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Student Recipes

11 easy cocktails to make at home

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You're probably used to pre-drinking on cheap wine or a few bargain beers. But how much better would it be if you made your own delicious cheap cocktails?

different cocktails

Credit: Serhiy Shullye (foreground) - Shutterstock

We wouldn't usually advise mixing your drinks (we all know how badly that can end!). But, cocktails are a rare exception, and knowing how to make them can be a great way to make friends at uni.

You can make cocktails at home by mixing the drinks in a glass or large bowl, although it's worth investing in a proper cocktail shaker. This should help you in conjuring up your 'shaken-not-stirred' delights without any hassle or spills.

Allow us to share a few of our favourite cheap and easy cocktail recipes.

Keen to make mocktails instead? Check out the best non-alcoholic drinks.

Best cocktail recipes

Pre-drinks shouldn't be a complicated affair, so we've put together a list of easy cocktails to make at home:

  1. Cheeky Vimto

    Cheeky vimto cocktail

    An old student favourite, and with good reason! Cheeky Vimtos are ridiculously easy to make, and they're a pretty colour too. Need we say more?

    Cheeky Vimto ingredients

    • 1 bottle of WKD Blue (or a cheaper brand)
    • 50ml of port (small bottle)
    • 25ml of vodka.

    Easy Cheeky Vimto recipe

    1. Mix together the bottle of WKD with the port.
    2. Add your vodka and stir.
  2. Sex On The Beach

    Perfect for the summer. Or the winter. Or whenever, really.

    Sex On The Beach ingredients

    • 200ml of cranberry juice
    • 100ml of orange juice
    • 75ml of vodka
    • 75ml of peach schnapps.

    Easy Sex On The Beach recipe

    1. Mix together all of the ingredients (use a shaker if you've got one).
    2. Pour into a glass of ice and enjoy.
  3. Jammy Dodger Shot

    Jammy Dodger shot

    Granted, this one is more of a shot than a cocktail. But, the Jammy Dodger cocktail shot is the best-tasting shot that will ever grace your mouth.

    Jammy Dodger Shot ingredients

    • A bottle of Chambord (blackberry liquor)
    • Double cream (yes, really)
    • Sugar (available from all well-stocked cupboards).

    Easy Jammy Dodger Shot recipe

    1. Fill the shot glass three-quarters full with Chambord.
    2. Top up the shot with cream.
    3. Sprinkle a little sugar on top, knock it back and enjoy!
  4. Piña Colada

    If you haven't tried a homemade Piña Colada before, you're in for a tropical treat. It's a personal favourite of ours (we also like getting caught in the rain) and comes highly recommended.

    Piña Colada ingredients

    • 50ml of white rum
    • 25ml of coconut cream
    • 25ml of single cream
    • 200ml of pineapple juice.

    Easy Piña Colada recipe

    1. Mix together all of the ingredients (again, use a shaker if you've got one).
    2. Serve over ice.
    3. If you want to cheat, you can avoid buying the first three ingredients and just use Malibu instead!
  5. Woo Woo

    woo woo cocktail

    Credit: Kasia - Shutterstock

    Woo Woo is a Wetherspoons favourite, but you can easily make this at home too – and it's cheaper. Here's how.

    Woo Woo ingredients

    • 25ml of peach schnapps
    • 25ml of vodka
    • 50ml of cranberry juice.

    Easy Woo Woo recipe

    1. Mix the vodka and peach schnapps together.
    2. Add the cranberry juice and enjoy.
  6. Mojito

    Mojitos have been a staple cocktail for years, and it's not hard to see why it has remained popular among students. Best of all, these easy cocktails don't take long to make.

    Mojito ingredients

    • Half a lime (cut into 4 pieces)
    • 5 fresh mint leaves
    • Tablespoon of sugar
    • 50ml golden rum (Captain Morgan's spiced or Havana Club should do)
    • Soda water
    • A handful of strawberries or raspberries (optional, but it gives an extra burst of flavour).

    Easy Mojito recipe

    1. Put the lime, mint leaves and sugar (plus the berries, if you're using them) into a glass and mash them together with any utensil you can find (the handle of a plastic utensil, like a spatula, can work).
    2. Add the rum, top up with soda water and stir. Your mojito is now ready!
  7. Fluffy Duck

    Fluffy Duck cocktail

    Who doesn't want to drink a cocktail with a name like 'Fluffy Duck'? And it's yellow. Who even cares what it tastes like (not bad, as it happens)?

    Fluffy Duck ingredients

    • 25ml of advocaat
    • 25ml of white rum
    • 25ml of cream
    • Lemonade.

    Easy Fluffy Duck recipe

    1. Mix the rum, cream and advocaat together in a glass.
    2. Top up the glass with lemonade.
    3. If you're feeling adventurous, try replacing the cream with ice cream. Trust us on this one!
  8. Long Island Iced Tea

    Perhaps one of the most alcoholic cocktails out there, so take great care with the Long Island Iced Tea. But it does taste really good.

    Long Island Iced Tea ingredients

    • 25ml of light rum
    • 25ml of vodka
    • 25ml of gin
    • 25ml of tequila
    • 25ml of lime juice
    • Coke.

    Easy Long Island Iced Tea recipe

    1. Mix all of the alcoholic drinks together, along with the lime juice.
    2. Pour into a glass over ice.
    3. Top up with coke and your Long Island Iced Tea is now ready.
  9. Singapore Sling

    Singapore sling cocktails

    Credit: Yosomono - Flickr

    Anything with alliteration in the title sounds good to us. The Singapore Sling is probably the most demanding in terms of ingredients, but we promise it's easy to make and totally worth it.

    Singapore Sling ingredients

    • 25ml of gin
    • 25ml of cherry brandy
    • 50ml of pineapple juice
    • 10ml of Bénédictine
    • 10ml of grenadine
    • 10ml of Cointreau
    • Soda water.

    Easy Singapore Sling recipe

    1. Mix everything apart from the soda water together.
    2. Pour into a glass of ice.
    3. Top it up with soda water. We told you it was an easy cocktail to make!
  10. Tequila Sunrise

    Zingy, refreshing and a pretty cool colour to boot – Tequila Sunrises are a great choice.

    Tequila Sunrise ingredients

    • 50ml of tequila
    • 25ml of grenadine
    • 175ml of orange juice.

    Easy Tequila Sunrise recipe

    1. Mix the tequila and orange juice together.
    2. Pour into a glass over ice.
    3. Slowly pour in the grenadine, allowing it to settle at the bottom of the glass. It looks like a sunrise, doesn't it?
  11. Lemon Drop

    Lemon Drop cocktail

    Everyone needs a bit of zest in their life every once in a while, and Lemon Drops really are delicious.

    Lemon Drop ingredients

    • 50ml of vodka
    • 50ml of lemon juice
    • 1 tablespoon of sugar
    • Lemonade.

    Easy Lemon Drop recipe

    1. Wet the rim of a glass and roll it in the sugar.
    2. Mix the vodka and the lemon juice together in the glass.
    3. Top it up with lemonade.
Cocktails make the perfect pre-drinks for those who aren't keen on beer.

We hope you enjoy these cocktails and always remember to drink responsibly!

Headed out after your homemade cocktails? Check out our guide to saving money on a night out.

Owen Burek


Owen is the founder of Save the Student, the leading student money website he started in 2007. He's passionate about educating young people about personal finance and ways to make extra money. Owen has appeared on BBC News and writes for major publications including The Guardian, Entrepreneur and HuffPost.
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