Be Your Own Bartender: Delicious Cocktails You Can Make With Ingredients You Already Have!

Want to impress your date for a night cap or are you just bored with plain Captain and Coke as your at home go-to drink? I put together a list of recipes, some familiar and others I’m sure will be new, to test out with ingredients you likely have already in your fridge and pantry!

A little about me and why I am interested alcohol expeditions: Right after becoming legal in the states (finally) I returned to my senior year of college and got a job as a bartender. When I was hired I knew VERY little about alcohol and cocktails. At this point in my life I barely knew how to order a bottle of beer at the bar let alone make hundreds of different drinks and shots for strangers on a whim. It was an excellent experience and really helped to learn a lot about time management, working with my coworkers, having a fun and stressful work environment, and also how to make BANGIN drinks for myself and friends at home or house parties. Not a bad skill AMIRIGHT?!

Now I’m a college graduate and always seem to have half empty bottles of some kind of alcohol lying around waiting to get turned into something delicious. So if you’re like me and want to know some tasty tricks you can easily turn your leftover bottles into, look no further.


Tequila Sunrise

What You Will Need:

  • Orange Juice
  • Grenadine
  • Tequila – any kind will do. Silver or gold

Fill your glass all the way up with ice to start and depending on your glass size pour about 1 to 2 oz of tequila into the cup. Don’t worry about making it perfect because you can always add to taste for your personal preferences later! Next pour in the orange juice almost all the way to the top. (Avoid putting the grenadine in before the OJ since it sinks to the bottom on it’s own anyways!) Last is the splash of grenadine; if you don’t have any of this on hand it can easily be found in the liquor aisle near mixers or if you have Maraschino Cherries in your pantry feel free to add some of the juice as a substitute!


Bloody Mary

Don’t dismiss this drink before you try a homemade Bloody Mary!

What You Will Need:

  • Vodka or Gin (I like gin which is sometimes called a red snapper)
  • Dill pickle juice
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Hot Sauce (I like Red Hot but any will do)
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Tomato Juice (much less than you’d think, really!)

One of my all time faves… The Bloody Mary. Such a classic! If you’ve never had a homemade one of these bad boys you are seriously missing out. Start with your glass filled with ice and pour in your vodka or gin. I highly recommend trying a Bloody Mary with gin, you’ll wonder why it’s not the go-to for the classic drink! Next add in about an equal amount of pickle juice the the mixture. A dash of salt and pepper and hot sauce and Worcestershire to taste and you’re almost done. Fill up the rest of the glass with tomato juice and the ritual is complete! Use another cup to pour the drink back and forth to really mix up Mary (we like it shaken, not stirred here!) and enjoy!

The garnish is where you can really get as creative as you’d like, but some options are:

  • Cheese cubes
  • Olives
  • Pickles
  • Cold, cooked meats
  • Cooked Bacon
  • Celery


Lunch Box

Normally this name is referring to a shot where you would drop in the shot of amaretto, but here it makes for a tasty drink you’ll want to remember!

What You Will Need:

  • Beer
  • Orange Juice (pulp free works best)
  • Amaretto liquor – this one you may have to purchase as it’s not the most common thing in your liquor cabinet but once you try how good it is you’ll be Googling other recipes you can put in.

I recommend an unflavored wheat beer such as Blue Moon or Oberon but literally any plain beer tastes good. To make this unlikely concoction you simply need equal parts beer and OJ and then top it off with about an ounce of Amaretto liquor. This is obviously great as a shot, but it’s so tasty you’ll want to sip on it for a while!


Vodka Water with a splash

Care for a refreshing summer drink? Okay this one is pretty obvious but it’s still pretty overlooked. Take any flavored vodka, pour it over ice and fill almost to the top with water and add a splash of cranberry juice. This doesn’t sound like much but take a sip of the mixture before and after the cranberry and you’ll see how much more palatable the drink is. The little bit of cran completely takes the edge and bite off of the vodka! While this is basically just a watered down cranberry vodka, it’s well worth a try if you find yourself with the ingredients already on hand.


Let me know if this list was helpful! If you would like any other drink recipes or more advanced cocktails let me know in the comments or at my email; I’m always up for a challenge and I’ve got plenty of drink and shot recipes still stuck in my head! Good luck and get drinking!


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