Cheap cocktails to spice up your pre-drinks

Cheap cocktail recipe ideas

You are well into the year, you have settled into the routine (maybe), but you still want to party and enjoy the nights. So seeing as though half of you have turned up to lecture still drunk from the night before, and drinking makes you more attractive, we thought we would bring you some of the best cocktails to make on the cheap for those all-important pre-drinks.


We will start with a British institution. It may be a summer drink but there is no reason you cannot enjoy this all year round.


1 part Pimms

2 parts lemonade

Sliced fruit (apple, orange, cucumber, strawberries and lemon)


1. Fill the glass/jug with crushed ice and pour over the Pimms and lemonade.

2. Stir well.

3. Add sliced fruit.


Tequila Sunrise

Feel like you’re on a Caribbean holiday in your campus halls with this refreshing treat. You can make it in bulk, in a jug and pass it around the group, it’s a drink perfect for creating you’re own fishbowls too.


3 parts tequila (but who is measuring?)

6 parts orange juice

1 part grenadine (let it sink to the bottom to create that familiar effect)


1. Put ice in a glass/jug

2. Pour over orange juice and vodka

3. Stir well

4. Pour in grenadine

5. Do not stir, let the grenadine sink to the bottom

If you don’t have grenadine (I am pretty sure you don’t), then why not try some summer fruits squash?


A very simple one as it only has two ingredients, but be sure not to fill a pint glass with it; otherwise you will be on the floor.


1 part peach schnapps

1 part sparkling white wine (have a look to see which bargain wines actually taste good).

Peach puree if you want to go all out, but not necessary


Essentially, it is adding a shot of schnapps to your glass of prosecco. Simple.

Bloody Mary

For those adventurous types. This is a great one to drink around Halloween (it looks like blood, obviously!) and it is so simple to make, with ingredients everyone should really have already lurking about the place.


2 parts vodka

4 parts tomato juice

Small amount of lemon juice (if you want)

Couple of dashes of Tabasco/hot sauce (depending on how spicy you want it)

Salt and pepper

Crushed ice


1. Mix all ingredients together except the ice

2. Pour mixture into glass over ice

My personal favourite, but not a spice fan so I wimp out and leave the Tabasco.

Long Island Iced Tea

This is like playing ring of fire, so you have a glass full of different shots, and then just fill the glass with coke.

I have a feeling the way this drink came about is the same way Homer came up with the Flaming Homer (which would later be stolen by Moe and called The Flaming Moe) in The Simpsons.

This is one that will guarantee to get you messed up.


1 part light rum

1 part vodka

1 part gin

1 part tequila

2 parts lime juice



1. Fill a glass with crushed ice

2. Mix all spirits and lime, pour over ice and stir well

3. Fill glass with Coke.

If you wanna check out some great drinking games, have a look at our list of 14 TV and film drinking games.

Slow Comfortable Screw

A variation of the Screwdriver, which is just vodka with orange juice, this one is a little different but if the name isn’t enough to make you want to try it, then I don’t know what will.

This has two different spirits: sloe gin, which is available at your local off-license and Southern Comfort so you are really packing in that alcohol content.


1 part sloe gin

1 part Southern Comfort

Orange juice


1. Pour everything over ice. That is it.

You won’t need much of this one before you are ready to hit the clubs.

Baby Guinness

If you have just come back from a particularly boring lecture or your tedious part-time job at the local Sainsbury’s, and need a little caffeine boost with your pre-drink, the Baby Guinness is just what you are looking for.


Coffee Liqueur

Baileys Irish Cream


1. Take a shot glass

2. Pour some Coffee Liqueur in, leaving a little room at the top.

3. Carefully pour some Baileys Irish Cream on top, you might need to pour it over the back of a spoon to stop it going straight to the bottom, and voila, a little Baby Guinness.

A baby Guinness contains no Guinness. It has the name because of the way it looks, which is obvious when you take a look at the picture.

This is one that if you buy the bottles, they will last you for a while, because I doubt you will be able to finish both bottles in one night.

If you want to have a look at some other weird shots, check out our list.

Lemon Drop

A summer drink for when you are sick of the rain. And it is so simple!


Sugar (for lining the glass)


Lemon juice



1. Wet the rim of the glass and dab in sugar

2. Mix vodka, lemonade and lemon juice

3. Carefully pour into glass

A lot of sugar, vodka and lemon. This is like the best cheesecake ever!

Sex on the Beach

And finally, we arrive at one that I guarantee you have tried already, whether it is at the local Wetherspoons before the club, or on that holiday to Ibiza when you were 18.

But it turns out this staple of your adolescence is quite cheap and easy to make.


1 part peach schnapps

1 part vodka

Cranberry juice

Orange juice (or mix it up with some pineapple juice if you prefer)


1. Just mix them all together and pour over ice.

So simple, so cheap, and a much better option than the boring vodka and lemonade, or Jack Daniels and Coke.

Cheeky Vimto

A weird one as it doesn't contain any Vimto, but it does taste like it, apparently. It includes blue WKD ever-popular amongst 15 year-old girls, and the ever popular with 70 year old women, Ruby Port (trust me, my Nan drinks this stuff).


