20 Tasty Two-Ingredient Cocktails

by Meg Favreau on 11 July 2012 12 comments

I love a good cocktail, but I don't always like trotting out (or, moreover, buying) ten different bottles of stuff just to make one drink. With that in mind, I've compiled a list of cocktails that all require just two ingredients (not counting garnishes or things you likely have around, like salt).

Whether you're trying to keep things simple at a party or just want to have ingredients around for something easy and delicious, these two-ingredient cocktails all require minimal investment and taste great. (See also: Great Budget Liquors)

1. Dark and Stormy

The key to a great Dark and Stormy is getting ginger beer, not ginger ale. Spicier than the ale, ginger beer gives this drink a great kick. Just don't sniff it unless you want to give your sinuses a rude awakening.

2. Paloma

There are a few variations of this super-summery tequila drink, but at its most basic, it's simply tequila and grapefruit soda on ice with a lime garnish. You can add a dash of salt too, if you like.

3. Martini

Whether it's with gin or vodka, all you need to add is vermouth. If you want to move past two ingredients, you can always make your martini dirty, adding the delicious brine from the olive jar.

4. The Peat Racer

Before you start griping that the IPA ruins the scotch or the scotch ruins the IPA, give this beer-based mixed drink a try — or try one of the others from this Wall Street Journal article about two-ingredient beer cocktails.

5. Greyhound

The Greyhound is a grapefruit-and-vodka cocktail. When you add a salt rim, it becomes a Salty Dog.

6. Mimosa

A brunch classic — half orange juice, half sparkling wine.

7. Bellini

Similar to the Mimosa, the Bellini combines sparkling wine with peach puree.

8. Gin and Tonic

The name says it all. But if you're planning to down these to stave off malaria, you're sadly out of luck.

9. Camparosa

Intoxicologist has several two-ingredient cocktails, but I'm especially intrigued by the Camparosa, a combination of 2 oz. bitter Italian Campari and 3 oz. grapefruit juice, served over ice with an orange slice garnish. Pucker up!

10. Shandy

There are a lot of variations on the shandy, but the basic version is mixing one part beer with one part of another beverage. Popular mixers include lemonade, limeade, ginger ale, and sprite.

11. Rum and Coke

A classic. For something different, try it with spiced rum.

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12. Calimocho

Here's a less-expected cola combination — this Spanish drink is comprised of half cola and half red wine. Every article about this drink makes the writer sound like a parent trying to get his kid to eat asparagus — "Yes, it sounds gross. Please just try it."

13. Rusty Nail

What's more Scottish than scotch? A drink that combines scotch with the Scottish liqueur Drambuie.

14. Applejack and Cider

When I was still living on the East Coast, this was one of my favorite ways to welcome fall — a shot of applejack (an apple brandy) served over ice with apple cider.

15. Screwdriver

A shot of vodka with orange juice.

16. Cubicle Libre

This one is from our very own Philip Brewer — the cocktail he used to end his work-week with, combining bourbon and Mountain Dew.

17. Black Russian

Like The Dude's favorite drink, the White Russian, but without the cream, the Black Russian combines vodka and Kahlua.

18. French Farmer

One of the most delightful meal-starting cocktails I can remember having was the French Farmer at Barbuzzo in Philadelphia, which combines sparkling wine and floral St. Germain elderflower liqueur. The company behind the liqueur isn't quite as flowery in their description; they simply call it St. Germain and Champagne.

19. B&B

One of those classic cocktails that always makes me think of guys with snifters and cigars. The ingredients? Brandy and Benedictine.

20. Gimlet

Like martinis, gimlets can be made with vodka or gin. Here's the recipe from my cookbook, Little Old Lady Recipes:

  • Gin
  • Half as much Rose's lime juice as gin
  • Lime wedges

Mix gin and lime juice in a shaker with ice. Shake till the outside gets frosty. Pour into cocktail glasses and garnish each with a lime wedge.

Did I miss your favorite two-ingredient cocktail? Share it in the comments!

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Guest's picture

My cousin once made me drink gin with chocolate milk. Not sure what it's called but it kinda tasted like Baileys.

Meg Favreau's picture

That sounds kind of awesome. One of my very occasional guilty pleasures a few years back was boozy milkshakes. Very good, and VERY indulgent.

Guest's picture

I'm partial to the vodka tonic myself. And of course, the one ingredient cocktail: Kona Koko Brown.

Guest's picture

I LOVE gimlets. Thank you for putting an easy recipe out there for everyone to use :)

Guest's picture
Lou

Vodka Daisy! Vodka + lemonade, perfect summer beverage.

Andrea Karim's picture

Dirty martinis forever!

Guest's picture

I love the idea of mixing some different kinds of liquor with a fresh summer beer. I like having a few cold ones, but sometimes they fill be up before I can get a buzz on! I like these recipes for adding an extra kick to a drink to have at a cookout. Some of these sound really yummy- the French Farmer? Who would have thought of that! mmmm

Guest's picture
Guest

not sure what the name is but amaretto and pineapple juice over crushed ice is is amazing, particularly after 2-3 hours surf sessions in tropical water.

Guest's picture
Selina

I've been making it for years without knowing what its called, dark and stormy. I use Malibu and ginger beer and call it 'Gingerboo'. Now it sounds a bit too juvenile...

Guest's picture
Guest

"Cubicle Libre" MAY be the funniest thing I have ever heard.

Guest's picture

While living in DC I discovered the Gin Rickey: London Dry Gin, Club Soda, and a lime wedge over ice. I don't like tonic so it's a nice alternative and it's very refreshing. As they say in DC, it's "air conditioning in a glass."

Guest's picture
Guest

You forgot tia maria and milk over ice-cubes!
And the hard-liquor + seven up combos (jack daniels /seven-up, southern comfort/ seven up etc) too!