The history of the cocktail is relatively brief—it only dates back some 200 years. The first documentation can be found in Jerry Thomas’s How to Mix Drinks or the Bon Vivant’s Companion: The Original Cocktail Guide in 1862.
And though, over time, we’ve been privy to the ebbs and flows of spirits and beverages in general (goodbye Prohibition, helloooo bottle flipping à la Tom Cruise in Cocktail), the classics—the originals, if you will—do not require a Master’s Degree. The formula is simple: combinations of spirits, sugar, water and bitters in ratios that are easy to remember.
Below we’ve got those combinations and ratios for you. Commit them to memory and you’ll always have a drink at the ready.