Whether you’re a seasoned bartender or a total novice, there’s no denying that coming up with new and creative cocktail recipes is hard work. And while we all appreciate a classic mojito or old-fashioned every now and then, sometimes you just need to mix things up (literally). So, if you need some inspiration, look no further than this list of 10 of the most creative cocktails from some of the best mixologists around.
Shake Things Up with These Trendy, Creative Cocktail Recipes
1. Cotton Candy Martini
This one is sure to bring out the kid in everyone. Not the literal kid, because that’d be illegal (and kinda creepy).
The Cotton Candy Martini is made with vodka, raspberry liqueur, and blue curacao, and is garnished with – you guessed it – cotton candy.
- 1.5 oz vodka
- 1 oz raspberry liqueur
- 0.5 oz blue curacao
- Cotton candy, garnish
- Add vodka, raspberry liqueur, and blue curacao to a shaker filled with ice. Shake well. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with cotton candy.
2. Chocolate Cherry Bombs
One important thing to note about these Chocolate Cherry Bombs is that they should be shaken well before serving. This will ensure that the flavors are properly mixed and that you get a delicious drink every time.
These bad boys are made with vodka, cherry syrup, chocolate liqueur, and cream, and are garnished with chocolate shavings and a cherry. They’re rich, decadent, and sure to be ordered over and over again by chocolate lovers.
- 1.5 ounce vodka
- 0.5 ounce cherry syrup
- 0.25 ounce chocolate liqueur
- 1 ounce cream
- Chocolate shavings
- Cherry, garnish
- In a shaker filled with ice, combine the vodka, cherry syrup, chocolate liqueur, and cream. Shake well and strain into a chilled glass. Top with chocolate shavings and a cherry for garnish.
LBS Instructor Tip: Use a creamy liquor and chocolate shavings to coat your rim. Or even graham cracker crust. Give folks a non-dairy option and you’ll be as popular as ‘Pokemon Go’ in 2016.
3. Galaxy Mule
Like a science experiment, but with alcohol… make magic happen right in front of your guests. Not that kind of magic!
- Magic Blue Ice
- 8 flowers of Butterfly Pea Flower Tea
- 2 cups hot water
- Galaxy Magic Moscow Mule
- 2 ounces vodka
- .50 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
- 4-6 ounces ginger beer
- crushed ice
- Crushed “Magic Blue Ice”
- For the Galaxy Magic Mule:
- Crush clear ice and add it to a mug.
- Top with crushed Magic Blue Ice.
- Add lime juice, vodka, and ginger beer.
- Top with additional Magic Blue Ice.
- For the Magic Blue Ice:
- Add hot water to the Butterfly Pea Flowers, allow to steep for 3-4 minutes, and strain out the flowers. Pour the liquid into ice cube trays and freeze.
Don’t have butterfly pea flower at your bar? Don’t worry, Amazon has your back. Grab it online or, even better, source it from a local supply shop!
4. Smoked Manhattan
Smoked Manhattans who?
I don’t know, but I want one!”
This twist on a classic cocktail features whiskey, sweet vermouth, Angostura bitters, and orange zest, all smoked with hickory chips before being served up in a martini glass. It’s perfect for anyone who loves a good Manhattan but is looking for something a little different.
- 2 ounces whiskey
- 1 ounce sweet vermouth
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
- 1 orange zest
- Hickory chips
- In a glass smoker, soak hickory chips in water for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
- Add the chips to the smoker and grill for about 10 minutes, or until they begin to smoke.
- Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.
- In a shaker filled with ice, combine whiskey, sweet vermouth, Angostura bitters, and orange zest.
- Shake well and strain into a martini glass.
- Top with smoked hickory chips and serve immediately.
5. Margarita Jell-O Shots
These bad boys are not for the faint of heart. Margarita Jell-O Shots are made with tequila, lime juice, triple sec, and – of course – Jell-O mix. They’re fun, festive summer cocktails alternatives, and sure to get the barbeque started if you’re at a private event.
Just be careful not to serve too many to your drinker! They go down quick and easy.
- 1 (3-ounce) package lime Jell-O
- 0.5 cup tequila
- 0.25 cup triple sec
- 1 cup boiling water
- Pour the boiling water into a large bowl. Add the Jell-O mix and stir until it dissolves.
- Add the tequila and triple sec and stir until well mixed.
