There are many cocktails and mixed drinks that you can make, but there are a handful that are necessary to building a true, classic cocktail experience.
The below 5 cocktails are Fred's favourites.
1. The Dry Martini
The Martini is typically the first cocktail many people think of when it comes to "fancy" drinks. While many neat drinks are typically referred to as "martinis" and come in every colour and flavour imaginable, the true "Martini" is simply comprised of gin and dry vermouth with either an olive or lemon twist garnish.
2. The Manhattan
What the Martini is to gin, the Manhattan is to whiskey. Traditionally this cocktail is made with rye whiskey or bourbon, and often Canadian whisky though traditionalists will choose one of the first two options. Beyond the base spirit, the Martini's dry vermouth is swapped out for sweet vermouth and a cherry is the customary garnish. When you can make one of these first two drinks well you should be able to make the other.
3. The Margarita
Everyone has heard of the Margarita and like the Martini it now comes in every colour and flavour imaginable. The classic recipe is far simpler than many of its modern counterparts and there is no blender involved. The traditional Margarita is served neat and made simply of tequila, orange liqueur, lime and lemon juices, and simple syrup.
4. The Daiquiri
The Daiquiri has been dealt a similar fate as that of the Margarita and Martini, though to as large an extent. The original Daiquiri, which was one of Ernest Hemingway's favorite drinks, is a simple mix of rum, lime juice, and simple syrup, shaken and served neat. If a frozen Strawberry Daiquiri or one of the multitude of other flavoured drinks that take this name are the extent of your Daiquiri experience I encourage you to give this pure version a chance. I think you will like it.
5. The Mojito
Irresistibly fresh and punchy, the mojito is a one-way salsa dance to the Caribbean. Traditionally, a mojito is a cocktail that consists of five ingredients: white rum, sugar (traditionally sugar cane juice), lime juice, sparkling water, and mint.