What is the one thing that is sure to get any party started?
Well, apart from having me at the top of your guest list, there is nothing more fitting or festive than a playful cocktail. They're perfect for adding glamor and pizzazz to your finger buffet or dinner party for friends and family, for a larger event deliver the 'perfect punch' which can be made up ahead of time, and makes a sensational centerpiece from which your guests can serve themselves.
For full on razzmatazz you could hire a flavor-master with showy flair who will dazzle your guests with their dashingly demonstrative mixology. He or she will very likely come armed with all the tools of the trade and a list of recipes down pat, leaving you free to, well, do a little mixing of your own.
However, for those of you who fancy making a splash of your own Quality Liquor Store wanted to give you our current top five recipes that are all dead easy, look fab and are sure to carry you through this holiday season. Stick with us and your soirée will be the absolute talk of the town, for all the right reasons of course!
Before we launch in with our recipes, we have some top tips for you that will ensure that whatever cocktail you choose to create, it will look and taste incredible.
First and Foremost, Choose Good Quality Booze!
Our number one piece of advice is, with your key ingredients, aim high. Always choose the best quality spirits to make your coquettish cocktails.
Bourbon, Rye Whiskey, a Dark and a Light Rum, Tequila, Gold and Silver if you can, a dry and a sweet Vermouth, Absinthe, and an Orange liqueur like Cointreau. You don't use vast quantities, so they should last a while and you can extend the menu with more liqueurs later!
Have plenty of ice. Big cubes work really well, won't melt to quickly and dilute your drink, but a tray of ice and an ice pick works just fine too!
Cocktails look fab in decadent glassware, so if it is a small gathering, why not invest in some different size and shape cocktail glasses. If it's a big party you are having, there are also loads of styles if disposable cocktail-ware available, no worries with breakages or clear up either!
Garnishes make your cocktails stand out. Olives, Maraschino cherries, sprigs of mint, beautifully artistically cut fruit peel, and fruit slices. These are not meant to be snacks but they will bring the whole drink together, making it look and ultra elegant and classy.
No, not ale! We mean, concentrated aromatic herbally fragrant alcohols which are added to cocktails in tiny quantities. They began life actually as medicinal ingredients, and can of course be used for their health giving properties, but are most often in fact digestive aids. If you only get one, make it Angostura bitters.
Mixers & household store cupboard ingredients
Lemonade, fruit juices, tonic, ginger ale. Sugar, syrup, fresh herbs and spices like nutmeg. All useful to have around.
You can add festive touches and decorative novelties, like the cocktail umbrella if you so desire. And later if you really take an interest in the whole cocktail making thing, you might want to get yourself some bartenders tools. However right up front the classic cocktail shaker will prove useful as will be spirit measure, a citrus reamer and zester, a stirrer, a strainer a sharp knife and a chopping board. Go pro with cocktail straws, muddlers and mallets and good old fashioned cocktail sticks.
Im feeling quite ready now for an aperitif, are you?
Let's kick off our fab 5 with a Manhattan. A classic and chic cocktail that never goes out of style. All recipes are per glass unless otherwise stated.
Here's what you'll need for the classic 1874 Manhattan Club cocktail.
Rye Whiskey - 2oz
Sweet Vermouth - 1oz
Angostura Bitters - a dash or a drop
Garnish: Maraschino cherry.
Tools: mixing glass, stirrer, strainer
Add the rye whiskey and the vermouth into a mixing glass in which there is ice. Add a dash of Angostura Bitters, then stir. To serve, strain into a chilled glass and pop in the cherry.
Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Why not serve your guests a wonderful Pumpkin Old Fashioned?
Here's what you'll need:
Garnish: orange peel twist or rosemary sprig for garnish
Glass: small tumbler/old fashioned glass.
Method: cocktail shaker
Tools: cocktail shaker, strainer,
Half fill cocktail shaker with ice then add in the bourbon, orange liqueur, puréed pumpkin, maple syrup and angostura bitters. Close and shake with vigor. Strain and serve over fresh ice in a chilled glass and garnish with either a sprig of fresh rosemary or a twist of Orange peel.
Here's an upmarket one that is red in the glass, perfect for Christmas Day, called Poinsettia.
You will need:
Champagne - 3oz (chilled)
Orange Liqueur - 1/2oz (Cointreau, but could be Triple Sec or Grand Marnier)
Cranberry Juice - 3oz (chilled)
Garnish: None required.
Glass: champagne flute
Pour the chilled cranberry juice into the champagne flute. Add the Cointreau, then stir. Top to just below the rim of the glass with chilled champagne.
What about a White Christmas Dream?
You will need:
Vodka - 1oz
Amaretto - 1oz
Heavy Milk Cream - 1oz
Garnish Nutmeg - 1 pinch freshly grated
Method: prepare in shaker
Tools: cocktail shaker, strainer
Half fill the shaker with ice. Then add all cocktail ingredients before shaking with vigor. Strain into the cocktail glass and finally garnish the surface with the grated nutmeg.
Here we give you the traditional recipe for a Sangria, a beautiful deep red punch typical of the Spanish and Portuguese. This recipe is best made about 24 hours before the party and will serve up to 8. Just multiply to make more!
(Spanish) Red Wine - 26 oz
Brandy - 3 oz
Port Wine - 3 oz
Orange Liqueur - 3 oz (Cointreau, Triple Sec or Grand Marnier)
White sugar - 4 tbsps
Seasonal fruit -diced melon, halved strawberries, sliced nectarines sliced apples etc.
Garnish: fruit, ice
Glass: small tumbler, wine glass or punch bowl and cups.
Method: prepare in a pitcher or suitable container to hold volume required.
Tools: pitcher, sharp knife, chopping board, citrus reamer, long stirrer.
Into a large pitcher pour the entire bottle of Spanish red wine the. Add the Port Wine, Brandy and the orange liqueur followed by the sugar. Now slice half of the Orange and half of the lemon and add these slices to the pitcher before juicing the other half of each fruit with the reamer adding the juice and seasonal fruits to the mix and stirring to dissolve the sugar. Cover and rest in the fridge for around 24 hours. Pour into glasses and add ice to serve. Or if you have a punch bowl and cups, pour the entire pitcher with its fruit into the bowl, add ice and allow your guests to serve themselves. Just make sure you get a glass for yourself before it is all gone.
You can find all the liquors for these recipes (and more) within the store. If you need help,choosing, just drop us a line, give us a call or swing on by!