Minimalist living may be trending, but minimalist cocktails are for people (previously, you) who think fancy cocktails require fancy ingredients tossed into a shaker by a manbun-clad bartender.

You don’t need that kind of thinking. And you absolutely don’t need Manbun to help you reach your full potential in the shake and swizzle department. All you need are some fundamental spirits and a few basic ingredients from your fridge to be the Carrie Bradshaw you were meant to be.

These five cocktail hacks help you when you’re in a bind of craving a classy libation but want to avoid the whole “putting on pants” part. Just maybe don’t get too carried away, and leave the blowtorching to the professionals.

French 75

Au revoir, gin and tonic! Enter the French 75. You know, that one you always see on the classics menu but didn’t realize you had the means to make? This bubbly-gin bliss is the perfect segue to sophistication (or as sophisticated as one can get without pants).  

Directions for one drink:

Add 2 ounces of gin and ¾ ounces each of lemon juice and simple syrup* to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Strain into a flute, top with Champagne. If you really want to get snazzy, garnish with a lemon twist.

*Simple syrup is as simple as it sounds: it’s just sugar and water. Boil at a one-to-one ratio, stirring until dissolved. Allow to cool before adding to shaker. Refrigerate leftovers in a jar for up to one week.

Dark & Stormy

Got a pack of ginger beer leftover from parties past that’s been making awkward eye contact with you every time you open the fridge? We’re not sure how many people actually sip plain ol’ ginger beer out of the bottle, but thanks to the Dark & Stormy, you don’t have to be one of them.

Directions for one drink:

In a highball glass, pour 2 ounces of dark rum over ice. Fill with ginger beer and squeeze in a lime wedge.

White Russian

The White Russian is the perfect coffee-meets-dessert candidate for a “Big Lebowski” kind of night in. Keep it classy and keep the drink in the glass — try not to spill it on that rug that ties the room together.

Directions for one drink:

Add 2 ounces of vodka and 2 ounces of Kahlua to an old fashioned glass with ice. Swirl in a layer of heavy cream or milk to finish. Can also be made dairy-free with almond or soy milk.


No classic cocktail list is complete without the prohibition-era Sidecar. This version uses brandy and Cointreau or other orange-flavored liqueur. For a next-level local rendition, try this recipe from the experts here.

Directions for one drink:

Add 2 ounces of brandy, 1 ounce of Cointreau and ½ an ounce of lemon juice to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with orange or lemon twist.

Whiskey Sour

Just when you think you’re on Manbun’s level, he whips out the egg whites and starts frothing things up. *Cue eye roll.* Better start cracking.

Directions for one drink:

Add 2 ounces of bourbon, 1 ounce of lemon juice, ¾ ounce of simple syrup and an egg white (optional) to a cocktail shaker. Dry shake for 10 seconds. Add ice, shake again until chilled. Strain into a rocks glass. If you so happen to have a maraschino or bourbon-soaked cherry, skewer, garnish, sip and smile. Success.