Despite what bartenders might say, making cocktails doesn't have to be complicated. Some classic cocktails are super easy to make and the only effort required is to find and buy the ingredients!

Cocktails for beginners, it's your turn!

Here at EBS we've selected the best cocktail recipes for beginners. These beginner cocktail recipes are a great way to get started with mixology; they're easy to make without complicated ingredients, giving you the chance to familiarise yourself with drinks and bartending basics. We've included:

  • Gin and Tonic
  • Screwdriver
  • Cuba Libre
  • Tequila Sunrise
  • Gimlet
  • Aperol Spritz
  • Dry Martini
  • Godfather
  • B52
  • White Lady
  • Negroni
  • Boulevardier
  • Old Fashioned

In our list of the 13 best beginner cocktails, not only will you get the cocktail ingredients and preparation time but also a difficulty rating. The lower the score, the easier it is to make! It's that simple! 

1. Gin and Tonic

Gin and Tonic on a table

Starting off our list of the best cocktails for beginners is an absolute classic! It's certainly in the cocktail Hall of Fame and one of the oldest around, it is of course the 'G&T'.

The Gin and Tonic has always been a crowd pleaser and couldn't be easier to make, containing just two ingredients. Invented by the British Navy way back in the 17th century, its recipe has remained pretty much untouched, which is testament to how good of a cocktail it really is. All you'll need to do is add in the gin and top with some tonic water. Oh, and don't forget the ice and little slice of lime, to round it off nicely! 

Ingredients: Gin, tonic water

Preparation time: 2 minutes

Difficulty rating: 1/10


2. Screwdriver

Screwdriver cocktail

Upon just reading its name, you might not know what exactly this cocktail is. However, you will definitely have tried it, just under a different name aka the 'Vodka Orange'.

Yes, 'Screwdriver' is simply the official cocktail name for a Vodka Orange. We're sure you've made plenty of these at a pre-drinks before, and as long as you pay attention to the measurements, you'll have yourself a tasty cocktail!

Ingredients: Vodka, orange juice

Preparation time: 1 minute

Difficulty rating: 1/10


3. Cuba Libre

Cuba Libre

Putting a stop to the super easy cocktails for beginners, the Cuba Libre offers you a bit more of a challenge, with three ingredients instead of two. Feel up for it? Excellent!

The Cuba Libre is way more than just a standard Rum and Coke. That little bit of fresh lime puts a whole new dimension on this cocktail, giving it a tangy punch! Plus, by swapping dark rum for white, the cocktail remains light and refreshing to drink! Meaning 'free Cuba' in English, it's said to have originated during the Spanish-American War, when a Cuban general toasted this creation to a free Cuba. Their cigars may be banned, but they can't ban this Havana delight! 

Ingredients: Light rum, fresh lime juice, Coca Cola

Preparation time: 2 minutes

Difficulty rating: 2/10


4. Tequila Sunrise

Tequila Sunrise

In the world of classic tequila cocktails, the Tequila Sunrise is certainly the best beginner cocktail to learn. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, it tastes great too, making it perfect cocktail party material (we think!)

But what's the hardest part of it all? Letting the grenadine sink. Which is what gives it the 'sunrise' to its name, otherwise it's just tequila and orange (yawn, boring).The sunset is made after adding the juice and tequila, and then pouring the grenadine onto a straw. The grenadine then slowly follows the straw to the bottom of the glass, where it sits comfortably. 

When it comes to the actual tequila, you'll want a 'blanco'. There are many other types of tequila available but you want to keep that famous tequila bite in the Sunrise. So, go blanco or go home!

Ingredients: Blanco tequila, orange juice

Preparation time: 2 minutes

Difficulty rating: 2/10


5. Gimlet


It's a quick return to the beginner cocktail recipes here, with the Gimlet. Sporting not the most attractive name in the world, the Gimlet is there for those who love a cheek-kicking.

The combination of gin and lime cordial will leave sweet-tooths with a sour taste. And with a 6:1 gin and lime cordial ratio, if you didn't know what is gin, you soon will... However, this also means it's really easy to make. Simply stir up and Julep strain the mixture to have yourself a Gimlet. Add a little lime peel on the side to round it off nicely.

Ingredients: Gin, lime cordial

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Difficulty rating: 1/10


6. Aperol Spritz

Aperol Spritz cocktail with garnish

Aperol - a drink that's been around for quite a while (over 100 years) and yet it feels like everyone outside of Italy has only just discovered it, right?

Nonetheless, thank god they have because the Aperol Spritz is a bellissima creation! Made to refresh, the Aperol Spritz is comprised of just three ingredients and is best enjoyed with a summer sunset. And the only point to consider when putting it together? Just don't make a mess when pouring in the Prosecco!

Bring a little taste of Italy into your life with this Spritz...

Ingredients: Aperol, Prosecco, soda water

Preparation time: 2 minutes

Difficulty rating: 2/10


7. Dry Martini

3 martini cocktails with lemon twist

The Dry Martini is probably the most sophisticated cocktail on this list (and in the bartending world alike). Made even more famous by James Bond, this is another two ingredient cocktail recipe.

Now, Martinis come in all shapes and sizes. Different types of Martini include; Dry, Naked, Dirty, Wet and the Gibson (yes, we're still talking about Martinis). Whilst we've listed the Dry on our list, the Naked Martini is even easier with just one ingredient... gin. People seriously do order a cold cocktail glass of shaken gin just an olive! Anyway, get your bar spoon or cocktail shaker ready  and prepare for your guests' awkward preferences when making the Martini.

