Simple 3 Ingredient Cocktails to Make at Home

June 13, 2020

One of the reasons more people don’t experiment with cocktails around the house is that it can seem as if there’s a high barrier to entry. There’s a misconception that in order to make a great cocktail, you need eight or 10 ingredients. You might think that you need to ferment something from your garden, or smoke your glassware, or craft your own bitters. Maybe in half an hour you’ll be ready for your beverage.

While there’s certainly no limit to the complexity and creativity of what you can put into a cocktail glass, there’s no need to adapt such a lofty, professional mindset. Instead, keep it simple. You’ll be amazed at the range of delicious drinks you can mix up in a matter of minutes. These 3 ingredient cocktails are the perfect place to start.

Easy 3 Ingredient Cocktails for the Home Bar

Aperol Spritz

-3 ounces prosecco
-2 ounces Aperol
-1 ounce soda water

Directions: Pour the Aperol and soda water into a large glass with ice. Stir, and top with prosecco. Optional garnishes include orange slices or olives.

Three, two, one is the magic ratio here. And by the time you’re done with that countdown, you’ll have a vibrant Aperol Spritz in your hands. Love it, or pretend to hate it, the Aperol Spritz is a drink evocative of a time and place and an excellent warm weather refresher.


-2 ounces cachaça
-1 lime
-2 teaspoons sugar or .5 ounce simple syrup

Directions: Slice off the ends of the lime and cut lime into four wedges. Muddle the lime and sugar together in the bottom of a glass. Add ice and cachaça and stir.

Bring some Brazilian flair into your home with the country’s ubiquitous cocktail, the Caipirinha. The only problem with 3 ingredient cocktails such as this one, which doesn’t have much filler, is that you’ll likely knock back the delicious beverage in only a few moments.

3 ingredient cocktails



-2 ounces white rum
– 1 ounce lime juice
-2 teaspoons sugar or .5 ounce simple syrup

Directions: Shake all ingredients vigorously with ice. Strain into a glass and serve up.

A conceptually perfect and well-balanced drink. For my money, few things are better than a well made Daiquiri. If you’re more into gin than rum, make a substitution and you have a Gimlet.


-1.5 ounces rye whiskey
-.75 ounces applejack
-.75 ounces Yellow or Green Chartreuse

Directions: Stir all ingredients with ice. Strain into a glass and serve up.

When a Negroni somehow isn’t spirituous enough for you, prove your worth against the Diamondback, a potent combination with tantalizing resonance and depth of flavor.

Gibson Martini

-2.5 ounces gin
-.5 ounces dry vermouth
-cocktail onions

Directions: Stir the gin and vermouth together with ice. Strain into a glass and serve up, with one or several cocktail onions.

Aren’t cocktail onions the garnish? They can’t be listed as one of the three ingredients! Not so fast. The cocktail onion is the key differentiator between this drink and a standard Martini. It’s by no means optional, and therefore, a proper third ingredient.


-2 ounces tequila
-1 ounce triple sec
-1 ounce lime juice

Directions: Shake all ingredients with ice. Strain and pour over ice, optionally with salt-rimmed glass and lime wedge garnish.

The triple sec can be Cointreau, or you can use an orange liqueur like Grand Marnier, or whatever else you have around. If you don’t have anything that’s a match, add a half ounce of tequila, and switch the triple sec with one ounce simple syrup.

3 ingredient cocktails



-1 ounce Campari
-1 ounce gin
-1 ounce sweet vermouth

Directions: Stir all ingredients well with ice. Strain and serve over ice, optionally garnished with an orange peel.

The Negroni epitomizes the power of 3 ingredient cocktails. Human civilization could extend for tens of thousands of years, and regardless of the marvelous drink concoctions which arise along the way, few would compare to this classic standard-bearer. Plus, there’s ample room for easy experimentation. Sub the gin for bourbon or rye and you have the Boulevardier, or switch it out for prosecco, topping the drink off with it as opposed to a one ounce pour, and you have the Negroni Sbagliato; do the same with soda water instead of prosecco and you have the low ABV Americano.

Old Fashioned

-2 ounces bourbon or rye whiskey
-2 dashes Angostura bitters
-1 teaspoon sugar or .5 ounce simple syrup

Directions: Muddle the sugar and bitters with a splash of water in a rocks glass (or pour all liquid ingredients together). Add whiskey and ice and stir well. Optionally garnish with an expressed orange twist.

The Old Fashioned, for many, is the definitive cocktail. Its combination of spirit, bitters, sugar and water serves as a foundational blueprint for the entire category. And it’s incredibly easy to make at home.


-2 ounces bourbon or rye whiskey
-1 ounce sweet vermouth
-2 dashes Angostura bitters

Directions: Stir all ingredients well with ice. Strain and serve up, optionally garnishing with a cocktail cherry.

The Manhattan is timeless, offering a pure, straightforward perspective via the addition of sweetness and bitter to the whiskey at its base. Orange bitters can be subbed for Angostura in a pinch.


-2 ounces cognac
-.75 ounce Cointreau
-.75 ounce lemon juice

Directions: Shake all ingredients with ice. Strain and serve up, optionally garnishing with an orange twist on a sugar-rimmed glass.

The Sidecar has been lost in the hubbub about its sugar rim, which seems to take away from its classic roots. Add the sugar rim or not, but either way, the combination of cognac, lemon juice and Cointreau—though other triple secs will work—hits the right notes.

Looking for the perfect spirit to add to your 3 ingredient cocktails?

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