10 Easy Cocktails To Boost Your Mood

For many, the edge is sharp, and these drinks will help whittle it down for them

Welcome, everyone, to the crap-fest that is adult life.

After high school and college, life becomes one big uncertainty, and the future seems bleak for those who just want things to get better. Yet, like Black Mirror, life has a million different ways to screw us over.

Thankfully, in those times where things are not going well, one can turn to libations for a brief escape from the insanity.

Today, with the convenience of the internet, there are countless cocktail recipes that can brighten one's day. But, for those who don't have the money to spend on bougie liquors, here are 10 simple recipes that utilize what's already at home:

Image Source: pexels

1. Hot Toddy

Image Source: freepik

Although the weather is warming up, it's never a bad time to try out this classic. Whether or not you currently have a cold, this drink will put some pep in your step. 

Ingredients for Hot Toddy:

-1-and-a-half ounce whiskey of choice

-3/4 cup of water

-2 to 3 teaspoons honey

-2 to 3 teaspoons lemon juice

-1 thin lemon slice

-1 cinnamon stick for style

Steps to make Hot Toddy:

  1. Heat water until just simmering, then pour into glass.
  2. Add other liquid ingredients and stir.
  3. Use lemon slice and cinnamon stick for garnish.
  4. Savor the goodness.

Whenever I feel a mighty thirst, but I also want something with a calming effect, I will prepare myself this cocktail in order to achieve a pleasant end to my evening.

2. Moscow Mule 

Image Source: bevvy

For those who don't have the budget or time to visit Russia, this is the cocktail for them, with its mellow notes of citrus offering a pleasant contrast to the ginger.

Ingredients for Moscow Mule:

-2 ounces vodka of choice

-6 ounces ginger beer

-half or whole lime's worth of juice (whatever tickles your fancy)

Steps to make Moscow Mule:

  1. Add crushed ice and pour liquids into a cup (or copper mug if you're feeling fancy)
  2. Stir ever-so gingerly
  3. Taste the splendor of Mother Russia

On a scorching summer day, if the mood suits me, I will make myself one of these, just to remind myself of the frigid Siberian landscapes and become cooler via subliminal messaging. 

3. Rum & Coke

Image Source: wikimedia

Next is a cocktail for those with little to go on at home. Only two main ingredients, and the pleasure of knowing little money was spent to make it. 

Ingredients for Rum & Coke:

-8 ounces Coca-Cola (go for the Mexican Coke; uses cane sugar instead of corn syrup)

-1-ounce dark rum of choice

-lime for garnish

Steps to make Rum & Coke:

  1. Add ice and ingredients to a highball glass
  2. Stir until Coke and rum mingle, like a wealthy man in his new limo; top with a lime wedge
  3. Enjoy the pep of Coca-Cola with all the relaxing feelings of rum

After a big meal, I will down a tall glass of Coke, but when I also want a little buzz along with the chaser, a bit of Captain Morgan does the job.

4. Margarita

Image Source: wikimedia

From Russia to Mexico, now we have the posterchild of citrus drinks (second only to orange juice). With little effort, one can emulate the tastes of our Southern neighbor land in this fine beverage.

Ingredients for Margarita:

-half a lime

-2 ounces tequila of choice

-1-ounce triple sec of choice

-a dash of agave syrup (optional, in case the tartness is too much)

-salt and/or sugar

Steps to make Margarita: 

  1. Add liquids and ice into a cocktail shaker and shake like your life depended on it
  2. Pour into salt and/or sugar-rimmed glass (Old Fashioned glass works fine); place a lime slice on the rim
  3. Experience the sublimity of Mexico without having to leave your home

The great thing about the classic margarita is its customizability; if I am feeling it, I will experiment and throw in some cranberry juice, cherries, mango puree, or even crushed red pepper so as to head down past the border.

5. Old Fashioned

Image Source: wikimedia

In a nutshell, this cocktail is as old school as cocktails get. Now you can finally put that decorative bottle of whiskey you bought for decoration during the holidays to good use.

Ingredients for Old Fashioned:

-2 ounces whiskey of choice

-1 teaspoon of water

-half a teaspoon of sugar

-2 or 3 dashes of Angostura bitters 

-orange peel for garnish

Steps to make Old Fashioned:

  1. Mix water, whiskey, sugar, and bitters in Old Fashioned glass until sugar fully dissolves and liquids combine
  2. Add ice (or an ice ball if feeling fancy); lightly glide orange peel on the rim and place in the drink
  3. Have a taste and take yourselves back to pre-Prohibition New York

One of my sister's favorite cocktails, this drink is a fine example of mixologist craftsmanship, owing to its simple setup yet elegant presentation.

