8 Cocktails That Women Will Love

Not too sweet and not too strong, these cocktails are sophisticated, smart and sexy, just like the ladies to whom you'll want to serve them.

So, it's happened: you've invited a lady friend over for an evening of intellectual, witty conversation augmented by adult beverages, and she's agreed to your suggestion. Now you need to put together some drinks she can appreciate, but you know nothing about mixology and your current bar contains exactly one bottle of Jack Daniels, and a container of grenadine so old that the cap has fused to the glass. You know that the woman you're interested in has moved past the likes of Michelob Ultra and bad appletinis, but you're not sure what would impress her. What to do?

First step: don't panic.

Here you'll find recipes for eight great cocktails, one of which your guest is sure to love, and all of which are easy to prepare and require a minimum of exotic ingredients. Almost all of these drinks can be made with a few simple base liquors and a minimum of mixers, and you'll only need a few pieces of hardware. These cocktails are tasty without being syrupy sweet, and none of them are so strong that you risk watching your lady hang over the toilet while you stand outside and wonder if you should call the hospital (trust me: it’s not the best way to end an evening).

If you're worried about breaking the bank, don't be. There are many terrific brands of liquor available at bargain prices, if you know where to look and what to look for. If you're not an expert, that's okay: I’ve spent a few years researching (so to speak). Swing over to my blog and check out my article “Building Your Bar – Budget and Moderate” to get some great ideas for reasonably-priced ingredients.

The Hardware

As for the hardware, we can keep it quick. Get yourself a simple jigger set, a cobbler-style shaker, and some cocktail glasses (I use these inexpensive ones from Crate & Barrel). Oh, and make sure you have plenty of ice. That's all you really need to get started crafting first-rate cocktails.

If you want to spend a few more bucks, I recommend a good muddler, a hand-juicer, and some cocktail picks for garnishes. Squeezing fresh juices is classy and will make the best drinks possible, but don’t be afraid of buying OJ, lemon juice, and the like in prepackaged bottles/cartons. Just make sure it’s 100% natural, and 100% juice, and you’ll be fine.

Oh, and remember the most important rule: the guest is always right. If she wants bourbon on the rocks, give her bourbon on the rocks, and appreciate a woman who knows what she likes!

All set? Let’s make some drinks.

1. The Bronx

The Bronx may have the seediest reputation of New York’s five boroughs, but this cocktail is all class, all the way. Elegant and smooth, it takes you back the heyday of the cocktail: early 20th-century New York.

  • 1.5 oz. Gin
  • 1 oz. Orange Juice
  • .5 oz. Sweet Vermouth
  • .5 oz. Dry Vermouth

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a twist of orange peel.

The embassy cocktail

2. The Embassy Cocktail

One of the few creations on this list to hail from the West Coast, the Embassy Cocktail originated at the club of the same name in Hollywood, California, in 1930. Combining the sweetness of brandy and curacao with golden rum and lime, it’s a definite winner.

  • .75 oz. Brandy or Cognac
  • .75 oz. Orange Liqueur
  • .75 oz. Golden Rum
  • .5 oz. Lime Juice
  • 1 Dash Angostura Bitters

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a lime wedge.

3. The ChaChaCha

This is a creation near and dear to my heart, as the recipe is a joint effort between my wife and I. Hailing from Paris, she loves champagne, and was searching for something with a bit more depth of flavor. Experimentation eventually led us to this sophisticated cocktail. The primary liquor is a bit uncommon, but worth hunting for; it’s delicious!

  • .75 oz. Green Chartreuse
  • Heavy Dash Angostura Bitters
  • Dry Champagne / Prosecco / Sparkling Wine

Combine Chartreuse and bitters in a champagne glass or flute and stir gently to combine. Top slowly with sparkling wine (watch for foam!), and serve with an orange peel twist.

French 95

4. The French 95

Here we have another terrific Champagne cocktail, this one utilizing bourbon. One of the sweeter drinks on the list, the dry sparkling wine helps keep the French 95 from being cloying, making it refreshing and easy to drink.

  • 1 oz. Orange Juice
  • .75 oz. Bourbon
  • .75 oz. Simple Syrup
  • .5 oz. Lemon Juice
  • Dry Champagne / Prosecco / Sparkling Wine

Fill a red wine glass or goblet with crushed ice. Combine the first four ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into wine glass, and top with sparkling wine.

Island Breeze cocktail

5. The Island Breeze

No self-respecting cocktail list would be complete without a nod to the delicious rum drinks of the Caribbean. The Island Breeze isn’t as famous as the Mai Tai, but it’s an equally tasty introduction to tropical drinks that requires less ingredients to make.

