A "signature cocktail" sounds like the stuff of a fussy wedding reception, not a simple Sunday dinner party. But as a host at home, having a signature drink just means that you have a delicious and easy-to-mix recipe at the ready to whip up a tasty, boozy sip for anyone who needs it.
So what will your signature drink be? It should be something that, first of all, you like to drink. But it should also be easy for you to keep the ingredients on hand, and to mix and measure on a whim—without a jigger or even a standard-sized glass. Apart from those requirements, anything goes! It can be a classic, a brand new recipe, or something right in between. And if you ask the experts, like we did, you'll see their signature drinks cover all the bases.
And psst... Want to learn more about our experts? Check out their "table cred" right here: Meet the Entertaining Experts
"A mojito. They're easy to customize with additional fruit… like a watermelon or strawberry mojito."
— Joy Cho, Oh Joy!
"My signature cocktail would have to be my Tupelo Honey. The recipe is extremely easy to whip up, and even if you're not a whiskey drinker, I guarantee you'll quickly be converted."
— Mandy Kellogg Rye, Waiting on Martha
"An Extra dirty Martini."
— Lauren Conrad, The Little Market
"A shrub! Essentially it's a sipping vinegar that is made with vinegar infused with fruit, herbs, and/or spices. I love Sweet Caroline's Shrubs. They offer fancy flavors like Mango Cardamom, Grapefruit Tarragon, and Apple Habanero! Simply mix with your spirit of choice and club soda and you have a craft cocktail at home."
— Roxy Te, Society Social
"I always offer guests bourbon (neat or on the rocks). I keep a bottle of Blanton's on our bar cart, ready to share. It doesn't get much simpler than that."
— Kate Arends, Wit & Delight
"When it comes to mixing cocktails for a party, I've learned that the easiest recipes often turn out to be the ones that guests can't stop raving about. I recently hosted an event with Cointreau, and we made Cointreau Rickeys. It calls for just a few great ingredients—club soda, lime juice and Cointreau—that I always keep on hand at home."
— Camille Styles, CamilleStyles.com
"Gin tonic with very thin slices of cucumber, a sprig of rosemary and several fresh mint leaves."
— Holly Becker, Decor8
"The dark and stormy is one of my favorite low-effort, high-reward cocktails. Especially when it's with a strong ginger beer like Fever Tree. Somehow it works well in both summer and winter. My runner-up is a hot toddy with Bulleit—when you see guests holding steaming glass cafe mugs with cinnamon sticks and bourbon, you know it's a holiday party."
— Chantal Aida Gordon, The Horticult
"Definitely an old fashioned! Plus it's a great gender neutral option to have memorized for mixed company."
— Ashley Rose, Sugar & Cloth
"I like to have a mulled apple cider. It's pretty easy to make and all you need is a jug of fresh squeezed apple juice and a pantry of spices. In my pantry, I keep ground cinnamon, allspice, ginger cloves and cinnamon sticks—all organic and usually from the brand Simply Organic which I like because they don't do any irradiation on spices and they are certified organic. I also think the quality is better. For people who don't drink alcohol, it's a great option. And for those want it spiked, a shot of whiskey is always nice."
— Danny Seo, Naturally, Danny Seo
"I like sweet drinks so I mix a juice like blood orange soda and vodka to make a light and pretty drink."
— Jordan Ferney, Oh Happy Day!
"A mimosa with a twist (since champagne is always a good idea). To mix it, I incorporate local apple or muscadine ciders with fresh and frozen fruit. It always look great in a cup and perfect for a hostess in a rush."
— Michiel Perry, Black Southern Belle
"Definitely a margarita! Tequila always gets people in a festive mood. All you need is good tequila (or in the cooler months, I'll use a smoky mezcal), fresh citrus, and some kind of liqueur for added flavor and sweetness (I'll go with orange to keep it classic, or mix it up with ginger or elderflower). I also like to make honey syrup for margaritas, which is like simple syrup but using honey instead of sugar. It's so simple but it leaves an impression with guests. That's what I love about entertaining—making people feel good, while turning the act of eating together into an experience."
— Sarah Ashley Schiear, Salt House Market