The Best Ina Garten Cocktails Ranked

Ina Garten: We love her for her relatability and her cocktails, which are as delectable as her dishes. Interestingly enough, hostess extraordinaire Ina Garten told Page Six she doesn't actually drink that much. Still, that hasn't stopped her from serving up recipes for dozens of cocktails on the Barefoot Contessa website, in her cookbooks, and on the official Ina Garten Instagram, where she regularly shares some of her personal favorites.

If you're wondering how so many of Ina Garten's cocktails turn out to be instant hits, there's at least one trick you can easily employ at home to garner similar results. As the Barefoot Contessa demonstrated on Late Night with Seth Meyers, using a measuring cup will often determine the difference between a great cocktail and a mess. 

The wrong proportions of ingredients can really much up a glass, even when making easy cocktail recipes at home. If you're ready to grab your measuring cup but are not sure where to start among the Barefoot Contessa's many tempting libations, then it's best to do so knowing which cocktail recipes are missable and which ones you absolutely must try.

Raspberry royale

You may have heard that a proper cocktail requires three ingredients: Liquor, something sweet, and something sour. However, every rule has its exceptions. Ina Garten's raspberry royale does actually contain three ingredients, but there's nothing sour in this celebratory drink. It's so fun that the Barefoot Contessa served it at her Academy Awards viewing party

The drink contains chilled champagne, raspberry liqueur, and fresh raspberries, so you'll get a bit of the tart flavor to balance the sweetness. This beginner cocktail is easy enough for anyone to mix successfully. Plus, you won't have to shop around for harder-to-find ingredients, like you would with the similar Kir Royale, a perfect brunch cocktail that requires crème de cassis.

In her classic manner, Ina Garten encourages you to use good champagne if you want your raspberry royale to taste delicious. We can only assume you should also use the best raspberry liqueur you can find, too, but the champagne appears to be more important to East Hampton's queen of hosting, so focus on that if you're crafting cocktails on a budget. But remember, the raspberry royale is for celebrations, so it may not be ideal for skimping on ingredients.

Pomegranate gimlet

The pomegranate gimlet is also classified as a beginner-level cocktail by Ina Garten, but it does require double the ingredients and considerably more preparation, from separating pomegranate seeds to slicing limes and preparing a simple syrup. This isn't one you can whip up spur of the moment. In fact, even the martini glasses should be chilled at least an hour before serving, so you'll need to do some planning ahead to prepare the perfect pomegranate gimlet. Still, it's just combining and shaking from there, so it's not really all that difficult.

Out of 50 readers on, Ina Garten's pomegranate gimlet garnered an impressive 4.5 stars for its tart take on the classic gimlet cocktail. If you personally prefer your libations less on the sweet side, Bits + Bites suggests skipping the simple syrup since pomegranate juice will likely have sugar added already, and that will make this recipe even easier to prepare. Either way, this is a gorgeous cocktail that really isn't all that hard to make, and it's nearly as beautiful even without the garnishes, so you technically could skip those if you need to save some time and energy. But try to go the extra mile and include the garnishes, particularly if you're sharing these cocktails with others; it's worth the effort!

Whiskey sour

Continuing with the theme of beginner cocktails, Ina Garten's whiskey sour is a simple mix of whiskey, lemon, lime, and simple syrup (which she calls "sugar syrup" here, but the terms are interchangeable). She does specify using Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey, and if you want the perfect Barefoot Contessa cocktail, you'll have to do it her way, but we think you can get away with substituting your own favorite bottle if that's all you have on hand. 

After all, if you already love that taste, it's not going to ruin your drink. Besides, the queen herself has been spotted naming other bottles, like when she told Time Magazine she preferred Knob Creek Bourbon in her whiskey sour, so it's clearly okay to change it up. Just don't go shopping for a bottom-shelf substitution, or you may regret it.

The whiskey sour is Ina Garten's favorite summer cocktail, and with all that fresh, sour fruit juice complementing a sweet Bourbon or Tennessee whiskey, we don't blame her one bit. Though the Barefoot Contessa prefers them as a pre-dinner drink in the garden, her whiskey sours are as smooth and delightful as a perfect summer afternoon, and you have our permission to start drinking them if you're spending a chill day at home.

Lemon drop

When there's vodka in the freezer, and you're in the mood for something chilled, there are few crowd pleasers that are more universally appealing than a classic lemon drop. The drink has the unobtrusive profile of chilled vodka complemented only by the sweetness of sugar and the sour notes of lemon. It's little more than an adults-only lemonade, and that's what we love about it. In season 2 of "Barefoot Contessa," Ina specifically calls for vodka that's been kept in the freezer, but take note that she still adds ice when shaking to keep everything as frozen as possible for maximum enjoyment.

