When it comes to savoring the art of mixology, few experiences rival the simple yet sublime pleasure of sipping on an On-the-Rocks cocktail. These chilled libations, adored by cocktail enthusiasts around the world, have an enduring appeal that transcends time and trends. With the clink of ice against glass and the symphony of flavors that unfold as you sip, On-the-Rocks cocktails are a timeless choice for those seeking a moment of refreshment and relaxation. Whether you're a seasoned cocktail connoisseur or just starting to explore the world of mixology, this article is your ticket to unlocking the secrets of crafting the perfect On-the-Rocks cocktails. We've curated a selection of ten outstanding recipes that showcase the diverse flavors and traditions behind these iconic drinks. So, join us on this journey as we delve into the world of On-the-Rocks cocktails and discover the perfect recipe to elevate your beverage experience.


The art of on the rocks cocktails

What are on the rocks cocktails?

On-the-Rocks cocktails, often referred to simply as "rocks cocktails," are a category of mixed drinks that are served over ice cubes or a single large ice block in a glass. This method of serving is characterized by the presence of ice in the glass, which not only chills the drink but also influences its flavor profile as it slowly dilutes over time. The term "On-the-Rocks" itself signifies the inclusion of ice in the beverage, distinguishing it from cocktails served in stemmed glassware without ice.

Why are they a favorite among cocktail enthusiasts?

On-the-Rocks cocktails hold a special place in the hearts of cocktail enthusiasts for several compelling reasons. Firstly, the addition of ice not only chills the drink but also helps mellow and balance its flavors, making them enjoyable over an extended period. This gradual dilution allows the drink to evolve in taste as you savor it. Secondly, the visible presence of ice adds an appealing visual element to the cocktail, enhancing its aesthetic appeal. Furthermore, the cold, refreshing sensation of sipping a well-crafted On-the-Rocks cocktail is a delightful experience, especially on warm days or in social settings. Lastly, the method of serving On-the-Rocks cocktails allows for a more relaxed and leisurely consumption, encouraging the drinker to savor each sip and appreciate the craftsmanship behind the cocktail.

How to present on the rocks cocktails

Presentation is crucial for On-the-Rocks cocktails because it enhances the overall drinking experience. A well-presented cocktail, served in an appropriate glass with clear, high-quality ice, not only looks visually appealing but also conveys a sense of craftsmanship and care. The visual aesthetics engage the senses, creating anticipation and excitement, even before the first sip. The choice of glassware and ice can also influence the aroma, temperature, and dilution rate of the cocktail, ensuring that the flavors are optimized. Ultimately, a beautifully presented On-the-Rocks cocktail elevates the enjoyment and appreciation of the drink, making it a more memorable and satisfying experience.

What to use to craft on the rocks cocktails

Cocktail shaker: Soho Home

The Rochester Engraved Silver Cocktail Shaker by Soho Home exudes elegance. Silver plated with vintage-inspired etchings, it channels the charm of 76 Dean Street. A perfect addition to your home bar or cart, it complements our Janson Trays and is ideal for serving house cocktails to guests.

Tray: Hem

Hem's Stripe Tray, designed by Arthur Arbesser, blends birch veneer and a printed motif using traditional Swedish techniques. With its laminated melamine surface, it's both resilient and visually appealing, making it a versatile addition to your home.

Cocktail glass: Soho Home

Soho Home's Roebling Cocktail Glass Set of Four pays homage to the Brooklyn Bridge's engineer, John Augustus Roebling. Crafted from weighty crystal with cable-inspired cut lines, these glasses are hand-finished for brilliance, ideal for your at-home bar. Exclusively designed for DUMBO House and used across all Soho Home Houses.

Coaster: Smythson

Smythson's Set of Six Panama Cross-Grain Leather Coasters is a refined addition to any coffee table. Crafted in Italy from their signature 'Panama' leather, they're neatly stored in a matching case. Each coaster features a discreet gold-foil logo stamp. Elegant and functional.

10 Recipes for on the rocks cocktails

Classic old fashioned

The Classic Old Fashioned is a timeless cocktail that dates back to the early 19th century. It's celebrated for its simplicity and is considered one of the first true cocktails.


  • 2 oz Bourbon or Rye whiskey
  • 1 sugar cube
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Orange twist or cherry for garnish


  1. Place the sugar cube in an old-fashioned glass.
  2. Add bitters and a splash of water.
  3. Muddle until the sugar dissolves.
  4. Fill the glass with ice cubes.
  5. Pour whiskey over the ice.
  6. Stir gently.
  7. Garnish with an orange twist or cherry.

Garnishing and presentation:

  • Use high-quality whiskey for the best flavor.
  • Garnish with a large ice cube or sphere for a sophisticated look.
  • Express the orange twist over the drink for a burst of aroma.

Margarita on the rocks

The Margarita is believed to have originated in Mexico and has evolved into various flavors and styles, including frozen and fruity variations.


  • 2 oz Tequila
  • 1 oz Triple sec
  • 1 oz Fresh lime juice
  • Salt for rimming the glass (optional)
  • Lime wheel for garnish


  1. Rim the glass with salt (optional).
  2. Fill the glass with ice.
  3. In a shaker, combine tequila, triple sec, and lime juice with ice.
  4. Shake well and strain into the glass.
  5. Garnish with a lime wheel.

