Easy Make-At-Home Cocktails

May 18, 2020 | Drinks

Step Three: Easy Cocktails

Once I set up my at-home bar with all of the necessary tools (see post here) and ingredients (see post here), it was on to the fun part – making cocktails!


Along the way, I curated a list of cocktails that are simple and delicious. They use staple ingredients that I often have on hand – beyond the alcohol list that I previously shared, I only need lemon, lime, soda water, honey, sugar, egg white, and common herbs to make all of the cocktails below.

I also learned some very useful tips that have paid huge dividends…

Very Useful Tips

Ice is essential to cocktails – always add more than you think you’ll need.

(read more here)

Making simple syrup is truly simple.

(see below)

Know when to shake vs. stir. Tip – if it has ingredients other than just alcohol, shake.

(read more here)

Shake like you mean it!

(see below)

Simple Syrup

I quickly learned not to buy simple syrup. Two reasons: 1) I had a difficult time finding it and 2) it’s incredibly easy and fast to make.

Making Simple Syrup:

  • Add equal parts water and sugar to a medium saucepan
  • Bring to a boil while stirring so the sugar doesn’t burn
  • Continue stirring until the sugar dissolves
  • Let cool

That’s literally it!

To make flavoured simple syrup, add your flavouring ingredient – herbs, berries, vanilla, lime – after the sugar has dissolved. Turn the heat down and continue stirring for a few minutes. Let cool together & strain if necessary.

You can store simple syrup in your refrigerator in an airtight container for 3-4 weeks (1 week if flavoured).


The Importance of Shaking Hard

When I first made margaritas on the rocks, I shook the 4oz of liquid together, as directed, and poured over ice. The liquid barely filled half the glass, even with all of the ice. After drinking very stiff margaritas a few times, I realized I had been doing the whole shaking process wrong and was essentially drinking large shots rather than a proper cocktail.

If you shake your cocktail – always add more ice than you think you need and shake it hard. Like really hard, for a good 10-15 seconds. This will turn some of the ice into water and will help dilute your cocktail (which is really important!). I’m thrilled that my cocktails now fill the entire glass and I don’t get accidentally wasted off of two drinks. Cheers to that!

*Note: the shaking procedure for cocktails with egg whites is slightly different – see below for gin fizz or whiskey sour instructions

Simple COcktail Recipes

Whiskey Sour


¾ oz simple syrup | 1oz fresh squeezed lemon juice | 2oz bourbon or whiskey | 1 egg white


Add bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup and ice into cocktail shaker.

Shake 10 to 15 seconds, strain to another glass and discard the ice.

Add egg white and cocktail to the shaker without ice shake another 10 – 15 seconds.

Serve in a coupe or rock glass and garnish with a cherry or orange wheel.

Aperol Spritz


Equal parts Aperol & Prosecco


Fill large wine glass with ice.

Add ingredients to wine glass and stir gently.

Garnish with an orange slice.

Margarita on the Rocks


2oz silver tequila | 1oz Triple Sec | 1oz fresh-squeezed lime


Rub a lime wedge around the rim of a rocks glass.

Put margarita rimmer onto a plate (make your own with equal parts salt and sugar and cayenne to taste) and swirl the cocktail glass rim in the mix. Add ice and set aside.

Add ingredients and ice to a shaker – shake hard & pour in cocktail glasses over ice. Garnish with a lime.


Add grapefruit or pomegranate juice, or muddle jalapeños to make spicy!



2oz white rum * 1oz fresh squeezed lime juice * ¾ oz simple syrup


Combine ingredients and shake with ice until cold.

Strain into martini glass & serve neat (no ice).


Add 2 cups of frozen strawberries and mix all ingredients in a blender. Garnish with a fresh strawberry.



2oz gin or vodka | ¾ oz fresh-squeezed lime juice | ¾ oz simple syrup


Prep a coupe or martini glass with ice.

Shake ingredients with ice until cold.

Strain and pour into cocktail glass.


Add flavours to the shaker or when making the simple syrup – cucumber, snap peas, mint, basil, thyme, rosemary, citrus peels – and use a fine mesh strainer. 



1oz of each: Campari | Sweet Vermouth | Gin


Add a large ice cube or sphere to a rocks glass. Stir ingredients and ice together in a mixing glass. Strain into rocks glass & garnish with an orange peel.

Gin Fizz


2oz gin | 1oz fresh squeezed lemon juice | 1 oz simple syrup | 1 egg white | 1oz club soda


Chill highball glass.

Add gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and ice into cocktail shaker.

Shake 10 to 15 seconds, strain contents into another glass and discard the ice.

Add egg white and cocktail contents  back into the shaker, without ice, shake another 10 – 15 seconds.

Pour into highball glass with ice, top with soda water and garnish with a lemon wedge.


Add rosemary to the hot simple syrup mixture and let steep for 10 minutes (off heat)!

Bees Knees


½ oz honey syrup (heat equal parts honey and hot water on the stovetop until dissolved. Let cool) | ¾ oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice | 2 oz gin


Prep rocks glass with large ice cube or sphere.

Shake ingredients with ice until cold.

Strain and pour into rocks glass.



10 fresh mint leaves | 1oz fresh squeezed lime juice | 2 teaspoons of white sugar | 1.5oz white rum | soda water


Fill highball glass with ice.

Add mint, lime juice and sugar to highball glass and muddle.

Add rum & fill glass with ice.

Add mint mixture to highball glass (don’t strain).

Top glass with soda water & garnish with lime wedge.


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