Upscale Drinks for When You're Feeling Fancy

Published February 14, 2022
Fancy cocktail in hands of male bartender

Sipping an upscale drink doesn't require a fancy occasion or celebration, although it does add to the flair. Most upscale drinks have a classic, refined look to them, and most of them are cocktails that are both timeless and elegant. With so many cocktails to choose from, consider a few of these on your journey for a luxurious drink.

Classic Upscale Drinks for the Martini Lover

Is there anything that feels more upscale than sipping from a martini glass? These martini-style drinks ooze class due to the vessel they're served in (and because they're delicious).

Martini

Few cocktails so effortlessly whisper class and luxury like a crisp martini. To really up the look, you can use blue cheese stuffed olives.

classic martini cocktail with olives

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Chill a martini glass or coupe.
  2. In a mixing glass, add ice, gin, and dry vermouth.
  3. Stir rapidly to chill.
  4. Strain into chilled glass.
  5. Garnish with olives.

Vesper

A martini made famous by James Bond calls for two different spirits, which, much like its martini older brother, shows how upscale this drink is.

Vesper martini with a twist

Ingredients

  • 2½ ounces gin
  • 1 ounce vodka
  • ½ ounce Lillet blanc
  • Ice
  • Lemon twist for garnish

Instructions

  1. Chill a martini glass or coupe.
  2. In a mixing glass, add ice, gin, vodka, and Lillet blanc.
  3. Stir rapidly to chill.
  4. Strain into chilled glass.
  5. Garnish with lemon twist.

Sidecar

Cognac is a pretty highbrow spirit, and the Sidecar only emphasizes just how upscale of a spirit it can be.

Sidecar cocktail with cognac,Liqueur,Lemon juice

Ingredients

  • Lemon wedge and sugar for rim
  • 1¾ ounces Cognac
  • ¾ ounce orange liqueur
  • ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Ice
  • Lemon peel for garnish

Instructions

  1. To prepare rim, rub the rim of the martini glass or coupe with the lemon wedge.
  2. With the sugar on a saucer, dip either half or the entire rim of the glass in the sugar to coat.
  3. In a cocktail shaker, add ice, cognac, orange liqueur, and lemon juice.
  4. Shake to chill.
  5. Strain into prepared glass.
  6. Garnish with lemon peel.

Manhattan

Whiskey takes an elevator ride from a rocks glass to a martini glass but continues to be the star of the show in this timeless, upscale drink.

Two Manhattan cocktails

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces whiskey
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 3 dashes aromatic bitters
  • Ice
  • Cocktail cherry for garnish

Instructions

  1. Chill a martini glass or coupe.
  2. In a mixing glass, add ice, whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters.
  3. Stir rapidly to chill.
  4. Strain into chilled glass.
  5. Garnish with cocktail cherry.

Martinez

At first glance, you'd think this chic cocktail uses bourbon, but gin is the star.

Martinez cocktail

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1½ ounces sweet vermouth
  • ¼ ounce maraschino liqueur
  • 2-3 dashes aromatic bitters
  • Ice
  • Orange twist for garnish

Instructions

  1. Chill a martini glass or coupe.
  2. In a mixing glass, add ice, gin, sweet vermouth, maraschino liqueur, and aromatic bitters.
  3. Stir rapidly to chill.
  4. Strain into chilled glass.
  5. Garnish with orange twist.

Toronto

A drink named for a place gives that same cosmopolitan feel as that bustling, affluent city, and a Toronto is no different.

Toronto Cocktail

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces whiskey, preferably Canadian whisky
  • ½ ounce Fernet
  • ¼ ounce simple syrup
  • 2 dashes aromatic bitters
  • Ice
  • Orange twist for garnish

Instructions

  1. Chill a martini glass or coupe.
  2. In a mixing glass, add ice, whisk(e)y, Fernet, simple syrup, and bitters.
  3. Stir rapidly to chill.
  4. Strain into chilled glass.
  5. Garnish with orange twist.

