Some of us prefer to host smaller, more intimate get-togethers, while others revel in the buzz and bustle of a lively party scene.
Individual preferences notwithstanding, the majority of dinner guests and party-goers can agree on one thing: It never hurts to be able to make a good drink.
And when it comes to hosting your own event, sometimes it’s nice to have a robust catalog of cocktails suitable for any occasion.
Below, the versatile cocktails that every guy would be wise to learn how to mix.
Your Home Bar
It goes without saying that you need to have some liquor on hand if you are planning on making cocktails from home. Knowing what you actually need to have stocked, however, is not always so obvious.
For the sake of diversity, we are going to include the basic ingredients needed for some of the cocktails on this list. In the end, it will always come down to personal preference, and you will end up buying the ingredients for the drinks that you like best.
Use this guide as a list of options rather than hard requirements.
Some liqueur(s) of your choice
Citrus juices (orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit)
Peels for garnishes (optional)
If you have at least some of these basic ingredients already on hand, you will be able to avoid a trip to the liquor store and start whipping up a number of classy cocktails with relative ease.
Whiskey is debatably the quintessential drink of the working man: Many of the drinks on this list will include it as an ingredient. But, the Manhattan, much like its namesake, towers above the rest.
Two parts whiskey, one part sweet vermouth, and a couple of dashes of bitters, this iconic drink has been gracing nightclubs and high-end bars since its inception way back in the 1800s.
It certainly deserves the opportunity to grace your countertop at your next social function. Just don’t forget to add the maraschino cherry.
This neon yellow cocktail traces its origins back to the bustling night scene of New Orleans. Sidecars tend to consist mainly of cognac, triple sec, and lemon juice. This drink is garnished best with a lemon peel and the iconic sugary rim.
They are a nice, refreshing drink, great for backyard barbeques and unwinding on a hot summer evening.
The Rusty Nail
Of all the drinks on this list, the Rusty Nail easily takes the top spot for the most hardcore name (we didn’t include The Irish Car Bomb). That said, it is every bit as rugged and unpretentious as the name suggests.
The Rusty Nail is the perfect drink for a man of simple and refined taste. This beverage consists of scotch and Drambuie on the rocks. Top it off with a simple orange peel garnish. You like what you like and don’t see the need to bend over backward just to make a palatable cocktail.
For those of you who prefer a touch of sweetness in your cocktails but aren’t willing to settle for the saccharine taste of a Rum and Coke, you might enjoy the Tom Collins.
All you need is gin, lemon juice, and a splash of simple syrup, and you soon find yourself laden with refill requests from your guests.
Gin and Tonic
You’ve just spent a long but fruitful day working outdoors. Maybe you were mowing your lawn in anticipation of house guests or tending to your vegetable garden to support a more sustainable lifestyle.
Whatever the case, the day is done. Now you’re tired and want nothing more than to shower and get an ice-cold drink in your hand. Look no further than the Gin and Tonic.
It’s exactly what it sounds like: gin, tonic water, a generous amount of ice, and a lemon wedge garnish. It’s hard to find a simpler, more refreshing cocktail than the Gin and Tonic.
It’s difficult to say definitively whether the martini is, in fact, the classiest cocktail out there, but it would certainly rank in the top three. It’s elegant and refined, so much so that it’s favored by James Bond himself.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a more masculine endorsement than that. The drink consists of vodka or gin, vermouth, a couple of splashes of bitters, and a lemon twist or olive garnish. It’s the perfect drink to serve when you want to impress your guests without too much effort. Just be sure you have the martini glasses to serve them in.
Bring some classic New Orleans flair to your next dinner party with this iconic cocktail. The Sazerac is one of America's oldest mixed drinks, and it’s stayed relevant for a good reason.
To make it, you will need some absinthe, bitters, rye, and a sugar cube. Add some ice and a lemon twist, and you’ll have a unique drink that many of your guests will have likely never tasted before.
If you are looking to engage in some amiable banter with the guys over a game of poker, this is the drink for you. Look no further than the whiskey sour. It’s a cocktail that’s simple, accessible, and appropriate for nearly any occasion.
All you will need on hand is some whiskey, lemon juice, and something to sweeten it up (your choice of sugar or simple syrup). It’s the reliable drink for the dependable man.
Set the Tone
Just because James Bond is hardly ever seen without the tux, that doesn’t mean your get-togethers need to be quite so formal. After working and working out all week, you deserve a chance to relax fully. Let the guys know that the dress code can be totally casual with an emphasis on comfort.
Throw on a pair of Passage Pants and a Classic Crewneck for the perfect gear to hang out in. This look is cool and fresh. It can go from sipping cocktails in the lounge and then fully transition to playing a game of pick-up ball well into the night.
When In Doubt: Improvise
The key to tending a good bar, whether at home or abroad, is always a combination of observance and adaptability. You have to try new things and get others to try them for you.
Cocktails are a way to unwind but also a way to express yourself. For those who enjoy a well-mixed drink from time to time, there is something for every palate.