Ina Garten's lemon drop recipe currently holds a perfect five-star rating from fans weighing in at, though comments do reveal that some find it too sweet for their personal palates. As many of the reviewers comment, reducing the amount of sugar in this drink is easy enough, so feel free to do the same if you don't have much of a  sweet tooth and prefer the tangier side of the lemon drop. Take heed with this one: As other reviewers have noted, Ina's Lemon Drop goes down easy. Sometimes too easy. You may have to remind yourself that this isn't just lemonade, so pace yourself with these delectable drinks.

Frozen Paloma

You do need a blender for this one, and you'll have to prepare part of this recipe in advance, but Ina Garten's frozen Paloma is another simple cocktail she rates as a beginner-level drink for amateur mixologists. Simply mix the four main ingredients required by this cocktail (white tequila, red grapefruit juice, lime juice, and simple syrup). Then, freeze and blend with salt and little extra ice just before serving to enjoy this elevated Paloma brought to you by the Barefoot Contessa.

Of course, Ina isn't the only hostess who knows the power of a frozen cocktail on a hot summer day: Sugar & Charm's expert, Eden, is also a big fan of freezing this Mexican favorite. As she says, the classic Paloma recipe produces a refreshing drink on its own, but freezing it takes it up to a serious level of cool. 

We agree with both of these hostesses that freezing your Paloma is worth the extra effort and cleanup. Still, we prefer the Barefoot Contessa's version, as pre-freezing really allows the flavors to blend better than whipping everything together at the time of serving, and the drink seems to remain cooler longer, too. It's a win-win, so plan ahead and freeze before drinking for maximum enjoyment.

Watermelon mojito

It's time for a confession: We couldn't find any cocktail recipes that Ina Garten didn't rate as easy, so we can't quite verify exactly what she feels would make a drink more difficult or complicated to create than others. While Garten's watermelon mojito is also classified as a drink for beginners, but we would say this one takes considerably more effort than many of the others and will potentially cause more mess, so keep that in mind when beginning (or selecting). Regardless, the end result is worth the effort, so gather your ingredients and get going.

As SpiceRoots notes, part of the fun and appeal behind watermelon mojitos is the vibrant color of the fresh fruit, and mentions the watermelon in this drink brings added hydration. But we're not here for the hydration, and we don't think you are either, so let us focus on the flavor. The only thing that separates this from a classic mojito is the addition of watermelon, but that simple inclusion adds a world of difference in fruity flavor that takes this from alcoholic limeade to true summer delight. 

The Barefoot Contessa's recipe calls for hand shredding 30 leaves of mint before mashing them in a mortar and pestle, but keep in mind she has designed this recipe for entertaining, and it serves six. If you're drinking for one or two, you'll only need 6­–12 leaves, and you can certainly use a muddler if you don't have a mortar and pestle.

Summer rosé sangria

Are all cocktails best during the summer? Definitely not, but the sunny days of summer are certainly well-suited for outdoor cocktails, which is probably why so many of them are described as perfect for a summer afternoon. Sangria is no exception, and Ina Garten's summer rosé sangria is specifically designed for those fabulous, lazy afternoons in the garden, by the pool, or wherever you prefer to sip your al fresco cocktails. 

A lot goes into the pitcher for this concoction, and you'll need to be prepared to chop, hull, and pit, but it's just a matter of stirring once everything is assembled. Then, you're left with an entire pitcher of summer cheer to last all afternoon.

Fans of the Barefoot Contessa's Summer Rosé Sangria have rated the drink 4.5 stars on and have especially praised it as being ideal for imbibing on a hot day. At least one reviewer found it to be a bit too sweet, though, so feel free to skip the quarter cup of superfine sugar if you think you might be in this boat. The collection of fresh fruits and even the alcohol included in this recipe do already add some sweetness to this drink. 

Limoncello vodka Collins

When you have the extra ingredients on hand, elevate your adults-only lemonade experience with Ina Garten's limoncello vodka Collins recipe. As Difford's Guide reports, a Collins essentially consists of soda water, sugar, and lemon juice added to a spirit, so it's basically inherently a form of grownup lemonade. 

In the Barefoot Contessa's recipe, Garten adds Limoncello liqueur for that extra pizzazz, which makes this cocktail one of her better recipes. Of course, she also demands good vodka and suggests adding Grey Goose in this case.