6. Gin & Tonic

Image Source: wikimedia

What you see is what you get with this cocktail. Provided you have the liquor, only a single grocery run is necessary to get what you need for this drink.

Ingredients for Gin & Tonic:

-4 to 5 ounces of tonic water (go for the lime-flavored variant if feeling adventurous) 

-2 ounces gin of choice

-lime for garnish

Steps to make Gin & Tonic:

  1. In a medium glass filled with ice, add liquids and stir lightly (don't want the carbonation to cause overflow)
  2. Lightly rub the rim with lime piece and place next to sipping spot
  3. Get a taste of Summer before the season starts

Markedly my mother's favorite drink, this cocktail serves as a refresher on even the most stressful of occasions, thanks to its crisp and robust nature.

7. Mojito

Image Source: wikimedia

For those on staycation, because travel is expensive and time-consuming, this is the cocktail for such a conundrum. Just one sip of this refreshing drink will make one feel the experience of a bayside breeze at home.

Ingredients for Mojito:

-6 to 8 mint leaves (hell, add as many as you want, you earned it)

-2 to 3 ounces of club soda

-2 ounces of light or dark rum

-2 teaspoons fine sugar

-1 lime cut in half

Steps to make Mojito:

  1. Muddle sugar, mint, and a small amount of club soda in a highball glass (be sure not to over muddle the mint, you're not making a salad)
  2.  Squeeze lime juice into the glass
  3. Add rum and stir
  4. Add ice and top with club soda
  5. Experience Acapulco without the risk of melanoma 

In regards to my busy schedule, and also my frugality, I will ground myself to avoid spending more money than necessary and treat myself to a drink that makes me feel like I'm relaxing on the beach.

8. Mimosa

Image Source: wikimedia

In part because of adulting, there are few, if any, opportunities to have brunch with friends. In that case, put on those slippers and pour a tall flute.

Ingredients for Mimosa:

-1-and-a-half ounces orange juice (freshly squeezed if you don't wish diabetes on yourself)

-one half ounce triple sec of choice

-3-and-a-half ounces champagne (Brut for those with less of a sweet tooth)

-orange slice for garnish

Steps to make Mimosa:

  1. In a champagne flute, add OJ and triple sec, then top with champagne
  2. Garnish with the orange slice
  3. Toast with friends that this blasted pandemic will end soon

As a tradition, I will enjoy one of these on Christmas morning, just to remind myself that sometimes a good start to the day is with minimalism and a mixed drink.

9. Sweet Tea & Moonshine 

Image Source: thedrinkblog

During the days of Prohibition, there were those who risked it all to get their libation fix. For those who wish to drink like the liquor barons, this cocktail is for them.

Ingredients for Sweet Tea & Moonshine:

-8 ounces sweet tea of your choice

-2 ounces of moonshine 


Steps to make Sweet Tea & Moonshine:

  1. In a mason jar (or standard glass) add ingredients along with ice and stir
  2. Add lemon slices
  3. Live like the rebels

In part because of laziness, or simply out of a lack of motivation after a long day at work, I will pour myself a mason jar of sweet Pure Leaf and follow it with moonshine, just to experience the 1920s in a glass.

10. Espresso Martini

Image Source: wikimedia

Alcohol might be a depressant, but when the need for caffeine arises, this cocktail is paramount for getting on the move. It can also serve as a fine pairing with any rich dessert. 

Ingredients for Espresso Martini:

-2 ounces vodka of choice (go with chocolate or vanilla varierty if want more flavor)

-1 ounce of espresso (or cold brew coffee)

-1 half-ounce coffee liquor 

-1 half-ounce of simple syrup 

-coffee beans for garnish

Steps to make Espresso Martini:

  1. Add liquids to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake as though the caffeine fix has already been attained
  2. Strain into a cold martini glass
  3. Add coffee beans (go heavy if sleep-deprived)
  4. Get on the go (but not right away if driving) 

After a hearty meal, I will enjoy some coffee to wash away the aftertaste, but if I'm feeling up to it, I will give my bean juice a splash of liquor.

. . .

Owing to the stresses of adult life, thanks to being a loner in this vast, unpredictable world, it doesn't hurt to have a cocktail to fall back on when the going gets rough. 

I'm just the average bear trying to find his place among other aspiring writers. Also please consider following me on Twitter @good_wickham

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