Skip to Content
Food

3-Ingredient Cocktails Every Guy Should Know How To Make

3-Ingredient Cocktails Every Guy Should Know How To Make

For those who haven’t spent hours studying bartending books and have never worked as a bartender or barback themselves, watching someone mix up a drink at your favorite cocktail bar or speakeasy might make you believe you need a master’s degree in Advanced Mixology to even attempt it at home. And while it’s true that many contemporary cocktails are ridiculously elaborate with a long list of ingredients, various shrubs, tinctures, liqueurs, and specialized herbs and botanicals, some of the most well-known mixed drinks only require three ingredients each. Yes, you read that right. Three ingredients.

And it isn’t just basic, boring cocktails either. Some of the most beloved, classic cocktails only require three simple ingredients and very little skill and memorization to perfect easily at home. You might be surprised to hear it, but this includes such iconic drinks as the rye or bourbon-based Old Fashioned, the rum-centric Daiquiri, and even the wildly popular Negroni.

Below, you’ll find ten, simple three-ingredient cocktails that every guy (and gal) should really know how to make. Whether you’re a person who likes to entertain or you simply want to know how to make a few cocktails to impress that special someone, this primer will help you.


Sidecar

Sidecar

The sidecar is a surprisingly simple cocktail featuring Cognac, lemon juice, and triple sec. That’s it. Like many classic cocktails, its creation is shrouded in mystery. While there’s no specific date or creator well-known, it’s believed that it was invented somewhere in Europe (London or Paris likely) in the early 1900s, sometime around World War I. You might not be surprised to learn that its name is a reference to the old-timey sidecar that’s often attached to motorcycles.

Sidecar Recipe:

  • 1.5 ounces Cognac
  • .75 ounces orange liqueur
  • .75 ounces lemon juice

Steps: Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Serve in a coupe, preferably with an orange slice garnish and sugar rim.


Moscow-Mule

Moscow Mule

Invented around 1941, the Moscow Mule got its name simply because of the association with vodka and Russia. Besides the aforementioned vodka, the drink simply has lime juice and ginger beer. It’s a spicy, sweet, memorable cocktail that’s most often served in a traditional copper mug. It’s one of the easiest three-ingredient cocktails and one that you should still attempt even if you don’t own a copper mug.

Moscow Mule Recipe:

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • .5 ounces lime juice
  • 3 ounces ginger beer

Steps: Add ice to a mule mug, then add the vodka, lime juice and ginger beer. Garnish with a lime wheel.


Cuba-Libre

Cuba Libre

The Cuba Libre is pretty much a slightly elevated rum and coke. Instead of simply featuring rum mixed with cola, the third ingredient is lime juice. Its name translates roughly to “free Cuba” and is a reference to the Cuban independence movement. Even if you were previously unaware of the historical significance of this drink, you’ll enjoy the mixture of sweet rum, cola, and tangy, tart lime.

Cuba Libre Recipe:

  • 1 ounce rum
  • 3 ounces Coca-Cola
  • Squeeze of lime

Steps: Fill a highball glass with ice and add the rum followed by the cola. Garnish with a lime.


Margarita

Margarita

You might not realize it, but the Margarita is also a three-ingredient cocktail. It might seem elaborate, but that’s likely because it’s really boozy. The simple cocktail is made up of Cointreau, lime juice, and tequila. One of the cocktails with the most disputed back story, the drink was first mentioned in a newspaper article and later in Esquire Magazine in 1953. Many believe that it was invented in 1942 at a bar called Tommy’s Place in Juarez, Mexico by a bartender named Francisco “Pancho” Morales. It’s hard to beat a classic Margarita, but there are some bartender-approved Margarita variations that you should try after you know the ins and outs of the traditional version.

Margarita Recipe:

  • 1.5 ounces blanco tequila
  • .75 ounces orange liqueur
  • .75 ounces lime juice

Steps: Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Pour into a glass over ice and garnish with lime.


