The Martini still remains an extremely popular cocktail, and is also often treated as an apertif. It can be made with either gin or vodka, and is then shaken or stirred with dry vermouth and served up. A "Dry" Martini contains little or no vermouth. It is typically garnished with olives or a twist of lemon. If garnished with cocktail onions, it is called a Gibson.
A Manhattan is a cocktail consisting of rye or bourbon, sweet vermouth and bitters. It is stirred and can be served either up or on the rocks. A "perfect" Manhattan contains both sweet and dry vermouth. It is typically garnished with either brandied cherries or maraschino cherries.
The Old Fashioned is the grandfather of cocktails. Classically, it consists of bourbon or rye, sugar and bitters, and is served over ice with a twist of orange. Some consumers prefer it with muddled cherries and oranges as well. It is a very versatile cocktail, as many variations have been produced with different base liqours, including tequila, mezcal, brandy and rum.
The Sazerac is an extremely spirit-forward cocktail. Originated in New Orleans, it typically combines bourbon or rye with a sugar cube, bitters and a touch of absinthe. It is stirred and served up in an old-fashioned glass, with a lemon twist as a garnish.
A classic Daiquiri is a rum-based cocktail with added sugar and lime juice, shaken and served up. A variation, the Hemingway Daiquiri, adds grapefruit juice and Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur to the drink. Unlike the frozen daiquiris served at many resorts, the classic daiquiri can be rather bitter.
The Sidecar contains brandy, lemon juice and an orange liqueur such as Cointreau. It is served up in a cocktail glass. It is often garnished with a sugar rim along the glass.
The French 75 is another cocktail that is sometimes served as an apertif. It consists of Champagne, gin, sugar and lemon juice and is served in a flute and garnished with a lemon twist.
Ramos Gin Fizz
The Ramos Gin Fizz consists of gin, lemon juice, sugar, orange flower water and egg white. It is shaken vigorously, for several minutes, and then served in a highball glass and topped with club soda. There are many variations of the "Gin fizz," with the defining characteristic being the inclusion of egg white.
A basic margarita consists of tequila, lime and some kind of sweetening agent, usually triple sec. Other sweetening agents used include blue agave syrup, Cointreau and Grand Marnier. Many bars and restaurants have their own sour mix used to create the drink. It is served up or on the rocks, with a salt rim and a lime garnish.