Creating cocktails at home

If you want to master mixing the perfect espresso martini or shake up a classy cosmopolitan whilst we weave our way through lockdown de-escalation. Here’s some top tips to bring the magic to your cocktail shaking skills.

Tools of the trade
You can get hold of a small cocktail starter kit pretty easily. Start really small with just a shaker and a jigger (measurer) or if you’re happy spending around 30e you’ll get everything you need: shaker, jigger, two or thee different strainers and a bar spoon. But you can mix most cocktails at home with a jam jar or drinks bottle and then strain through a rice sieve.

Start simple
Try a simple sour or spritz recipe to start with. All cocktails have core components that make them up and many are based on the same ratios. A sour element (lemon or lime juice) and a sweetener – in its simplest form, a mix of sugar and water – are all you need for many mixed drinks. If you search for a classic recipe like an old fashioned or a sour and learn the basic ratio of the drink…then just use that ratio as your starting point. i.e. 4 parts spirit, 2 part sour, 1 part sweetener (and mixer if you want).

Be creative
Cocktails are all about experimenting…if you like cooking and understand flavours, you’ll have a great time. There are some specs for drinks that need to be perfectly balanced to work, but ask any mixologist and they will tell you that some of the best drinks have happened when they didn’t have the ingredient they were looking for and thought outside the box.

Go large with garnish
Garnish often helps to bring aroma, visual stimulus and flavour – all things that our brains use to enhance the taste. Citrus peel garnishes are some of the simplest to create but look the most dramatic. Use a potato peeler to take a long strip off the side of a lemon, grapefruit or lime, then pick up a knife and start experimenting. If you make a cut down the middle so the peel can perch on the side of the glass, the rest is down to you.