19+ Cheap Drinks to Enjoy at the Bar or at Home

Updated February 15, 2022
Glasses with rum cocktail

If you enjoy a cocktail but you're on a budget, there are still plenty of cheap drinks you can make or order in bars. These inexpensive cocktails and tips for making or ordering cheap mixed drinks can help you save money while still offering a tempting and tasty libation. The best way to save on drinks in bars is to choose drinks made with well or lower cost, liquors, and as few ingredients as possible or by purchasing inexpensive brands for your home bar. So if you're ready to save big on your cocktails, then try some of the cheapest drinks around.

Easy Fizzy Cheap Drinks

Whether you're ordering them at your favorite dive bar or making them yourself, these are some of the easiest, cheapest, basic bartending drinks around, usually featuring two to three inexpensive ingredients plus ice and garnish.

Rum and Coke

Rum and Coke cocktail drink

Typically, one of the cheapest drinks to order at a bar is a rum and coke made with, well, rum and whatever cola the bar has available. Add a squeeze of lime juice to make a Cuba Libre.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces rum, silver or spiced
  • Ice
  • Cola to top off
  • Lime wedge for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a rocks or highball, add ice and rum.
  2. Top off with cola.
  3. Garnish with lime wedge.

Vodka Soda

Vodka soda on wood

You don't need to use premium vodka. Vodka is relatively flavorless, and it's possible to find a well distilled and inexpensive vodka that won't burn on the way down.

Ingredients

  • 1½ ounces vodka
  • Ice
  • 4 ounces club soda to top off
  • Lime wheel for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a highball glass, add ice, vodka, and club soda.
  2. Stir to mix.
  3. Garnish with lime wheel.

Gin and Tonic

Gin and Tonic

In a bar, just ask for the well gin, and at home select an inexpensive but reasonably good gin. Just add a squeeze of lime juice to the gin and tonic water combination for a cheap but tasty drink.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces gin
  • Ice
  • 4 ounces tonic water to top off
  • Lime wedge for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a highball or rocks glass, add ice, gin, and tonic.
  2. Stir to mix.
  3. Garnish with lime wedge.

Ginger Ale Moscow Mule

Ginger Ale Moscow Mule

If you're using a cheap vodka, then the most expensive ingredient in a Moscow mule is typically the ginger beer. You can skip this problem by requesting or using ginger ale.

Ingredients

  • 1½ ounces vodka
  • ¾ ounces lime juice
  • Ice
  • 4 ounces ginger ale
  • Lime wheel for garnish.

Instructions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, add ice, vodka, and lime juice.
  2. Shake to chill.
  3. Strain into rocks glass over fresh ice.
  4. Top off with ginger ale.
  5. Garnish with lime wheel.

Rum and Ginger Ale

Rum and Ginger Ale

Often called a "poor man's dark and stormy," the rum and ginger ale combination reduces costs by using an inexpensive or well rum in place of a more expensive dark rum and replacing the costly ginger beer with inexpensive ginger ale. No garnishes are necessary if that's how you sail.

Ingredients

  • 1½ ounces rum
  • Ice
  • 4 ounces ginger ale
  • Lime wheel for garnish

Instructions

  1. In rocks or highball glass, add ice and rum.
  2. Top off with ginger ale.
  3. Stir to mix.
  4. Garnish with lime wheel.

7 and 7

Alcoholic 7 and 7 Highball Cocktail

The 7 and 7 is a combination of inexpensive Seagram's 7 Crown whisky and 7-up or another, less expensive lemon-lime soda.

Ingredients

  • 1½ ounces Seagram's 7 Crown whisky
  • Ice
  • 6 ounces lemon-lime soda

Instructions

  1. In a highball glass, add ice and whisky.
  2. Top off with lemon-lime soda.
  3. Stir to mix.

Ranch Water

Ranch Water

Ranch water calls for a specific mineral water brand, but you can also use club soda to save some money. Tequila and soda drinks are definitely refreshing.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces tequila
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Ice
  • Club soda to top off
  • Lime wedge for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a highball glass, add ice, tequila, and lime juice.
  2. Top off with club soda.
  3. Garnish with lime wedge.

