My Top 5 Cocktails Of All Time—And How To Make Them

It’s 5 o’clock somewhere! Luis Bunuel said, “If you were to ask me if I’d ever had the bad luck to miss my daily cocktail, I’d have to say that I doubt it; where certain things are concerned, I plan ahead.”

Here’s to planning!

My top 5 favorite cocktail recipes of all time. What’s yours?

5.) Mudslide — 8 to 12  cubes of ice crushed in a blender, 2 scoops Breyers chocolate ice cream, 1 scoop Breyers vanilla bean ice cream, 1 oz. vodka, 1 oz. Bailey’s, 1 oz. Kahlua, 1 oz. heavy cream, decorate glass with an artistic stream of chocolate syrup. This cocktail is the ultimate dessert. It is the infamous drink served up by my friend Matt Brady at our annual Super Bowl Party. I’m not sure where we found this recipe, Friday’s Restaurant, I think. Wow!

4.) Orange & Vanilla Caprioska — 2 oz. vanilla vodka, 1.5 oz. Cointreau, .75 oz simple syrup (to make simple syrup combine equal parts water and sugar, heat until liquified and clear, let cool,) 3 chunks of orange, muddle (mash until smooth) together. Discovered this delectable drink at the Beach House on Hamilton Island in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

3.) Dirty Martini — 2 oz. favorite high quality vodka, 1/2 oz. olive juice. Gently coat cocktail glass with Sweet Vermouth. Shaker with ice until cold. Garnish with two olives. The classic martini. Discovered this recipe in the Denver International Airport. Yep, you guessed it. I hate to fly.

2.) French Martini — 3 oz. pineapple juice, 1.5 oz. of your favorite high quality vodka, 3/4 oz. Chambord. Shaker with ice until cold. Serve garnished with cherry. It is the perfect cocktail with sushi. Discovered this recipe at Virago Restaurant in Nashville.

1.) Maple Manhattan — 2 oz. Rye Whiskey, 3/4 oz. Sweet Vermouth, 1/4 oz. maple syrup, 2 dashes Angostura bitters, gently stir in a shaker of ice until cold. Serve up garnished with a maraschino cherry with a stem. This is definitely my favorite martini of all time. Smooth with a kick! Discovered this recipe at the Citizen club in Nashville.

I have many, many more cocktail recipes and I find it a little scary that I could write all these recipes from memory. Or maybe that just proves they really are my favs!

Question: What is YOUR favorite cocktail?

If you give the recipe, there is extra brownie points and cocktail hour will be four o’clock for you today!!

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67 Responses to “My Top 5 Cocktails Of All Time—And How To Make Them”

  1. My good ole’ boy Redneck upbringing (yes, I can skin a buck and run a trot line) would say my fave cocktail is a good Bud Light in a frosted mug. HAHA. Seriously.

  2. Hmm .. is that what I saw some folks (we won’t mention who, right) at the Pig Pub in Franklin downing?

    Randy, next time we’re together in person, remind me to tell you my “peach brandy” story – good, pure moonshine. I have to tell it in person – typing can’t convey the animation and “vocal effects” needed. Maybe in … “OCTOBER” now.

  3. So when does the bar open?

  4. Love the great memories engendered by this list. The food and libations are great, but the camaderie is even greater!

  5. French martini–that sounds excellent. Well, it did until you mentioned sushi. *shudder* :)

  6. The Caipirinha is a wonderful summertime drink that originated in Brazil, and uses cachaca, a sugar-cane derived syrup. It’s a wonderful, fresh alternative to a margarita:

    2 limes, quartered
    2 tsp. of granulated sugar
    2 ounces of cachaca

    Sprinkle the sugar over the limes and muddle them in a glass until the sugar is dissolved and the lime juice is released. Fill the cocktail glass with crushed ice. Add the cachaca. Shake or stir until it is all mixed.

    Wonderful! It tastes like summer!

  7. It’s 1030 in the morning and you have me craving one of Matt’s mudslides. It’s gonna be a long day! :)

  8. Love them all, Randy!!…This is my new favorite~

    The Stoli Doli


    * 1 fresh Dole pineapple, cut into pieces
    * 1 (750 milliliter) bottle Stolichanya vodka


    1. Place the pineapple pieces into a large container, and pour the vodka over them. Cover, and refrigerate for 3 to 4 days. Strain out pineapple, and serve vodka over ice with a pineapple garnish.

    This will be great to enjoy this Summer..Cheers!!

