Whether you’re new to cocktails or want to take your game up, you can impress your friends with these top upscale drinks and cocktail ideas. They look (and taste) classy but aren’t as difficult to make as you might think!
Try these quick and easy cocktail recipes for a get-together with the girls or a New Year’s Eve party.
1. Hemingway Daiquiri
Ernest Hemingway may be best known for his literary works like The Old Man and the Sea and The Sun Also Rises, but he was an avid barhopper as well and had strong opinions about what he liked in a drink. His preferences led to a variation on the Daiquiri, which is still enjoyed today.
According to legend, Hemingway walked into the legendary El Floridita bar in Havana, Cuba, and upon seeing a lineup of frosty Hemingway Daiquiris on the menu, requested one without sugar. A bartender obliged. Hemingway reportedly drank 17 of these drinks in a single day.
As a writer, Hemingway was accustomed to strong cocktails; even his frozen Hemingway Daiquiri had a fairly high alcohol content. This cocktail is traditionally made with light rum, but you can use dark rum to achieve a slightly more complex flavor.
Hemingway did not want his Hemingway Daiquiri to be overly sweet, so in order to honor this request, the original recipe ditches traditional syrup and instead uses maraschino liqueur as the sole sweetener. Adding a touch of ruby red grapefruit juice helps to balance this rum-forward cocktail.
If you prefer a less-sweet Hemingway Daiquiri, try using Kirsch brandy instead of the classic maraschino liqueur. This is a sweeter liqueur that’s distilled from cherries, so it adds subtle sweetness without the added sugar of the syrup.
Shake all ingredients (including a swath of the lime or grapefruit peel, which should be expressed and dropped in the shaker for a “regal shake”) with ice, then fine strain into a chilled glass. Read more about cocktail measures and measuring here.
2. Sazerac Craft Cocktail
If you’re looking to impress your friends with a sophisticated drink, the Sazerac is the way to go. It’s easy to make and will have your guests feeling pampered as soon as they take their first sip. This cocktail is made with rye whiskey, Peychaud’s bitters, Herbsaint or absinthe, and a muddled sugar cube. It’s the perfect upscale cocktail to serve after dinner or at a holiday party.
The cocktail’s history is a little murky, but there is a good chance that it was invented by the owner of the Peychaud pharmacy in New Orleans. It was named after the French cognac brand, a favorite of the pharmacy’s founder. The drink has become so iconic that it is the official cocktail of New Orleans.
When a bartender makes a Sazerac, they have to follow strict dogma that dictates that the drink must be served in a Herbsaint-rinsed rocks glass with a twist of lemon. While it’s not traditional, many bartenders also add a dash or two of Angostura bitters to the drink.
If you want to try a different upscale cocktail, check out our Monkey Gland recipe or this Penicillin cocktail. And for a delicious meal, you can’t go wrong with a Baked Shrimp Po’ Boy recipe.
3. Blood Martini
If you’re looking to impress your friends this Halloween with a stunning cocktail, look no further than the Blood Martini. The crimson drink is visually appealing and has a deliciously fruity taste thanks to the blood orange juice and pomegranate liqueur. Plus, the cocktail is made with luscious Cîroc vodka for an extra boost of flavor and an unforgettable smooth finish.
The recipe is simple and can be prepared ahead of time for easy serving. Simply combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake for 20 seconds (or until the outside of the shaker is frosty). You may also wish to chill cocktail glasses ahead of time, so it stays cold. If you wish to make the martini ahead of time, drain it immediately after shaking and leave it in an airtight container with a lid in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
You can use gin or vodka for this cocktail. Gin is a classic for a dry martini, but vodka became more popular with the dirty martini craze and tastes very similar to gin in this drink. Consider using a flavored vodka like Cointreau or Triple Sec to add more flavor.
You’ll need some blood oranges and a hand juicer for this cocktail. Blood oranges are citrus fruits with deep orange peels flecked with red and pink and have a floral, fruity, and tart flavor. They are in season from December to May and are available at many grocery stores. If you can’t find blood oranges, regular oranges will work just fine. A splash of grenadine can be added to this cocktail for color and a sweet-tart flavor.
4. Ward 8
The Ward 8 Cocktail is a sweet and sour whiskey drink that’s both easy to make and easy to impress your friends. This pre-prohibition cocktail combines refreshing citrus flavors with rye whiskey and juicy grenadine syrup. The resulting drink is a little lighter than other whiskey cocktails like the Manhattan and Old Fashioned, but it’s still plenty strong enough to get your guests buzzing in no time.
Like many of the best classic drinks, pinning down exactly how this was originally made is challenging. However, it is generally agreed upon that the Ward Eight is a variation of a Whiskey Sour that’s been embellished with orange juice and grenadine. Modern myth has it that the drink was created in 1898 at Boston’s Locke-Ober Restaurant to celebrate the election of Martin Lomasney (aka The Mahatma or the Czar of Boston’s eighth ward) into the state legislature.
A 1951 Holiday Magazine article credits bartender Tom Hussion with creating the drink in honor of Lomasney, though some sources dispute that claim. The Ward Eight is a tasty whiskey cocktail that deserves to be served in a stemmed glass.
To serve the Ward 8, simply combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake until chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with an orange twist or two speared cherries for a festive finish. While it may not look as pretty as a Manhattan or a Sazerac, the Ward Eight is well worth trying and is one of Boston’s major contributions to craft cocktails. It’s a delicious drink that is perfect for any political buff or cocktail connoisseur.
5. Liam’s Midnight Toast
Sometimes you want to impress your friends with a drink that isn’t your standard margarita, gin, or tonic. Upscale cocktails are a great way to show your guests that you put a little extra thought into your drinks, and it shows that you care. These upscale drinks will make your friends feel like they are drinking something special, and they will definitely be impressed.
One of the ways that Harry winds Liam up is by getting suddenly affectionate with him–falling asleep on him, tackling him into a hug, nuzzling him in the neck. It makes Liam feel uncomfortable because he doesn’t know how to respond. He feels his heart racing and can’t quite believe this is happening.
But that’s the way that Harry rolls. It’s how he makes people uncomfortable, and that’s why they love him.
Liam’s not sure if this is flirting, but it certainly isn’t helping his nerves. His lips are tingling, and he isn’t even looking at Harry. He’s wondering if he should tell Harry that he doesn’t want to think about Louis.
This delicious drink is easy to make and is a perfect option if you’re trying to impress your friends. It has a great combination of flavors that will leave your friends wanting more. You can also serve this cocktail in a fancy glass if you want to make it look even more special. This drink is made with gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and Champagne, so it’s sure to be a hit. Make sure to use high-quality ingredients so your drink tastes great. You’ll also want to garnish it with a lime wedge for a beautiful presentation.