The 9 cocktails you need to learn to make by the time youre 30


Jager-bombs, snake-bites and cheap squash mixed with vodka are fine to neck when you’re an undergrad and your dignity matters less than getting wasted.

But as you reach your thirties, and surpass that milestone, you’ll find that people also posing as adults will come to your home, and for some reason they won’t want to drink bottom-shelf cider from a novelty mug. Just a heads up, they’ll probably also expect glasses.

Oh and, from experience, picking up some plastic picnicware in Tesco an hour before people in their 30s come round is not acceptable and is not conducive to looking like you have your life together. Sorry…

Thankfully, help is at hand as top bartenders have run down the drinks that a person should get to grips with before they turn 30, or need to learn sharpish if they’ve already hit that age. 

An Old Fashioned 

This drink combines 50ml whiskey or brandy, 1 teaspoon of sugar and two or three dashes of angostura bitters and citrus rind. “It’s simple yet sophisticated classic cocktail that you’ll drink for the rest of your life,” says Peter Tunney of London’s European Bartender School. “All you need is a good bottle of bourbon and a few condiments to make it but it serves as the perfect remedy for pretty much anything.” 


“There are a handful of cocktails everyone should know how to make before they turn 30 but nothing says ‘at home cocktail aficionado’ than a well-made Mojito,” suggests Be At One Brand Ambassador, Ricardas Znamenskas.

“To make the perfect Mojito, simply add mint sprigs to a long glass and press lightly with a muddler to release the flavour. Half-fill a tall glass with crushed ice before adding rum, lime juice, lemon juice and sugar syrup. Churn the mixture with a spoon before topping with soda water and capping with more crushed ice. Served with a sprig of mint and a straw, the added attention to detail will make it an instant talking point.”

“What’s more, the Mojito is also a great drink when catering for those not wanting alcohol – simply miss out the alcohol for a delicious non-alcoholic version,” adds Znamenskas.

The Milanese G&T

This cocktail is an Italian take on a British classic with the amazing flavour of Campari, according to Joe St Clair Ford of member’s club Disrepute in Soho, London. “People are trying to be experimental with how they enjoy their gin. A great alternative to the classic gin and tonic is the Milanese G&T.” To whip up this cocktail take one part gin, one part Campari, top up with tonic water to taste and add twist of lemon or a wedge of lime. 

Berlin Sour

David Cole, the drinks development manager for Roc & Rye opening in Manchester this summer calls this a “surprisingly delicious sour drink”. The Berlin Sour is made using 50ml kummel, 25ml lemon juice and 10ml maraschino. The mixture is then shaken and strained and garnished with a cocktail cherry at the bottom of the glass. “The kummel offers a strong caraway backbone, which is softened by the sweet acidity of lemon and the dryness of maraschino. If you love daiquiris, give this a try – you won’t be disappointed,” says Cole.

Cocktails of the Movies – In pictures Cocktails of the Movies – In pictures Greenpoint

“A sweet herbaceous riff on the better-known Manhattan cocktail,” says Cole. “The peppery rye whiskey and smooth sweet vermouth remain, but the addition of chartreuse makes this slightly punchier. One sip warms you up and makes you feel like it’s probably doing you some good… It’s delectably quaffable, either way.” To make a Greenpoint, take 50ml whiskey, 15ml sweet vermouth, 10ml yellow chartreuse, and two dashes Angostura bitters. Stir, and strain into a martini glass. Twist an orange zest over the drink and discard


“Before you turn 30, learn to make a Negroni,” advises, bar manage at Craft London, Dave Brosnan.  “It’s not just ‘cool’ right now, it’s a brilliant drink. It’s also easy, equal parts of Campari, Gin, and Vermouth, all stirred over ice. If you want to impress, experiment changing the Campari for other Italian amari like Cynar, a bittersweet amaro made from artichokes. 

“At Craft London we took this a step further with the Cutty Sark, exchanging the vermouth for a mix of lemon juice and raspberry tea syrup. It’s a complex and vibrant drink that still has its roots firmly grounded in the traditional Negroni recipe.”


“This is a delightfully delicate drink, which is also lower in alcohol content than most,” says Cole.  “The mixture of sherry and vermouths ensure that it is dry enough to be more-ish, whilst the triple sec brings in a hint of citrusy sweetness. You could drink these over, and over, and over, and over,” says Cole. To create a Bamboo, take 40ml of sherry, 20ml sweet vermouth, 10ml dry vermouth, 5ml triple sec, and two dashes Angostura bitters. Stir, strain into a martini glass and twist an orange zest over the drink. 

Charlie Chaplin

The Charlie Chaplin combines 30ml sloe gin, 20ml apricot brandy, and 25ml lime juice, with a twist of the zest of a lemon over the drink. “The bitter-sweet sloes and sweetened apricot are harmonised by the sharp lime juice,” says Cole. “It’s an easy-drinking sipper that gives you a warm hug from the off. It’s also a great way to use up that sloe gin that you have left over from last Christmas (or possibly the one before that…).” 


“The Bramble is a modern-masterpiece crafted by legendary English bartender, Dick Bradsell. It’s the perfect cocktail to serve on a scorching hot summer day,” says Tunney. A Bramble features a mix of dry gin, lemon juice, sugar syrup and crème de mûre.


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