The 5 Cocktails You Need to Know How to Make

The 5 Cocktails You Need to Know How to Make

Written by: Melissa Parker with Daniele Pirotta - Group Bartender Advocacy Manager at Campari Group

One silver lining from the pandemic era is cocktail making at home has become oh-so-chic! With the help of Group Bartender Advocacy Manager at Campari Group and gun mixologist Daniele Pirotta, we will show you how to cheat your way to home cocktail-making glory. So, get mixing and give your friends something to talk about with a home cocktail experience to remember. That's a skill that will bring you and your mate's joy for the rest of your life. Trust us. You will be the main event at any party, time and time again.

We asked Daniele to come up with the best. The absolute classics. The cocktail recipes you need to know. Here he has delivered the top five to start your mixing journey, just without the complex techniques, tools, and preparation. There are some essential professional tips thrown in for good measure, particularly the bit about how to make bar quality clear ice.

His top piece of advice? “The liquid ingredients - spirits and liqueurs, are only a portion of the whole picture. To execute with excellence, we need to equip ourselves and our homes with a couple of items to make this journey effortless”.

For all the cocktails below, you will need three key elements:

1. The ingredients listed

2. The correct glassware

3. Good quality, super clear ice (trust us - this is the key!)

How do you make good quality clear ice at home?

One of the most important tips a bartender worth his salt on his Margarita will tell you is that good ice is imperative to a quality cocktail. Forget the cloudy white freezer burn, oh no. We need pure, clear ice that is like cut glass. Why? Because it melts slowly, tastes better, and looks magnificent. Let's show you how to get crystal clear ice every time, shall we?

The Boiled Water Method

Start with pure filtered water

Boil the water - this removes any impurities that would cause cloudiness

Cover the water and allow to cool

Remove the lid, and boil again

Cover again and allow to cool

Pour cooled water into an ice tray and cover with plastic wrap

Place in the freezer until frozen

Voila! Perfect, clear ice.

Now you have nailed this essential element - onto the cocktails.


The Negroni - “The perfect balance between a sweet Italian vermouth, a citrus-driven London Dry Gin and Campari”

#1 The Negroni

In 1919 Count Negroni walked into the Casoni Bar in Florence and wanted more kick in his Americano or what was known in Italy as the Milano-Torino. The bartender, Fosco Scarselli, switched the soda for gin. Patrons of Casoni started asking for the Count's drink, and the Negroni was born.

Its allure lives on to this day. It was awarded the Number 1 most popular drink by Drinks International just a few months ago for a reason. The perfect balance between Cinzano Rosso, a sweet Italian vermouth, a citrus-driven London Dry Gin like Bulldog and Campari.


  • 30ml Cinzano Rosso
  • 30ml Bulldog Gin
  • 30ml Campari
  • Orange (garnish)


  1. Pour ingredients straight into a glass and add plenty of ice
  2. Garnish with an orange wedge

Daniele's Pro Tips:

Use a sharp knife for a clean, cut wedge of fresh, bright thick skin orange and slide in between the block ice and the inside of the glass

Serve some unpitted, large, green Sicilian olives and plain sea salt crisps to complete the picture

The Aperol Spritz - “The perfect Sundowner Drink”

#2 The Aperol Spritz

Ah, the Aperol Spritz - it has taken the world by storm in recent years. It is one of the world's most Instagrammed summer cocktails because of its bright orange colour, and let's face it, who doesn't love an Aperol Spritz? It ticks all the boxes for the perfect sundowner drink. Making the perfect Aperol is about the amount of Aperol - make sure you add the ideal amount for maximum Aperol flavour. Daniele says that's no less than 60ml per drink, “anything less and you should be arrested!”.


