Looking to mix, muddle or shake the best homemade craft cocktail recipes?
Our comprehensive Craft Cocktail Guide shares the history of cocktail culture, explains what a craft cocktail is, offers a list of essential bartender tools & equipment and shares easy recipes for the world’s most famous cocktail recipes.
Whether you’re a novice home bartender or seasoned mixologist, find a new craft cocktail recipe to pour for your friends and family today!
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What Is a Craft Cocktail?
“Craft Cocktail” is a great buzz word in the bar and beverage industry, but what does it really mean?
Some define craft cocktails as alcoholic drinks made with great care and fresh ingredients. Other bartenders define the trendy cocktail segment in more broader and obtuse terms, “a beverage better than its constituents.” In other words, it is a drink where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
In a world of 1 million mixed drink options, we like to define craft cocktails as alcoholic mixed drinks that typically feature:
- Premium spirits or small-batch craft spirits and liqueurs.
- Flavourful bitters with the essence of lavender, cranberry or smoke.
- Homemade syrups or shrubs infused with herbs, spices, flowers and fruit.
- Freshly squeezed juices, artisanal mixers and fresh herbs.
- Unique small-batch spirits and niche liqueurs.
- Craft ice like the perfect cube, ice spheres or crushed ice.
- Antique vintage cocktail glasses.
Join Dobbernationloves founder Andrew Dobson in the kitchen by signing up for a fun virtual cooking class! Classes begin with a cocktail that you can sip while preparing 2-3 recipes that are curated around a unique culinary theme. Check out our current Cooking Class Schedule!
Travel The World To Find The Best Cocktail
The best way to develop your cocktail palette and educate yourself on elevated mixed drinks is by hopping up on a bar stool at the world’s best bars.
Expert mixologists can often be found at Michelin Star restaurants and luxury hotel bars, transforming classic cocktail recipes into modern marvels.
You certainly don’t have to hop on a plane to sip inspiring booze-forward drinks. In Toronto I love visiting the celebrated Cocktail Emporium on Queen Street West for all the best bartending gear.
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- Best Luxury Hotel Cocktail Bars in Hong Kong
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The key ingredient in each cocktail is the alcoholic spirit that the other components in the beverage help elevate. Visiting distilleries in person can help you appreciate the nuances between Bourbon and Scotch, artisanal flavoured gins, smooth tequila vs smoky mezcal and a young clear white rum between a molasses-forward rum aged in a barrel for over 10 years.
On my travels I’ve had the opportunity to write about the:
- Best Scotch Distilleries on the Isle of Islay in Scotland
- VIP tour of the Bombay Sapphire Distillery in England
- Jamesons Irish Whiskey Distillery in Cork, Ireland
- Bushmills Whiskey Distillery in Northern Ireland
- Stranahans Whiskey in Colorado
- Barreling Tide Distillery in Nova Scotia
- Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery & Distillery in Niagara on the Lake
- Bacardi Distillery Tour in Puerto Rico
- Havana Club Tour in Cuba
Best Bartender Tools & Cocktail Equipment
Before hosting a swanky cocktail soiree you’ll need to ensure you have the best bartender tools and equipment.
- Cocktail Kit: cocktail kits are the perfect gift for newbie mixology fans as they include basic bartender tools like a jigger, shaker and spoon.
- Cocktail Shaker: a bartender’s best friend. Purchase a premium cocktail shaker to muddle or shake up your favourite pink gin cocktails.
- Cocktail Glassware: make sure your bar is stocked with a selection of unique glassware to show off your favourite cocktail creations.
- Hawthorne Strainer: this unique strainer features tightly wound coils and perforated holes. It keeps ice and other large ingredients like lime wedges in your cocktail shaker rather than in the glass.
- Bar Spoons: slender and long bar spoons are a must-have when stirring drinks.
- Bottle Opener: easily open bottles of beer or cider with the flick of your wrist or purchase a corkscrew for fine wine.
- Pouring Spout: once you’ve opened a new bottle of gin insert these affordable pourers to make cocktail assembly a breeze.
- Cutting Board: purchase a petite cutting board for your bar to slice garnishes or citrus wedges like lime, orange, lemon or grapefruit.
