20 Cheap Drinks to Make at Home
Easy Margaritas for a Crowd
Look no further than these large-batch margaritas when you're hosting your next big fiesta and can't spend hours juicing limes. This margarita recipe is a revelation--the secret ingredient is a can of frozen limeade concentrate which, once emptied, doubles as a measuring cup for the remaining ingredients. These margaritas are strong, slightly (but not overly) sweet, and have the perfect note of orange flavor. Oh, and did we mention there's beer involved? We prefer to serve in a large glass drink dispenser with plenty of limes on the side.
La Croix Margarita
For a lighter spin on the classic margarita, look no further than a can of lime LaCroix, or your favorite lime-flavored seltzer water of choice. With no added sugar, this skinny version is super easy to make and comes with significantly less guilt. Serve in a festive margarita glass rimmed with salt, if desired.
Irish whiskey, brown sugar, and a crown of frothy cream adds smoothness and warmth to this traditional coffee cocktail.
Frozen Watermelon Margaritas
Frozen Lemonade with Coconut Rum
The Salty Dog
Say goodbye to screwdrivers, you've just found your new favorite brunch cocktail. It doesn't get much better than this perfect blend of vodka and grapefruit juice.
A classic cocktail made with vodka and ginger beer. A Moscow Mule is traditionally served in a copper mug, but you can also enjoy it in a highball glass filled with ice.
Vodka and orange juice– it doesn’t get much easier. Here's to everyone's favorite brunch cocktail!
Sweet and tart meet vodka in this refreshing holiday cocktail.
Perfect for any spring or summer gathering, this bubbly, refreshing rosé sangria is as easy to make as it is to sip. The fruity base of berry puree and vodka could easily be prepped ahead of time and chilled so that all that’s left to do is pour in your sparkling water and rosé right before serving. You could even prepare the sangria in single portions for more of a custom cocktail feel, having a small amount of puree, vodka, and fresh fruit ready to go in glasses when guests arrive; then, simply top each off with bubbly as needed. To switch things up, you could also substitute fresh peaches and/or raspberries in place of the strawberries used to create the puree. Try freezing some of the fresh fruits you plan to include (such as grapes and berries) beforehand in order to keep the beverage cool.
Big-Batch Bloody Marys
Making bloody Marys for a big crowd doesn’t mean you have to spend your whole brunch or tailgate playing bartender for everyone. Our big-batch recipe makes enough for 10 people and frees you up to enjoy the party. Set out these Big-Batch Bloody Marys in a large punch bowl or glass dispenser with your choice of garnishes next to glasses and a bucket of ice and let everyone help themselves. Even better, you can make this cocktail ahead. You can prepare the mixture up to two days in advance and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator; reserve the vodka and stir it in before serving.
Fruit juices and vodka are all you'll need for this beachy cocktail. Now all you need is a tropical island!
A combination of vodka, triple sec, and lime juice are guaranteed to get the party started. Pace yourself– these shooters are strong!
Root Beer Float
Basic Jello Shots
You may be tempted to use straight vodka, but don't! By using flavored vodka instead of regular, you can create delicious flavors that actually make Jello Shots taste good! Imagine that.
Suggested flavor pairings:
Strawberry-lemonade: Strawberry gelatin with lemon-flavored vodka
Very Berry: Cherry gelatin with berry-flavored vodka
Limeade: Lime gelatin with watermelon-flavored vodka
Lemon Berry Blue: Berry blue gelatin with lemon-flavored vodka
Looking for more inspiration? Check out 20 Cheap Drinks to Make at Home next.
Strawberry Lemonade Vodka Pops
Blood Orange Mimosas
We love the color blood oranges give this classic brunch cocktail. A dash of bitters adds depth. Look for orange bitters--such as Fee Brothers or Stirrings--at liquor stores or specialty grocers. The sugar cube dissolves as you sip, balancing the bitters and giving off bubbles for a festive touch. Juice the oranges and keep chilled up to a day ahead.
Jungle Juice Mimosas
You might know Jungle Juice by one of its many other colorful aliases—Trashcan Punch, Hairy Buffalo, Hunch Punch—but you understand the gist. It's usually made in large batches in either a cooler or a (hopefully clean) trash can, involves the cheapest available booze, and is most commonly found at college parties. It's basically a method to get a large crowd of people quite drunk very quickly, one that might not hold as much of an appeal once you don't go for the sugariest or cheapest drink on the menu. Indeed the very smell of Everclear mixed with fruit-punchy Kool-Aid powder might send you right back to your freshman year. But here is something you may not have considered: Jungle Juice makes a greatmimosa.
Our recipe here is an amalgam of our pieced-together college memories, but this would probably work with any kind of frat elixir that you could come up with. We opted for a mix of peach schnapps, Everclear, Budweiser, and both Tang (because breakfast) and Kool-Aid mix, plus a smattering of fresh cut fruit, soaked overnight in true college dirtbag style. Then you take your Solo cup, or stemware, or mason jar, or coffee mug, fill it about a third full of Jungle Juice and top with cheap sparkling wine so it's suddenly transmogrified into a semi-respectable brunch beverage. As our associate editor Maxine put it, "I'm mad at how much I like this."
It's way better than it deserves to be, but beware: it's also pretty lethal. You can always dilute it somewhat by actually making Kool-aid rather than adding the mix directly to the alcohol. But where's the fun in that?
Jungle Juice Mimosa
The secret to a great mojito? Load it up with fresh mint and lime.