  • 60ml Aperol
  • 90ml Prosecco Riccadonna DOC
  • Dash of soda water (no more than 30ml)
  • Orange (garnish)


  1. Fill a large wine glass with plenty of cubed ice
  2. Pour in the prosecco first, followed by Aperol and lastly soda
  3. Gently stir
  4. Garnish with an orange wedge

Daniele's Pro Tips:

If you want to guarantee the perfect serve of your Aperol Spritz, every time, Daniele recommends that you use:

Large wine glasses

Plenty of ice (the more, the better as the drink will keep colder longer and preserve its integrity)

Good quality Italian prosecco

A decent pour of Aperol (at least 60ml)

Tommy's Margarita - “A delicious Margarita from famous tequila expert and bartender Julio Bermejo”

#3 Tommy's Margarita

Famous tequila expert and bartender Julio Bermejo created this delicious Margarita at his family's restaurant, Tommy's, in San Francisco. Julio decided agave syrup would highlight the earthy agave flavours of the tequila better than Triple Sec. Try it and see for yourself why Tommy's Margarita is world-famous. If you want to have it Tommy's way, skip the salt rim because Senor Bermejo says this kills the subtle flavour nuances of the tequila. If you must, rim half the glass.


  • 60ml Espolon Blanco Tequila
  • 30ml fresh lime juice
  • 30ml Agave syrup


  1. Pour all ingredients into a shaker with ice
  2. Shake hard
  3. Strain over a big clear ice block in a tumbler or a coupe

Daniele's Pro Tips:

“Feeling fruity? Add a layer of flavour and freshness to your Tommy by adding a few chunks of super ripe and sweet seasonal fruit! You can't go wrong with half a white peach (skin on) or six to eight raspberries. For something more tropical, a nice piece of dark and sweet watermelon will be amazing as well!”

The Long and Lemon - “Sweet & tart with the warm spice finish of bourbon”

#4 The Long & Lemon

Love bourbon, but tired of mixing it with cola? Love Wild Turkey but over a classic Old Fashioned? Try a Long and Lemon; it's like a bourbon lemonade and the ideal cocktail if you're seeking something refreshing. Think sweet and tart with the warm spice finish of the bourbon. It's a crowd-pleaser and a great party starter in a big pitcher with lots of ice. Even those who are not bourbon drinkers find it hard to resist


  • 60ml Wild Turkey Longbranch
  • 30ml fresh lemon juice
  • 15ml sugar syrup
  • Top up with soda water
  • Mint (garnish)
  • Lemon (garnish)


  1. Shake all ingredients (except the soda) with ice
  2. Pour straight into a highball glass, including the ice
  3. Add more ice to top off the glass and a dash of soda.
  4. Stir
  5. Garnish with mint and a wedge of lemon.
The Gin Passionfruit Sour - “Smooth & tart with a creamy body, delivering an irresistible balance of flavour & texture.”

#5 The Gin Passionfruit Sour

To experience a well-made Sour is to die and go to cocktail heaven. If you or your friends are new to the Sour, you are in for a tangy, frothy treat. They are smooth and tart with a creamy body and deliver an irresistible balance of flavour and texture. If you are already a Sour convert, then once you learn how easy they are to whip up at home, it'll be Sours all round from now on and a lot of spare egg yolks in the fridge. Spaghetti Carbonara with your Sour, anyone?


  • 60ml Bulldog Gin
  • 20ml lemon juice
  • 30ml sugar syrup
  • Pulp from a whole passionfruit (or half the pulp from a large Panama passionfruit)
  • Half an egg white


  1. Fill half a cocktail shaker with ice
  2. Add the gin, lemon juice, sugar syrup, passionfruit pulp and egg white
  3. Shake well for a good few minutes to get a nice foam
  4. Strain into chilled coupe glasses
  5. Float a slice of passionfruit on top

Daniele's Pro Tips:

Create countless cocktails from the above Sour recipe simply by swapping out the spirit. Have a go at something else you like whether that's vodka, tequila, light rum, a fruity light-bodied malt or something more exotic like pisco, rhum agricole or cachaca. Then, pick your favourite seasonal fruit. Gin and raspberries will give you a Clover Club. Delicious! The world is your Sour.

Back to blog