Are you craving your favourite cocktails right now? We feel your pain! That’s why we’ve created a ‘cheat sheet’ of key tips and items you’ll need for an at-home cocktail-making evening, plus, a few classic and easy cocktail recipes. If you’re thinking of planning a home birthday or an anniversary celebration, having some cool and tasty drink options to whip up will come in handy.
Learning the tools and basics for home cocktail making is also a fun way to pass the time. Hopefully, once you can host gatherings or parties again – creating a special drink for your family and friends will make your event even more memorable.
You might be the sort of person who has all manner of juices, spirits, and flavourings already at home which is great. However, we still recommend planning the drinks you’re hoping to make beforehand. This is to make sure you have all the ingredients and tools required to start creating the cocktails too. Although there are beverages that have as few as three ingredients, sometimes the items can be a little obscure which is why it’s a good idea to check first. To ensure a smooth drink-making process, write a plan of the cocktails and an ingredient list for your next visit to the shops.
Making a delicious drink can be a pretty cluttered and busy process – this means that creating a space for your spirits, mixers, and garnish beforehand is a handy trick. Fashioning a dedicated area or space also means you don’t have to work around any obstacles or worry over sticky spillages.
Have the Tools Ready
The basic items of mixed drink making includes:
• A cocktail shaker
• A measuring jigger
• A julep or fine mesh strainer
• A long bar spoon
It’s also fun to have an array of glasses available to help make your drinks look extra fabulous. In fact, experts recommend that you have two of each item so you can work on more than one cocktail without waiting for the washing up!
What If I Don’t Have Them?
Even if you don’t have these specialised bits and pieces to hand, you can use some simple household items instead. For example, in place of the cocktail shaker, you could use an empty (clean) jar and a lid, add the ice, and shake – works exactly like a mixer. The only thing you’re missing is the strainer, for this, you can replace it with a metal kitchen sieve for the same effect. If you don’t have a strainer with small enough gaps, why not add a couple of holes to the jar lid? Just make sure to do the shaking beforehand.
Other great options that can be used in place of a cocktail shaker are a protein shaker or the bottle used for a mini smoothie maker with the lid secured.
If there is no long spoon in your kitchen drawer, a regular spoon can be used for stirring, and for measurements, the head of a bar spoon works out around the same size as a teaspoon. We think that a re-usable straw works even better for stirring and can also be used the sip the drink afterward.
For the jigger, cocktail shot measurements usually ask for either one drink shot which is 25ml, or two shots which is 50ml, you can use a regular measuring jug or even guestimate your servings in some instances.
Get the Key Ingredients
One item that is vital, yet simple… ICE. Ice is essential to get that chilled feeling we always desire in a cocktail so make sure your freezer is stocked up.
The best spirits to have your drinks cabinet supplied with are:
Many cocktail recipe’s main spirits can be swapped, however, it’s handy to have a variety of the key tipples available.
Ice and alcohol aside, there are a couple of other items that are also great additions to ready for your home drinking making: granulated sugar or sugar syrup plus, lemon and lime. Nothing that’s too out of the ordinary, lemon, sugar, or lime make up the base of a countless number of mixed drinks. For garnish, you can even purchase pre-sliced frozen bags of them from most supermarkets!
Making Shaker Cocktails
There a few cocktails that only require a good ol’ shake with a handful of ice plus a strain when it’s poured – easy-peasy. You can then add a fancy touch if you wish to decorate your drink.
– 1 part pineapple juice
– Shot of white rum or coconut rum
– 1 part coconut milk
We love adding a slice of pineapple and a drinks umbrella to the glass (makes us feel like we are on holiday!).
– A large handful of pureed frozen or fresh strawberries
– Shot of lime juice
– Two shots of white rum
Position a slice of lime and a strawberry to the edge of the glass and include a reusable straw to sip from.
– Shot of vodka or vanilla vodka.
– Shot of coffee liquor
– 1 part cooled coffee
– Dash of simple syrup (optional)
We think that popping a couple of whole coffee beans on the top of the cocktail makes for a really sophisticated-looking drink.
– Two shots of tequila
– Shot of orange flavoured liqueur (triple sec or Curaçao)
– Shot of lime juice
For that traditional margarita look, add a slice of lime to the glass and dip part of the rim in salt.
– Two shots of gin
– Shot of lemon juice
– Two teaspoons of simple syrup
– Soda (to taste)
After shaking the essential ice with gin, lemon, and sugar syrup in your shaker, strain into an ice-filled glass and top with soda. A simple lemon slice works perfectly as the garnish.
Other Simple Cocktail Recipes
– Handful of mint
– Shot of lime
– Two shots of white rum
– Soda (to taste)
– Teaspoon of granulated sugar (optional)
Muddle your lime, mint leaves and the optional sugar in a jug or glass, make sure to crush the mint as you go. Then pour the mixture into a long glass. Add ice, the white rum and top your drink with a generous pour of soda (if you prefer a sweeter drink you can replace the soda with lemonade). Finally, garnish your drink with a spring of mint!
– Shot of bourbon whiskey
– Teaspoon of granulated sugar
– Two dashes of Bitters
For this classic drink add the sugar and bitters to a glass with a splash of soda water, stir until the sugar is almost dissolved. Add a cube or two of ice plus the bourbon and slowly stir. You can then garnish your Old Fashioned with a traditional orange twist or a delicious maraschino cherry.
Feeling A Little Lazy?
We can sympathise with that! Although making your own cocktail is super fun, it’s understandable that occasionally we want to enjoy a drink made by someone else. Luckily, there are plenty of bottled or premade cocktails being delivered right now. From businesses such as The Cocktail Delivery Company, NIO Cocktails, Funkin Cocktails, and Cocktail Delivery. The majority of companies only request that you add ice – perfect for those evenings where you just want to unwind.