Cocktails can be sophisticated and daring creations, but not everyone is trying to reinvent the wheel – especially when they’re at home, working with what’s left in the fridge and cupboards. Rather than feeling guilty about making a simple drink, own it. In fact, you can make a slew of tasty tipples with just a pair of ingredients – and we’re not talking about screwdrivers and G&Ts.

“Two-ingredient drinks are a great way to be able to host a party without going totally ‘mixologist’ on your friends,” says bartender Julius Yates from Darlinghurst’s deeply knowledgeable Shady Pines Saloon. “Most of the time when I’m hosting, it’ll be beers, wine and a simple mixer of some variety that everyone can get around.”

Yates has pulled together seven terrific cocktails with just two ingredients each – not counting the garnish. “The following are some of my favourites not just for hosting,” he says, “but when I am out and about too.”

Makes one serve. Approx. 1.3 standard drinks.

“The Spanish know what’s up,” says Yates of Spain’s unlikely union of red wine and Coke. “It’s a great way to use wine that has gone past its prime. Or if you’re on a plane and riding economy, it’s a great way to get past drinking the average wine they serve on flights.”

120ml red wine
120ml Coke

Garnish suggestion: lemon slice or orange wheel.

Dry and Dry
Makes one serve. Approx. 1.1 standard drinks.

“Classic old-school low-alcohol refresher,” Yates says of this low-key twist on the whiskey dry. “Easy drinking and good for a hot summer’s night.”

85ml dry vermouth
240ml Cascade Dry Ginger Ale

Garnish suggestion: lemon slice or lime wedge.

Cognac and Tonic
Makes one serve. Approx. one standard drink.

“This is all the rage over in France,” says Yates, “and it’s really great. The cognac has much more body and sweetness than gin, which complements the bitterness of the tonic really well. Great summer sipper.”

30ml cognac
60ml Cascade Tonic Water

Garnish suggestion: lemon slice.

Vodka and Appletiser
Makes one serve. Approx. one standard drink.

“It’s the easy way to make an apple martini,” says Yates. “Serve it in a coupette [glass] and it’ll look like champagne too.”

30ml vodka
90ml Appletiser

Gin and Fanta
Makes one serve. Approx. one standard drink.

30ml gin
240ml Fanta

Soft drink and gin? Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. “Sweet orange mixes really well with a botanical gin,” says Yates. “And a little bit of lime helps cut through the sweetness of the Fanta and round out the whole drink.”

Garnish suggestion: squeeze of lime.

Whisky Highball
Makes one serve. Approx. one standard drink.

If you only know of Japan’s affection for whisky highballs from Bill Murray’s daggy TV commercials in Lost in Translation, it’s high time to remedy that. “The most popular drink in Japan for good reason,” says Yates. “Great refreshing sipper.”

30ml whisky
90ml Cascade Soda Water

Garnish suggestion: lemon slice.

Makes one serve. Approx. 1.8 standard drinks.

Tequila and Coke? One sip and you’ll wonder why this simple Mexican cocktail isn’t more popular. Add a salt rim and some lime to send it home. Yates calls it “a match made in heaven, with a balance between salty, sweet [and] zesty flavours. Absolutely love this drink.”

60ml tequila
120ml Coke

Garnish suggestion: salt rim and squeeze of lime.

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Coca-Cola South Pacific Pty Ltd. Visit for your chance to win a weekend getaway or $100 voucher at participating venues. Please drink responsibly.