  9. Randy,

    I will share two of my favorites… old, classic cocktails that require a well stocked bar and usually a bartender with a subtle touch…

    First, the Sazerac, originated in pre-Civil War New Orleans and may be the oldest known cocktail…

    Ingredients: 3 oz rye whiskey, 3/4 oz simple syrup, Peychaud bitters to taste, absinthe or absinthe substitute lemon twist for garnish

    Chill an old-fashioned glass by filling it with ice and letting it sit while preparing the rest of the drink. In a separate mixing glass, mix the simple syrup and Peychaud bitters together. Add the rye whiskey and ice to the bitters mixture and stir. Discard the ice in the chilled glass and rinse it with absinthe (or substitute) by pouring a small amount into the glass, swirling it around and discarding the liquid. Pour the whiskey mixture from the mixing glass into the old fashioned glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

    Ad number two, just recently introduced to by a friend, the Vieux Carre… another New Orleans originated cocktail from the 1930’s…

    Ingredients: 1 oz rye whiskey, 1 oz Cognac, 1 oz sweet vermouth, dash Peychaud’s bitters
    dash Angostura aromatic bitters, 1/2 oz Benedictine, lemon twist for garnish


    Pour the whiskey, Cognac and vermouth into an old-fashioned glass half-filled with ice. Add the bitters. Add the Benedictine then stir four times with a silver spoon. Squeeze the lemon over the drink then drop it into the glass.


  10. Randy,

    3:00!! SO you are in CDT and I am in PDT…. so since you made the decree in your timezone, I must honor it at your time in my time = 1:00!! LOL

  11. I just wrote a post called “Bucket List of 111 Drinks your Must Try” and I am currently working my way through every one! So far, the French 75 is my favorite. But, in my younger days I loved my a mudslide!

    Thanks everyone for sharing some recipes that I can try.

  12. This is our house drink. How cool. — I serve it every time we have guests. I LOVE Cachaca — only variation is I use Turbinado sugar. Most excellent drink. I have some guests who like orange or pineapple juice added to it and that’s not too bad either. It is potent though.

  13. You can usually find Turbinado sugar any place that sells organic foods. Most grocers do carry it though – in the baking aisle with the other sugars. It’s organic raw cane sugar and it’s a little on the crunchy side. It’s great on top of muffins and is a 1 for 1 substitute for granulated sugar. It doesn’t disolve as easy though so some people don’t like it. I love the richer taste to it.

  14. i’m not much of a mudslide girl, but i loooooooved the one matt made last time i was at your house. so good!

    i think the “caprioska” one sounds amazing! might need to make a run to the liquor store…

  15. “Cocktail”? Randy, all any Irish-Catholic lass needs is a shot of good whiskey – and the access to a second shot, if desired.

    And as to whether you need to dilute that heavenly beverage with water, well – I let my grandmother decide that for me. When I was little, my family and I would go to Ireland every few years to visit the relatives. While there once, I heard my 80 year old grandmother offered a whiskey – and they asked her if she wanted some water with it. She replied, “When I want water, I’ll drink water.”


    If whiskey neat is good enough for Delia McDonagh, it’s good enough for her granddaughter.

  16. i’ll have one of each, please. spread out over 5 nights, of course. or not.

    my 3 favorite drinks at the moment are…

    screewdriver – so simple.


    margarita. currently on the hunt for the perfect one tho.

  17. (sigh) aw, rats. Now I want Bushmills – keep working, Judy, keep working . . . (giggle)

  18. Stephanie Tanner March 24, 2011 at 16:43

    Champagne and Pama…or a long island iced tea if I’m not driving anywhere!

  19. Stephanie Tanner March 24, 2011 at 17:56

    Are you sure you want to know? You might have a new obsession! It’s a pomegranate liquour that is my new favorite splurge at the store. I really like it with champagne but I’ve had it with vodka, rum, and straight and it is awesome any way you take it!
    The Pama cosmo is a staple at get-togethers with my girlfriends!

  20. I would love your Texas margarita recipe — that’s my fav! I need to introduce Brent and Tam to it!

  21. Lavender Mojito

    Recipe :

    First fell in love with mojitos in Japan… where they are often made with Shiso leaves :)

  22. I completely agree….the #5 mudslides are aaaaaamazing! Now next year let’s try the #1 Maple Manhattan at the superbowl party!
    As for my end of the day drink, I am a simple man, just give me a Crown and coke or Crown and seven.

  23. Randy these are fabulous!! I was just in Florida with my parents and their friends and they made fantastic mixed cocktails like these…So thankful for the recipes!! I love your blog!

  24. @jodytodd and I won the 2010 Christmas Party First Place Martini prize with the Strawberry Balsamic martini recipe that we snagged off of this blog.

    You can’t deny a winner. Cannot.

Created by Randy Elrod

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