We've got four cocktails that cover all the taste bases. If you learn to make them well, you'll pleasantly surprise your guests every time. (And the crew probably won't mind being your guinea pigs.)
One great tip is to create a small cocktail menu and ensure your stews can make them well, and consistently. By presenting a menu you bypass the potential problems of having to search for obscure recipes, make unfamiliar cocktails and ultimately, unhappy guests. Being consistent means the guests won't feel the need to request it to be made by a specific person (who will always, inevitably be on their break when they ask).
The ‘on trend’ drink. As seen in many TV shows lately, this is a real bartenders drink. Make it with care to get the flavours really embedded.
Ingredients: 60ml Rum (Preferably Mount Gaye or Ron Zakapa), 1 teaspoon brown sugar, 2 slices of orange zest, 5ml of cherry liqueur, 2 drops angostura bitters.
1. Prepare the orange zest for garnish and get as much white off as possible.
2. Put your sugar into the glass with the liqueur and bitters.
3. Stir and dissolve the sugar
4. Fill the glass with rock ice, add 30ml of the rum and swirl slowly with a bar spoon. Add another 15ml, swirl and repeat.
5. Twist and spray orange zest into the drink to infuse oils, drop it in and swirl. Top with the second twist of orange zest.
The SATC staple, a pink drink, usually popular with the ladies!
Ingredients: 60 ml citron vodka, two limes, 15ml cointreau, 20ml cranberry juice, a slice of orange peel.
1. Squeeze your two limes into a shaker and chuck them in.
2. Add your vodka, cointreau and cranberry
3. Shake with rock ice
4. Double strain the drink into the martini glass
5. The hard part - hold the orange peel between your thumb and forefinger, and use a lighter to burn the outside a little bit. Then, squeeze together (into the flame and the drink) the oils will shoot through the flame into the drink giving it the orangey tang.
This one is the same for any sour. Whisky sour is also popular. For anyone who doesn’t like their drinks too sweet - learn the sours mix and you’ll be set.
Ingredients: Lemon zest, 10ml sugar syrup, 3 drops angostura bitters, lemon juice, 60ml amaretto, 10ml egg white.
1. Prepare a long slice of lemon zest
2. Add your bitters, lemon juice and amaretto into the glass.
3. Shake without ice
4. Shake with smashed ice
5. Pour back into the glass, drip bitters onto the foam and add the twist of lemon as garnish.
The Classic Mojito
One of the most popular drinks around at the moment. It’s refreshing and zesty but not the easiest.
Once you get it right, you’re set for life.
Ingredients: 4 lime wedges, 1 shot sugar syrup, 60ml white rum, 1 handful of mint, 1 dash soda.
1. Put lime into tumbler, add sugar syrup and MUDDLE.
2. Roll mint into a ball in your hand and smack three times to release the flavour.
*Side note: never muddle mint as it compromises the flavour
3. Add your white rum, fill the glass with rock ice, and shake.
*Remember: When you shake a cocktail try to get a long ‘up and down’ action to really mix the flavours.
4. Pour the contents back into the glass, top up with your splash of soda.
5. Add a scoop of crushed ice to the top and grab a nice mint leaf to garnish.
*If you want to create a flavoured mojito, add fresh fruit before the muddling, but remember to use a bit less mint.
To make beautiful cocktails, especially if you're likely to make a lot of them, the key is the preparation:
* If you’re likely to be making a lot of sours, there’s a good way to prep egg whites. Break a lot of them into a shaker, shake and pour squeezy bottle leaving the top layer of white froth out. Using the squeezy bottle a squirt should be around 10ml.
* If you can, it's best to keep mint moist. Ideally you should layer it in a tupperware with layers of damp kitchen roll. Keep it in the fridge.
* One bit of bruised mint is like one bad raspberry - it'll turn the whole batch. Check through it and get rid of any black bits.
* Make sure you have all of your fruit at the ready, it'll save you a ton of time and it'll keep in the fridge for a good few days.