The Cocktail Renaissance of the last 25 years has brought with it an explosion of creative and complicated techniques. Whilst we all appreciate the artistry on show, sometimes cocktail-making can feel overwhelming for the budding home bartender.
Luckily, it doesn’t have to be all liquid nitrogen and infused-foams: here are three cocktails that anyone can make at home with nothing more than ingredients, ice and good quality glassware. When we’re making these drinks at Whisky Loot HQ, we reach for Barware For Home’s Whiskey Tasting Kit, with the high quality glasses on offer elevating the cocktails to another level. For all three of these drinks, we’d recommend using Barware For Home’s C&S Open Up Spirits Brandy Stem Glass.
Old Fashioned (Split Base)
One of the simplest and most delicious cocktails around, this is our go-to Old Fashioned recipe on a Friday evening. We prefer to use a “split base” of both rye and Bourbon whiskies, with the rye whiskey acting like “seasoning” – adding a little subtle spice to the final product.
- 45ml Bourbon (we suggest Buffalo Trace)
- 30ml Rye (we suggest Sazerac Rye)
- 10ml Rich Sugar Syrup (2 parts sugar, 1 part water)
- 2 good dashes of Angostura Bitters
- Garnish – Orange Zest Twist
“Build” the drink in the glass – essentially this means simply pouring the ingredients into the glass over ice and stirring until you’ve reached your desired level of dilution. There’s no right or wrong way to do this, but some people prefer to begin with the sugar syrup and bitters. Balance is crucial in this drink, so taste accordingly.
The Negroni’s whiskey-based cousin. This drink uses the same duo Campari and sweet vermouth, but switches out the gin base for Bourbon. Whilst a Negroni is a snappy, invigorating aperitif style cocktail, the Boulevardier is a warming, almost autumnal drink, with the Bourbon providing an underlying rich sweetness. Some recipes call for equal parts Bourbon, vermouth and Campari, but we prefer to lean into the Bourbon flavour, so tilt the balance in its favour.
- 45ml Bourbon (Eagle Rare 10 Year Old works well here)
- 30ml Sweet Red Vermouth
- 30ml Campari
- Garnish – Orange Zest Twist
As before, combine the ingredients in your C&S Open Up Spirits Brandy Stem Glass with ice and stir until you’ve reached your desired dilution. Garnish and enjoy this delicious classic cocktail which dates back to 1927!
We had to include a Scotch cocktail, didn’t we?
An elevated version of the 60s cocktail, the Rusty Nail. This spirit-forward drink swaps out the standard blended whisky for a single malt, resulting in an altogether more sophisticated affair. You’ll want a whisky that has enough complexity to stand up to the Drambuie, without overwhelming it. Here we’ve gone for the powerful, yet fragrant, Aultmore 12 Year Old. The lemonade-like qualities of this dram perfectly complement the lemon rind garnish.
- 60ml unpeated single malt Scotch (Aultmore 12 Year Old)
- 15ml Drambuie
- 2 dashes of Peychaud’s cocktail bitters (other Creole-style bitters will also work)
- Garnish – Lemon Zest Twist
Once again, combine the ingredients with ice in a glass and stir until you’re happy with the temperature and dilution. A modern classic, created in 2010 by the esteemed bartender Simon Difford.
Here are three simple-yet-delicious drinks, easily made with little more than a glass, ice and a spoon. If you want to take your bartending to the next level, check out Barware For Home’s full range of cocktail kits here.