- Pour the mixture into shot glasses or small containers and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
6. Rainbow Shots
Okay, so it’s not a super easy cocktail but this one is sure to turn heads when you make it. Perfect for happy hour or for celebrating the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day!
The Rainbow Shot is made with vodka, triple sec, grenadine syrup, Blue Curacao liqueur, and lemon-lime soda. It’s an eye-catching drink that tastes as good as it looks.
7. Grapefruit Cardamom Gin Fizz
A gin fizz but make it extra. Because brunch deserves a little something more than juice orange juice or rosé.
This spritz-y, bubbly, champagne cocktail is made with gin, grapefruit juice, rosemary sprigs, simple syrup, club soda, and an egg white (which gives it that beautiful foamy head). Garnish it with a sprig of rosemary and enjoy!
- 2 ounces rosemary syrup
- 3 cardamom-infused gin
- 0.5 cup grapefruit juice
- Prosecco, splash
- Rosemary sprig, garnish
- Grapefruit peel, garnish
- Add gin, rosemary syrup, and juice from the grapefruit into a mixer. Shake until it’s all mixed well. Strain and serve over fresh rocks. Top with some prosecco and your garnishes to serve.
8. White Russian - The Dude Abides
If you’re a fan of The Big Lebowski then you’ll love this delicious cocktail inspired by the movie’s iconic character. It’s made with vodka, coffee liqueur (or Kahlua), and milk (or cream), and is garnished with coffee beans. Enjoy it while watching your favorite Coen brother’s film!
9. Raspberry Lemon Drop Martini
The most creative cocktails are ones that are inspired by flavors of nostalgia. Raspberry lemonade could very well be that note for your bar guests.
We’d recommend this to someone who does not quite want a tart lemony drink, but something sweet. Odds are, you already have what you need behind the bar. And if you’re at home–you can find the ingredients with no issue.
It’s made with vodka (or lemon-flavored vodka), raspberry liqueur, fresh lemon juice, and simple syrup. Garnish it with a sugared rim and some fresh raspberries.
- 2 ounces raspberry vodka
- 2 ounces Triple Sec
- 2 ounces lemon juice
- 6-8 fresh raspberries
- Simple syrup, to taste
- Sugar, for rim
- Rim your glass using simple syrup and sugar. Muddle raspberry and some more simple syrup in a glass. Add some ice, vodka, lemon juice, triple sec then shake it up until it’s cold. Strain, serve in your rimmed glass, and garnish.
10. Cucumber Mint Gimlet
Usually, when my regulars think cucumber mint, 90s lotion, or a spa day comes to mind.
Not with this Gimlet variation!
Cucumber and mint dance together alongside the botanical notes we all know and love in gin.
It’s made with gin, cucumber slices, lime juice, simple syrup, and mint leaves. Garnish it with a cucumber slice or sprig of mint. Cheers!
- 2 ounces cucumber gin
- 1 ounce lime juice
- 0.5 ounce mint simple syrup
- Build the drink into a tall glass and serve with no ice.
11. Watermelon Mojito
This delicious twist on a classic mojito is perfect for summertime (or spring!) sipping. It’s made with watermelon, rum, fresh lime juice, fresh mint leaves, simple syrup, and sparkling water. Garnish it with a slice of watermelon or sprig of mint and enjoy!
- 4 ounces seedless watermelon, chopped
- 4 large mint leaves
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar
- 0.25 ounce lime juice
- 1.5 ounces light rum
- Mint leaves and lemon twist, garnish
- Muddle mint and watermelon using agave and freshly squeezed lime juice. In the cocktail shaker, add ice and rum. Shake until it’s chilled. Over fresh rocks, serve in a rocks glass. Use a lemon twist as garnish.
Any of these can be made into a mocktail, too. Plus, mocktails are a great canvas for letting your cocktail creativity swirl together. Your guests and their taste buds will love you.
Show us your creation! Have a recipe that you want to share with the world? Email us directly (yes, we’re real!) or slide in our Facebook DMs. We’ll add yours to the list.
Local Bartending School is Your Source for Creativity
Looking for something new to shake up your cocktail menu? Check out these 11 creative cocktails from some of the best mixologists around. Whether you’re in the mood for a refreshing citrus drink or a boozy coffee concoction, there’s sure to be something here that will get your taste buds tingling and tip jar jingling.