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People may speak highly of your pie skills, or compliment your grilling game. But trust us: there is nothing more impressive than the ability to whip up a round of perfectly balanced cocktails for a crowd on a moment’s notice. These 11 well-recognized (and universally celebrated) drinks are a great place to start. Master them all, and whether it’s 5 p.m. at the office or Saturday afternoon on someone’s back porch, you’ll be the most beloved person in the room.

1. Hemingway Daiquiri

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This version of the daiquiri, with fresh lime and grapefruit juice, rum, and maraschino, got its name from writer Ernest Hemingway, who was known to wade through a dozen of these in one sitting. Get the recipe here.

2. Perfect Margarita

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Our perfect margarita is pucker-inducing, with a higher ratio of lime juice and a lighter pour of Cointreau so it’s not too sweet. Get our Perfect Margarita recipe.

3. Moscow Mule

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With a squirt of lime and a generous splash of ginger beer, the Moscow mule is so refreshing it could win over even the fiercest vodka-hater on a sweltering day. Get our Moscow Mule recipe.

4. Mojito

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There is no better poolside drink than the mojito, which calls for just four ingredients: rum, sugar, club soda, and fresh mint. Get our Mojito recipe.

5. French 75

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This traditional sparkling wine cocktail has two variations: one that calls for gin, and another that substitutes brandy. Get our French 75 recipe.

6. Mai Tai

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Looking to get in a beachside state of mind? The fastest way is via the Mai Tai, a rum cocktail made with orange curacao and orgeat syrup (but never pineapple juice or grenadine). Get our Mai Tai recipe.

7. Old Fashioned

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If you know just one brown cocktail, make it the Old Fashioned, an elemental drink that seems to only bring out the best in a good bottle of whiskey. But since it’s so basic, don’t skimp on anything, including the orange peel garnish. Get our Old Fashioned recipe.

8. Sazerac

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This New Orleans variation of an old fashioned includes the addition of anise-scented absinthe, as well as a couple dashes of light, sweet, floral Peychaud’s Bitters. Get our Sazerac recipe.

9. Negroni

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With its pleasantly bitter flavor profile, the Negroni is an ideal drink for before, during, or after a large meal. Get our Negroni recipe.

10. Vieux Carré

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Lovers of spirit-forward cocktails would be wise to learn the ways of the vieux carré, a sophisticated, complex cocktail with rye, Cognac, vermouth, and Bénédictine, served up. Get our Vieux Carré recipe.

11. The Last Word

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With equal parts gin, Chartreuse, maraschino, and lime juice, this Prohibition-era cocktail is sweet, sour, and herbaceous all at once. Get our Last Word recipe.

Susannah Chen is a San Francisco–based freelance writer. When she’s not cooking or writing, she’s on the hunt to find the world’s best chilaquiles. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
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