Whiskey Highball

Whiskey Highball

One of the simplest, and cheapest drinks, it's up to you whether you want to use ginger ale or club soda.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces whiskey
  • Ice
  • Ginger ale or club soda to top off
  • Lemon wheel for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a highball glass, add ice, whiskey, and ginger ale.
  2. Garnish with lemon wheel.

Shandy

Shandy

Take any lager or light beer and give it new life with just a little bit of lemonade. You can even use lemon juice instead of lemonade by adding two ounces.

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces lemonade
  • 8 ounces lager

Instructions

  1. In a pint glass or beer mug, add lemonade and lager.
  2. Stir to mix.

Cheap Fruity Drinks

Fruit juice can be pretty inexpensive, so these cheap fruity drinks are perfect whether you're looking for cheap drinks to order at a bar or the cheapest drinks to make at home.

Cape Codder

Cape Codder Cocktail with lime and ice

The Cape Codder (a variation on the sea breeze) is a simple and inexpensive way to order a cheap mixed drink.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • Ice
  • Cranberry juice to top off
  • Lime wheel for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a highball or rocks glass, add ice, vodka, and cranberry juice.
  2. Stir to mix.
  3. Garnish with lime wheel.

Ciderball

Cider ball mixed cocktail

It's a delicious combo of apples and cinnamon with just two key ingredients, and you'll even be able to score apple cider for cheap during season.

Ingredients

  • 1½ ounces cinnamon whisky
  • Ice
  • 4 ounces apple cider

Instructions

  1. In a rocks glass, add ice, fireball, and apple cider.
  2. Stir to mix.

Tequila and Lemonade

Tequila and Lemonade

Margaritas can cost a pretty penny, but lemonade is pretty cheap to find at a bar and the store, so you can still get that tasty tequila citrus flavors without paying the big bucks.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces tequila
  • 6 ounces lemonade
  • Ice
  • Lemon wheel for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a highball or rocks glass, add ice, tequila, and lemonade.
  2. Stir to mix.
  3. Garnish with lemon wheel.

Affordable Fruity Drink Hacks

Strawberry cocktail

It's easy to make cheap fruity drinks, especially if you have fresh fruit on hand. By following a simple recipe of a half cup of fruit, two ounces of liquor with four ounces of a mixer such as juice or club soda, you have a cheap and easy fruity drink. However, bars will often charge a premium for fresh fruit drinks, so it's cheaper to make at home.

Classic Cheap Drinks to Order at a Bar

Belly up to the bar and order their cheapest drinks with confidence! If you're looking for the classics, choose well liquors. It's easy to make the classics affordable and tasty when you skip the big name brands.

Vodka Martini

Vodka Martini cocktail

A vodka martini is a simple combination of vodka and dry vermouth. Both ingredients can be pretty inexpensive, particularly if you're not looking to use the best of the best.

Ingredients

  • 2½ ounces vodka
  • ¾ ounce dry vermouth
  • Ice
  • Olive for garnish

Instructions

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

Screwdriver

Boozy Refreshing Vodka Screwdriver Cocktail

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 6 ounces chilled orange juice
  • Orange slice for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a rocks glass, add vodka and orange juice.
  2. Stir to mix.
  3. Garnish with orange slice.

Salty Dog

Salty Dog cocktail in salt rimmed glass

The salty dog may look like an expensive cocktail, but it's two simple ingredients.

Ingredients

  • Lime wedge and salt for rim
  • 2 ounces gin or vodka
  • Ice
  • 4 ounces grapefruit juice
  • Grapefruit wedge for garnish

Instructions

  1. To prepare rim, rub the rim of the glass with the lemon wedge.
  2. With the salt on a saucer, dip either half or the entire rim of the glass in the salt to coat.
  3. In prepared glass, add ice, gin, and grapefruit juice.
  4. Stir to mix.
  5. Garnish with grapefruit wedge.

Paloma

Paloma Cocktail

Grapefruit is a pretty cheap ingredient, and if you can't find any, then equal parts grapefruit juice and club soda make for a great substitute.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces tequila
  • ½ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Ice
  • 6 ounces grapefruit soda
  • Grapefruit slice for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a highball or rocks glass, add ice, tequila, and lime juice.
  2. Top off with grapefruit soda.
  3. Garnish with grapefruit slice.