2 shots of ruby port

1 bottle of WKD blue.


Just that simple, just stick it in a glass and allow yourself to be pleasantly surprised.


Another weird one, and not one that include the ingredients you would think. I have never tried this one but it is cheap and easy to make, so I would say it is definitely one I am going to try.


2.5 oz advocaat

0.5 oz cognac

0.5 oz lime juice


Cocktail cherries


1. In a cocktail shaker, put a handful of ice, advocaat, lime juice, lemonade and cognac.

2. Shake well.

3. Pour into glass

4. Garnish with two cocktail cherries.

Looks very nice, not sure about the name though.

Moscow Mule

For those that like ginger beer, first of all: How? But secondly, we have our first drink to include it. The Moscow Mule is often served in a copper cup like the one pictured, but if you don't have one then don't sweat it, a regular tumbler will do. This seems like the sort of cocktail to have in the winter, or when there is a chill in the air.


Ginger beer


Lime juice


1. Mix the ginger beer with vodka

2. Pour over ice

3. Add a dash of lime juice

4. Garnish with a slice or wedge of lime.



Learn how to make the perfect Margarita like Bart (another Simpsons reference), and look like a mob boss like Fat Tony (OK, I'll stop) and you'll be set for the night.


2 parts tequila

1 part lime juice

1 part Cointreau



1. Take a small tumbler, dampen the rim of the glass so the salt sticks to it.

2. Mix tequila, Cointreau and lime juice in a cocktail shaker with ice.

3. Pour mixture into glass

Dark and Stormy

This is possibly the simplest one. Two ingredients, and one of them is ginger beer, so I have not tried it.


3.5 parts ginger beer

2 parts rum


Just mix 'em together and pour over ice! Easy peasy.

Aldi sent us over some recipes for cocktails using their bargain spirits and mixers - check them out!

The Bellucci Job

Aldi’s Bellucci Amaretto provides an appetising sweet undertone of exotic marzipan to The Bellucci Job, for a sweet and sour flavour mix to get people talking.


25ml Tamova Vodka

25ml Bellucci Amaretto

3 strawberries

1 teaspoon of white sugar

75ml cranberry juice

2 lemon wedges

Soda water to top


·Cut the strawberries into quarters, add to the cocktail shaker and sprinkle with white sugar

·Using the back of a wooden spoon muddle or press down on the strawberries

·Add the remaining ingredients (except the soda water) and shake hard over ice

·Using a tea strainer, fine-strain the liquid into a tall ice-filled glass

·Top with soda water

Gin, Lime & Cucumber Cooler

Crisp, zesty and irresistibly refreshing and perfect to quench thirst.


50ml London Dry Gin

6 slices cucumber, peeled

1/2 fresh lime, cut into 2 wedges

40ml Del Rivo apple juice

12 fresh mint leaves

1 tsp The Pantry granulated sugar

Crushed ice cubes


·Pour the gin and apple juice into a large cup or small bowl. Add the sugar, squeeze in the lime juice

·Add the mint leaves and the cucumber slices and, with the end of a wooden spoon, muddle/crush the mint and cucumber slightly to release their flavours. Pour into a glass, add plenty of crushed ice, drop in the lime halves and stir

·Serve garnished with a sprig of mint

Blackberry Smash

Delicious fresh berries and fresh lemon juice combine with the crisp taste of gin to make this cocktail the perfect weekend drink in front of the TV. With its uplifting citrus and berry notes, Blackberry Smash is an excellent drink to brighten up your winter.

50 ml Oliver Cromwell London Dry Gin

½ a cup of white sugar

½ a cup hot water

10-12 blackberries

25ml fresh lemon juice

6 mint leaves

Sparkling water to top


·Fill a tall glass and a cocktail shaker with cubed ice

·To make blackberry syrup dissolve the white sugar in the hot water. Once dissolved add in 10/12 blackberries and allow to cool down to room temperature before straining and chilling in the fridge

·Add 25ml of blackberry syrup and all ingredients (except the sparkling water) to the cocktail shaker

·Shake hard for ten seconds and then strain through a tea strainer into the ice-filled tall glass

·Slowly top with sparkling water


A light and refreshing cocktail with the distinctive sour bite of cranberry and soft bubbles of Prosecco.


75ml Prosecco Superiore Valdobbiadene NV

25ml Rio D’Oro cranberry juice

1 punnet fresh cranberries

1 tsp mixed spice


·Dip the rim of a chilled Champagne flute into the cranberry juice, and then into the icing sugar

·Dip again in the cranberry juice, then into the mixed spice and leave to stand

·Make the sugar syrup – mix the water and sugar and bring to the boil in a saucepan

·Stir until the sugar has dissolved and allow to cool

·Mix the cranberry juice with 1 teaspoon of sugar syrup and fill the bottom ¼ of the glass then top up with Prosecco

·Garnish with a cranberry cut half way through and pushed onto the rim of the glass

And there we are, 19 cocktails that are easy and cheap to make, for your pre-drinks.

Then once you have impressed with your skills, you go out, have fun, come back, go to sleep, then when you wake up hungover in the morning come back and look at our hangover cures.