As the year comes to a close, we have seen a huge shift in how we socialise and the phrase ‘Staying in becoming the new going out” has been somewhat forced upon us. We have found innovative ways to keep our own sanity and still have a resemblance of normality and a social life with our close family members.
A home bar has become increasingly popular and our blog on “Creating a home bar” in November gave you all the ideas to create this our kitchens, so now let’s look at what masterpieces you can muster up to impress your family this Christmas and new year. Mixing cocktails is a sure fire way to entertain your guests when a glass of fizz just won’t cut it!
It really is all in the detail! There is a nothing more disappointing than a poorly stocked home bar. If you don’t have the tools, the glassware, the spirits, and the garnishes at the ready, your guests won’t have anywhere near the good time that you’d like them to have. Even if the home bar is only for you and your immediate family, it’s a lot less compelling to use often if it isn’t full of the things you need.
The glassware you choose when stocking a home bar will ultimately determine what you’ll be serving. At the minimum, invest in short rocks glasses and standard beverage glasses or highball glasses. That will cover a majority of standard mixed drinks. Pick up pint glasses if you plan on serving beer. If your space is more like a wine lounge, of course stemmed wine glasses (for both white and red) are a must. Stemmed martini glasses, too, should be on your radar if you’re creating a home bar lounge feel.
And of course don’t forget the ice…..
Make an easy vodka martini with our simple recipe for an elegant party tipple. Serve your cool cocktail with an olive or a twist of lemon peel.
1 tbsp dry vermouth
olive or lemon peel, to garnish
STEP 1: Stir the vodka, dry vermouth and a little ice together or put them in a cocktail shaker to combine.
STEP 2: Strain into a chilled martini glass. Serve with an olive on a cocktail stick or a twist of lemon peel.
Preserve the taste of summer in a bottle with this raspberry gin, perfect topped up with tonic. The gin will keep its lovely pink hue for a few months.
700ml bottle of gin
STEP 1: Tip the raspberries and sugar into a 1.5L sterilised jar. Pour over the gin, seal the jar and swirl around to dissolve the sugar. Store in a cool, dark place and turn the jar once a day for the first week. After 2-3 weeks, strain the gin through a sieve. Pour the gin into mini bottles, and label. The gin will keep its vibrant pink colour for a few months and will be drinkable for a year. Use the boozy raspberries in a cocktail or trifle, or turn them into a granita.
Lipsmackingly sweet and sour, the Cosmopolitan cocktail of vodka, cranberry, orange liqueur and citrus is a good-time in a glass. Perfect for a party.
45ml lemon vodka
15ml triple sec
30ml cranberry juice
10ml lime juice
For the garnish
orange zest, or a lime wedge on the rim of the glass.
STEP 1: Shake ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
STEP 2: To make the garnish: hold a 3cm round piece of orange zest about 10cm above your cosmo and very carefully wave it over a lit match or lighter flame. Bend the outer edge of the zest in towards the flame so that the orange oils are released, then drop the zest into your drink.
Irish Whiskey Old Fashioned
Add a twist to an old fashioned and use elderflower cordial in place of the usual orange. It’s a sophisticated cocktail to add to a dinner party.
40ml Irish whiskey
10ml elderflower cordial
pared lemon zest, to garnish
STEP 1: Put everything except the lemon zest in a tumbler and give it a quick stir to combine and dilute. Garnish with the lemon zest to serve.
We’ve had to adjust to a lot of the changes that come with our normal celebrations, but one thing that doesn’t have to change is our love for mixing cocktails in these changing times.