Cocktails

Margarita Cocktail (Serves 1)

Recently I’ve been rediscovering the joys of this cocktail! It’s pretty much the quintessential drink for a summer evening, but who really needs that excuse?!…

50ml tequila blanco

25ml lime juice

20ml Cointreau

A handful of ice-cubes

Salt and 2 lime wedges to garnish

  1. Sprinkle a few teaspoons of salt onto a small saucer. Rub one wedge of lime along the rim of your glass, then dip it into the salt so that the entire rim is covered.
  2. Put the tequila, lime juice and Cointreau into a cocktail shaker then add a handful of ice and shake for 15 seconds until cold.
  3. Strain the liquid into your prepared glass and serve with a wedge of lime. Enjoy!

Old Cuban Cocktail (Serves 1)

This cocktail is a fantastic twist on the classic Mojito. With the addition of Prosecco it has a lighter, more elegant finish. Perfect on a summer evening…

25ml sugar syrup

½ a lime, juiced

70ml dark rum, such as Havana

1 sprig fresh mint, leaves picked

Angostura bitters

A handful of ice cubes

50ml Prosecco

  1. Place the mint leaves in a cocktail shaker and lightly bash with the back of a wooden spoon. Add the sugar syrup, lime juice, rum and a couple of dashes of Angostura bitters plus the ice cubes. Shake for about 15 seconds until the shaker is cold.
  2. Strain into a chilled glass and top with the Prosecco… Enjoy!

French 75 Cocktail (Serves 1)

With warmer evenings on the horizon I thought I would share this quintessential summer cocktail. A French 75 is the perfect combination of Champagne (or Prosecco), gin and lemon juice. Light and refreshing it was made for the summer!…

Tip: Put your champagne flute in the freezer before using it as it really does keep the champagne nicely chilled!

3 tablespoons gin

1.5 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon sugar syrup

Champagne (or Prosecco) to top up (about half a glass)

A handful of ice-cubes

A lemon twist to garnish (optional)

  1. Place the gin, lemon juice and sugar syrup in a cocktail shaker with a handful of ice. Shake for 15 seconds until cold. Strain the liquid into a champagne flute.
  2. Simply top off the glass with champagne, garnish with a twist of lemon and serve!

Aviation Cocktail (Serves 1)

This could well be my new, favourite tipple!… Despite this cocktail being around since the 1920s, I only discovered it recently. It’s an old-fashioned cocktail from a bygone age when air travel was a glamourous luxury; it was called the ‘Aviation’ due to its pale sky-blue colour. The colour actually depends on the crème de violette you use, some have a very strong violet colour, I used Giffords. The important thing is of course the Aviation’s fantastic flavour; the floral notes of the crème de violette combined with the maraschino liqueur elegantly balance the gin base of this wonderful cocktail. One sip and you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped into the era of the Great Gatsby!…

60ml gin

15ml maraschino liqueur (here)

10ml crème de violette (here)

25ml lemon juice, freshly squeezed

A handful of ice-cubes

Garnish: a curl of lemon rind or a brandied cherry

  1. Add the gin, maraschino liqueur, crème de violette and lemon juice to a cocktail shaker with a handful of ice. Shake for about 15 seconds until the shaker is cold.
  2. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a curl of lemon rind or a brandied cherry.

The Joanna (Serves 1)

On my travels through the internet searching for cocktail recipes (with of course Menu Mistress always in mind!), I came across this recipe for ‘The Joanna’. It immediately caught my eye as it is made with ‘Lavender Bitters’, which are the newest addition to my cocktail cabinet (check out last months Lavender Martini below!). The Joanna is a sophisticated cocktail. Despite its vodka base, it has a light and refreshing finish due to the combination of fino sherry, lavender bitters and elderflower liqueur. Enjoy!

6 drops of Lavender Bitters

50ml vodka

25ml fino sherry

25ml dry vermouth

1 tablespoon St Germain Elderflower Liqueur

A handful of ice-cubes

(a sprig of lavender to decorate – optional)

  1. Place the lavender bitters, vodka, fino sherry, dry vermouth and elderflower liqueur in a cocktail shaker with a handful of ice. Shake for about 15 seconds until the shaker is cold.
  2. Strain into a cocktail glass and decorate with a sprig of lavender (if using)

Lavender Martini (Serves 1)

I love Martinis, and this version of the classic has become my new favourite. I discovered it last year whilst we were staying at the small boutique hotel, The Grove in Pembrokeshire, where they served this Martini with Lavender Bitters. When I returned home I was on a mission to emulate it. Thanks to Amazon I was able to easily track down a small bottle of ‘Lavender Bitters; you only need a couple of drops but it lends the Martini a subtle aroma of lavender without overpowering it.

