Cocktail Builder

Find inspiration for your signature drink with these classic formulas. Go traditional, or use them to create something uniquely your own. Plus, check out our essential party checklist to make your shindig easy and fabulous!

Cocktail Builder - YAM Nov/Dec 2023
Paloma & Martini

Illustrations By Janice Hildybrant


Cocktails made with citrus juice fall into a family known as the sours, which should actually be a perfect balance of sweet, tart and just-boozy-enough flavours. They are typically shaken with ice and sometimes with egg white, and served “up” in stemmed glasses. These are some of the best known; tinker with them to make them your own.


Cocktail Spirit Citrus Sweetener Extras
Margarita Tequila (1 to 2 oz) Lime (1 oz) Cointreau (½ to 1 oz) Salt rim
Whisky Sour Bourbon/rye (2 oz) Lemon (¾ oz) Simple syrup (½ oz) Egg white, Angostura bitters
Clover Club Gin (2 oz) Lemon (½ oz) Raspberry syrup (½ oz) Egg white, raspberry garnish
Sidecar Brandy (1 ½ oz) Lemon (¾ oz) Cointreau (¾ oz) Sugar rim
Daiquiri Rum (2 oz) Lime (1 oz) Simple syrup (¾ oz)

Note: The measurements included here follow traditional recipes, but feel free to adjust proportions to your liking.

Cocktail Builder - YAM Nov/Dec 2023


The simplest of cocktails, the highball usually comprises just two ingredients — a spirit and soda — and is served in a tall, you guessed it, highball glass filled with lots of ice. With so few ingredients, it’s crucial to use quality products — luckily, there are plenty of terrific cocktail mixers to choose from.

Cocktail Spirit Flavours/Lengthener
Paloma Tequila (1 to 2 oz) Grapefruit soda (3 to 4 oz)
Whisky Highball Whisky (1 to 2 oz) Soda water (3 to 4 oz)
Cuba Libre Rum (1 to 2 oz) Cola (3 to 4 oz)
Tom Collins Gin (1 to 2 oz) Lemon (1 oz), simple syrup (½ oz), soda water (3 to 4 oz)
French 75 Gin or brandy (1 oz) Lemon (½ oz), simple syrup (½ oz), sparkling wine (3 oz)

Bitters & Friends

The very first cocktail was known as a “bittered sling” — spirit, bitters, sugar and water — and there is a whole school of spirit-forward cocktails that get their oomph from vermouth, amaro and other botanical agents. These drinks are typically stirred, not shaken, and either served up without additional ice, or in rocks glasses with or without additional ice.

Cocktail Spirit Bitters Extras
Martini Gin (2 oz) Dry vermouth (to taste) Olive or lemon garnish
Manhattan Rye (2 oz) Sweet vermouth (1 oz) Angostura Cherry garnish
Old Fashioned Bourbon/rye (2 oz) Angostura (2 dashes) Sugar, cherry garnish
Sazerac Rye (2 ½ oz) Peychaud’s (4 dashes) Sugar cube, absinthe rinse
Negroni Gin (1 oz) Sweet vermouth (1 oz), Campari (1 oz)

Planning to host a shindig this holiday season (or any time)?

Well, you’d better get busy because you’ve got a lot to do. Follow this step-by-step plan to make it as easy — and fabulous! — as possible.