Three ingredient cocktails to make at home

Easy as 1...2...3...

(Image credit: Getty)

These three ingredient cocktails are quick, easy and delicious too. Make sure your ice trays are filled and your glasses are polished!

Making your own cocktails is easier than you think and much cheaper than a night on the town. Invest in some bottles of good quality spirits and the rest is as easy as 1-2-3.

Our cocktail recipes use three ingredients, plus ice. Some of the recipes require a syrup, or for you to infuse your spirits with flavourings, but you can use shop-bought alternatives if you prefer.

The simple syrups are much cheaper than shop-bought ones and you can experiment with the flavours as we have. Although we haven’t included garnishes in the ingredients, they are recommended for an extra special finish. Fresh fruit and herbs are popular garnish choices but spices such as cinnamon and star anise work too, especially in gin.

At the Test Kitchen we love using a soda machine, such as a SodaStream, to make our own carbonated drinks. Not only does it reduce your consumption of single-use plastic it also means there is very little chance you’ll ever run out of mixers for your cocktails. From homemade tonic water, to cola and lemonade, the options are endless! The most basic model can be purchased on Amazon for £129.95  or at the time of writing the Genesis starter pack is just £49.99 direct from SodasSteam.

Homemade simple syrup recipes:

All syrup recipes make approx. 100ml

simple sugar syrup recipe

How to make a plain sugar syrup recipe

  • 100g sugar
  • 50ml water
  1. Heat the sugar and water in a saucepan until dissolved.
  2. Allow to cool, then transfer into a small bottle. Use within a month.

How to make a lime syrup

  • 100g sugar
  • zest two limes
  • 50ml lime juice (approx. two limes)
  • 15ml water
  1. In a saucepan gently heat the sugar, lime zest and juice and water until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Strain through a sieve, allow to cool and transfer to a small bottle. Use within a month.

How to make a lemon syrup

  • 100g sugar
  • zest 1 lemon
  • 50ml lemon juice
  • 15ml water
  1. In a saucepan gently heat the sugar, lemon zest and juice and water until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Strain through a sieve, allow to cool and transfer to a small bottle. Use within a month.

How to make a coffee liqueur

  • 125ml coffee
  • 250ml sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 250ml vodka or light rum
  1. Gently warm the coffee, sugar and vanilla bean paste until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Allow to cool slightly, then mix in the vodka or rum.
  3. Transfer to a bottle and use within a month.

How to make a chilli vodka

  • ½ red chilli
  • 100ml vodka
  1. Put the chilli and vodka in a jug or jar and leave to infuse for 2-3hours. Taste to check the heat and leave to infuse for longer if you prefer it spicier.
  2. Strain off, bottle up and use within a month.

How to make spiced gin

  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 250ml gin
  1. Put the spices and gin in a bottle or jar and leave to infuse, in a cool dark place, for 1 week.
  2. Turn the bottle every couple of days to mix. Strain and decant into a sterilised bottle with the cinnamon stick still in for further infusion, if liked.

Now that you have a set of homemade syrups, try giving one of our simple three ingredient cocktails a go! The syrups are all great additions to cakes or work just as well mixed with sparkling water for your own homemade fizzy pop. Experiment with other fruits like oranges, pineapples and even apples.

Test Kitchen Three ingredient cocktails:

All recipes make 1 cocktail

Espresso Martini

You will need:

  • 50ml each of coffee liqueur, and espresso
  • 25ml white rum, gin or vodka
  • Garnish ideas: chocolate coated coffee beans

How to make:

  1. Fill your glass with ice to chill, or place in the freezer for 10-15 mins before making.
  2. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add the vodka, coffee liqueur and coffee. Shake for at least 20 seconds, if you want to achieve a good foam.
  3. Strain into glass, garnish with chocolate-coated coffee beans, if liked.


three ingredient cocktail the DCL

You will need:

  • 50ml Disaronno
  • 150ml Cranberry juice
  • 25ml lime sugar syrup
  • Garnish idea: fresh lime wedges

How to make:

  1. Put in a cocktail shaker, shake for 30 seconds.
  2. Strain into a glass filled with ice.
  3. Garnish with fresh lime, if liked.

Caribbean Cooler

three ingredient cocktail caribbean cooler

You will need:

  • 125ml coconut milk (drinking)
  • 25ml spiced rum
  • 80g frozen banana
  • Garnish ideas: grated chocolate

How to make:

  1. Put all of the ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth.
  2. For a looser consistency, stir in some more coconut milk.
  3. Pour into glass and finish with grated chocolate, if using.

