While today’s tweezer-wielding chefs often steer clear of old-timey dishes like Beef Wellington and Baked Alaska, mixologists still revel in the past. In fact, even the most avant-garde, smoked and foamed, molecular gastro-cocktail bars are still expected to tip their caps to the classics. Why? Because these drinks have been honed so perfectly over the years, they never go out of style. Don’t know how to whip up a flawless Manhattan or Martini? Then maybe you shouldn’t be selling your ten-ingredient car-crash of a cocktail for $15 a coupe.
Moses Laboy is one such bartender who has mastered the past, while continuing to play in the present. As the cocktail and beverage director at Bottle & Bine in midtown Manhattan, he presents a cocktail menu heavy on culinary ingredients and experimental flourishes, like an entire subset of “butter-washed” cocktails. Still, his favorite drink to whip up at home remains the humble Negroni.
As Laboy will tell you, it’s not too hard to celebrate many time-tested classics in your very own home. Sometimes all it takes is the ability to squeeze a few limes or pour a mixer until you’re happy with the ratios. With less than a dozen different bottles, some decent ice, and glassware—and quick insights from Laboy on why these drinks remain classics that we still sip today—you too can become a competent at-home mixologist.
Here are 10 cocktails you should be making at home.