Don’t get us wrong, we love complicated syrups and 10-ingredient tiki drinks as much as the next guy, but sometimes you just want something easy. The two-ingredient cocktail is a staple for everyone from the college student, to the cocktail noob to the precise Japanese bartender who stirs his Highball exactly 13 times clockwise. However, all drinks are not created equal. Here are 13 of the most popular two-ingredient drinks, ranked from worst to best.
11. Red Bull Vodka
Your only hope is that the bartender can’t hear you ordering one over the EDM and gives you a different drink entirely.
The cocktail equivalent of the shruggy emoji. No other drink is more likely to taste like nothing.
While the Mimosa once exuded sophistication as a late morning tipple, it has since been sullied by the weak frozen orange juice and $3 bubbly of the #brunchlife crowd.
They don’t feel as fancy as Mimosas, but the Screwdrivers you encounter out in the world are likely to be more satisfying because while both are often made with inexpensive alcohol, nine times out of ten times cheap vodka is better than cheap Champagne. Also, vodka is three times as strong as Champagne, so there’s that.
7. Whiskey Ginger
Greatly diminished by the fact that this is almost always made with ginger ale out of a gun, it has the makings of a good drink, but most people are just too lazy to make it happen. May we suggest a better way?
6. Rum and Coke
Now we’re starting to get into the realm of things you should actually consider ordering. The rum and Coke is not a guaranteed winner—bad rum and syrupy Coke do not a good drink make. But a good bottle of Mexican Coke made with cane sugar and almost any well rum will do the trick. If you have the time and inclination, toss in a little lime juice and you’ve got a Cuba Libre.
5. Tequila Soda
The more interesting answer to the Vodka Soda, it’s not the official drink of America’s finance bros for nothing. If you’ve only been using tequila as a shot, go ahead and try it out in a Highball, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
We know: A shot and a beer is not technically a cocktail. But the great thing about the Boilermaker is the multitude of forms it can take. Because it is whatever you want it to be, it never disappoints.
It’s a special enough drink that Suntory, one of the world’s biggest whiskey makers, produces a bottle and a machine both designed specifically for it. For whiskey lovers, it’s a way to enjoy several drinks in a sitting without worrying about being weighed down by heavy Manhattans or Old Fashioneds. For the whiskey curious it’s a way to dip your toe into the brown spirit without having to fully commit. For everyone else it’s just damn easy to drink.
If you’ve been wasting your brunches on Mimosas, Screwdrivers and Bloody Marys, stop it. Stop it right now. The Greyhound, a Screwdriver that uses grapefruit juice instead of orange juice, is puckeringly tart, but totally approachable. And because grapefruit juice is more potent than orange juice, there’s a lot more flavor left, even in generic brand, pre-bottled stuff.
It’s not really fair to pit a Martini against Vodka Soda, but it is made with two ingredients just like the rest of these drinks, so here we are. It’s so simple—gin and vermouth—yet it is one of the cocktail world’s great achievements. Strong, bold and best served so frigid that holding it hurts your fingers just a little bit, the Martini is as close to a perfect drink as any out there.