French Martini

With crème de cassis as an ingredient, with blackcurrant berries as the star, who could look down on a French martini?

French Martini

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1½ ounces fresh pineapple juice
  • ½ ounce crème de cassis
  • Ice

Instructions

  1. Chill a martini glass or coupe.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, add ice, vodka, pineapple juice, and crème de cassis.
  3. Shake to chill.
  4. Strain into chilled glass.

Corpse Reviver No. 2

Many have loved this cocktail since before Prohibition, an era of jazz, glitter, and socialites. And doesn't that flash upscale in the best of ways?

Corpse Reviver Cocktail

Ingredients

  • Absinthe, to rinse
  • ¾ ounce gin
  • ¾ ounce Lillet blanc
  • ¾ ounce orange liqueur
  • ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Ice

Instructions

  1. Chill a martini glass or coupe.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, add ice, gin, Lillet blanc, orange liqueur, and lemon juice.
  3. Shake to chill.
  4. Strain into chilled glass.

Last Word

Gin is an upscale ingredient with subtle refinement for centuries. The last word is no exception, and like its partner above, it too is a product of that golden era.

Last Word Cocktail

Ingredients

  • ¾ ounce gin
  • ¾ ounce green chartreuse
  • ¾ ounce maraschino liqueur
  • ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Ice
  • Cocktail cherry for garnish

Instructions

  1. Chill a martini glass or coupe.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, add ice, gin, green chartreuse, maraschino liqueur, and lime juice.
  3. Shake to chill.
  4. Strain into chilled glass.
  5. Garnish with cocktail cherry.

Ward Eight

This cocktail originates in Boston, home to winding streets of brick houses, a gold-capped statehouse, and fresh seafood with ocean views. You can't create a more upscale feel.

Ward Eight

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces rye whiskey
  • ½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ ounce freshly squeezed orange juice
  • ¼ ounce grenadine
  • Ice
  • Orange slice for garnish

Instructions

  1. Chill a martini glass or coupe.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, add ice, rye whiskey, lemon juice, orange juice, and grenadine.
  3. Shake to chill.
  4. Strain into chilled glass.
  5. Garnish with orange slice.

Lion's Tail

Another Prohibition-era cocktail, this drink relies on allspice dram, a spiced liqueur, and bourbon for not only a stunning look but memorable flavor.

Lion's Tail Cocktail

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • ¾ ounce allspice dram
  • ½ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ¼ ounce simple syrup
  • 2-3 dashes aromatic bitters
  • Ice
  • Lime wheel for garnish

Instructions

  1. Chill a martini glass or coupe.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, add ice, bourbon, allspice dram, lime juice, simple syrup, and bitters.
  3. Shake to chill.
  4. Strain into chilled glass.
  5. Garnish with lime wheel.

Dirty Martini

Like other martini styles, the dirty martini is an upscale spin with a more savory taste.

Two dirty martinis on a bar counter

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces gin or vodka
  • ¾ ounce olive brine
  • Ice
  • Olive for garnish

Instructions

  1. Chill a martini glass or coupe.
  2. In a mixing glass, add ice, gin, and olive brine.
  3. Stir rapidly to chill.
  4. Strain into chilled glass.
  5. Garnish with olive.

Classy Cocktails With Fancy Names

Sometimes a name is everything! And these beautifully named cocktails are worthy of the title of upscale because not only they are a flavorful in your mouth, but they're also a delight as their names roll off your tongue.

Boulevardier

The boulevardier is a bourbon riff on the classic Negroni, but its presentation so closely mirrors the old-fashioned that it just naturally looks classy.

Boulevardier

Ingredients

  • 1½ ounces bourbon
  • 1 ounce Campari
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • Ice
  • Orange wheel for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a mixing glass, add ice, bourbon, Campari, and sweet vermouth.
  2. Stir rapidly to chill.
  3. Strain into rocks glass over fresh ice or king cube.
  4. Garnish with orange wheel.

