shots cream of coconut
  • 1 1/2 shots of pineapple juice
  • 1/2 shot lime juice
  • Pineapple wedge
  • Pineapple leaf


  1. In a shaker container with ice, combine all ingredients and shake until smooth and cold.
  2. Strain into a hurricane glass over crushed ice.
  3. Garnish with a pineapple wedge and pineapple leaf, if desired.


Bartender cocktails are always a unique creation that bartenders can tweak and make into an original. However, this list gives us the basic, classic, and most commonly requested cocktail recipes that every bartender should know.

With so many types of cocktails to choose from, you’re sure to find one that you’ll love. Whether you’re a fan of whiskey or rum, there’s a cocktail out there for you. So what are you waiting for? Get mixing!