Ingredients: Dry vermouth, gin/vodka

Preparation time: 2 minutes

Difficulty rating: 2/10 - stirred, 3/10 - shaken


8. Godfather

Godfather cocktail with ice

After all of that Martini and Spritz talk, let's take this back to simplicity once more!

The Godfather requires only two ingredients, meaning it's comfortably part of the easy Scotch cocktails group. Making this cocktail only requires adding both ingredients to a glass of ice. However, it's worth noting that the use of Scotch whisky is important here.

There are many different types of whiskey all with many different flavours. Scotch holds notes of smokiness, hints of vanilla and, depending on where it was made, some 'peatiness'. Whilst it may not seem important, it really makes a Godfather, a Godfather! Make them a cocktail they can't refuse... It's one of the easiest cocktails for beginners out there.

Ingredients: Scotch whisky, Amaretto

Preparation time: 2 minutes

Difficulty rating: 1/10


9. B52

Bartender layering a B52 cocktail shot

It's our first shot on the list, or 'shooter' for our American friends across the pond.

This could be the first cocktail mentioned that looks difficult to make, rather than sounding complicated. But don't fear, the B52 is indeed one of the basic cocktails every bartender should know how to make and featured in the best Christmas shot recipes!

It's all about the 'layering', and this is the hard bit. Creating this layered effect requires a slow pour and the back of a bar spoon. Pour the alcohol gently onto the back of the bar spoon and position it so it's as close to previous layer of alcohol as possible. This will mean you create a nice, tidy layer! The B52s are sure to get the whole shack shimmying!

Ingredients: Kahlua, Baileys, Cointreau

Preparation time: 4 minutes

Difficulty rating: 4/10


10. White Lady

White Lady

At number 10, we have the White Lady, and she's certainly not for turning!

Now, before we get into the Lady herself, you might not know what Cointreau is, so let us explain... Cointreau is a type of orange liqueur, and by adding some orange liqueur into a recipe, you impart a tangy, aromatic, sweet flavour. When creating cocktails with tequila or gin, orange liqueur can dilute those harsh flavours a little, making it much more palatable. Now, let's get back to the cocktail...

Unlike the Martini, there's no choice here, you'll need to get your cocktail shaker and 'shake it, to wake it'. With her list of subtle ingredients, shaking up the White Lady gives the drinker a delightfully refreshing and light cocktail to enjoy. Finish it off with some lemon peel, for that air of sophistication. Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

Ingredients: Gin, Cointreau, fresh lemon juice, sugar syrup

Preparation time: 2 minutes

Difficulty rating: 4/10

Making simple syrup for cocktails has never been easier. You're just two ingredients and three steps away from a homemade simple syrup! 

11. Negroni


We're almost at the end and we simply couldn't leave this cheeky little cocktail out. It's a stunner!

A staple on almost every cocktail menu, the Negroni is an incredibly simple cocktail to make, cementing its place as one of the best sweet cocktails for beginners. To make this Italian stallion, all you'll need to do is build and stir.

Although, you do have the option to 'roll' the cocktail between two cocktail tins, as well as the quick method above. However, this can take a little longer to complete and is sometimes a bit messy, if you're not a pro.

To keep things simple (and clean) we advise using our simple method. Madonna was right, Italians do it better!

Ingredients: Gin, sweet vermouth, Campari

Preparation time: 3 minutes

Difficulty rating: 2/10


12. Boulevardier


Which came first the Negroni or the Boulevardier? Bartending enthusiasts are firmly divided over their origins, but let's keep the politics out of it and just enjoy two great cocktails!

The Boulevardier is often known for being 'a Negroni with whiskey', but there's more to it than this. Firstly, it's a cocktail in its own right, and a great one! So if you're a fan of cocktails with some bite, this should be your choice!

Experience the fire of the whiskey, the bitterness of the Campari and the sweet spices of the vermouth come together in a symphony of flavours. Just like the previous cocktail, it's a 'build and stir' job. Finish with a little orange peel twist and the job's a good'un.

Ingredients: Bourbon whiskey, Campari, sweet vermouth

Preparation time: 2 minutes

Difficulty rating: 2/10


13. Old Fashioned (quick version)

Old Fashioned

Finally, we'd like to end on a bit of a twist. We've all heard of the classic Old Fashioned with the sugar cube and the muddling and the waiting, right? Well, let's make things a lot easier! Here's our quick Old Fashioned recipe...

We've extracted the club soda and the part where you need to soak a sugar cube and then muddle it - as a replacement, we use sugar syrup. The amount of Bourbon doesn't change, however we use 2 dashes of Angostura bitters and 10 ml of sugar syrup in this version. Stir up all of the ingredients and you'll have yourself a quick and easy Old Fashioned right in front of you!

Ingredients: Angostura bitters, Bourbon whiskey, sugar syrup

Preparation time: 2 minutes

Difficulty rating: 2/10

Final thoughts

Whether you're looking to start a bartending career or just wanting some recipes for a dinner party, these beginner cocktails are sure to help.

There is something for everyone and every palette, plus guests will be amazed by the flavours of such simple classic cocktail recipes. They really are drinks for beginners. Our last bit of advice? Pace your guests. Given how easy these cocktails are to make, you don't want a gaggle of drunks to sort out and ruin the night!

Feel like picking up some bartending basics for beginners? Start your bartending journey with our bartender course, offered in schools all over the world...