Three Ingredient Cocktails

When you’re short on time, three ingredient cocktails are the answer. These 12 easy drinks require minimal mixing but are still so delicious. 

photo of pink belmont jewel cocktail

Y’all, the world is upside down. 

For us, we have worked from home for years. As such, our daily life is more or less the same, but I know that’s not the case for many of you.

Maybe you’re an extrovert who is stuck safe inside.  Maybe you’re working from home all of a sudden. Maybe you’re dealing with kids or family at home. Or all three.

Whatever your life is like, it’s likely not the same as it was a month ago. 

To be quite honest with you, I’m having a hard time reading the news lately. I’m craving a simple trip to the grocery store. Takeout just isn’t the same as getting tacos after work. 

We’re relishing the simple things, though, and I think that’s something we all can do. A sunset walk. Making dinner together. A cocktail at the end of the workday. 

That brings me to today’s post. I want to introduce you to a few of my favorite, most simple cocktails I’ve ever shared here: 

3 ingredient cocktails

A three ingredient cocktail is one that has a short recipe list of just, well, a few ingredients. 

This is the lesson they teach in bartending school, right after the two-ingredient cocktails. (Those are the rum and cokes and whiskey gingers you’ve probably ordered at a bar.) 

Three ingredient drinks are usually pretty easy to mix together.

Sometimes they involve muddling herbs or fruit, like a julep, and sometimes they are shaken together. Sometimes they are simply stirred. 

No matter the method, these are delicious yet simple cocktails. They are the perfect drinks for those times when what’s in your fridge or pantry might be limited. 

photo of Irish mule cocktails top-down

My rules for a three ingredient cocktail

To make this list, I had to make a few concessions:

I’m not including ingredients that contribute to garnishes or rims. These are fun, pretty and sometimes contribute to the flavor, but they’re usually just decorative. If you have them, great, but if not, don’t sweat it.  

I’m also not including ice. Even though it’s an important ingredient because of the roles dilution and temperature can play in a drink, it’s in pretty much every drink. So I nixed it. I figure you already have it on hand, anyway. 

I’m also skipping bitters. If you have them on hand, wonderful. If you don’t, it won’t ruin your cocktail.

These are weird times and you can make great drinks without a ton of ingredients. Promise. 

tangerine sidecar photo

How to make three ingredient cocktail

I’ve picked out 12 of my favorite 3 ingredient cocktails below, but don’t feel married to these recipes.

You can be so creative with just three ingredients.

Here are four common ingredients you’ll see used over and over in the recipes to follow: 

  • Spirits — This one is a given. Bourbon, gin, rum, tequila, brandy, vodka all make appearances in the list below, and you can feel free to sub them out if you don’t have something. 
  • Sugar — Simple syrup is a common sweetener, but it’s okay to replace it with a few teaspoons sugar or a sugar cube. Even jam or jelly will work! Some mixers like ginger beer or lemonade are sweet enough to include this element. 
  • Citrus — Use whatever you have on hand. Lemon, orange, lime, even grapefruit. Citrus is key to so many cocktails. 
  • Bubbles Ginger ale, ginger beer, club soda and champagne are common for adding some fizz.

Feeling stuck? 

If you’re not sure where to start with what you have in your fridge, feel free to ask in my Facebook group, over email or down in the comments. I’d love to help you figure out a drink you can make with what you have on hand. 