Manhattan

Manhattan

Similar to the iconic Old Fashioned, the classic Manhattan only has three simple ingredients. And while the Old Fashioned is made with whiskey (rye or bourbon), sugar (or simple syrup), and angostura bitters, the Manhattan swaps out the sugar for sweet red vermouth instead. It got its name because it was a popular drink at New York City’s Manhattan Club in the 1870s.

Manhattan Recipe:

  • 2 ounces rye whiskey
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters

Steps: Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with ice. Stir, then serve neat in a coupe glass with cherry garnish.


Dark-N-Stormy

Dark ‘N’ Stormy

The name might be spooky, but there’s nothing scary about the bold, sweet flavor of this highball cocktail featuring dark rum, ginger beer, and a lime wedge or lime juice. It’s a simple spicy, sweet cocktail that has stood the test of time since it was created in Bermuda in the early nineteen hundreds as a collaboration between Gosling’s Black Seal Rum and Barritt’s Ginger Beer.

Dark ‘N’ Stormy Recipe:

  • 2 ounces Gosling’s Black Seal rum
  • .5 ounces lime juice
  • 3 ounces ginger beer

Steps: Add the rum and lime juice to a highball glass with ice. Top with ginger beer and give it a stir before adding a lime wheel garnish.


Negroni

Negroni

This cocktail, a variation of the classic Americano, was created in 1919 by Count Camillo Negroni in Florence, Italy. Clearly, Negroni was more than just a guy with a cool name because he crafted this drink featuring Campari, gin, and sweet vermouth. Wildly popular today, the Negroni is known for its herbal, bittersweet flavor profile and has also raised the profile of drinks similar to the Negroni.

Negroni Recipe:

  • 1 ounce gin
  • 1 ounce Campari
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth

Steps: Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with ice. Stir until well chilled, and serve in a lowball glass with ice and an orange wheel garnish.


Old-Fashioned

Old Fashioned

A close relative of the aforementioned Manhattan, the one of the most popular cocktails of all-time features a simple recipe of whiskey (traditionally rye, though bourbon Old Fashioneds are common as well), sugar (or simple syrup), and Angostura bitters. It’s as simple to make as it is to enjoy–plus there are some incredible and simple Old Fashioned variations to try once you’ve mastered the basic.. It was created by Colonel James E. Pepper at a bar in Louisville in the late 1800s. Yes, that’s the same James E. Pepper that has a whiskey brand in his name today.

Old Fashioned Recipe:

  • 2 ounces rye whiskey
  • 1 teaspoon simple syrup
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters

Steps: Add the bitters and simple syrup to a lowball glass, then add ice and stir.Add the whiskey, stir again, and garnish with an orange peel.


Boulevardier

Boulevardier

The whiskey version of the Negroni, the very fancy-sounding Boulevardier features Campari, vermouth, and, instead of gin, rye whiskey. Erskine Gwynne, an American who had a monthly magazine in Paris in the early 1900s unsurprisingly called Boulevardier, is known to be the drink’s creator. Less popular than the Negroni, the addition of rye gives it a peppery, spicy kick that propels the drink to new heights.

Boulevardier Recipe:

  • 1 ounce bourbon
  • 1 ounce Campari
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth

Steps: Combine all the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir until chilled, then strain into a rocks glass over ice and garnish with an orange peel.


Daiquiri

Daiquiri

There’s a good chance that you imagine a frozen cocktail when you think of the daiquiri and that’s fine. The classic daiquiri definitely isn’t frozen. It’s a simple, sweet, tart, refreshing cocktail made with white rum, simple syrup, and lime juice. An American mining engineer working in Cuba and living in the town of Daiquiri by the name of Jennings Cox is thought to have created the drink when he ran out of gin in 1898 and used rum instead.

Daiquiri Recipe:

  • 2 ounces rum
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • .75 ounce simple syrup

Steps: Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until chilled, then serve neat in a couple glass with a lime peel twist.

Do Not Sell My Personal Information