Pairing suggestions:

  • Margaritas pair excellently with Mexican cuisine, such as tacos, guacamole, and ceviche.

Whiskey sour

The Whiskey Sour's origins can be traced back to the mid-19th century. Its sweet and sour balance remains a classic favorite.


  • 2 oz Bourbon or Rye whiskey
  • 3/4 oz Fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz Simple syrup (1:1 sugar and water)
  • Lemon wheel or cherry for garnish


  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Add whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup.
  3. Shake well and strain into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice.
  4. Garnish with a lemon wheel or cherry.

Whiskey choices and flavor profiles:

  • Bourbon offers a sweeter profile, while Rye provides spicier notes. Experiment to find your preferred flavor.

Mojito with ice

The Mojito hails from Cuba and is renowned for its refreshing combination of mint, lime, and rum.


  • 2 oz White rum
  • 1 oz Fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons Sugar
  • 6-8 Fresh mint leaves
  • Soda water
  • Lime wheel and mint sprig for garnish


  1. Muddle mint leaves and sugar in a glass.
  2. Add lime juice and rum, stir.
  3. Fill the glass with ice.
  4. Top with soda water.
  5. Garnish with a lime wheel and mint sprig.

Garnishing and presentation:

  • Use fresh ingredients for the best Mojito experience. Muddle gently to release the mint's aroma.

On the rocks negroni

The Negroni's distinctive bitter-sweet flavor profile has made it a classic cocktail choice for decades.


  • 1 oz Gin
  • 1 oz Campari
  • 1 oz Sweet vermouth
  • Orange twist for garnish


  1. Fill a mixing glass with ice.
  2. Add gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth.
  3. Stir well.
  4. Strain into an old-fashioned glass with ice.
  5. Garnish with an orange twist.

Garnishing and presentation:

  • The orange twist complements the Negroni's flavors, offering a citrusy aroma with each sip.

Perfect on the rocks martini

The Martini is an iconic cocktail symbolizing sophistication and elegance. It has been a favorite of many famous figures throughout history.


  • 2 oz Gin or Vodka
  • 1/2 oz Dry vermouth
  • Lemon twist or olive for garnish


  1. Fill a mixing glass with ice.
  2. Add gin or vodka and dry vermouth.
  3. Stir until well chilled.
  4. Strain into a chilled martini glass.
  5. Garnish with a lemon twist or olive.

Perfect chill and dilution:

  • Stirring until well chilled without over-dilution is key to a perfect Martini.

Tequila sunrise over ice

The Tequila Sunrise is known for its vibrant layers of colors, creating a visually appealing sunrise effect. It's cherished for its fruity and citrusy taste.


  • 2 oz Tequila
  • 4 oz Orange juice
  • 1/2 oz Grenadine syrup
  • Orange slice and maraschino cherry for garnish


  1. Fill a highball glass with ice.
  2. Pour tequila and orange juice over the ice.
  3. Slowly pour grenadine syrup over the back of a spoon or by drizzling it down the side of the glass, allowing it to settle at the bottom.
  4. Garnish with an orange slice and maraschino cherry.

Variations and garnish options:

  • Experiment with different tequilas and consider adding a slice of lime or a splash of soda for variations.

Rum and cola on the rocks

The Rum and Cola, also known as the Cuba Libre, is a beloved classic cocktail, appreciated for its simplicity and bold flavors.


  • 2 oz Dark or spiced rum
  • 4 oz Cola
  • Lime wedge for garnish


  1. Fill a highball glass with ice.
  2. Pour rum over the ice.
  3. Top with cola.
  4. Stir gently.
  5. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Types of rum:

  • Dark or spiced rum pairs exceptionally well with cola, providing a rich and aromatic combination.

On the rocks Moscow mule

The Moscow Mule has a unique history and is traditionally served in a copper mug for an added chill.


  • 2 oz Vodka
  • 4 oz Ginger beer
  • 1/2 oz Fresh lime juice
  • Lime wheel and mint sprig for garnish


  1. Fill a copper mug with ice.
  2. Pour vodka and lime juice over the ice.
  3. Top with ginger beer.
  4. Stir gently.
  5. Garnish with a lime wheel and a sprig of fresh mint.

Ginger beer recommendations:

  • Choose a high-quality ginger beer to enhance the cocktail's spicy and zesty flavors.

Berry blast on the rocks

The Berry Blast cocktail is a burst of fruity flavors, perfect for those who enjoy a sweet and colorful drink.


  • 2 oz Berry-flavored vodka
  • 1 oz Triple sec
  • 2 oz Cranberry juice
  • Mixed berries for garnish


  1. Fill an old-fashioned glass with ice.
  2. Pour berry vodka, triple sec, and cranberry juice over the ice.
  3. Stir gently.
  4. Garnish with an assortment of mixed berries.

Garnishing and presentation:

  • Experiment with different types of berry-flavored vodka to find your favorite combination.

Not so much of a cocktail connoisseur? The 10 best red wines might do the trick.