Zoom Cocktails

These days, your Friday night is likely to include a zoom cocktail hour or a glass-clinking with your co-quarantiners at home. Translation: we’re living for an adult beverage these days.

Even if people are stocking their bars better than ever, very few among us are professional mixologists. So in light of this, we’ve gathered together some easy but uniquely awesome cocktail recipes from around the interwebs for your imbibable inspiration. These drinks feature ingredients you probably already have on hand, or ones that you can easily purchase during your weekly jaunt to the store. The amount of bar utensils and apparatuses needed to make them is minimal, too. Because we all need that cocktail sooner rather than later, right? Now onto the fun part…

Cocktails For One

Enough with the vodka sodas already. They may be low in calories but they’re also a little tasteless and frankly, sorta sad looking—all clear without anything beautiful inside to make them pop. Instead, treat yourself to something a little more exciting with a Salty Dog. This adorably pink and shockingly easy two-ingredient recipe, courtesy of Make Me A Cocktail, is all about the balance. The grapefruit juice (PS: we recommend springing for fresh-squeezed or juicing your own at home) is a touch more than double the vodka, so you can taste both ingredients really well. Want to dress it up? Add a decorative and tasty rim by running a wedge of grapefruit around the lip of the glass, then rolling it in salt or a mix of salt and chili powder.
There’s a reason this old-school Southern sipper is a classic. This interpretation (here from The Spruce Eats) contains only a few choice ingredients and is meant to be enjoyed over a longer period of time—the ice melts and waters it down eventually so it’s not crazy strong. This means that even though your mint julep delivers a stiff bourbon kick, you can still drink it on the porch swing all afternoon without falling over when it rocks. For crushed ice, either drop your regular cubes in a high-powered blender that can handle the job (we’re looking at you, Vitamix) or go low-tech like this: wrap your ice cubes in a thick dish towel or a bar towel and smash ‘em with a hammer. It’s good for releasing aggression, too—just saying!
The official drink of European summers, the Aperol Spritz ticks all the day-drinking boxes. It’s not too strong, it’s beautiful to look at, and it’s totally refreshing. Since a jaunt to Europe is pretty much off the table right now, stirring up one of these babies can at least replicate the taste of an afternoon spent under the Tuscan sun. This version from Riegl Palate uses rosé wine to showcase the prettiest pink hue, but almost any dry white wine (or even sparkling wine) would work here, too. An orange slice garnish is tradish, but it’s okay to skip it if you want to keep things simple.
Margs are notoriously high in calories, especially when they’re frozen. But you’ll find it’s easy to forgo the cloyingly sweet premade mixer and brain-freeze-inducing slush consistency when you can concoct a healthier on-the-rocks version that comes together in a jiffy. This lightened-up ‘rita recipe from Cookie and Kate opts for quality and freshness, with only four ingredients (minus the garnish). It’s sweetened with just a kiss of agave nectar and an added ounce of fresh orange juice, so you could even consider it as a significantly more fun way to up your daily vitamin C intake.
We mean no disrespect to the original Dark and Stormy, which is both easy to make and delicious to drink. You’ve probably drunk or even made a Dark and Stormy cocktail before, considering it has only three ingredients (ginger beer, rum, a squeeze of lime), all of which are easy to find and cheap to buy. But sometimes it’s good to shake up an old standby, no? This Dark and Stormy-adjacent recipe from Saveur ups the ante on the original recipe with fresh ginger juice. Spicy as your triceps after doing three rounds of dips, this bracing cocktail can be served on the rocks or straight up. You can even cheat a little to speed things up by purchasing pre-bottled ginger juice or a ginger shot. We won’t tattle on you.

Cocktails For A Group

Do you know what jam used to be before it was a tasty jarred spread? Fruit, people, fruit! The true genius of this large-batch cocktail from Country Living lies in its reliance on humble jam to provide a sweet contrast to botanical-flavored gin. We love that one round of this recipe serves eight people and you can prepare it ahead, up to four hours in advance—simply pour the club soda in before serving. If you don’t have blackberry jam on hand, sub in whatever’s available in your fridge instead; raspberry, strawberry, blueberry or mixed berry jams should all work just as well.
There’s so much to love about a Moscow Mule. The gingery, lime-tinged vodka drink goes down easy (sometimes a little too easy), and it doesn’t take any specific bartending know-how to make it well. This punch recipe from Delish.com is a winner because it’s essentially a scaled-up version of a regular Moscow Mule, with a bit of extra garnish. If you’re feeling fancy and want to impress company—this batch cocktail serves eight people—keep to tradition and pour it into traditional copper mugs. No mint sprigs on hand? Dress it up with cucumber rounds instead, or simply go harder on the lime slices. Everyone will be pleased regardless.
We get it: sometimes you just want to serve a drink that’ll impress your social media followers. However, plenty of insta-trendy beverages don’t taste so great (ahem, Dalgona coffee) IRL. Not the case here! This decidedly American take on Spanish sangria is gloriously colorful and definitely delicious. It might take a little while to cut and assemble all the various fruits and berries, but this recipe from Delish.com isn’t very complicated. Need to make the wine mixture in this sangria go further than the eight servings? Top it up with a clear soda like Sprite or 7-Up, or use seltzer to cut the sweetness. It gives the whole thing a nice little fizz, too.
Hot weather calls for iced tea, preferably southern-style sweet tea served in a sunny backyard. We’re totally feeling the adult version of this summertime staple, which combines the bracing taste of black tea with the richness of whiskey, the brightness of citru, and just the right amount of sugar to balance it all out. This eight-serving recipe from The Kitchn calls for George Dickel Tennessee Whiskey, but any good-quality whiskey can be substituted. No whiskey on hand? Make this batch cocktail with rye instead, which gives it a spicier base note to offset the sweetness of the tea.
You know you’ve got a winning recipe on your hands when the entirety of the directions say “combine all ingredients in a pitcher and serve over ice.” This big-batch cocktail, courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens, is like a lighter, fruitier, bubbly riff on the Negroni. It has the Negroni’s requisite gin and vermouth, but it calls for Aperol (instead of Campari), along with grapefruit soda and extra lemon juice for a pucker-worthy finishing touch. An orange peel garnish for each glass makes for a lovely but unnecessary final touch—hey, when you can make a sophisticated pitcher of cocktails by just throwing everything together all at once, why complicate it?
Cocktails in candy form—genius! Make a whole bag (or two) of vodka-infused gummies for everyone to enjoy as a special treat after a small-group barbecue or quar-pod pool party. This recipe from Mix That Drink needs to sit on the counter for nearly a full day before you dig in, but the flavor and alcohol content payoff is totally worth the overnight prep. While gummy bears and gummy worms are the gold standards, you can get creative by using gummies shaped like cherries, peaches, or even cola bottles for different flavors of this party-perfect treat.

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