Ina loves this cocktail enough to serve it on special occasions, using it as her Father's Day cocktailPunchFork's rating of 87 means this drink is a hit among fans sharing it across social media. This cocktail is ideal for hosting, and even the garnish is simple: All it requires is the addition of a wedge of lemon to each highball glass before serving, which means you won't be fussing with picks and twists while you're trying to spend time with your guests. We love that this cocktail delivers maximum impact for minimal effort. Ina Garten's limoncello vodka Collins is definitely a great option. 

Pomegranate spritzer

This one may come as a bit of a surprise to you because there's no alcohol in it. Yes, that means it's not technically a cocktail, but Ina Garten's pomegranate spritzer is a delightful mocktail that can make your hosting more accessible, giving younger generations and those who don't indulge in alcohol a chance to experience your creations. 

And if you really want this one to be a proper cocktail, you're welcome to add vodka, but keep in mind that Garten would prefer it if you opted for a good quality vodka, of course. The Kitchn's Cory Fernandez tried Ina Garten's Pomegranate Spritzer and loved the color and flavor of this extra bubbly beverage, and was pleasantly surprised to find a good balance of sweet and tart that wasn't too saccharine for his sensibilities. 

We love how incredibly easy it is to whip this one up and how inclusive it is since it can be served to people who don't drink. We're also major fans of Barefoot Contessa's recommendation that you chill the martini glasses in the freezer before serving, which helps the drinks stay cold longer by preventing the ice from melting too quickly and diluting the delicious flavor.

Sidecars with dried cherries

Ready for a cocktail perfect for a season other than summer? Look no further than Ina Garten's sidecars with dried cherries, which she told Instagram was perfect for fall and winter holidays. As the Alcohol Professor reports, variations on the sidecar have run the gamut as it has evolved through history, but the modern sidecar includes some quantities of Cognac, Cointreau, and lemon juice. Of course, those proportions vary by the bartender, as does the potential inclusion of a sugar rim.

Ina Garten's elegant sidecars swap Cointreau for similarly-flavored Grand Marnier liqueur. They do include both Cognac and lemon juice, plus that sugared rim, but the recipe also calls for the festive flair of Cognac-soaked dried cherries as a functional garnish. The end result is an ultra-glam presentation of an often ignored classic cocktail that definitely warrants a top spot among cocktails for its thoughtful additions and tasty result. Plus, we love that this one is particularly great in the colder months, too, and that Ina Garten is giving this vintage cocktail a charming comeback.

Espresso martini

While it may be true that many bartenders hate mixing espresso martinis, there's no shortage of bar patrons ordering this wildly popular drink that brings a jolt of caffeine to the cocktail. Bartenders complain that it's frustrating to make and a lot can go wrong in both preparation and presentation, but Ina Garten rates her own espresso martini recipe as easy, of course. 

It does require freshly brewed espresso, though, so if you don't have an espresso machine proudly shimmering on your counter, you better head to the coffee shop to order one when you're ready to mix this cocktail masterpiece.

Insider's Anneta Konstantinides followed Ina Garten's guidance and found it easy enough to produce an espresso martini that looked just like it has been shaken and served by a pro bartender. Konstantinides loved the punch of orange that came from the Barefoot Contessa's use of orange-flavored vodka. 

Since orange expresso and juice drinks are currently trending, there's a good chance you'll love this combo, too. Konstantinides did find this drink particularly strong, so if that's not your cup of tea or . . . erm, coffee . . . feel free to follow her suggestion of leveling out the ratios of vodka and Kahlua to soften your sips by making them less spirit-forward.


We have to admit that there's nothing extraordinarily unusual about Ina Garten's cosmopolitan recipe: It simply entails combining good vodka with orange liqueur and cranberry juice at a 2:1:1 ratio, along with half a portion of lime juice. 

What really sets this simple classic apart today is the level of social media fame that the Barefoot Contessa experienced when she took to her Instagram to pour her entire six-cosmo recipe into a single mega-glass and drank it early in the morning during Covid quarantine, claiming, "It's always cocktail hour in a crisis!"

Despite showing three martini glasses in the recipe's banner image and later noting that it can be reduced further to six normal portions, you may notice that the Barefoot Contessa's website is still cheekily claiming this recipe produces just one drink, slyly extending her lax quarantine attitude to the current day. We heartily approve, assuming nothing needs to get done the day you whip this up. 

Business Insider loves the recipe, hailing it as refreshing and not-too-sweet or alcohol-forward, but we're not surprised. Like we said, it's essentially an untouched classic, so it's tough to hate unless you just plain don't like cosmos, in which case we're sorry, but Ina Garten's quaran-cosmo is definitely one of the best cocktails that she has to offer, and it's one of the most endearing things to emerge from a traumatic time.