What is the Cheapest Cocktail to Make?

So what is the cheapest cocktail for hosts on a budget?

A pair of cocktails on a table
(Image credit: getty)

Cocktails are a party favourite, but they can be a little costly to mix up. With the cost of food and drink rising, we’re all trying to watch our bank balance a little more closely. So, if you’re planning a little get-together for the New Year and you’ve got a budget, we’re going to take a look at the most cost-efficient and cheapest cocktail.

So what are the options for the cheapest cocktail?

The Drinks Business carried out a study to find the UK’s 10 favourite cocktails. Of those 10, we’ve chosen the 5 most popular choices to find which offers the best value for money. Whether you’re partial to a Negroni, pine after a pina colada, you’re begging for a Blue Lagoon, or you’re longing for a Long Island iced tea, this price comparison is for you.  

Which? found Asda to be the cheapest supermarket when doing bigger shops, so we’ve gone for them to source the ingredients. Some cocktails will naturally be more expensive as they involve more ingredients. But it’s still worth knowing the cost of your favourite drink. 

In looking at the ingredients we won’t follow the old student adage, ‘cheaper alcohol and more expensive mixer’. We’ll opt for the mid-tier of pricing, not necessarily going for the cheapest option but also not splurging on items that may not offer great value. Prices will also be rounded up or down to the nearest penny.

How much does a Negroni cost per serving?

The first drink up is a Negroni. A Negroni is made up of:

  • Gin – 25ml
  • Sweet Vermouth- 25ml
  • Campari- 25ml

As it’s only made up of three ingredients, this is an option for those newer mixologists. This also makes it a viable option for those looking for a tipple on a budget. It’s the only drink on the list that’s made up entirely of alcoholic drinks and, thanks to the vermouth, has a bittersweet taste. It has a herbaceous, earthy taste with some fruity notes. At the time of writing, Asda had the following ingredients available.

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The cost of ingredients in a Negroni
Row 0 - Cell 0 SizePriceCost per serving
Gordon’s Special London Dry Gin 700 ml£17£0.61
Martini Rosso Vermouth 750ml£8£0.27
Campari Liqueur700ml£18£0.64

Total cost per serving: £1.52

By opting for these items, you can make 28 Negronis. and it is one of the cheapest cocktail options Plenty to get you and your friends through an evening. The bittersweet taste we mentioned can get a little much for your tastebuds after a few, so it’s best when you only have a couple. And while it goes without saying, please drink responsibly.

How much does a pina colada cost per serving?

Up next, we have the pina colada. The subject of songs from 1979 and offering an extremely fruity taste. It’s a summer favourite and instantly evokes a little taste of the tropics. Thankfully, you don’t need to go anywhere special to have one, you just need: 

  • 120ml pineapple juice
  • 60ml white rum
  • 60ml coconut cream
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The cost of ingredients in a pina colada
Row 0 - Cell 0 SizePriceCost per serving
ASDA Pineapple Juice1000ml£1£0.13
Bacardí Carta Blanca White Rum700ml£14£1.27
Blue Dragon Coconut Cream UHT250ml£1.60£0.40

Total cost per serving: £1.80

Clocking in at 28p more expensive than a Negroni, it’s not the best option for budget booze. In fact, it isn’t the cheapest cocktail in our list at all, it’s the most expensive. With the chosen ingredients you’ll get four pina coladas. There’s enough rum to make 10 cocktails, whereas the coconut cream will only make four and the pineapple juice will only stretch to 8. So if you’d like to make as many as possible using the rum just bear in mind that you’ll have to purchase multiples of the other ingredients, or bigger sizes if you can find them elsewhere. It’s also rather sickly due to the cream, but if you like the idea of a fruity milkshake for adults, it’s not a bad choice.

How much does a Blue Lagoon cost per serving?

A blue lagoon is a much sweeter and sharper beverage. It’s also quite a fun colour, making it an excellent choice for those of us who fondly reminisce about drinking alcopops but want something that isn’t just sugar. A blue lagoon is made up of: 

  • 50 ml vodka
  • 25ml Blue Curacao 
  • 150ml lemonade
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The cost of ingredients in a Blue Lagoon
Row 0 - Cell 0 SizePriceCost per serving
Smirnoff Premium Vodka700ml£14£1
De Kuyper Blue Curacao Cocktail Liqueur350ml£8£0.57
Schweppes Lemonade2000ml£1.35£0.10

Total cost per serving: £1.67

The vodka and curacao will provide you with enough alcohol to make 14 cocktails. Whilst the lemonade is enough to make 13, which is a tad annoying. So if you’d like to use all of the spirits, then just be sure to grab another bottle of lemonade. You’ll normally be able to find multibuys on lemonade or deals so you might be able to bring down the cost per serving.