Daiquiri

Daiquiri cocktail

You might be confused about a daiquiri being a cheap drink, but you only need well silver rum and two other ingredients for a highbrow-looking cocktail at lowbrow prices.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces white rum
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ½ ounce simple syrup
  • Ice
  • Lime wedge for garnish

Instructions

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

Cheap Party Drinks for a Crowd

Having a party on a budget? No problem. Mix up a punch that won't empty your wallet.

Sangria

Sangria cocktails

Sangria is usually reasonably priced because of the inexpensive fruity wine as its base, fruit, and fruit juice, and an inexpensive mixer such as 7-up or club soda. Likewise, because it's a punch and made in bulk, it's often inexpensive in bars and restaurants as well. Save money by choosing a cheap, fruity wine such as an inexpensive Rioja or Beaujolais Nouveau to make it. Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 750 mL ounces red wine
  • 6 ounces orange juice
  • 4 ounces brandy
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • Ice
  • Orange wheels for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a wine glass, add ice, red wine, orange juice, brandy, and simple syrup.
  2. Stir to mix.
  3. Garnish with orange wheel.

Jungle Juice

Jungle Juice Cocktail

Generations of college students have discovered that when you add enough juice or kool-aid, you can disguise the flavor of even the cheapest alcohol and turn it into a sweet, palatable mixed drink. You'll find many recipes for jungle juice; many of them mixed in large containers by dumping several types of cheap booze along with various fruit juices, including fruit punch, lemon-lime soda, or kool-aid. It's a great, collective way to make a mixed drink that will save money by having everyone bring a few of the ingredients. This jungle juice recipe has a staggering 16 servings.

Ingredients

  • 375mL vodka
  • 375mL rum
  • 64 ounces lemonade
  • 32 ounces pineapple or orange juice
  • 32 ounces fruit punch
  • 16 ounces cranberry juice
  • Ice
  • 32 ounces club soda
  • Lemon slice for garnish

Instructions

  1. In an extra large pitcher, punch bowl, or container, add ice, vodka, rum, lemonade, citrus juice, fruit punch, and cranberry juice.
  2. Stir to mix.
  3. Top off with club soda.
  4. Garnish individual servings with lemon slice.

Inexpensive Party Drinks Tips

Summer Drinks On Table Outside

Like cheap fruit drinks, party drinks have an easy-to-remember ratio of two ounces of a spirit for every four to six ounces of the mixer. If you use 26 ounces of vodka, you would want 52 ounces of a mixer or combination such as cranberry juice (36 ounces), club soda (12 ounces), and lime juice (4 ounces).

Tips for Enjoying the Cheapest Drinks

You don't have to spend a fortune on mixed drinks. While cheap mixed drinks are often quite simple and use fewer ingredients than other cocktails, they're still just as satisfying.

Save Money in Bars

Here are some ways to save money in bars:

  • In bars, always order well drinks.
  • Avoid the special menu drinks at bars, which can be quite expensive.
  • Go for happy hour and order their drink special.
  • Choose simple over complicated.

Save Money at Home

Making drinks at home is a great way to save money anyway; bars tend to have quite a mark-up on their drinks, so you'll almost always pay more in a bar than you will at home. Knowing that, you can save money at home using some of the following tips:

  • Look for specials on alcohol and stock up when you can.
  • Buy alcohol in bulk. It's usually cheaper per shot to buy a 3-liter bottle than a 750 mL bottle of the same booze.
  • Avoid top shelf. There are many perfectly adequate and some tasty middle to bottom-shelf liquors that won't cost you an arm and a leg and make delicious drinks.
  • Disguise harsher inexpensive liquors with soda, citrus, or fruit juice.
  • Skip the garnishes.
  • Don't buy expensive pre-made simple syrups. Make your own from sugar and water and, if you like, infuse them with special ingredients such as ginger or cinnamon for exciting and tasty drinks.
  • Fresh mint can cover a multitude of sins. Grow your own mint and muddle it in drinks with cheaper alcohol for inexpensive, delicious cocktails.

Cheap Booze Doesn't Have to Make Bad Cocktails

Just because you're drinking on the cheap doesn't mean you have to choke your way through terrible cocktails. There are plenty of easy, affordable, tasty mixed drinks and cocktail ingredients that allow you to enjoy a libation or two without breaking the bank.

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19+ Cheap Drinks to Enjoy at the Bar or at Home