Sazerac

A Sazerac is a drink that is also a labor of love, as it involves two different glasses and an absinthe rinse. What could be more luxurious than that?

Sazerac Cocktail

Ingredients

  • Absinthe, to rinse
  • 2 ounces Cognac
  • ½ ounce rye
  • ½ ounce simple syrup
  • 3-4 dashes Peychaud's bitters
  • Ice
  • Lemon twist for garnish

Instructions

  1. Chill a rocks glass.
  2. In chilled rocks glass, add absinthe, swirling to coat the inside of the glass. Discard excess.
  3. In a second rocks glass, add ice, cognac, whiskey, bitters, and simple syrup.
  4. Stir rapidly to chill.
  5. Strain into prepared glass.
  6. Garnish with lemon ribbon.

Vieux Carré

This whiskey and cognac cocktail also calls for Bénédictine, a cognac-based herbaceous liqueur with subtle flavors of honey among floral notes, baking spices, and orange peels.

Vieux Carré

Ingredients

  • ¾ ounce rye whiskey
  • ¾ ounce cognac
  • ¾ ounce sweet vermouth
  • ¼ ounce Bénédictine
  • 3-4 dashes Peychaud's bitters
  • Ice
  • Lemon twist for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a mixing glass, add ice, rye whiskey, cognac, sweet vermouth, Bénédictine, and bitters.
  2. Stir rapidly to chill.
  3. Strain into rocks glass over fresh ice.
  4. Garnish with lemon twist.

Pegu Club

This upscale cocktail is a sleeper, quietly living just under the radar, popular for those in the know and those lucky enough to discover it.

Pegu Club

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces gin
  • ¾ ounce orange curaçao
  • ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • 1 dash aromatic bitters
  • Ice
  • Orange wheel for garnish

Instructions

  1. Chill a martini glass or coupe.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, add ice, gin, orange curaçao, lime juice, orange bitters, and aromatic bitters.
  3. Shake to chill.
  4. Strain into chilled glass.
  5. Garnish with orange wheel.

Pisco Sour

Egg white drinks, when done right, are a delicious cocktail served up, typically in a coupe, the epitome of upscale.

Barman finishes a Pisco Sour cocktail

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces pisco
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ½ ounce simple syrup
  • 1 egg white
  • Ice
  • Bitters and dehydrated lime wheel for garnish

Instructions

  1. Chill a martini glass or coupe.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, add pisco, lime juice, simple syrup, and egg white.
  3. Dry shake for approximately 45 seconds to mix ingredients and create a froth.
  4. Add ice to shaker.
  5. Shake to chill.
  6. Strain into chilled glass.
  7. Garnish with dehydrated lime wheel and several drops of bitters, dragging a pick through to create a design.

Ramos Gin Fizz

This cocktail can take upwards of 10 minutes to shake, so although it may not look flashy, this cocktail stands out in a crowd for those in the know.

Homemade Frothy Ramos Gin Fizz Cocktail

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces gin
  • ¾ ounce simple syrup
  • ½ ounce heavy cream
  • ½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 egg white
  • 4-5 dashes orange water
  • Ice
  • Club soda to top off

Instructions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, add gin, heavy cream, simple syrup, lemon juice, lime juice, egg white, and orange water.
  2. Shake vigorously for approximately one minute.
  3. Add ice.
  4. Shake vigorously to chill.
  5. Strain into a highball glass without ice.
  6. Slowly top off with club soda.

Drinks With Stylish Associations

Whether it's a TV show, a classy place, or a beloved author, some drinks are upscale due to their fancy associations.

Old-Fashioned

When made and garnished the right way, the old-fashioned exudes class and luxury; just think of all those scenes in Mad Men.

