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12 Classic American Cocktail Recipes to Celebrate

Karen Frazier
Alcoholic Martinez Cocktail with Gin

If you're looking for cocktails for celebratory occasions, then there are plenty of American cocktail recipes to choose from. These twelve are classic American cocktails that are perfect to help you celebrate almost every occasion.

1. Martinez

Back in the day, before the martini was a big thing in America, there was the martinez. It's often known as the parent of the martini, so it may be one of the most classic American cocktails of all time. You sip it from a coupe or a martini glass, so it offers a hint of sophistication and a distinctly celebratory edge. The cocktail dates back to early American history in the late 1800s. If you'd like to make it in the classic style, use genever. Otherwise, old Tom style gin is just fine.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Chill a coupe or martini glass.
  2. In a mixing glass, combine the gin, vermouth, bitters, and cherry liqueur.
  3. Add the ice and stir to chill.
  4. Strain into the chilled glass and garnish with an orange twist.

2. Pisco Punch

Pisco punch was invented in the 19th Century in San Francisco. While it uses pisco, a Peruvian spirit, the punch itself is all-American. With its light, tropical flavor profile, it's perfect for American summer celebrations, such as weddings, Independence Day, or Labor Day.

Ingredients

  • ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ¾ ounce simple syrup
  • 1½ ounces pisco
  • 1½ ounces pineapple juice
  • Ice
  • Lime slices, pineapple chunks and cherry for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine the lime juice, simple syrup, pisco, and pineapple juice.
  2. Add the ice and shake to chill.
  3. Strain into a wine glass filled with ice.
  4. Garnish with the lime slices, pineapple, and cherry.
Pisco punch

3. Aviation Cocktail

The aviation cocktail has a lovely lavender color, so it's perfect for spring occasions such as Easter, or it adds a touch of sophistication to weddings, bridal showers, and more. It was invented in New York at the start of the 20th Century.

Ingredients

  • ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ ounce crème de violette
  • ½ ounce maraschino cherry liqueur
  • 2 ounces London dry gin
  • Ice
  • Cherry or lemon twist for garnish

Instructions

  1. Chill a cocktail glass, martini glass, or coupe.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, combine the lemon juice, crème de violette, maraschino liqueur, and gin.
  3. Add the ice and shake to chill.
  4. Strain into the chilled glass.
  5. Garnish with a cherry or a lemon twist.
Aviation Cocktail

4. Clover Club

The clover club was invented in the late 1800s in Philadelphia and named after a men's club there. It's a pink cocktail with a foam of egg white on the top, and it's perfect for celebrating engagement parties or even girls' night out.

Ingredients

  • 4 raspberries, plus extra for garnish
  • ½ ounce simple syrup
  • ½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1 egg white
  • Ice

Instructions

  1. Chill a cocktail glass or coupe.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, muddle the raspberries with the simple syrup.
  3. Add the lemon juice, gin, and egg white.
  4. Add the ice and shake vigorously to chill and mix.
  5. Strain into the chilled cocktail glass.
  6. Garnish with raspberries.
Clover Club

5. Bronx

The name says it all - this cocktail was invented in the United States pre-prohibition, and it became an instant classic. It's a twist on a classic martini, and it's perfect for sophisticated celebrations such as a New Year's Eve gathering in the city.

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 ounce orange-flavored bitters
  • 2 ounces London dry gin
  • ¼ ounce dry vermouth
  • ¼ ounce sweet vermouth
  • Ice
  • Orange wedge or twist for garnish

Instructions

  1. Chill a martini glass.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, combine the orange juice, bitters, gin, and dry and sweet vermouth.
  3. Add the ice and shake to chill.
  4. Strain into the chilled martini glass.
  5. Garnish with the orange.
Bronx

6. Brass Monkey

The brass monkey is allegedly named after a World War II spy. It's a classic American cocktail with dozens of different recipes for it, but in general it contains vodka, rum, and citrus juice (usually lemon or orange). It is a light cocktail served in a collins glass, making it the perfect libation for a summer celebration.