- Ice Bucket: chill bottles of gin quickly in an ice bucket or keep by the bar when muddling gin mixers into cool creations.
- Ice Crusher: fans of the Mint Julep love an ice crusher.
- Ice Cube Kit: we suggest purchasing a selection of ice cube trays. Silicone styles are our favourite as they’re easy to clean and are available in various shapes and sizes.
- Jigger: use a jigger to accurately measure spirits, juices, syrups and shrubs.
- Juicer: invest in an electronic juicer or buy an affordable hand-held to easily juice fresh citrus like lemons and limes.
- Muddler: fans of the Mojito love a sturdy muddler to mix mint and lime. Muddler’s are handy for any cocktail featuring ingredients that need a pounding like fresh herbs or citrus wedges.
- Citrus Peeler & Zester: adorn your cocktails with a thick citrus peel or finer ribbons of lime or lemon zest.
- Rimmer: Bloody Mary and Caesar lovers should outfit their bar with a handy rimmer for salting and sugaring glassware.
Craft Cocktail Recipes By Spirit Type
We’ve organized our Craft Cocktail Guide by spirit type to help you find a new favourite to mix and muddle at home.
Looking for a bit of Ginspiration at your next happy hour? Over the last few years the gin spirit category has really boomed and dare I say is the most trendy alcohol to pursue.
This rift on the classic Italian Negroni is less bitter and more sweet thanks to homemade strawberry syrup. The boozy beverage features gin, sweet red vermouth and campari.
We love making this herbaceous cocktail in the summer when our backyard herb garden is lush and in full bloom.
Fragrant sage leaves pair perfectly with tart lemon juice and your favourite premium gin.
Gin lovers who have a penchant for growing their own herb garden will love slurping this refreshing gin cocktail.
Pluck a few fresh basil leaves and shake vigorously with your favourite gin, fresh lemon juice and simple syrup.
This healthy cocktail is perfect for gin lovers who enjoy vegetable juice and fresh herbs. The recipe features premium gin, cucumber juice, fresh mint and basil, ginger syrup, lemon juice, tonic water and celery bitters.
This is the perfect cocktail recipe to serve at Christmas holiday parties as it features red pomegranate seeds and a green rosemary sprig. A refreshingly festive drink to serve in December!
Elevate a simple gin and cranberry juice to another level with the addition of cranberry bitters and fresh lemon juice. This is one of our favourite Christmas craft cocktail recipes as the drink features seasonal fresh cranberries as a garnish and green rosemary sprig.
Grab a bottle of your favourite Italian aperitif and muddle with premium gin to enjoy this refreshing Aperol drink. We love serving this cocktail on a hot day in the summer.
Enjoy a taste of Italian aperitivo hour by muddling a less bitter and more refreshing take on the classic Negroni.
Bitter Campari is substituted with bright orange Aperol for a refreshing sipper also featuring sweet red vermouth and gin.
When rhubarb sprouts in the Spring we love shaking up this tart cocktail recipe feature the zing of spicy ginger.
This spin on the classic Moscow Mule swaps out vodka for premium gin and is muddled with an artisanal Caribbean-style ginger beer.
This traditional craft cocktail recipe is a refreshing thirst quencher featuring premium gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and sparkling soda water. Garnish with a lemon slice and Maraschino cherries.
This floral cocktail recipe is a rift on the traditional Collins flavoured with sweet elderflower via Fever Tree Elderflower Tonic and St Germain Elderflower Liqueur.
This is our favourite gin cocktail to serve at brunch. Italian Malfy Gin flavoured with Sicilian grapefruit is muddled with fresh grapefruit juice and garnished with a juicy grapefruit slice and sprig of herbaceous rosemary.
Elevate the classic G & T into a floral craft cocktail flavoured with elderflower.
This cocktail is our favourite healthy mixed drink. It’s a perfect boozy beverage to serve after a weekend yoga class. We love to serve this gin cocktail at summer garden parties. It features premium gin, homemade cilantro cucumber juice, lime juice, sparkling soda, celery bitters and egg white.
