The essential ingredients needed to prepare easy cocktails are the spirits themselves, including vodka, gin, rum, tequila, brandy, bourbon and a blended whiskey. Additionally the person making the cocktails, or mixologist, needs some complementary liqueurs, mixers and fruit juices.
Among the most important mixers are sweet and dry vermouth. These allow for the mixologist to make almost any kind of simple martini or Manhattan, along with martini-related cocktails such as cosmopolitans. Bitters are another extremely common mixer, being used in classic cocktails such as Manhattans and the Old Fashioned. The mixologist should also have on hand staple items such as triple sec and sour mix, necessary for any margarita. To prepare simple frozen drinks such as pina coladas and daiquiris, pre-prepared coconut or strawberry mixers are available at almost any grocery store or spirits provider.
Fruit juices greatly expand the range of available simple cocktails, including screwdrivers (orange juice), greyhounds (grapefruit), the Cape Codder (cranberry) and the sea breeze (cranberry and grapefruit). Rose's Lime Cordial is another indispensable ingredient, adding a slightly sweeter citrus alternative for drinks such as the gimlet, which usually requires only lime juice, the spirit and ice. Classic finishing touches include lemon or lime twists and wedges, olives and maraschino cherries.