Ingredients

  • 2½ ounce ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • 1 ounce light rum
  • 1 ounce vodka
  • Ice
  • Lemon slice for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine the lemon juice, simple syrup, rum, and vodka.
  2. Add the ice. Shake to chill.
  3. Strain into a collins glass filled with ice.
  4. Garnish with a lemon slice.
Brass Monkey

7. Midori Sour

Another cocktail created in New York City, the Midori sour proves that you can make a classic sour out of just about any spirit or liqueur. With a vivid green hue, this is a great Christmas, Halloween, or New Year's Eve celebratory cocktail, or it's a great signature cocktail for weddings featuring edgy brides or grooms.

Ingredients

  • ¼ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 ounce Midori
  • 1 ounce vodka
  • Ice
  • Club soda
  • Cherry for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine the lime juice, lemon juice Midori, and vodka.
  2. Add the ice and shake to chill.
  3. Strain into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice. Top with club soda.
  4. Garnish with a cherry.
Midori Sour

8. Skip and Go Naked

With beer, lemonade, and vodka, how can a skip and go naked be anything other than American? This cocktail has a distinct beach vibe, so it's perfect for a casual beach celebration. This makes 3 servings.

Ingredients

  • ⅔ cup lager
  • ⅔ cup frozen pink lemonade concentrate
  • ¼ cup citrus flavored vodka

Instructions

  1. In a blender, combine all ingredients.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Pour into a wine glass.
Skip and Go Naked

9. Jungle Juice

Jungle juice is often made as a trash can drink for a crowd, but you can also make it as an individual cocktail as noted below. It's a boozy, party-time cocktail, so it's great for things like college graduation parties.

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 ounce pineapple juice
  • 1 ounce cranberry juice
  • ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ¼ ounce simple syrup or grenadine
  • ½ ounce triple sec
  • 1 ounce vodka
  • 1 ounce light rum
  • Ice
  • Orange wedge for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine the orange juice, pineapple juice, cranberry juice, lime juice, simple syrup, triple sec, vodka, and rum.
  2. Add the ice and shake to chill.
  3. Strain into a collins glass filled with ice.
  4. Garnish with the orange wedge.
Jungle Juice

10. 7 and 7

Seagram's 7 is an American whiskey, 7-up is an American soda, and combining the two makes perfect sense as an American cocktail. This fizzy boozy cocktail is great for virtually any celebration where you want a super easy to mix cocktail.

Ingredients

  • Ice
  • 1½ ounces Seagram's 7 whiskey (or any other whiskey of your choice)
  • 8 ounces 7-up (or lemon-lime soda)
  • Lemon wedge for garnish

Instructions

  1. Fill a collins glass with ice.
  2. Add the whiskey and 7-up.
  3. Garnish with the lemon wedge.
7 and 7

11. Pink Lady

This lady is a little pink and a little frothy, so it's a perfect girls' night out drink or for celebrating occasions such as a 21st birthday or a bridal shower. While no one knows the exact origins, it's likely named after an early 1900s American musical of the same name.

Ingredients

  • ½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ barspoon grenadine
  • ½ ounce applejack
  • 1½ ounces London dry gin
  • 1 egg white
  • Ice
  • Lemon twist for garnish

Instructions

  1. Chill a cocktail glass.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, combine the lemon juice, grenadine, applejack, gin, and egg white.
  3. Shake vigorously without the ice to foam the egg white.
  4. Add the ice and shake again.
  5. Strain into the chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist.
Pink Lady

12. Woo Woo

Finally, you can't think of celebratory cocktails without thinking of the woo woo, a classic American cocktail from the 1980s. Even the name sounds like a party in a glass, making it perfect for any celebration.

Ingredients

  • 2½ ounces cranberry juice
  • 2 dashes peach-flavored bitters
  • 1½ ounces vodka
  • ¾ ounce peach schnaps
  • Ice
  • Lime wedge for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine the cranberry juice, peach bitters, vodka, and schnapps.
  2. Add the ice and shake.
  3. Strain into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice. Garnish with the lime wedge.
Woo Woo

Enjoy the Taste of America

Classic American cocktails were created in the United States to suit Western palates. There are many classics that can be used for celebratory occasions, whether it's an American holiday such as the Fourth of July or a traditional celebratory occasion such as a wedding or the ringing in of the New Year.

12 Classic American Cocktail Recipes to Celebrate