If you’ve so much as glanced at a cocktail menu in 2022, you likely encountered miniature cocktails, low-ABV spirits hitting center stage, and Martini madness. But when we weren’t heading out to restaurants and bars to have someone make us a perfectly crafted drink (the post-pandemic shine hasn’t worn off, and likely never will), we were whipping up drinks inspired by those trends at home, from a dirty pasta water Martini, to a party-ready Spaghett. And then, of course, there were the drinks made viral by the Internet, like the Negroni Sbagliato and the Dirty Shirley. Whether you’re feeling a little nostalgic for the year past, or want to give something new a try, read on for our 15 most-read cocktail recipes of 2022.
Frozen Salted Espresso Martinis
If you’re an espresso martini fan, you’ll love this frosty twist. First, brewed espresso is frozen in an ice cube tray; once the cubes are solid, they’re processed with coffee liqueur, vodka, and simple syrup in a blender until smooth. The resulting martinis are well-balanced, with notes of caramel and vanilla. The liqueur and syrup give them subtle sweetness, the vodka adds a smooth element, and the espresso brings earthy bitterness. An elegant sprinkle of flaky sea salt finishes the drinks off, and balances the espresso’s bitterness. Make sure to chill the glasses before serving and enjoy right away.
Frozen Aperol Spritzes
The Aperol Spritz — a simple combination of Aperol, Prosecco, and club soda — is easily one of the most celebrated summer cocktails. This recipe is a frozen twist on the classic, and includes orange liqueur for even more orange flavor. Food & Wine’s Justin Chapple originally developed a version of the recipe for Pepe’s Wharf in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and streamlined it here so it’s easy to make in a home blender. For the best results, allow the Aperol cubes to freeze overnight.
Remember drinking Shirley Temples when you were a kid? The cocktail for children has made a comeback, albeit one suitable for adults only. A shot of vodka added to the mixture of ginger ale and grenadine gives it a slight edge, but the maraschino cherry on top keeps things whimsical. Feel free to cut the ginger ale with sparkling water to cut the sweetness, or to swap in lemon-lime soda for the ginger ale if you prefer.
The Monarch Cocktail
Pamplemousse liqueur lends mellow citrus flavor that highlights the grapefruit notes in Lillet Rosé in The Monarch cocktail, a martini-style drink from Shannon Tebay.
Campari is the slightly bitter cousin of Aperol, an Italian aperitif known as the star ingredient of the popular Aperol Spritz. Here, we swap out the slightly sweeter Aperol with Campari, and mix in a little blood orange juice, Prosecco, and grapefruit flavored sparkling water for an altogether refreshing cocktail. Make on a hot summer day, sit back, and dream of sitting in a café on the Italian Riviera.
Created in the 1970s at Grand Cayman’s Wreck Bar at Rum Point, this potent blend of vodka, Kahlúa, and Baileys Original Irish Cream might taste like a milkshake, but it can’t be ordered virgin because all you’d get is a cup of crushed ice! The trio of alcohol blends into a smooth and velvety cocktail just sweet and chocolaty enough without being cloying. A generous drizzle of chocolate syrup and a bright red maraschino cherry with a dusting of ground cinnamon top off each glass.
Dirty Pasta Water Martini
In place of a drier, juniper-forward London Dry Gin, the Dirty Pasta Water Martini features a herbaceous gin (Vetri prefers Revivalist’s Equinox Expression), which adds a subtle, floral quality to this cocktail and delivers a round gentle sweetness that plays off the salty and starchy pasta water. (If you prefer a vodka-based martini, Vetri recommends another local Pennsylvania-favorite, Boardroom Spirits, a distillery making artisanal vodka in Landsdale, PA.)
The name of this striking cocktail created by Justin Ang, lead bartender at The Baldwin Bar in Woburn, Massachusetts, is Tagalog for “mix-mix.” Ang, a native of the Philippines, named it for the icy dessert that layers shaved ice and condensed milk with fruit, jellies, and sweet beans. For this cocktail, Ang blends silver rum, cacaçha, lime juice, and pineapple juice, with ube milk, which gives this concoction its vivid purple hue. He tops the drink with an array of garnishes that echo its namesake dessert, including mint sprigs, dehydrated mango, dehydrated pineapple, and unsweetened flaked coconut.
The best place to sip this classic rum punch is overlooking the sandy swath of Palm Beach at the Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino, where bartender Juan “Jocky” Tromp invented it 59 years ago. Fresh pineapple and orange juices paired with sweet, syrupy grenadine tint this vibrant Aruban cocktail a stunning deep orange-red. Despite a blend of vodka, white rum, and crème de banana, this drink does not have a strongly alcoholic bite but rather stays fruity and mellow.
Although the exact original recipe is known only to a lucky few, Daphne Henderson’s rum punch with cream of coconut — born at Jost Van Dyke’s Soggy Dollar beach bar — has eased the pain of many who have imbibed it. Silky cream of coconut and a sweet-tart blend of fresh orange and pineapple juices get a delicious hit of rich vanilla and molasses notes from rum in this famously soothing cocktail. A garnish of freshly grated nutmeg lends a spicy aroma to each sip.
HBO’s House of the Dragon star Emma D’Arcy brought the Negroni Sbagliato in the spotlight, and we can’t stop drinking them.
Ranch Water, a refreshing concoction of tequila, fresh lime juice, and sparkling water, is a tequila highball said to have been created by cattle ranchers in West Texas in the early 1960s. Ranch Water has become more popular in recent years as people seek out cocktails that are low in alcohol. It’s light and citrusy, making it especially drinkable when temperatures climb towards triple digits on a sticky summer afternoon. The components of a traditional Ranch Water cocktail are simple, so use the best ones you can find; a quality tequila and fresh lime juice are essential here. You can use an aged tequila, mezcal, or sotol if you prefer, although the classic version of this drink calls for blanco tequila. The type of sparkling water is also key to this drink’s appeal; you need one that is sharp and extra bubbly. At the Houston bar Eight Row Flint, guests can enjoy several different flavorful takes on Ranch Water, including this colorful version made with blood orange syrup and Lillet Rosé. Eight Row Flint partner and bar director Morgan Weber and his team make large batches of clarified lime juice with lime juice, water and agar to use as a citrus component in this and other cocktails. If you want to keep things simple, just straining freshly squeezed lime juice is enough. The addition of a splash of the French aperitif Lillet Rosé to this cocktail lends it gentle floral flavor notes and a pink hue, while the blood orange syrup adds more sweetness and tart citrus notes, not to mention a striking boost of color. The pinch of dried rose petals on top emphasizes the rose connection, but is optional — this drink is refreshing on a hot summer afternoon or evening with or without the garnish.
Boozy Frozen Strawberry Lemonade
Famed pastry chef Claudia Fleming’s Boozy Frozen Strawberry Lemonade is sweet, zippy, and irresistibly delicious — exactly the kind of drink you want on a hot summer afternoon. The frozen cocktail is made with lemon vodka, Prosecco, basil, limoncello, strawberries, and lemon sorbet, and can also double as a dessert. Once frozen and blended, make sure to serve the lemonade right away so it doesn’t melt.
Want an easy drink with the spirit of a Negroni but the ease of a beer? Try a Spaghett, an easy-drinking hybrid of the two. This refreshing spiked beer is a popular shift drink in restaurants and bars, and an easy choice on a hot afternoon. You can add a squeeze of lemon if you like, but the light beer and bitter aperitif complement each other nicely on their own.
Frozen canned pineapple and bitters-infused strawberries take this daiquiri-pina colada mash-up to the next level.