Irish mule recipe in a mule mug on a green cloth napkin
Irish Mule Recipe
Ginger beer, Irish whiskey and lime juice make a perfect pairing, but you can replace the Irish whiskey with bourbon, rum, vodka, tequila, scotch, gin — you get the picture!
You can also use ginger ale instead of ginger beer, and lemon or orange instead of lime.
a honey whiskey mint julep garnished with a mint sprig in a silver julep cup on a green plate with a honey wand
Honey Whiskey Mint Julep
This mint julep uses homemade honey whiskey, but you can use any kind of whiskey or bourbon. You don't even need a silver julep cup, but the crushed ice is key.
Beat the heat this summer with Frozen Lemon Daiquiris reminiscent of the New Orleans classic cocktail. Sweet and tart, this citrus and rum cocktail is like a fresh frozen lemonade. (via
Frozen Lemon Daiquiris
These daiquiris are made in the blender with rum, simple syrup and lemon juice. You can replace the juice with any citrus you have on hand. Honestly, they'd be great with just about any spirit.
A red drink with rosemary and cranberries in a glass.
Cranberry Champagne Cocktail
A champagne cocktail is an elegant yet easy cocktail, perfect for celebrating anything. This one uses cranberry juice, but traditionally champagne cocktails use lemon juice. You can use any juice you have on hand and I bet it will be delicious.
The storied Seelbach Bourbon Champagne Cocktail is a glitzy cocktail worthy of celebration! The marriage of bourbon whiskey, champagne, orange and cocktail bitters is a festive way to toast both the holidays and the new year. Cheers! (via
Seelbach Bourbon Champagne Cocktail
Bourbon and champagne are a surprising combination, but it's so good! Feel free to mix it up with any kind of whiskey that you have on hand.
You don't have to hunt for the prettiest cocktail for Easter brunch, because I already found it. The Raspberry Mint Kir Royale is a sweet sparkler with all the fresh flavors of warmer weather. Enjoy it all spring and summer! (via
Raspberry Mint Kir Royale
A kir royale is a sweet sipper with all the fresh flavor of spring and summer, and would be perfect for a brunch cocktail. Make it with regular simple syrup and/or any fruity spirit if you prefer.
Grab a friend you haven't seen in a while and shake up a Tangerine Sidecar for him or her! This twist on a Prohibition-era classic is the perfect reason to get together. (via
Tangerine Sidecar
A sidecar is an easy brandy cocktail. A Prohibition-era classic, this one is made with tangerine lemonade, but feel free to sub out with any citrus juice you have on hand.
Rosé Wine Granita is like a grown-up, alcoholic snow cone or slushy. This version of frosé is super simple and the perfect way to enjoy summer. (via
Rosé Wine Granita
This icy treat is made with rosé wine. Feel free to try it with white wine or red wine, if that's what you have. (But err on the sweeter side — this is dessert!)
A drink for the races, the Belmont Jewel is the #1 drink for toasting the Belmont Stakes. Bourbon, lemonade and pomegranate juice served over crushed ice make for a fruity punch that's delicious all summer long. (via
Belmont Jewel Cocktail
This is the cocktail that's typically enjoyed during the Belmont Stakes, but it's one you can enjoy all summer long. Made with bourbon, lemonade and pomegranate juice, but you can sub in any fruit juice or spirit you have on hand.
This Kombucha Mojito is a minty and slightly sour version of the classic sipper. Made with all-natural fermented tea, this cocktail packs a real tangy punch. (via
Kombucha Mojito
Use the kombucha in your fridge to make a mojito. You can skip the simple syrup if kombucha is already sweet enough for you!
Savor the end of summer with a Ginger Peach Bourbon Smash. Muddle together an easy ginger simple syrup, juicy peaches, warm citrus and oaky bourbon, and toast to the last days of warm weather. (via
Ginger Peach Bourbon Smash
This Ginger Peach Bourbon Smash may have more than three ingredients on the surface, but I'm including it because the method works. Simple syrup + muddled fruit + bourbon = a perfect cocktail.
Try it with berries, citrus, herbs — and you have a winner. You can even skip the syrup if bourbon is sweet enough for you.
Kick off summertime with a batch of cherry red Cheerwine Bourbon Slushies. Make ice cubes from this famous North Carolina soda and blend them with your favorite American whiskey for a true patriotic treat. (via
Cheerwine Bourbon Slushies
This one is technically a two-ingredient cocktail, but the third ingredient is effort, so I'm including it. To make these cherry red Cheerwine Bourbon Slushies, you'll need to freeze the soda in ice cube trays ahead of time, then blend it with bourbon for a frozen treat.
Don't have Cheerwine near you? You can use any cherry soda or even cola or ginger ale and mix it with your favorite spirit.
decorative icon of a beer stein.

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Mix the perfect cocktail, every time

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  1. Anne says

    Love this! I’m not much of a cocktail maker, but we do have some supplies and going for something with 3 ingredients sounds doable… sounds like a “something new” I should be trying during this time at home 🙂

    • Susannah says

      Thank you so much, Anne! I’m so glad cocktail making might be your “something new” to try right now. Let me know how it goes!

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