Well cocktails are simple mixed drinks, typically combining one or two liquors with a splash of juice or soda.
The main difference between well cocktails and common cocktails is the price of the liquor used.
Rather than using a top-shelf bottle, you use inexpensive liquors from the bartender’s “well” (an easy-access row of low-cost liquor).
Read on to learn about some of the most common well cocktails and how to make them at home.
A Vodka Soda is your ideal choice if you love a neutral and bubbly cocktail with no added sweeteners or fruity flavors. A traditional Vodka Soda combines a basic vodka with unflavored club soda.
Some people add a squeeze of lemon juice and a lime wedge to help bring out the refreshing flavor of the cocktail.
For people that enjoy a bit of sourness with their fruity flavors, a vodka cranberry has everything you need. Traditionally known as a “Cape Codder,” most people know this cocktail as a Vodka Cranberry, named so thanks to its two ingredients.
The cocktail combines vodka and cranberry juice with an optional lime wedge garnish if you’re feeling fancy.
Scotch and Soda
If your go-to liquor is a woody scotch with hints of vanilla, the classic Scotch and Soda is for you. Although the main ingredient is scotch, you might be surprised that this drink is light and refreshing with a lovely citrus flavor.
The recipe is simple, combining scotch, ice, club soda, and a lemon twist garnish.
Although the drink is generally known as a “Rum and Coke,” the traditional title of this cocktail is a “Cuba Libre.” As the name might suggest, this classic cocktail originated in Cuba.
Many recipes for Rum and Coke contain white rum and dark cola, but a true Cuba Libre adds a squeeze of lime to brighten the flavor.
Gin & Tonic
An excellent Gin and Tonic is the simplest cocktail that will still taste sophisticated and elegant. The simple cocktail relies on the gin's natural flavors to add a complex flavor with the light bubbles from the tonic water.
The key to the perfect Gin and Tonic is finding the gin flavors you prefer: floral, herbal, spicy, or citrusy.
For fans of fruity flavors, a Screwdriver is an essential cocktail on the list. With the taste of a fancy mixed drink, you’ll be surprised to find only three ingredients in the recipe, vodka, orange juice, and ice.
The Screwdriver is a favorite as the bright and fruity flavors of orange juice can make even the cheapest vodka taste delicious.
Long Island Iced Tea
The Long Island Iced Tea is often considered the perfect daytime drink. The cocktail is typically called “sneaky” because it’s packed with alcohol but easy to drink.
You’ll need a few ingredients for this cocktail, but it’s as easy as stirring together white rum, gin, vodka, tequila, triple sec, sour mix, and dark soda.
The Tom Collins cocktail is a true American classic. The recipe’s name hails from Old Tom gin, a liquor, unfortunately, lost to the world. However, modern recipes typically call for a London Dry gin.
The fruity drink combines gin, lemon juice, and club soda. Most bars add a splash of simple syrup to their standard Tom Collins.
While the Scotch and Soda offers a light and refreshing taste, the Whiskey Highball adds a bit of spicy flavor to a classic. Instead of using unflavored club soda, the Whiskey Highball uses spicy and bubbly ginger ale.
The result is an exciting flavor because the sharp ginger melds perfectly with rye whiskey's full and warm flavor.
The Kamikaze cocktail perfectly combines the classic flavors of light liquor, sour flavors, and a touch of sweetness. The drink is notoriously strong and was originally served as a “shooter,” a shot of liquor with some flavoring or syrup added.
The Kamikaze combines vodka, triple sec, a squeeze of lime juice, and a lime wedge as a garnish.
Any time you go out to a bar, you’re likely ordering a well cocktail without even knowing it. The simplicity and low cost of these drinks are a major draw, which also makes them incredibly easy to make at home.
Which well cocktails are your go-to order? Leave us a comment and let us know your favorite!
10 Well Cocktail Recipes
- Pick your favorite recipe
- Gather all the needed ingredients
- Prep a tasty cocktail in less than 5 minutes
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