There are days that you have that feeling that you want to be out having a good time, enjoying a mixed drink, hanging with friends. But there are also times when you want to relax at home with an adult beverage. If your schedule calls for a night in, you don’t have to limit yourself to bottled beer and wine. Pair your taste for a mixed drink with your favorite slouchy clothes and comfy couch. And, your wallet will thank you.
If you enjoy cocktails at home, there are plenty of drink recipes with only a bottle or two of spirits. Sites such as Alcohol Professor can help narrow in on a theme or help plan the spirit.
The best bang for your buck is to invest in a bottle or two of your favorite spirits and keep the mixers on hand. They can partner together in a variety of ways to create different drink options. Here are some to get you started:
1. Vodka and Cranberry
Vodka is an excellent addition to a fruit juice and, depending on the juice, can create a quick and easy cocktail. The various combinations with vodka create a Screwdriver, Bay Breeze, Sea Breeze, Cape Codder (aka Vodka and Cranberry), or a Madras.
2. Rum and Coke
Rum is one of the lowest cost spirits. If you have a bottle of rum on hand, you only need a favorite soda to create a Rum and Coke. Variations on the classic Rum and Coke include the Cuba Libre and the Lounge Lizard.
Another family of drinks that can be conjured up with just a bit of rum is a Mojito. For this drink, you may already have the necessary fixings in your pantry. Again, add fruity flavors to extend the options.
4. Black Russian
If you have a Kahlua, Amaretto, or other coffee liquor, you can make several yummy liquor and vodka drinks. Try a Sneaky Pete, Smith and Wesson, White Russian, Black Russian, or a Mudslide.
Tequila is typically one of those spirits that you may not want to opt for the lowest price. Luckily, tequila comes in an array of price points. Find the one that best suits your palette and budget. Add a margarita mix and either go on the rocks or frozen.
6. Gin and Tonic
Gin is relatively affordable, and all you need is some tonic water to make a classic Gin and Tonic. You can spruce it up as much as you want. Try a Vodka Tonic, Gin Rickey, or add a splash of flavor or fruit juice to create your cocktail.
If you have ginger ale, mix with whiskey for a Highball. Or trade the ginger ale for club soda for a Presbyterian.
8. Hot Toddy
Add some Brandy to a cheap, quick, and easy brew of tea. The spike of spirits can turn your average warm tea into a Hot Toddy. Coincidentally, a Toddy can be made with brandy, rum, or whiskey.
A Mimosa is a great option if you have a bottle of sparkling wine or champagne. Some orange juice or flavored liquor can add some alternatives to the basic Mimosa or switch to a peach flavor profile for a Bellini.
If beer is the only thing you have on hand with alcohol content, try adding some spices and sauces for an impromptu Michelada. It’s typically made with Mexican beer, but any lager can serve as a good stand-in.
On your next night in, take stock of our fridge and pantry and see what might be mixed with what you have in your liquor cabinet. You might find that the best bartender in town is yourself, and you won’t even need to tip.