There comes a time in every drinker’s life when combinations of booze and soda no longer cut it. To help you through this time—and to help you make a good first impression on, say, a date or during a business dinner—we’ve put together a list of cocktails that sound fancy, but are probably only a step outside your comfort zone.
1. OLD FASHIONED
These days, pretty much every bar has a signature Old Fashioned, and many seasoned drinkers use this whiskey cocktail to size up new bars and new bartenders. But the drinks that fall under this name range from austere, whiskey-heavy drinks to sweet, fruit-laden spectacles. If you like straight whiskey or whiskey and soda, you may have just found a new go-to.
2. WARD 8
If you like Whiskey Sours, you’re in luck: The Ward 8 is a just a hop, skip, and a jump away. It’s made with grenadine (but not too much), and the citrus sets it apart from the suite of (sweet) drinks that fall under this name.
3. TOM COLLINS
There’s nothing quite as refreshing as a Tom Collins on a warm day. Though it’s named for a 19th century prank, it’s a simple, delightful drink that’s been compared to boozy lemonade.
4. FRENCH 75
Love champagne and are OK with gin? The French 75 puts them together to create an easy-to-drink cocktail. Drink responsibly: The libation was appropriately named after a canon for its substantial kick.
5. MOSCOW MULE
It may have been created as a marketing ploy (and started the craze for vodka), but the Moscow Mule is undeniably delicious. With a bit of spice from the ginger beer and a nice kick from the vodka, it’s perfect for pretty much any drinking occasion.
6. HARVEY WALLBANGER
If a Screwdriver is your go-to, step up your game with a Harvey Wallbanger. To make a Harvey Wallbanger, add a float of Galliano (an herbal Italian liqueur) to your Screwdriver. Et voilà.
7. CUBA LIBRE
Love rum and Coke? Add lime and you’ve got a Cuba Libre—a drink with a much more storied history.
Luckily for us, the classic Daiquiri isn’t a slushy sugar bomb. Instead, it’s a super simple mixture of lime, sugar, and rum: Perfect for beach—or for reminiscing about warmer times.
Though the Margarita was the cocktail that popularized tequila, the Paloma is a slightly subtler blend of grapefruit soda (or grapefruit juice and soda water), lime, tequila, and a touch of salt.