Tip: Before you start making this Martini, make sure you put your glasses in the freezer, as you want this cocktail to be chilled to perfection.

100ml gin

1 teaspoon Dry Vermouth

3 drops of Lavender Bitters

A handful of ice-cubes

  1. Put the Gin, Dry Vermouth and the drops of Lavender Bitters in a cocktail shaker, add the ice and shake until cold.
  2. Strain into a frozen Martini glass.
  3. Enjoy!

Poinsettia Cocktail (Cranberry Champagne Cocktail) – Serves 1

Admittedly the name of this cocktail conjures up Christmas, but I think that this cocktail is pretty good at any time of the year!

2 tablespoons Cointreau

4 tablespoons 100% cranberry juice (unsweetened)

Champagne or prosecco to top up – about half a glass

A handful of ice-cubes

For the garnish: 1 rosemary sprig and a couple of raspberries

  1. Put the Cointreau and cranberry juice in a cocktail shaker with the ice and shake for 15 seconds until cold. Strain into a champagne flute.
  2. Top off the glass with champagne, garnish and serve!…

A Christmas Cosmopolitan (Serves 1)

I happened to come across this recipe for a ‘Christmas Cosmopolitan’ online. It was posted on YouTube by actor Stanely Tucci, the video is rather amusing but it was the cocktail that caught my attention; I love the twist on the original recipe (it uses pomegranate juice) and with its striking colour it makes the perfect aperitif to serve up over the festive season… Enjoy!

3 tablespoons pomegranate seeds

25ml Cointreau ⠀

50ml vodka⠀

25ml cranberry juice

25ml pomegranate juice

A handful of ice-cubes

1 tablespoon caster sugar

1 Sprig of Rosemary, 1 mint leaf and 1 raspberry for garnish

  1. First prepare your cocktail glass; put the sugar on a saucer, then dampen the rim of the glass with a wet piece of kitchen roll and dip it into the sugar so that you create a sugared rim.
  2. To make your garnish, thread the rosemary sprig through the mint leaf followed by the raspberry.
  3. Place the pomegranate seeds in a cocktail shaker, use a wooden spoon or pestle to muddle them (mush together).
  4. Add the Cointreau, vodka, cranberry juice and pomegranate juice, then add a large handful of ice. Shake well for 15 seconds until very cold.
  5. Strain into the prepared cocktail glass and garnish.

A Cosmopolitan Cocktail (Serves 1)

2 tablespoons vodka

2 tablespoons 100% pure cranberry juice (unsweetened!)

1 tablespoon Cointreau

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon sugar syrup

A handful of ice-cubes

1 lime wedge (plus a lime wheel to garnish if desired)

  1. Place the vodka, cranberry juice, Cointreau, lemon juice, and syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake for 15 seconds until cold. Strain into a martini glass.
  2. Squeeze with the lime wedge and serve, garnished with a lime wheel.

A Bloody Mary Cocktail (Serves 1)

After trying more than my fair share of Bloody Marys over the years, I have concluded that this is the winning recipe – it’s the addition of the ‘fino sherry’ that really gives it the edge.

35ml vodka

10ml fino sherry

170ml tomato juice

½ teaspoon finely grated fresh horseradish

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

¼ teaspoon Tabasco sauce

¼ teaspoon celery salt

Large pinch caster sugar

A sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper, to taste

A squeeze of lemon juice, to taste

A slice of lemon, halved to garnish

A celery stick to garnish

Ice-cubes

  1. Put some ice in a cocktail shaker and add all the ingredients except for the lemon slices and celery stick and give it a good shake. Check the seasoning, adjusting to taste.
  2. Strain into a glass and top with some fresh ice, finally garnish with the lemon slices and celery stick.

A Classic Mojito (Serves 1)

There are many recipes around for Mojitos, I prefer mine with dark Havana rum, and just a splash of soda – too much and you spoil it! Unfortunately, I haven’t had the pleasure of enjoying an authentic Mojito in Cuba (although Havana is on my bucket list!), the nearest I’ve been is a Cuban bar in Florida, where they assured me that dark rum was the way to go – who am I to argue!…

*To crush/crack the ice cubes: put the ice in a bag, cover this with a tea towel, then use a rolling pin to bash/ crush them.

