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Great cocktails with only three ingredients

Home bartending24 April 2018Ivar de Lange

Great cocktails with only three ingredients

How many ingredients do you think a cocktail has? Four, five, six? Well, if you look at the first definition of the word cocktail from 1806, a cocktail consists of spirit, sugar, bitters and water. Four ingredients, where the water comes from the dilution of ice. So only three ingredients you need to actually buy.

Throughout the history some great recipes with three ingredients have been made. Great recipes and easy recipes to make. Cocktail recipes that have stood the test of time. The complexity of the base spirit is used and only slightly modified or adjusted by the addition of liqueurs, fortified wines or bitters.

The main focus when you make these ‘three ingredient cocktails’ is balance. Here are my favorites three ingredient cocktails in the balance I like. Great to make at home or in your bar. From these basic recipes you can commence your experiments. Change balance and see what that does, change ingredients and create your own cocktail. Small and easy steps can create big changes.

The Old Fashioned

  • 60 ml Bourbon Whiskey
  • 10 ml Sugar Syrup
  • 2 dashes angostura bitters

Add ingredients to an old fashioned glass and add ice cubes. Stir in glass for 20 seconds and garnish with an orange zest.

This is a true bartenders’ drink and a drink that is gaining popularity with the speed of light. And rightly so. Full of flavor, an easy recipe yet complex in taste. And if you look closely at the recipe you can recognize its precursor the Holland Gin Cocktail in the recipe.

If you want to play with the recipe a bit and make a nice twist, click here for inspiration.

Red Light Negroni

  • 30 ml Bols Genever Original
  • 30 ml Galliano L’aperitivo
  • 30 ml Sweet Vermouth

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass and add ice cubes. Stir the cocktail for 20 seconds and strain into an old fashioned glass. Fill the glass with ice cubes and garnish with an orange zest.

The Negroni was first made in 1909. It is a twist on a classic Italian drink the Mi-To. A drink with sweet vermouth and an amaro. The Negroni is named after the man it was made for, Count Negroni. A bon vivant from Florence. The Red Light Negroni is the Dutch twist on it with Bols Genever. Named after a famous part of Amsterdam…

Want to know the original negroni recipe? Click here. 

Rob Roy

  • 60 ml Blended Scotch whisky
  • 20 ml Sweet Vermouth
  • 2 dashes angostura bitters

Pour all ingredients in a mixing glass and fill with ice cubes. Stir for 20 seconds and strain into a pre-chilled cocktail glass. Zest with an orange peel and discard the orange peel.

This drink similar to a Manhattan, is first made in 1894 in honor of the premiere of Rob Roy. An operetta first premiered in New York and based on the story of the Scottish hero Rob Roy McGregor. By using a Scottish blended whisky, the Rob Roy is less sweet than the Manhattan and has more smokey notes to it. A great cocktail recipe, easy to make at home.

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Ivar de Lange

Ivar de Lange

Ivar de Lange is our Master Bartender and manager of the Bols Academy. He has over 21 years of bartending experience and loves to write about anything cocktail.

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