We love serving this cocktail recipe on Mother’s Day. Lavender lovers will swoon for this pretty and refreshing sparkling libation.
If you’re a lover of juicy mangos make this easy creative interpretation on the classic Collins cocktail. A Mango Gin Collins features premium gin, mango juice and fresh lemon. Garnish with a slice of dried mango.
The Eastside is a modern craft cocktail featuring mint leaves, cucumber slices, gin, lime juice, simple syrup and lemon bitters.
If you’re a blueberry lover you’ll heart this slightly sour gin cocktail. We love to shake it up in the summer when berries are in season. The recipe feature blueberry juice, lemon juice, gin, egg white and lemon bitters.
If you’re a lover of raspberries this gin fizz cocktail is easy to make and a tart refreshing thirst quencher. Flavoured with premium gin and Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur.
This is our favourite sparkling cocktail to serve at New Years Eve parties! Enjoy a celebratory cheers with this simple sipper made with gin, lemon juice, prosecco sparkling wine and lemon twist.
Are you a history nerd keen to spend a few hours having fun with a cocktail project? Milk Punch is our favourite historic cocktail recipe, originally dating back to the 18th-century.
Gin and orange liqueur are mixed with fresh citrus juice and milk then clarified through a sieve and coffee filter. The acid in the citrus curdles the milk and the leftover whey adds a lusciously smooth mouthfeel.
This cocktail recipe is a marriage between two Italian classics: Aperol Spritz and Negroni. The refreshing and bitter sipper features gin, campari, red vermouth, bitters, soda water and fresh orange slice.
Vodka is defined as a flavourless, colourless, odourless liquid composed of water and ethanol. It’s historically produced in Russia, Latvia, Poland and Sweden and famously shaken, or stirred in a martini.
Enjoy a taste of the tropics with this beach-ready vodka martini featuring pineapple juice and ginger syrup.
If you’re a coffee lover prepare yourself a classic Espresso Martini with a twist.
We’ve used Nespresso, Creme de Cocoa, Kahlua and Absolut vodka in this simple yet sweet martini cocktail recipe.
If you’re a lover of Limoncello muddle this vodka-spiked martini with the famous citrus liqueur from Southern Italy.
This quick & easy Smirnoff Lemonade cocktail recipe is a fun and refreshing beverage to enjoy at summer cottage barbeques, spring garden parties and Mother’s Day brunch.
Pour this Vodka Pink Lemonade recipe into an ice filled Collins glasses and garnish with sliced lemon wheels and a cocktail pick adorned with fresh raspberries or strawberries.
This play on the classic Cuban mojito recipe swaps rum for vodka and is muddled with lime and mint.
This is our favourite vodka craft cocktail to serve at holiday Christmas parties as blood oranges are in season in December. The refreshing drink is red and green thanks to blood orange juice and fresh mint sprig.
If you’re looking to explore the world of whiskey it may take you an entire lifetime. A challenge we’re up for!
This is our favourite whiskey cocktail to serve in the Fall and as a prelude to a family Thanksgiving feast. The elevated Autumn beverage features whiskey, apple cider juice, ginger syrup, egg white, pear bitters, apple slice and ground nutmeg.
Prepare a classic Whiskey Sour craft cocktail with premium Irish whiskey.
Prepare a traditional Whiskey Sour cocktail with premium Scotch.
Prepare a classic Old Fashioned cocktail with premium Irish whiskey.
Peach Whiskey Sour Cocktail
Our easy homemade Peach Whiskey Sour is a family favourite cocktail to enjoy in the summer when fresh peaches are in season.
This simple Peach Whiskey Cocktail recipe features premium whiskey, fresh lemon juice, peach jam, fresh peach slices and optional egg white.
Prepare an authentic Old Fashioned craft cocktail with premium Scotch whiskey.
A Rob Roy is similar to a Manhattan, but is made exclusively with Scotch whisky, while the Manhattan is traditionally made with rye and today commonly made with bourbon or Canadian whisky.