Old-Fashioned

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In a mixing glass, add ice, bourbon, simple syrup, orange bitters, and aromatic bitters.
  2. Stir rapidly to chill.
  3. Strain into rocks glass over fresh ice or king cube.
  4. Express one orange peel over the drink by twisting the peel between your fingers, then run outside of peel along rim.
  5. Garnish with second orange peel.

Hemingway Daiquiri

While Hemingway is known for his time in Florida and Key West, this namesake daiquiri is as elegant as upscale as another place he called home: Paris.

Hemingway Daiquiri

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces silver rum
  • ¾ ounce freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ½ ounce maraschino liqueur
  • Ice
  • Lime wheel for garnish

Instructions

  1. Chill a martini glass or coupe.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, add ice, rum, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and maraschino liqueur.
  3. Shake to chill.
  4. Strain into chilled glass.
  5. Garnish with lime wheel.

High-End Cocktails With Upscale Ingredients

Champagne, bitters, and other upscale ingredients make these classy cocktails extra special.

French 75

A cocktail that uses sparkling wine? Of course, it's upscale! It's sparkly, bubbly, and delicious.

French 75 cocktail

Ingredients

  • 1½ ounces gin
  • ½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ ounce simple syrup
  • Ice
  • Champagne to top off
  • Lemon twist for garnish

Instructions

  1. Chill a Champagne flute.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, add ice, gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup.
  3. Shake to chill.
  4. Strain into chilled flute.
  5. Top off with Champagne.
  6. Garnish with lemon twist.

Champagne Cocktail

It can be hard to believe that a cocktail would be so on the nose to be called Champagne cocktail, but this one needs no introduction.

Champagne Cocktail

Ingredients

  • 1 sugar cube
  • 2-3 dashes aromatic bitters
  • 1 ounce Cognac
  • Champagne to top off
  • Lemon ribbon for garnish

Instructions

  1. Chill a Champagne flute.
  2. In chilled flute, add sugar cube and bitters.
  3. Add Cognac.
  4. Top off with Champagne.
  5. Garnish with lemon ribbon.

Trinidad Sour

Unlike many other cocktails, the Trinidad Sour puts the expensive bitters at the forefront of the drink.

Refreshing Trinidad Sour Cocktail

Ingredients

  • 1½ ounces Angostura aromatic bitters
  • 1 ounce orgeat
  • ½ ounce rye whiskey
  • ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Ice

Instructions

  1. Chill a Nick and Nora glass.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, add ice, bitters, orgeat, rye whiskey, and lemon juice.
  3. Shake to chill.
  4. Strain into chilled glass.

Air Mail

You don't often see Champagne in a highball, but this cocktail delivers an upscale experience with notes of honey.

Air Mail Cocktail

Ingredients

  • 1½ ounces gold rum
  • ½ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ½ ounce honey syrup
  • Ice
  • Champagne to top off
  • Lime wedge for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, add ice, gold rum, lime juice, and honey syrup.
  2. Shake to chill.
  3. Strain into highball glass over fresh ice.
  4. Top off with Champagne.
  5. Garnish with lime wedge.

Deluxe Ingredients for Ritzy Drinks

When you're building upscale drinks or ordering them at a bar, you can choose top ingredients, although they can come with a price tag. Consider a few of these for your ingredients. When using Champagne, Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, and Laurent-Perrier are great places to start. For vodka, Grey Goose and Belvedere are both excellent options. If you're using whiskey, be aware that profiles vary from name to name, and preference is very personal. However, a few good names are Jefferson's, Woodford, Blanton's, and George T. Stagg. Like whiskey, rum can vary from brand to brand, but consider Mount Gay, Kirk and Sweeney, or Goslings.

Glasses with champagne

Upscale Drinks for Fashionable Occasions

Whether you're looking to impress your date, wow family and friends, or want to indulge in the high roller life, you can find a number of upscale drinks to enjoy. With, or without, a budget in mind, you can soon have a classy drink in hand.

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Upscale Drinks for When You're Feeling Fancy