Your Summer Bar, by the Bottle

Bartenders always seem to be having the best time. Perhaps it’s because they make us think of kids and artists, what with all the splashing, stirring and shaking.

Or maybe it’s because they’re charging us a fortune.

Many of the best cocktails require tiny amounts of a ton of ingredients, so we bring you 12 drinks based on just one of four types of booze.

We’ve avoided fancy ingredients and techniques to save you time and money. Each recipe yields one drink, but if you buy a full 750 mL bottle, you’ll have enough for about a dozen cocktails.

You don't need professional shot measurements or muddlers, unless you already have them--just use a liquid measuring cup with ounces marked on it. A small metal sieve will be useful, though, for straining some drinks before serving.

While some drinks are technically best served in highball glasses, others in tumblers and still others in martini glasses, just serve in glasses you already own; if you're a stickler for proper glassware, keep an eye out at thrift stores and yard sales.

Shopping List

Bitters (I buy Regan’s Orange Bitters, which costs about $10 for 10 ounces and lasts a long time)
Triple sec (inexpensive orange liquor essential for margaritas, about $5)
1 cucumber
1 bunch mint
1 bunch tarragon or other green herb
Lots of limes
Lots of lemons
Several oranges
1 pint blueberries
1 pint blackberries
1 pint raspberries
1 pint strawberries
Ginger ale or beer
Ginger root
Simple syrup (easy to make with just water and sugar; here's how to make and use simple syrup)

To view the slides in one long list, click into the slideshow and select "list view."

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Giveaway Alert!

Summer may be on the wane, but you can still fit in plenty more cocktails and another summer concert, boat ride or festival--for free! Our friends at Goldstar, a website for finding half-priced events in your area like wine tastings, rodeos and concerts, are giving away $100 gift cards to five lucky LearnVest readers! Enter to win a gift card on LearnVest's Facebook page.