If you like: Gin and tonic
Try a: Tom Collins
“[There’s] absolutely nothing wrong with a gin and tonic,” says Donahue. “But a properly made Tom Collins (with fresh citrus juice) can make any gin skeptic a believer.” Based on the original John Collins, the cocktail was renamed when Jerry Thomas included it in his 1876 Bartender’s Guide. During the late 19th century, it was popular to prank your friends by trying to convince them someone named Tom Collins was spreading slander about them. To make it, just pour 2 oz of gin (a decent one, Donahue urges -- so stay away from plastic bottles) in your mixing tin with 3/4 oz simple syrup and 3/4 oz lemon juice. Shake it up, strain it into a Collins glass (larger than a highball) filled with ice, and top it off with club soda and a maraschino cherry. Garnish with a lemon slice.
Or a: Gin Martini
For those who already love gin and need no convincing, a gin martini is for you, Caporale says. Grab that mixing tin (see, aren’t you glad you got one?) and fill it halfway with ice, 2 oz gin, and 1/2 oz dry vermouth. Shake and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with two olives on a pick.
If you like: Rum and Coke
Try a: Traditional Daiquiri
Not a crazy, frozen, fruit concoction. “No strawberries needed in this old-school Rum Sour,” Caporale says. Take your mixing tin and pour in 2 oz light rum, 1/4 oz simple syrup, and lime juice. Shake it, strain it, and garnish it with a lime wedge.
Or a: Dark ‘n’ Stormy
Ten bucks says you’ve heard of a Dark ‘n’ Stormy but have no idea how simple it is to actually put together. Donahue wants to get rid of the mystery surrounding this “invigorating, refreshing, and easy-to-make [cocktail].” In a highball glass with ice, combine 2 oz dark rum and 3/4 oz fresh lime juice. Simply top it off with the ginger beer of your choice, garnish with a lime wedge, and sip the night away.
If you like: Tequila Pineapple
Try a: Classic Margarita
No one said it had to be Taco Tuesday for you to enjoy this tequila staple. Learning how to perfect it early in life will ensure you throw the best parties from here on out. Grab your mixing tin (half-filled with ice) and pour in 2 oz tequila, 1/4 oz simple syrup, 1/4 oz triple sec, and lime juice. Shake it up and strain into a glass filled with ice. Caporale says once you have the perfect margarita (aka a Tequila Sour), “you’ll never go back to blenders and salted rims.”
Or a: Paloma
In a highball glass, add 2 oz of blanco (silver) tequila, fill with ice and then top it off with the Mexican grapefruit soda of your choice. Add a pinch of salt and garnish with a lime. It might not be the first tequila drink that comes to mind, but Donahue says you can’t go wrong with “this delicious and easy cocktail that’s more popular than the margarita in Tequila, Mexico.”