It’s National Cocktail Day (NCD) on 24 March 2024! We’re sure this is a date you have circled in red pen and you’re counting down the days until you can get your shaker out. Perhaps some enterprising retailer could make an advent-style calendar containing a dram to enjoy each day of the month before. One to bring up at our weekly Innovation and Disruption meeting!

Anyway, cocktails! We love cocktails here at Master of Malt. In fact, every day is National Cocktail Day for us. So we thought it a good idea to round up some of our favourites all in one place. There’s some stone cold classics here as well as some more obscure ones. The main thing is that they are all easy to make. No messing about with sous vide machines or making tinctures weeks in advance.

Right, got your shaker ready? Let’s cocktail!

10 easy-to-make cocktails for National Cocktail Day 2024

X Muse - Vodka Martini

Vodka Martini

First you’ll need a really good vodka with some weight and flavour – like X Muse which is made with malted barley – as there’s nowhere to hide. Once you’ve found the right spirit, this is best served very dry to fully appreciate that creamy texture and I’d recommend a subtle dry vermouth like Dolin. You don’t want to complicate things. Be prepared for the best Vodka Martini you’ve ever had. 


50ml X Muse vodka
5ml Dolin Dry vermouth


First, chill your Nick & Nora or Martini glass in the freezer. Then fill a shaker or jug with lots of very cold ice. Add the vodka and vermouth and stir for a minute. Strain into your chilled glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

The Pink Lady - National Cocktail Day 2024

Pink Lady

The Pink Lady is named after a musical called, yes you guessed it, The Pink Lady which ran on Broadway before the First World War and it must have been a hit to have a cocktail named after it. Since its heyday, the Pink Lady has fallen out of fashion. It’s seen as a rather kitsch drink but made properly with just the simple ingredients below, it’s a magnificent cocktail. Watch out, it goes down real smooth.


50ml Bathtub Gin
15ml lemon juice
10ml grenadine
1 egg white


Dry shake all the components hard, add ice and then shake again. Double strain into a chilled coupe or Martini glass and serve with a maraschino cherry or a raspberry.

National Cocktail Day 2024 - Hanky Panky

Hanky Panky

The Hanky Panky was invented by legendary bartender Ada Coleman for an actor called Charles Hawtrey (not the one from the ‘Carry on’ films). Born in 1876, Coley, as she was known, began her career at Claridge’s Hotel at the age of 24. Then in 1903, she landed one of the biggest jobs in booze, head bartender at the American Bar at the Savoy Hotel where she remained until 1925 when she officially retired from bartending. 


60ml Bathtub Gin
30ml Martini Speciale Riserva Rubino vermouth
1 tbsp Fernet Britannica


Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker or mixing glass, and fill with cubed ice. Stir for 30 seconds, and strain into a chilled Martini glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

National Cocktail Day 2024 Sazerac


One of the great cocktails of New Orleans, the Sazerac’s uniqueness lies in the addition of aniseed in the form of absinthe to the simple Old Fashioned recipe, and that it is stirred down and strained rather than served on the rocks. Instead of absinthe, you could use pastis or Herbsaint but whatever you do, you must use Peychaud’s bitters or it’s not a proper Sazerac.


30ml Seignette VS Cognac
30ml Oxford Rye Whiskey Batch 4 or Sazerac Straight Rye
Teaspoon of sugar
Tablespoon of absinthe or Ricard Pastis
Dash of Peychaud’s bitters
Dash of Angostura bitters


Coat a tumbler with the absinthe and shake it out. Then in a shaker stir together the brandy, whiskey, bitters and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Add ice and stir vigorously for about 30 seconds. Strain into the absinthe coated glass and serve with a twist of lemon.

National Cocktail Day 2024 Grand Sour (credit Misti Traya)

Grand Sour

Grand Marnier is an orange liqueur made with a good dollop of Cognac. This classic recipe comes from Difford’s Guide. It’s really very special and harmonious, and another one which is dangerously drinkable. Best of all is the finish where the complexity of the base Cognac really comes through. 


60ml Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge
30ml lemon juice
15ml blood orange juice (both freshly-squeezed)


Shake all the ingredients hard with ice and double strain into a chilled tumbler (or similar) with ice (or you could also serve it straight up in a coupe). Garnish with an orange round.

Bees Knees National Cocktail Day 2024

Bees Knees

There’s an easy way to spot a cocktail that was created or popularised during Prohibition, look for sugar and fruit juice. Cocktails like the Bronx, the Southside (apparently Al Capone’s favourite) and our Cocktail of the Week, the Bee’s Knees, contained lots of both mainly to hide the fact that the gin you were drinking wasn’t exactly Tanqueray. It might not even be gin.


60ml Bathtub Gin
30ml fresh lemon juice
15ml honey


Add all the ingredients to an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously and double strain into a chilled Coupette glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

vermouth - National Cocktail Day 2024


The Americano used to be called the Milano-Torino because it contained Campari from Milan and Martini Rosso vermouth from Turin. It was originally served at the Milan bar belonging to the creator of Campari, Gaspare Campari. The name changed when American tourists arrived in Italy in the 1920s. 


35ml Campari
35ml Martini Rubino Riserva Speciale Rosso vermouth
Soda water


Fill a Highball glass or tumbler with ice, add the Campari and Martini and give it a good stir. Top up with soda, stir gently, and garnish with an orange slice.

National Cocktail Day 2024 Cocktail Edit Rusty Manhattan

Rusty Manhattan

This recipe comes from Alice Lascelles’ brilliant The Cocktail Edit book. She writes: “This Manhattan twist is a tribute to the Rusty Nail… Drambuie liqueur, which is made from a blend of Scotch, honey botanicals, gives it a spicy, slightly aniseedy edge. A rich warming cocktail that’s best sipped after dinner, or on a winter’s night.”


35ml Oxford Artisan Distillery Easy Ryder whiskey
15ml Drambuie
25ml Azaline vermouth
1 dash of Angostura orange bitters


Add all ingredients to an ice-filled shaker and stir until very cold. Strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. 

National Cocktail Day 2024

Margarita Azul

This gets its colour from blue Curaçao. I always liked to think that blue Curaçao was made with exotic blue fruit found only in the Dutch Caribbean but the blue is just colouring, and the predominant taste is of oranges, rather like standard Curaçao. But it is blue, and therefore amazing. 


45ml Rooster Rojo Tequila blanco
30ml Bols Blue Curaçao
25ml fresh lime juice
10ml sugar syrup


Shake and fine strain into pre-chilled Margarita glass. Garnish with a wedge of lime.

National Cocktail Day 2024 The Sidecar


The Sidecar is thought to have been invented in 1921 – it first appeared in print in 1922. It’s essentially a Brandy Sour that gets its sweetening element from triple sec orange liqueur which has to be the most misnamed liqueur as it’s not dry (sec) at all, it’s very sweet. 


30ml Rémy Martin 1738 Accord Royal
20ml Cointreau
10ml fresh lemon juice


Add all the ingredients to a shaker filled with ice. Give it a good shake, then strain into a coupe glass and garnish with an orange peel for a rich flavour or lemon peel for freshness.