Like the classic Manhattan recipe, the Rob Roy can be made “sweet”, “dry”, or “perfect”. The standard Rob Roy is the sweet version, made with sweet vermouth, so there is no need to specify a “sweet” Rob Roy when ordering. A “dry” Rob Roy is made by replacing the sweet vermouth with dry vermouth. A “perfect” Rob Roy is made with equal parts sweet and dry vermouth.
This is our favourite whiskey craft cocktail recipe to serve at brunch or breakfast. The simple recipe features premium whiskey, freshly squeezed orange juice, Cointreau orange liqueur, sparkling soda water, orange bitters and a fresh orange slice.
Looking for the perfect cocktail recipe to easily serve in a jug to a crowd at a summer party? This easy berry lemonade cocktail can be served in a punch bowl and features premium whiskey, lemon juice, strawberry syrup, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries.
Berry lovers will jump for joy for this twist on the classic Whiskey Buck Cocktail. Our easy cocktail recipe features blueberry juice, lemon juice, fresh blueberries, whiskey, ginger beer and mint.
If you’re a cherry lover you’ll love the taste of this Whiskey Sour Cocktail. The easy recipe features premium whiskey, tart cherry juice, lime juice, simple syrup, egg white and fresh cherries.
Looking for the perfect whiskey craft cocktail to serve at breakfast? This easy Iced Irish Coffee is popular in our family in the summer on a hot day. Freshly brewed coffee is muddled with simple syrup, Irish whiskey, heavy creamy, whipped cream and caramel sauce.
Looking for a taste of the tropics? This craft cocktail is inspired by the paradise islands of Hawaii and is a rift on the classic Whiskey Sour. The recipe features whiskey, lemon juice, pineapple juice, simple syrup, egg white, pineapple slice and Maraschino cherry.
This is the quintessential craft cocktail to make during the Autumn season. Premium whiskey is muddled with Belle de Brillet Pear Liqueur, pear juice, ginger syrup, egg white, pear bitters, pear chip, ground nutmeg and crystalized ginger.
Looking for an easy craft cocktail recipe for beer lovers? Grab your favourite bottle of wheat beer and mix with whiskey, freshly squeezed orange juice, orange bitters and a fresh orange slice.
Fans of the classic Old Fashioned should add this Christmas drink to their holiday bar list. The festive craft cocktail recipe is popular at parties in December and features whiskey, ginger syrup, bitters, cranberries, orange slice and rosemary sprig.
Rum is traditionally produced in the Caribbean and Latin America from Venezuela to Jamaica. The spirit ranges from clear white to dark brown depending on how long it is aged, in barrels or steel tanks. Rum gets its unique sweet flavour from sugar cane molasses.
If you’re a classic Manhattan cocktail lover switch things up by substituting a quality aged dark rum for traditional whiskey.
The rum’s sugar cane and molasses-forward flavour profile offers a delightful harmony with cherries and sweet red vermouth.
We love serving this rhubarb mojito recipe in the late spring and early summer when rhubarb is in season.
Make a classic mojito using your favourite Bacardi rum. Our recipe features options like Bacardi Superior, Bacardi Spiced Rum, and Aged Bacardi Anejo.
Prepare a traditional mojito craft cocktail using a flavourful and well aged dark rum. Our recipe features options like Bacardi Anejo, Mount Gay Eclipse and Diplomatico.
One of the trendiest beverages in the drink segment lately has been collagen water, praised for its therapeutic properties that encourage healthy skin, hair and nail growth.
GLDN Hour is a popular flavoured sparkling collagen water that can be used as an easy mixer when making refreshing rum cocktails. We muddle GLDN Hour Grapefruit Cucumber with white rum, lime wedges, fresh mint leaves and grapefruit juice.
This rift on the classic Cuban mojito is a cocktail featuring tropical passion fruit.
Mojito and berry lovers will love this rum craft cocktail recipe featuring blueberries, lime and mint.
Add a splash of tropical fruit flavour to a traditional mojito by muddling this thirst quenching pineapple cocktail.
This is our favourite mojito cocktail to make during the summer when fresh strawberries are in season.
If you’ve got a blender at home you’ll love this frozen raspberry daiquiri recipe. We love serving this slushie craft cocktail recipe on hot summer days.
