Make These 5 Cocktails With Just 4 Ingredients Each

May 19, 2016 6:00 AM

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Courtesy of Simon & Schuster

Photo Courtesy of Simon & Schuster


Shane Carley is a spirits enthusiast and author of several other cocktail books, including The Mason Jar Cocktail Companion and Red Cup Nation. He currently works as a copywriter for a New England university and lives in Portsmouth, NH.

Cocktails can be complicated. With so many drinks featuring what feels like dozens of ingredients, being mixed together in increasingly complicated and diverse ways, it isn’t hard to feel out of your depth when it comes to mixology. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Some of the best cocktails in the world feature only a couple of ingredients, shaken or stirred together in simple proportions and ready to drink in seconds. Everyone knows that sometimes simplicity is the way to go—not just for the sake of convenience but for taste as well. After all, who needs eight different ingredients muddling their flavors together when all you really want is something to accent the great taste of your whiskey or rum?

The new cocktail book The Home Bartender by Shane Carley (sold by sister company Simon & Schuster) features the best of the best when it comes to simple cocktails, each with four ingredients or less (plus a garnish or two).

Below are some especially bright and summery drinks that are easy to make and enjoy as the warm weather sets in—each with just four ingredients!

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Creamsicle

If you grew up eating Creamsicle popsicles, this drink will take you back as it captures that same flavor. This delicious combination of orange and cream will sweep you straight back to your childhood on a wave of nostalgia—with an adult twist.

Ingredients

  • 1 part orange juice
  • 1 part vodka
  • 1 part cream
  • 1 splash triple sec

Glassware

  • old fashioned glass

Directions

  • Stir the ingredients together in a mixing glass.
  • Strain the resulting mixture over ice.
  • Garnish with an orange slice and enjoy!

Variation

As always, the ratios can be adjusted until you find a drink that you suits you. Mixology may have become an increasingly popular skill, but it’s far from an exact science. The purpose of every cocktail is for the drinker to enjoy it and that should always be your end goal.

Cherry Lime Spike

Cherry and lime have traditionally gone well together, but rather than drink a regular old glass of cherry limeade, why not spike it with a little vodka? A little cherry vodka can go a long way, both in terms of adding alcohol to the cocktail and adding flavor.

Ingredients

  • 1 part cherry vodka
  • 1 part lime juice
  • 2 parts club soda
  • 1 dash grenadine

Glasssware

  • highball glass

Directions

  • Pour the cherry vodka and lime juice into your glass and stir together. Add ice.
  • Add club soda to fill, then top with a small dash of grenadine for color.
  • Garnish with a lime wheel and enjoy!

Variation

Use limeade or lime flavored club soda instead of lime juice.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Daiquiri Twist

This take on the classic Daiquiri recipe substitutes a bit of triple sec for some of the white rum, taking down the intensity of the alcohol in favor of a more flavorful, easily drinkable cocktail. The Daiquiri Twist really lets the flavor of the rum shine without overwhelming your tongue with an overpowering taste of booze.

Ingredients

  • 2 parts white rum
  • 1 part lime juice
  • 1 part triple sec
  • 1 splash simple syrup

Glassware

  • cocktail glass

Directions

  • Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add the liquid ingredients. Shake well.
  • Strain the resulting mixture into a Cocktail glass.
  • Garnish with a lime wheel. Enjoy!

Variation

Everyone on earth has heard of the Strawberry Daiquiri, and you can make one by just adding a bit of strawberry schnapps in place of the triple sec. If you want the frozen version of the drink, add about half a cup of ice and blend it all together.

Salty Mutt

Similar to the popular Salty Dog drink, the Salty Mutt adds another flavor to the equation by splitting the usual grapefruit juice with cranberry juice. There’s sticking with what works and then there’s branching out into a whole new set of flavors. The Salty Dog may be an old thoroughbred, but the Salty Mutt is a boozy companion you can count on.

Ingredients

  • salt (for rimming)
  • 1 part gin
  • 1 part grapefruit juice
  • 1 part cranberry juice

Glassware

  • old fashioned glass

Directions

  • Rim the glass with salt.
  • Add the gin, grapefruit juice and cranberry juice to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously.
  • Strain the resulting mixture over ice into an Old Fashioned glass—or Highball glass if you’re extra thirsty.
  • Garnish with a grapefruit wedge and enjoy!
Blueberry Sparkler

Rum isn’t the only liquor that works well in an Italian soda. In fact, there’s a good argument to be made that gin is the perfect liquor for that particular format. In any case, the Blueberry Sparkler takes that great gin flavor and complements it with some sweet blueberry simple syrup. A little splash of lemon juice adds some sour tartness to this drink, which is perfect for sipping on the porch on a hot summer day.

Ingredients

  • 2 oz gin
  • 1 oz blueberry simple syrup
  • 1/2 lemon (juiced)
  • 1 oz club soda

Glassware

  • old fashioned glass

Directions

  • Add the gin, blueberry simple syrup, and lemon juice to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously.
  • Strain the resulting mixture into an Old Fashioned glass filled with ice. Top with club soda.
  • Garnish with a lemon wheel and enjoy!
Shane Carley is a spirits enthusiast and author of several other cocktail books, including The Mason Jar Cocktail Companion and Red Cup Nation. He currently works as a copywriter for a New England university and lives in Portsmouth, NH.

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