So you caved during iso and bought a home cocktail set. Now that restrictions have started to ease and restaurants are slowly refilling, you are enjoying being out again. But you still want to use that DIY set to shake up the bottles you ordered in bulk right? Bikal Ghale – Head of Black Sheep Restaurants’ Bar Programme – lends his creative mind to a series of home bar-approved recipes.
Look, vodka gets a bad rep. We have all been teenagers, hiding a Smirnoff Storm from our parents, or newbie Hong Kongers out on the streets, with 7/11 bottles to sip through the night. But it is so much more than just a vodka-soda (no shade), with a long history of nations claiming the origin story. Wherever the truth begins, the clear, distilled spirit is a fundamental element in some of our favourite cocktails.
Insider tip: Consol jars and smoothie blender bottles make great DIY cocktail shakers, and those shot glasses you bought on your last holiday are an easy switch for measurement jiggers. Going all out on the DIY? Make your own simple syrup by heating equal parts sugar and water and stirring until the sugar is fully dissolved. You can also flavour it to your liking with citrus zest, fresh herbs like rosemary or spices like cinnamon.
So they say that the term cocktail has been in use since the late 1700s, which probably means that drinking mixed drinks has been around for hundreds of years more. While many have fallen out of favour and others evolved with the times, some cocktails remain true to their history and have just always been there. One such powerhouse, although only decades-old, is the White Russian, a dairy-based cocktail that is less than light on the cals. First created in 1949 by a Belgian barman at Hotel Metropole, the White Russian is another cocktail popularised by film and media. In 1998, The Big Lebowski ‘s ‘The Dude’ threw back enough of these bad boys to make them cool again and the White Russian was reborn.
- 30ml vodka
- 30ml coffee liqueur (we are currently loving Mr. Black)
- 30ml cream
Easy as 1, 2, 3: place ice in a rocks glass (these are short cocktail glasses, but really you can use whatever you have at home), pour all ingredients in and mix well with a spoon. Et voilà! If you prefer, you can leave out the cream and sip on a Black Russian, your choice.
Those of us showing our age can probably not talk about a Cosmo without immediately pivoting to Sex and The City. The book-turned-TV show-turned movie sparked an enormous interest in the late 90s and reintroduced its popularity in bars in New York and beyond. But, like so many classics, the cocktail’s origins are debated amongst industry leaders and bar enthusiasts. Tales of its evolution from predecessors like the Daisy, Kamikaze and Harpoon cocktails abound, and several bartenders lay claim to its creation. Whichever turns out to be the truth, all we know is that the Cosmopolitan revolutionised the cocktail industry and to that, we raise a (martini) glass.
- 60ml vodka (use a citrus-infused spirit to enhance the zesty flavours in the cocktail)
- 30ml cranberry juice
- 15ml lime juice
- 15ml orange liqueur (we suggest Cointreau or Grand Marnier but any other type of orange curaçao will work)
- Citrus peel for garnish (orange, lemon or lime peels are all suitable)
Pour all of your ingredients into a shaker (whatever that may look like for you at home) and get those arms moving. Shake well and then double strain your mix into a martini glass. Have a moment for your inner Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte or Miranda and feel the spirit of New York fashionistas radiate from within. And forget about what they say, real men drink pink.
Undoubtedly one of the easiest cocktails to make, the two-ingredient Screwdriver has developed into countless variations and personal approaches throughout the decades. The drink is allegedly named after oil workers stationed in the Persian Gulf who doctored their OJ while on the job and mixed their drinks with handy tools (#resourceful). Today, it is less sneaky and more summer; light and fruity and ready to sip in seconds:
- 60ml vodka
- 30ml orange juice
- Orange slice for garnish
Fill a highball glass with block ice cubes, pour in your choice of vodka, top it off with orange juice and mix. Give it a simple orange slice garnish and enjoy.