50ml Havana Club Dark Rum

3 teaspoons sugar syrup

8 mint leaves

Juice of a lime

A splash of soda – about 30ml

Ice cubes, gently crushed/cracked (see note above)

  1. Place the mint leaves in a glass, add the sugar syrup and use the back of a spoon to gently crush the leaves to release the mint oil.
  2. Add the rum, the lime juice and the crushed/cracked ice cubes. Give it a good stir then top with a splash of soda, stir again and serve.

An Elderflower Gimlet (Serves 1)

Apparently a gimlet cocktail has its roots in British naval history. Sailors were encouraged to drink lime juice with their liquor to prevent scurvy. Naturally the recipe is more refined these days, but I suppose you could still say that it has health benefits?!..

4 tablespoons gin

3 tablespoons St Germain

1 tablespoon lime juice

A handful of ice-cubes

(Lime wedge to garnish)

  1. Add the gin, St Germain and lime juice to a cocktail shaker, add a handful of ice cubes and shake until cold.
  2. Strain into a glass and garnish with a lime wedge.

St Germain Champagne Cocktail (Serves 1)

What better way to celebrate than with this very special champagne cocktail! It uses St Germain, an elderflower liquor available at most supermarkets (or online).

Tip: Put your champagne flute in the freezer before using it as it really does keep the champagne nicely chilled!

2 tablespoons St. Germain Liquor

2 tablespoons gin

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon sugar syrup 

Champagne to top up (about 1/2 glass)

A handful of ice-cubes

  1. Place the St. Germain, gin, lemon juice, and syrup in a cocktail shaker with the ice. Shake for 15 seconds until cold. Strain the liquid into a champagne flute.
  2. Simply top off the glass with champagne and serve!

Bourbon Sidecar (Serves 2)

This cocktail was designed for summer evenings – seriously, they can be dangerous, so watch out…and enjoy!!…

2 tablespoons caster sugar

1 lemon wedge

100ml freshly squeezed lemon juice

120ml bourbon (I like Makers Mark)

60ml Cointreau

A large handful of ice cubes

Slice of lemon, cut in half to decorate

  1. Pour the sugar into a shallow dish. Rub the rim of two cocktail glasses with the lemon wedge and dip the rims in the sugar to create a sugared rim.
  2. Fill a cocktail shaker (or a large jam jar with a lid) half full with ice cubes. Add the lemon juice, bourbon and Cointreau. Cover and shake. Strain into the prepared cocktail glasses and use the halved lemon slice to decorate the side of the glass.

A Classic Champagne Cocktail (Serves 1)

This is probably one of the most sophisticated cocktails…how can you resist?!

Tip: Put your champagne flute in the freezer before using it as it really does keep the champagne nicely chilled!

1 sugar cube

2 dashes of angostura bitters

2 teaspoons cognac

Chilled champagne, to top up

Orange twist, to garnish

  1. Sprinkle the bitters over the sugar cube and put it in the bottom of a chilled champagne flute.
  2.  Add the brandy, then top up with champagne.
  3. Twist the orange peel over the top of the glass to release some of the oils, then drop into the glass to serve.

A Classic Martini (Serves 1)

A Classic Martini

I am partial to a Martini, one of my favourite places to have one in London is Dukes Hotel, Mayfair. It has a wonderful, sophisticated cocktail bar, reassuringly old-fashioned, where it serves the finest Martinis, prepared tableside on a rosewood trolley; they only use organic lemons from Amalfi for their lemon twist! The recipe I am sharing is based on their classic Martini. I like vodka Martinis with a twist of lemon, but in this recipe you can always substitute the vodka for gin and the lemon for an olive!

Before you start making a Martini, make sure you put, not only your vodka (or gin) in the freezer, but also your glasses, as you want this cocktail to be chilled to perfection.

1 frozen martini glass
100ml vodka or gin (frozen – see note above)
5ml (1 teaspoon) Dry vermouth
1 large twist of lemon peel from an unwaxed lemon

  1. Put the Dry Vermouth into the frozen glass
  2. Top the glass up with the vodka (or gin).
  3. Squeeze the lemon twist over the glass to extract the fragrant oils.
  4. Finally, swirl the Martini with the lemon twist and drop it into the glass.
  5. Enjoy!

Irish Coffee (Serves 2)

An Irish Coffee

Oh, it’s a tough life testing recipes for this blog…I felt I had to test a few of these to really make sure that the ingredient quantities were just right! This really is a delicious winter warmer! It is important to use good quality, strong, filter coffee, I have a Nespresso machine and I use the ‘lungo’ setting with an ‘espresso’ capsule.

You can see the video of this cocktail being made here!

