Forget boring beer and just-fine wine; nothing says, “welcome to the party” like a carefully crafted cocktail made with care at your home bar. Budding mixologists keen to impress can shake up their welcome drinks with innovative tipples, served with plenty of flair for a talking-point start to any soirée. Think elegant, sophisticated and complex flavours with a kick; we’ll see you at the bar.
20ml sweet vermouth
Twist of orange peel
Combine your gin, vermouth and Campari in a mixing glass. Add ice, and stir until thoroughly chilled. Strain into an old fashioned glass (also known as a rocks glass) and serve with a twist of fresh orange peel.
Enduringly popular for good reason: put simply, mastering this Italian classic is an absolute must for any modern host. A classic Negroni is the epitome of quiet sophistication. The Campari’s bitterness is perfectly offset by the vermouth’s sweetness while the gin offers a subtle punch. Add a hint of fragrance and freshness with your orange twist and you’re good to go.
10ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
5ml simple sugar syrup
Top with Brut champagne
Twist of lemon peel
Measure gin, lemon juice, syrup and ice cubes into a cocktail shaker. Shake until thoroughly chilled, and then strain into a champagne flute. Top with champagne, then garnish with a twist of lemon peel.
The brainchild of the legendary Harry MacElhone, the French 75 made its debut at his namesake Parisian bar back in the roaring 20s. Adding gin and lemon to a glass of champers elevates your typical tipple to something far more intriguing. Crisp, refreshing and the perfect livener to any gathering, a well-made soixante quinze is a thing of joy.
4 dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters
2 dashes of Angostura Bitters
1 sugar cube
Twist of lemon peel
Place the sugar cube into a short glass along with the bitters. Muddle, and then add two-three ice cubes. Add bourbon and stir until all sugar is dissolved. Meanwhile, rinse a chilled glass with absinthe, coating the glass completely and discarding any excess absinthe. Strain the bourbon mix into the absinthe-coated glass; serve with a twist of lemon.
Arguably the world’s first cocktail, the Sazerac originated in New Orleans in 1838, and was originally named after creator Antoine Peychaud’s favourite brandy, Sazerac-de-Forge et Fils, before later being replaced with the bourbon we know and love. Today, the intricate making of a Sazerac is an entertainment and art form in itself, and a delicious reminder that the best things come to those who wait.
50ml blanco tequila
35ml grapefruit juice
25ml lime juice
17.5ml simple sugar syrup
25 ml soda
Wedge of lime
Add ice cubes to a highball glass, adding tequila, grapefruit juice, lime juice and syrup. Stir, then top with soda and add a wedge of lime.
It turns out that the Margarita is a mere pretender to the crown; in fact, the Paloma is Mexico’s best-loved cocktail, and it’s easy to see why. Simple to mix and deliciously refreshing, this is the ideal easy-drinking summertime cocktail. Made to pair with great company and good music – the Paloma is summertime in a glass.
Naughty and Nice/Dirty Naughty and Nice
125ml tonic water
Fill a Burgundy glass with ice cubes, adding in both vodka and sherry. Top with tonic water, then garnish with olives. The olives can also be muddled to create a “dirty” version with more savoury flavour profile.
An interesting twist on the classic martini, this blend of smooth vodka with aromatic sherry is perfectly complemented by the bitterness of the tonic. The addition of olives offers a sophisticated depth and saltiness tang to this extremely moreish tipple, making it the ideal pairing for canapés.
25ml sweet vermouth
Dash of soda water
Add ice to an old fashioned (rocks) glass, and combine Campari and vermouth. Stir, and then top with soda water to taste.
Don’t let its name deceive you: far from being an American import, this classic cocktail hails from Gaspare Campari’s own bar in Milan. Originally named the Milano-Torino due to its ingredients’ provenance (Campari hails from Milan, while sweet vermouth is popular in Torino), the cocktail was later re-named for its popularity amongst US tourists. Another fun fact about this crowd-pleaser: the Americano was the very first drink ordered by 007 in Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel, Casino Royale.