How much does a cosmopolitan cost per serving?

The 4th cocktail is the Cosmopolitan. Cosmopolitans offer a sweet taste with a hint of a sour flavour due to the lime juice. To enjoy some cosmopolitans you’ll need:

  • 45ml vodka
  • 15ml triple sec
  • 30ml cranberry juice
  • 10ml lime juice
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The cost ingredients in a cosmopolitan
Row 0 - Cell 0 SizePriceCost per serving
Smirnoff Premium Vodka700ml£14£0.93
Cointreau Orange Liqueur Triple Sec500ml£16.50£0.50
ASDA No Added Sugar Cranberry Juice Drink1000ml£1£0.03
ASDA Lime Juice from Concentrate250ml£0.85£0.03

Total cost per serving: £1.49

The vodka is enough for 15 cosmos, with the triple sec and cranberry juice both making 33, while the lime juice is enough for 25 cocktails. So, depending on the size of your group one set of ingredients might be enough to last the evening. The cosmopolitan also offers an excellent level of value at £1.49 per serving. Suddenly a pitcher from Wetherspoons doesn’t look so affordable.

How much does a Long Island iced tea cost per serving?

The final cocktail we’re looking at is Long Island iced tea. There’s not much to talk about when it comes to the flavour of Long Island iced teas, they mostly taste like cola. To make a Long Island iced tea, you will need:

  • Vodka – 12.5ml
  • Gin – 12.5ml
  • White Rum- 12.5ml
  • Silver Tequila- 12.5ml
  • Triple Sec- 12.5ml
  • Lemon Juice- 12.5ml
  • Lime Juice- 12.5ml
  • Cola – 60ml (or to taste)
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The cost of ingredients in a Long Island iced tea
Row 0 - Cell 0 SizePriceCost per serving
Smirnoff Premium Vodka700ml£14£0.25
Gordon’s Special London Dry Gin700ml£17£0.30
Bacardí Carta Blanca White Rum700ml£14£0.25
Jose Cuervo Especial Silver Tequila700ml£21£0.38
Cointreau Orange Liqueur Triple Sec500ml£16.50£0.41
ASDA Lime Juice from Concentrate250ml£0.85£0.04
ASDA Lemon Juice from Concentrate250ml£0.60£0.03
Coca-Cola Original Taste1750ml£2.25£0.08

Total cost per serving: £1.74

One of the more expensive options, and also the one with the biggest upfront cost. Although when you look at the number of ingredients needed and the quantities of them that you use, you get a lot of servings. 

Measure correctly you’ll get enough out of the alcohol to make 56 servings which should (for your liver’s sake) last you multiple social gatherings and parties. You’ll get 40 servings from the triple sec, 20 from the lemon and lime juices, and enough for 29 cocktails with the Coca-Cola.

So which is the cheapest cocktail?

The cost per serving of each cocktail is as follows:

  • Negroni: £1.52
  • Pina colada: £1.80
  • Blue Lagoon: £1.67
  • Cosmopolitan: £1.49
  • Long Island iced tea: £1.74

At first glance, the cosmopolitan is the cheapest cocktail in terms of offering the best value per serving out of all of the cocktails. So it also provides you with plenty of drinks to last an evening. Contrastly, the negroni offers the most convenience. By measuring correctly you can get up to 28 cocktails with very little left over. As mentioned before though, it’s debatable how much you’ll want to spend an evening drinking purely negronis.

The Long Island iced tea’s cost per serving isn’t the most expensive, but the upfront cost of buying everything you need is. So it’s definitely not the cheapest cocktail in that regard. However, the ingredients will also provide you with a lot of cocktails to get those parties started. 

Altogether, the five cocktails offer excellent value when planning a party. All with costs per serving under £2, they’re not far from the cost of having beer or wine, but with an added fun factor.

The only downside to cocktails is the initial upfront cost. But this could be mitigated by shopping around for any deals or going for the supermarket’s brand when it comes to staples like rum, vodka or gin.

Jordan Alexander
Food & Drink Editor

I’m Jordan and I’ve been working at MyVoucherCodes since the summer of 2021. Outside of money-saving, I’m a keen musician and guitar player and can regularly be found in a dingy venue somewhere in Bristol or perched in front of my laptop recording. When I’m not doing this you’ll find me exploring the city, watching cult B movies, reading a Stephen King or Murakami novel, or guiding the mighty Bath City to Champions League glory on Football Manager. All the cliches, I know.