300ml hot, freshly brewed coffee (see note above)

20g soft brown sugar

150ml Irish Whiskey

4 tablespoons double cream, very lightly whipped (or more if desired)

  1. Warm the glasses with hot water.
  2. Add the sugar and stir in the whiskey.
  3. Pour over the hot coffee, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  4. With the aid of the back of a spoon pour the lightly whipped cream over the top of the coffee.
  5. Enjoy!!

An ‘Old Fashioned’ Cocktail (Serves 1)

My Guilty Sin – An Old Fashioned!

This cocktail is my guilty sin! Make sure you make it with bourbon, not whisky, as the flavour of bourbon is sweeter whereas whisky has a smokier flavour –  it really makes a difference in this cocktail, I like to use ‘Makers Mark’.

*You can see the video of this cocktail being made by clicking on this link to my Instagram Page

60ml Bourbon (see note above)

A piece of orange peel

1 teaspoon of sugar syrup

3 dashes of angostura bitters

Ice cubes

Add the sugar syrup and the angostura bitters to a glass and with a few cubes of ice, hold the orange peel over the glass and squeeze it ‘to express the oils’ and then drop it into the glass, give everything a stir.

Add the Bourbon, stir again and serve…ahhh!

*You can see the video of this cocktail being made by clicking on this link to my instagram page

Espresso Martini (Serves 2)

An Espresso Martini

Another of my favourite cocktails!  If you haven’t got a cocktail shaker use a lidded jam jar. To create a creamy head on the cocktail make sure that the espresso is hot. This recipe will give you two servings – to share or not to share…?!

65ml vodka

75ml coffee liqueur (such as Kahlua or Tia Maria)

75ml hot espresso(see above)

6 coffee beans (optional)

A handful of ice-cubes

  1. Chill 2 Martini glasses.
  2. Put the vodka, coffee liqueur and freshly brewed espresso into a cocktail shaker (or a lidded jam jar), with a handful of ice.
  3. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds, then strain into the glasses. Top each with 3 coffee beans, if you like.

*You can see the video of this cocktail being made by clicking on this link to my instagram page

Negroni (Serves 1)

A Negroni – the perfect Italian aperitif!

The Negroni is the quintessential Italian aperitif and since discovering it on our Italian travels many years ago it has become one of Nick’s favourite cocktails, and so appears in our kitchen rather often!…

50ml Gin

50ml Campari

50ml Red Vermouth

1 slice of orange, halved

A small handful of Ice-cubes

  1. Fill a glass with ice and pour over the ingredients, stir well, add the halved orange slice and serve – how simple is that?!

*You can see the video of this cocktail being made by clicking on this link to my Instagram Page

Amaretto Sour (Serves 1)

An Amaretto Sour

I discovered this cocktail recently. Amaretto is one of my sister’s favourite liqueurs, so for our recent ‘Zoom’ meet up during lockdown, I thought it would be fun to ‘share’ an amaretto cocktail. I researched a few cocktails(!) and this Amaretto Sour was the winner! So here’s to you ‘Auntie Amaretto’!

(The egg white is optional it just gives the cocktail the extra ‘frothy top’ and will make it a little extra creamy – I must admit that I am quite happy to have it without but a true bartender would probably disagree!…

3 tablespoons Amaretto

1 tablespoon bourbon whisky

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 dashes angostura bitters

1 egg white (optional)

  1. Add the amaretto, bourbon, lemon juice, bitters and egg white (if using) to a cocktail shaker without ice. Shake for 15 seconds.
  2. Add the ice to the cocktail shaker. Shake again for 30 seconds.
  3. Serve in a chilled glass and enjoy!

A Kir Royale (Serves 1)

This isn’t really a recipe as such, but I thought I’d post it, as if you’ve made the ‘Duck Breast with Raspberries’ (recipe here), you will have some creme de cassis in your cupboard which gives you the perfect excuse to make a Kir Royale!

Tip: Put your champagne flute in the freezer before using it as it really does keep the champagne nicely chilled!

A Kir Royale

For one glass:

1 tablespoon of creme de cassis

Champagne, chilled

  1. Simply add the creme de cassis to a chilled champagne flute and top with champagne!

Hot Whiskey (Serves 1)

A Hot Whiskey

With Lockdown we all need a little TLC, and this old Irish remedy for a cough and cold is the perfect winter warmer to snuggle down with, and it is a great way to lift ones spirits – even if you don’t have a cold!…

50ml Irish Whiskey

1 generous teaspoon of brown sugar

5 cloves

1 slice lemon

150ml boiling water

  1. Simply put the whiskey and sugar into a heatproof glass, add the lemon slice studded with the cloves. Pour over the boiling water, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Serve!