We’re bringing cocktail hour to you with the best cocktail recipes from our resident mixologist, Behzad Nvaziri.
Zoom parties, distanced drinks with neighbours and the solo afternoon bevvie have been a staple of our lives during the last few months. Just because you can’t head out to the bar for a fancy cocktail doesn’t mean your at-home drinks should be boring.
Behzad Nvaziri has put together two easy cocktail recipes that you can nail at home – and then impress your friends with sometime in the future.
A classic: Moscow Mule
When it comes to shaking up a cocktail you can’t go wrong with a Moscow Mule. “You need a good quality vodka,” says Behzad, “Ketel One from the Netherlands is my choice but traditionally a Russian vodka is used.” This cocktail is a winner in both winter and summer – especially if you love vodka. “Pungent notes of ginger blend well with acidity of lime and if you are a vodka drinker the spirit really shines through,” says Behzad.
30ml lime juice
15ml sugar syrup (1-part sugar dissolved in 1-part water)
Top up with ice and ginger beer (or use fresh ginger)
1. Build the cocktail in a metal mug or a tall glass.
2. If you’re using fresh ginger, muddle a small piece in your mug before adding the other ingredients.
3. Add ingredients (using plenty of ice) and shake. Serve in a glass or copper mug.
*If you are using a sweet ginger beer, cut down the sugar syrup to 10mls
Winter warmer: Hot Toddy
“For colder days you can make a hot toddy using your favourite tea and some whisky or even rum,” says Behzad. This one could be disguised as a simple cup of tea during afternoon video conference calls – but you didn’t hear it from us.
Earl Grey (or a dark herbal tea)
A wedge of lemon
60mls of whiskey or spiced rum
1 tsp honey
- Brew a strong pot of tea. Add in a wedge of lemon, honey and ginger and let it steep.
- Then add 60mls of whiskey or spiced rum (depending on your preference) and stir.
- Enjoy in your favourite teacup.
* If you like your spices, add a cinnamon stick and a few cloves, but don’t overdo it with spices (you don’t want to overpower your spirits, which are the hero of your drink).
Mastering the cocktail
Using fresh ingredients – rather than bottled citrus juices or fruit juice – is important for the flavour of your cocktails. The added sugar will change the taste of your drinks – and not for the better.
Behzad says a common mistake of cocktail making is underestimating how much ice you’ll need. “Most cocktails made at home go wrong when they are over diluted using ice that is too small or already melting,” he says. You’ll need at least half a tray of ice for each cocktail – so a bag might be necessary when entertaining a group of friends. “Try chilling your glassware in the fridge or freezer to avoid watered down drinks.”
The best advice: keep it simple. “Most great cocktails usually have three ingredients – margaritas, daiquiris and Negroni for instance,” says Behzad.
Side note: how to muddle
The term means to ‘mix or stir into a drink’, but it’s a little more nuanced than that.
- Choosing your ‘muddler’ is the first step. If you’re looking for something at home make sure it’s uncoated (if wood) – could be a rolling pin, spoon or pestle.
- Place the leaves (and) or ginger in the bottom of a thick glass and add the sugar syrup on top.
- Using your muddler, press down gently while turning slightly to the right – do this three times. The mint shouldn’t look smashed up but just lightly squashed.