What comes to mind when you see the word ‘cocktails’? Celebrations, brightly-lit bars, James Bond? Or, pretentiously-posh pubs charging extortionate amounts for overpriced ice drinks that, if you’re lucky, might contain more than a single shot of alcohol?
There’s nothing better than going out for cocktails, whether you’re with friends, on a date, or by yourself during an evening of sophistication or general self-indulgence. Yet occasionally, I’ve found myself sitting at home in tragicomic despair, searching the internet in pursuit of 2-4-1 offers that, realistically, won’t send me into my overdraft. So, instead of spending a fortune this Valentine’s Day, why not create your own Happy Hour at home. Follow our Top Tips and show off your inner mixologist to friends and partners by creating the following cocktails.
- Saving money: this is the perfect time to use those near-empty bottles of leftover alcohol you have crammed into cupboards, stacked on shelves and abandoned on top of the fridge. Cocktails don’t have to be expensive or created from flash ingredients; buy the basics and make the most of what you already have in the kitchen.
- Be prepared: find those mismatching ice trays and fill them with water the night before. A shortage of ice cubes just won’t do.
- Double up: While I’ve created each recipe per glass, enjoy with company this Valentine’s Day. Simply double up all the ingredients if a night in for two is on the cards, or increase the ingredients by three to make sharing pitchers.
Pimms on the Beach
Taking inspiration from the well-known cocktail Sex on the Beach, this recipe works well with most alcohol if combined with fresh juice. Brands can be swapped for a supermarket alternative, the vodka lessened by one shot if you also want to include a shot of peach snaps, and water added to ease along the blending process.
- ice as required
- 2 shots vodka or, 2 shots Pimms
- 250ml lemonade
- 250ml orange and cranberry juice
- fresh or frozen fruit (suggested: halved strawberries and spirals of cucumber) and mint, to decorate
1. Take your frozen ice and pulse in a blender until you have small shards—for best results mix 2 shots of water with the ice when blending, then remove the excess water. Alternatively place the ice in a freezer bag and bash with a rolling pin for the same effect. Pour into a glass.
2. Pour the vodka or Pimms over the ice and top with the lemonade and fruit juices until your glass is full.
3. Cut up any fruit you have for decoration. Place the fruit around the edge of the glass and add a sprig of mint on top of the ice for refreshment.
4. Take an Instagram worthy picture and then stir to combine all the ingredients.
A combination of squash and gin, The Squ’in is a fun and refreshing cocktail. Be sure to go that extra step with this recipe and create a lemon sugar decoration.
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 squeeze lemon juice
- 2 shots gin
- ice cubes
- shot undiluted lemon squash
- 1 thin slice lemon
1. Mix sugar with a squeeze of lemon juice in a wide bowl to create a sticky mixture.
2. Decorate the glass with your sugar mix by wetting the rim with water, turning the glass upside-down and placing into a bowl of sugar, coating the rim evenly.
3. Fill the glass with ice cubes.
4. Dilute the squash with cold water in a separate glass using the manufacturer’s dilution guide, this can be found on the squash bottle. Next, add the gin and pour the mixture into the bowl containing the sugar and lemon juice.
5. Pour the finished cocktail into a glad and decorate with a thin slice of lemon to give the cocktail an extra kick.
Our Smooth Spritzer is perfect for those who find wine too strong and is a great way to use up those last few mouthfuls left in the bottle.
- 1/2 shot fruit liquor
- 1/2 glass white wine
- lemonade, to fill
1. Combine the fruit liquor and wine – any flavour will work, I recently used leftover pomegranate liquor.
2. Finally, top with lemonade. It’s as easy as that.
We hope you enjoy these cocktails and make sure to let us know how you get on by sending us a pic @milkbathspa.