The Best Cocktails and Mixed Drinks for Beginners

So, you’ve just turned 21, and you’re ready to finally sip the adult beverages your parents swatted you away from all these years. Where do you start? Do you head to the nearest bar and just start ordering? Do you take the more modest approach and try a few basic liquors at home?

Why not mix the two experiences?

Heading to a bar right off the bat is a good way to end up embarrassed, but just drinking straight liquor is a great way to sour your experience with alcohol.

Here are our top beginner mixed drinks you can easily make at home and get a “practice run” in before your first bar outing.

1: Jack and Coke

This one is insanely simple. You just need some Jack Daniels No.7 and a Coke. However, don’t let its simplicity make you scoff at it. It’s one of the top drinks around the world.

The bitter smoothness of the jack mixes perfectly with the Coca-Cola to leave you with a smooth, sweet, but bitter drink that hits hard.

To make it cheap, we recommend getting a pint of Jack No.7 and a can of coke. You’ll want to pour two shots into a mixing glass, and then pour in four shots of Coke. You can adjust the recipe to match your own tastes, but this is a good formula to keep it from being too harsh on your undeveloped pallet.

Keep in mind this is still a pretty hard-hitting drink. So, don’t drink too fast.

2: Cranberry Vodka

This is one for those who want something sweet and tart with a little alcoholic flavor to start off with. It can hit hard, but it’s just as simple as the Jack and Coke we highlighted above.

All you need is a bit of vodka and some cranberry juice. With this one, we don’t recommend any specific brand of vodka. You won’t really taste it. So, feel free to go with something off the bottom shelf. The cranberry juice is where you want to splurge. It’ll be what you taste, and you want one that you can comfortably enjoy without alcohol, as well.

Just follow the same two shots of alcohol to four shots of juice formula we listed in the previous entry, and you’ll have a drink that isn’t harsh but still hits hard.

If the tartness of cranberry juice is too much for you, you can make a screwdriver. This is essentially the same drink, but you use orange juice instead of cranberry juice.

3: Pre-Made Cocktail Mixers

We’ve given you two great options that are simple and can be made cheaply. You can reliably experiment with alcohol with either of those two and have a positive experience. However, if you want a little more variety, try pre-made cocktail mixers.

These are canned versions of some of the most popular cocktails available. You’ll usually find both options we listed earlier, along with options like Martinis and Bloody Maries that are a little more complicated to make cheaply at home. Definitely consider giving these a try, and remember to drink responsibly.

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