Looking for an easy brunch craft cocktail recipe? This easy rum recipe is perfect as a morning boozy drink featuring freshly squeezed orange juice, lime juice, soda water, grenadine cherry syrup and orange wheel.
Tequila is Mexico’s ubiquitous spirit. We love sipping drinks made with smoky mezcal too!
Our quick & easy Frozen Paloma Slushie drink features smoky mezcal, grapefruit juice, lime juice, simple syrup, ice, and kosher salt.
All of the ingredients are combined in a blender until a smooth slushy consistency is achieved. Perfect for sharing on a hot summer day with friends and family!
This easy tequila craft cocktail recipe is an interpretation on the traditional Moscow Mule swapping vodka for tequila.
If you’re looking to make a perfectly balanced margarita try making this cocktail recipe made with premium Patron tequila.
Tommy’s Margarita is a popular craft cocktail recipe that is similar to a classic margarita but is uniquely sweetened with agave syrup.
Brandy is a fruit spirit produced from mash, juice or wine or residues of edible fruits. The term covers a broad class of spirits produced across the world. Grapes, apples, pears, apricots, plums and cherries are the most commonly used fruits.
Cognac is the world’s most famous brandy and is specifically produced in the Cognac region of France. Like Scotch whisky or tequila (a type of mezcal), it comes from the actual place for which it’s named. But unlike Scotch, made from malted barley, Cognac is made from grapes.
Looking for a craft cocktail to mix up during the summer berry season?
This Blackberry Brandy Cocktail features two of our favourite French cognacs as well as orange-flavoured Cointreau.
The blackberry flavour is achieved by mixing fresh blackberries in a cocktail shaker with blackberry jam.
Looking for a vegan craft cocktail recipe perfect for the holidays? This Christmas Eggnog recipe is vegan-friendly featuring brandy, dark rum, ground cinnamon, vanilla extract, maple syrup, almond milk, raisins and foamy aquafaba.
If you’re looking to explore more cognac craft cocktail recipes and are a whiskey fan try this Brandy Manhattan.
Specialty Spirit Craft Cocktail Recipes
“Specialty spirit craft cocktails” is a fancy way of saying “miscellaneous mixed drinks.” These craft cocktail recipes feature niche spirits like Baileys Irish Cream, Cachaça, Aquavit, Amaretto and Amarula.
This bright yellow cocktail features Italy’s Liquore Strega, a saffron flavoured spirit. The bitter mixed drink is livened up with sparkling prosecco wine and gin.
This citrus-forward Aquavit Cocktail recipe is our favourite mixed drink to make at home inspired by our travels to Scandinavia.
This Aquavit Cocktail is made with a popular Nordic spirit, which is flavoured with local herbs and spices. The herbaceous and citrusy cocktail features Aquavit, Aperol, fresh lime juice, orange bitters and a splash of sparkling soda water.
Batida de Coco is a craft cocktail recipe from Brazil made with Cachaça, which is similar to rum in its preparation. The creamy drink features coconut milk, condensed milk, Cachaça and toasted coconut.
Looking for a decadent dessert craft cocktail recipe? We love serving this green coloured drink on St. Patrick’s Day. The After Eight features vodka, Baileys Irish Cream, Creme de Menthe, Creme de Cocoa, table cream, fresh mint and mint chocolate sticks.
Disaronno is the OG amaretto, an Italian liqueur flavoured with peach pits (that actually tastes like roasted almonds). Enjoy a classic Amaretto Sour made made with Disaronno, lemon juice, angostura bitters, egg white and Maraschino cherry.
Baileys is the world’s most famous cream liqueur, made Ireland. If you’re looking for an easy Baileys craft cocktail recipe to enjoy at breakfast you’ll love this simple iced coffee.
Baileys Apple Pie is the perfect dessert cocktail to serve in the Fall. The decadent after dinner drink features Baileys Irish Cream, Frangelico, Calvados, Apple Cider Juice, whipped cream, caramel sauce, cinnamon stick and apple slice.
If you enjoy a classic White Russian you’ll enjoy this craft cocktail recipe featuring espresso coffee, vodka and South African Amarula Cream Liqueur. Serve the drink sprinkled with ground nutmeg.
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