  • 4 oz. Pineapple Juice
  • 1.5 oz. Rum
  • 1 oz. Cranberry Juice
  • 2 Dashes Angostura Bitters

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a tall glass with ice, and garnish with a lime wedge.

sidecar cocktail

6. The Sidecar

One of my favorite drinks, the sidecar is a prohibition-era classic that remains elegant and enjoyable as an apéritif, digestif, or anything in between. If you really want to impress, moisten the edges of the chilled cocktail glass with lemon juice, then roll it in sugar before pouring the cocktail.

  • 1 oz. Brandy / Cognac
  • 1 oz. Orange Liqueur
  • .75 oz. Lemon Juice

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish by twisting a piece of orange peel over the drink (optional: flame it) and dropping it in.

7. The Silver Fizz

This close cousin of the Gin Fizz differs only in that it has a mystery ingredient that your date may or may not be interested in: egg whites. Scared of salmonella? You can buy 100% safe, pasteurized egg whites in a carton in the dairy section of most grocery stores. It’s worth it: the whites create a lovely, foamy head on the top of the drink.

  • 1.5 oz. Gin
  • 1.5 oz. Simple Syrup
  • .75 oz. Lemon Juice
  • .75 oz. Egg White (one small egg’s worth)
  • Club Soda or Seltzer

Combine first four ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a tall glass with ice, and top with club soda. Variations: if you omit the egg and decrease the sugar syrup to one ounce, you’ve got a gin fizz. If you change out the club soda for Champagne and then top the foam with two dots of Angostura bitters, you get a drink that doesn’t have a name, but is damn good!

stork club cocktail

8. The Stork Club

Named for the legendary New York City nightclub at which it was first created, the Stork Club is just about the perfect marriage of gin and citrus. Angostura bitters and a flamed orange peel add depth and complexity.

  • 1.5 oz. Gin
  • 1 oz. Orange Juice
  • .5 oz. Orange Liqueur
  • .25 oz. Lime Juice
  • 1 Dash Angostura Bitters

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a cocktail glass, flame the orange peel over the glass, and drop it into the drink.

Christopher Buecheler is a novelist, a web developer, an award-winning amateur mixologist, a brewer, a guitarist, a drummer, and an NBA enthusiast. He lives a semi-nomadic life with his wife and two cats, currently residing in Providence, RI. You can learn more at his website, cwbuecheler.com.

  • http://abetterhuman.blogspot.com STeven

    The Side Car can be made with orange juice instead of orange liqueur. It’s sweeter this way, and you don’t have to stock orange liqueur which doesn’t get used a lot.

    One cocktail women do love is the Cosmopolitan. Double the cranberry juice in the normal recipe for holiday libations.

  • http://www.primermagazine.com andrew


    That’s a great idea! No need to buy the liqueur if it’s not going to get used very much.

  • Joel

    Great list! Definitely noticed the trend towards cocktails with a sweeter side on this list, but that’s probably why they’d all make great drinks for the ladies.

    Would love to see a list from Christopher for some “potent potables” that a man could make for himself. Cheers!

  • http://www.primermagazine.com Andrew

    Joel, that sounds like a great idea!

  • http://www.cwbuecheler.com/ Christopher Buecheler

    “Eight Cocktails that Will Put So Much Hair on Your Chest, People Will Think You’re Smuggling Around a 1970s Basketball Star”

  • cisco

    the cheesecake, though not a elegant as what’s listed above, try 1 part vanilla vodka to 3 parts cranberry juice. if you’re feeling really fancy shake with a splash of cream/milk. chicks dig it.

  • scQue814

    In general I really like your ideas. But I have 2 criticisms:

    1.) It would be very helpful if you specify in your recipes whether the lime juice is intended to be fresh or sweetened.
    2.) I really, really hate it when comments go all sexist about women wanting sweet drinks. That’s like saying all men love to watch “pro wrestling”. Not only is it untrue, but it’s also offensive.

  • http://www.cwbuecheler.com Christopher Buecheler

    Hi Scque814,

    1. In all of these recipes, the lime juice should be fresh (bottled is ok, but it should definitely be unsweetened, 100% pure lime juice). The only recipe that I personally use sweetened/preserved lime juice in is the classic Gimlet.

    2. I can’t speak for the commenters, but it wasn’t my intent to suggest that women only like sweet drinks. My wife, for example, prefers her drinks on the dry side. The intention with this article was merely to provide suggestions for delicious cocktails that are relatively light, so that a woman can have a couple without being concerned that she’s going to end up totally blitzed. 🙂



  • barak

    about the: “The ChaChaCha” drink 🙂

    1) I LOVE the name!
    2)The ingredients are perfect for me
    3)I hope i will feel to ChaChaCha after this one 🙂

  • http://cledgrows.com Jo

    Thank you for the ratings and the recipes. My vote goes to “The Island Breeze”

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  • Janie Monroe

    I guess the one that doesn’t make much sense for me is the silver fizz. Not sure I want to make sure I have pasteurized eggs in stock just to make a drink but I guess I could leave out the egg and do the gin fizz version. The others sound great, especially I like drinks with champagne.

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