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. 

Happy mixing, my friends! // susannah

The Golden Ratio Guide:

Mix the perfect cocktail, every time

Reader Interactions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  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!

Sharing is Caring

Help spread the word. You're awesome for doing it!