10 Essential Cocktails for the Newbie Mixologists

If you’re anything like us, when you first start to make your own drinks the whole concept can seem so overwhelming. It’s hard to know where to start, what you like, and what in the world you need. So, to help you get started we made a quick list of the 10 classic cocktails that we think everyone should learn how to make! You never know when you’ll need to bust these skills out at a party.


Of course we had to start with a Marg, because we’re from Texas. It just makes sense.


  • 2 oz Tequila
  • ½ oz Triple Sec
  • ½ oz Strawberry Basil Syrup
  • 1 oz Lime Juice
  • 4-5 Frozen Strawberries (optional)

Mix all ingredients into shaker tins, adding strawberries last. If making this drink without strawberries, add ice to the tin last. Seal the tins and shake for 6-9 seconds. Strain with a Hawthorne strainer into a margarita glass. Rim glass with coarse salt or sugar.


Old Fashioned

Call us old fashioned… Sorry, I had to. The joke was just right there. In all seriousness, a good Old Fashioned heals wounds, brings friends closer, and warms the heart [and tummy and face]. You’re going to want to use this one more often now that you know how easy it is to make!


  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • ¼ oz Simple Syrup
  • 3 dsh Angostura Bitters

Build in stirring glass and stir, strain over a large cube into rocks glass. Garnish with orange peel and luxardo cherry.


Gin + Tonic

The best thing about a Gin + Tonic is, you control the proportions. Love the taste of Gin? Pour a little more of that and a little less tonic. Prefer more bubbles? Pour more water and less gin. Feel like it’s missing some sweetness? Add a little HipStirs Blackberry Mint syrup. ;)


  • 2 oz Gin
  • ½ oz Blackberry Mint Syrup
  • 4 oz Tonic water

Mix all ingredients, except tonic water, into shaker tins and add ice. Seal the tins and shake for 6-9 seconds. Strain with a hawthorne strainer into a tall glass and top with the tonic water. 

Fun Fact: just add 1 ½ oz lemon juice to change this drink from a G+T to a Tom Collins!



Mo-jitos, mo-problems. I kid, I kid. But they are so yummy and refreshing that sometimes you can find yourself getting into trouble with a good Mojito. So, pace yourself. 


  • 2 oz Light Rum
  • 1 tsp. Sugar
  • ½ oz Lime Juice
  • Several mint sprigs
  • Club Soda (optional)

Add lime juice, sugar, and mint into an old fashioned glass and muddle together until sugar is dissolved. Fill the glass with ice and then add the rum. Stir until glass frosts and garnish with mint sprigs. If you wish, top with club soda!

Gimlet- Lavender/Blackberry/Strawberry

A gimlet is simple and classy. Just a few ingredients stirred up and poured into a coupe glass. If you’re looking to kick it up a notch, you can throw in any of our three available flavors.


  • 2 oz Gin
  • ¼ oz fresh Lime Juice
  • ½ oz Blackberry Mint/Lavender/Strawberry Syrup
  • Lime peel

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass and stir vigorously. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass or over fresh ice. Peel and twist lime skin and drop in drink to garnish.



This one is probably about as complicated as this list gets. But don’t worry, it’s all ingredients that are easy to procure. Rumor has it, if you drink one of these per week you’ll be instantly more fabulous. Think Sex and the City, but in your sweatpants with Chinese food being dropped off at the front door.


  • 1 ½ oz Vodka
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • 1 oz Cranberry Juice
  • ½ oz Lime Juice
  • Orange Peel

Add all ingredients to a shaker tin and add ice. Seal the tins and shake for 6-9 seconds. Strain with a hawthorne strainer into a tall glass. Garnish with orange peel.

Moscow Mule

Moscow mules are versatile and can be made to fit any season. We recommend a little Strawberry Basil for extra sweetness, but you can mix and match with virtually anything you like. Oh, and make sure you grab a copper mug, for ~aesthetics~. 


  • 2-3 oz Vodka
  • ½ oz Lime juice
  • ¾ oz Strawberry Basil syrup [optional]
  • Ginger beer
  • Lime wedge

Pour vodka, lime juice and Strawberry Basil syrup into a copper mug and add ice. Stir vigorously then fill the rest of the mug with ginger beer. Garnish with a lime wedge.


Whiskey Sour

For those who feel a little more adventurous. This recipe is still quite simple, but includes an egg white shaken into the drink. It gives the drink a beautiful froth and adds that slightly tangy quality that makes it a true “sour”. 


  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • 1 oz Lemon Juice
  • ½ oz Simple Syrup
  • Egg White

Add all ingredients to a shaker tin and dry shake (no ice) for 30 seconds. Then add ice and shake again for 30 seconds. Fine strain into coupe glass or regular strain into rocks glass garnish with lemon peel.

Manhattan, Perfect

Okay, should have saved the Sex and the City reference for this drink, admittedly. We’ll just say you can take your pick between the two. Cosmo for the vodka folks and Manhattan for our whiskey drinkers [raises hand enthusiastically]. 


  • 1 ½-2 oz Blended Whiskey
  • ½ oz Sweet Vermouth
  • ¼ oz Dry Vermouth
  • Dash Angostura Bitters

Add all ingredients into a shaker tin and add ice. Seal the tins and shake for 6-9 seconds. Strain up style into a stemmed cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon peel or maraschino cherry.


Ranch Water

Ranch water is a relatively new concept as far as classics go, so some may argue this doesn’t belong in our top 10. My argument: I wrote the list. So, hah! Ranch waters get us through the hot summer, fall, winter, and spring days in Texas. They are as simple as simple can be and of course can be adjusted to your personal taste. More or less boozy, more or less limey, more or less...HipStirs craft syrups. 


  • 3 oz Blanco Tequila
  • 1 ½ oz Lime Juice
  • Richard’s Rainwater
  • Lime Wedge
  • Optional: Strawberry/Blackberry/Lavender

Fill a tall glass half full with ice. Add tequila, syrups, and lime juice to the glass and top with sparkling water. Cheers!

We hope this list helps you get a head start on becoming the mixologist you’ve always wanted to be. Stock up that bar cart and get started. Let us know how you fare, we’d love to see any pictures, videos, or new variations you come up with! You can send them to: morgan@hipstirs.com

Talk to you again soon!

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