Tropical Spice

You will need:

  • 50ml Chilli vodka
  • 25ml lime juice
  • 100ml Rubicon sparkling mango (try with Lilt Pineapple and Grapefruit, or Rio Tropical)
  • Garnish ideas: fresh red chilli

How to make:

  1. Put the chilli vodka and lime juice in a glass filled with ice.
  2. Mix, then top with the sparkling mango.
  3. Garnish with half a red chilli, if liked.


three ingredient cocktail mocha me happy

You will need:

How to make:

  1. Fill a glass with ice. Add the chocolate liqueur and espresso, mix.
  2. Top up with milk of your choice.

Apple pie cocktail

You will need:

  • 50ml spiced gin
  • 100ml apple juice
  • Tonic water to top up
  • Garnish ideas: Demerara sugar rim and a cinnamon stick

How to make:

  1. If doing the sugar rim, dip the glass in water then roll in sugar to coat.
  2. Fill glass with ice. Pour in gin and apple juice, mix then top with tonic water.

Recipes by Jessica Ransom

Three ingredient cocktails with your favourite spirits

Lemon and ginger sparkling Martini

Credit: SodaStream

You will need:

  • 50ml vodka
  • 2tsp ginger syrup (the syrup from a jar of stem ginger will work perfectly!)
  • Sodastream sparkling water flavoured with Zero Lemon sugar-free syrup, or sugar-free lemonade

How to make:

  1. Pour the vodka into a tall mixing glass over ice.
  2. Add the ginger simple syrup (the zingier the better) and top up with sparkling water flavoured with SodaStream Zero Lemon sugar-free syrup or sugar-free lemonade.
  3. Stir to combine.
  4. Strain and pour into a martini glass and serve with a ginger peel garnish.

Queen of Cocktails

Credit: White Heron

You will need:

How to make:

Shake well and pour over plenty of crushed ice. Top with Soda Water or Tonic and garnish with fresh raspberries and mint if available.

Raspberry Tequila

Credit: White Heron

You will need:

  • 35ml White Heron Framboise
  • 35ml Tequila
  • 10ml Lime Juice

How to make:

Shake the ingredients with ice and pour in a martini glass for fresh Mexican fun.

Red Royale

Credit: White Heron

You will need:

  • White Heron Framboise
  • Prosecco (or champagne if you have it lying around!)

How to make:

Add a generous dash of Cassis to a champagne class and fill up with fizz. Pop in a few berries to make it extra special.

Classic three ingredient cocktails:

three ingredient cocktails

How many of these classic three ingredient cocktails have you tried before? You might discover a new favourite...

White Russian

You will need

  • Vodka
  • Coffee liqueur
  • Cream or milk

How to make:

In a glass filled with ice mix, 1 shot vodka, 2 shot coffee liqueur and 1 shot cream or milk depending how rich you want the finish. The milk will help dilute the cocktail more.

Aperol Spritz

You will need:

  • Aperol
  • Prosecco
  • Soda water

How to make:

  1. Fill a glass with ice.
  2. Add equal parts Prosecco and Aperol and top with soda water.
  3. Mix and garnish with a slice of orange.


You will need

  • Gin
  • Vermouth
  • Campari

How to make:

  1. Pour equal measure of gin, vermouth and Campari into a mixing glass filled with ice.
  2. Strain into a tumbler with a single ice cube, garnish with orange peel.


You will need:

  • 11/2 oz blended whiskey
  • 1/4 to 1/2 oz sweet vermouth
  • Dash of angostura bitters
  • Maraschino cherry (optional)

Get the Manhattan recipe here

Old Fashioned

You will need:

  • 100ml whisky
  • Angostura bitters
  • A pinch of caster sugar
  • Garnishes; 2 sour cherries and a slice of orange

Get the Old Fashioned recipe here

Harvey Wallbanger

You will need: 

  • 1 1/2oz vodka
  • 1/2oz Galliano
  • 4 oz orange juice

Get the Harvey Wallbanger here

Cuba Libre

You will need:

  • 1 part white rum
  • 2 parts cola
  • Dash of lime juice

Get the Cuba Libre recipe here

Jessica Ransom
Senior Food Writer

Jessica is a freelance food writer, stylist and recipe tester. She previously worked as Senior Food Writer at Future. While at Future Jessica wrote food and drink-related news stories and features, curated product pages, reviewed equipment, and developed recipes that she then styled on food shoots. She is an enthusiastic, self-taught cook who adores eating out and sharing great food and drink with friends and family. She has completed the Level 1 Associate course at the Academy of Cheese and is continually building on her knowledge of beers, wines, and spirits.