Easy to make and easy to remember, the three-ingredient cocktail formula has stood the test of time for a reason. From the Daiquiri to the Negroni, the canon of classics is riddled with triptych cocktails that inspire obsession, while leaving plenty of room for innovation. Case in point: Joaquín Simó’s Midnight Marauder, which swaps each of the Negroni’s three ingredients to make a smokier, gentian-bitter drink that’s true to the equal-parts build of the original; or Tommy Klus’ French Connection, which trades the Boulevardier’s typical Campari for the softer Avèze. Indeed, each piece of the three-ingredient puzzle is an opportunity to apply the Mr. Potato Head approach of drink creation, substituting different ingredients into a timeless template to land on something entirely new. From lesser-known modern classics to unlikely crowd-pleasers, here are some of our favorites of the three-ingredient format.
An unexpected spin on the Negroni featuring mezcal, Bonal and Cynar.
An unlikely, equal-parts combination of absinthe, yellow Chartreuse and apricot liqueur.
Audrey Sanders' modern classic take on the Manhattan.
Remember the Alimony
One of the few sherry-based modern classics.
High Altitude Highball
Herbal génépy adds alpine flavor to this riff on the whisky highball.
An after-dinner Fernet Old-Fashioned brightened with a blood orange reduction.
A smoky, gentian-inflected take on the Boulevardier.
An improved Chrysanthemum with less absinthe and more citrus.
Café Royal’s Matador
The forgotten tequila classic.
Et Moi Je Te Dis Maud
A trio of armagnac, Chartreuse and maraschino yields a rich, enveloping result.
Julie Reiner's aromatic play on the Martini with apricot eau de vie, bianco vermouth and gin.
Joaquín Simó's funky spin on the Negroni.