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12 of the Best American Cocktails You Need To Know

December 02, 2022 by The Mixer Team

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Put on the ritz with the best American cocktails! These colorful beverages were invented in the US around the mid-19th century and shot to fame from there. From refreshing Juleps to icons like the Old Fashioned and Bloody Mary, we’ve got a selection of the most classic American cocktails that you can mix up and serve at home for just about any occasion. 

1. Mint Julep

Refreshing Mint Julep Cocktails served in copper cups

Get into the spirit of the roaring 20s with the Mint Julep—a Kentucky Derby favorite. This summery all-American cocktail used to be a breakfast beverage in the 17th century, and gained popularity through the Great Gatsby and its modern heroin Daisy. It’s easy and delicious, featuring bourbon, mint leaves, and simple syrup over crushed ice. Thirst-quenching summer entertainment at its best!

2. Bloody Mary

Bloody Mary Cocktail garnished with celery, capers and olives

Hey, party animals, you’ll know this one. The Bloody Mary is the ultimate drink for the morning-after-the-night-before. Choose the best quality tomato juice and combine it with vodka, and all the spices to taste. We recommend adding a dash of Worcestershire sauce (or soy if you’re vegan) for a fully rounded umami flavor. Savory and boozy, it will pick you up instantly. 

3. Sazerac

Sazerac Cocktail

Take a sip of cocktail history with the Sazerac, considered the first mixed drink recipe in the world! Invented by the New Orleans apothecary Antoine Peychaud, it’s a real celebration of the flavors of rye whiskey. We suggest using a rye whiskey that has some deep aromatic notes for the best result. A subtle sweetness is given by a sugar cube and balanced out with a dash of bitters. The result is a simple cocktail with a surprising complexity of flavors. 

 4. Old Fashioned

Top view of rich Old Fashioned Cocktails with Orange peel garnish

In terms of classics, the Old Fashioned is probably one of the most famous ones out there. Recommended for whiskey lovers, it’s a simple combination of bourbon, simple syrup and aromatic bitters. If you want to give your Old fashioned a fall outfit, we recommend trying the American Trilogy Cocktail, which adds apple brandy to the original recipe for a warm and spicy touch.   

5. Piña Colada

Frozen Piña Colada in a Hurricane glass

Nothing says summer and holidays more than a Piña Colada. This iconic South American cocktail is a sweet and creamy concoction that is tastes like a beach holiday in a glass. To make one, combine rum, pineapple juice, coconut cream and lime juice in a blender with ice. Once blended you’ll be left with the ultimate tropical adult slushie, perfect for pool-side summer entertainment.  

6. Tom and Jerry Cocktail

3 Christmassy Tom and Jerry cocktails in mugs

Get the festive spirit going with the classic Tom and Jerry Cocktail—a delicious combination of batter and rum, similar to eggnog. It’s always served warm, so make it as a treat to sip after a day on the slopes or as a dessert-drink after an indulgent Christmas roast. It requires some effort, but the results are well worth it. 

 7. Tequila Sunrise

Top Shot of A Refreshing Tequila Sunrise Cocktail

Feel like a rockstar with the Tequila Sunrise. This cocktail was made popular by the Rolling Stones during their ’72 American tour (aka Stones Touring Party) and it’s a winner for your next retro event. It combines tequila, orange juice and grenadine in a colorful drink that looks as good as it tastes. Serve these tequila cocktails all summer long to add some sweetness to that balmy breeze.

8. Gin Rickey

Gin Rickey cocktail ingredients

Arguably one of the most popular summer drinks, the Gin Rickey is a thirst-quenching sipper for those days that need cooling off. It’s simple and light, featuring gin, lime juice and club soda, and can be made in big batches for garden parties. 

9. Cosmopolitan

Front view of the best refreshing Cosmopolitan cocktails

Are you ready to feel like Carrie (Bradshaw) and co.? Then the Cosmopolitan is the drink you need to know. This American cocktail may have originated in the 60s, but it’s as popular as ever.  Pretty and pink, it’s the perfect combo of vodka, cranberry juice and lime juice and one of the best drinks to serve if you’re looking to unwind with your favorite people. 

10. Manhattan

Close of a cocktail glass with olives inside

Firmly in the hall of whiskey-based cocktail fame, the Manhattan is one of the most classic American cocktails out there and a drink everyone should try at least once in their lives. This socialite sipper, born in the 1800s, is super easy to make and will take your dinner party to a whole new level. To make these iconic cocktails you’ll need rye whiskey, vermouth and bitters. Simple and so sophisticated.   

11. Pan American Clipper Cocktail

Pan Am Clipper

The Pan American Clipper Cocktail dates back to 1939 and gets its name from the first Pan American Airlines airport in Florida, where it was created. It’s a fabulous mix of apple brandy, lime juice, grenadine and absinthe, that tastes as good as luxury travelling feels. 

12. 4th July Cocktail

Get ready for one of most American-themed cocktails ever. The 4th of July Cocktail is a brightly colored drink that imitates colors of the American flag: red grenadine on the bottom, layered with lemonade and vodka and topped off with bright blue curaçao. Serve these as signature drinks during 4th of July celebrations or Labor Day Party.  

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The most popular cocktail in America is the Margarita, the classic drink featuring tequila, orange liqueur and lime juice with the characteristic salt rim. In second place we find the Martini and the Old Fashioned comes in third.

You can’t say New York without saying Manhattan. This sophisticated drink was invented at Manhattan Club in the late 19th century and has been a staple since then. It’s a refined blend of whiskey, and Italian vermouth, with a few dashes of bitters that tastes as good now as it did when it was created.

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