When it comes to homemade cocktails, the term ‘easier said than done’ springs to mind.
The decent ones always involve a splash of the expensive and a hint of the obscure, while any sense of mystique tends evaporates when a friend catches you bludgeoning pomegranates with a rolling pin.
Consequently Good Friday cocktails sounds like a rookie mistake – off licences are shut, after all, so any last-minute tipples are out.
But for those among us whose concept of a good Friday comes served with a slice of lemon, the following recipes are an easy, boozy solution made with some run-of-the-mill ingredients.
This American classic predates the motorcar and conjures images of smoky post-war speakeasies, which seems apt on our one day of prohibition.
- 60ml (2oz) blended whiskey (Jameson etc)
- A splash of simple syrup (or agave, maple etc)
- 2 dashes of bitter
If you don’t have bitter and have no intention of buying any, mix together 2 tablespoons of vodka or rum with a pinch of cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, prunes and orange or lemon peel.
Combine all the ingredients, pour over ice and garnish with a slice of orange or a cherry.
Yes, it’s a summer drink and yes, it’s plainly too cold to drink yours outside, but this one’s so easy it had to be included. You can follow this recipe to the book or you can make it up as you go along just be mindful that white wine requires delicate flavours (like cucumbers, green apples and lime) while red wine can handle an infantry of fruits.
- 1 bottle of red wine (750ml)
- 60ml (2oz) brandy (optional; alternatively triple sec)
- Sliced strawberries (a supermarket-size punnet will do)
- 2 peaches (or pears, oranges etc)
- 1 sliced lemon (avoid waxed)
- Sparkling water to serve
Combine the ingredients and leave in the fridge for several hours. If you have time and want to look like a consummate host, make ice cubes with fruit juice and dunk them in before serving.
While the gimlet probably conjures images of nana getting rowdy at her seventieth, this cocktail’s far too easy to snub:
- 60ml (2oz) London Dry Gin
- 20ml (¾oz) Rose’s Lime Cordial
- 1 lime wedge to serve
If you don’t have gin then substitute vodka, and if you’ve no Lime Cordial then rustle up the equivalent using limejuice and simple syrup. Stir the ingredients with cracked ice and strain into a cocktail glass with a slice of lime to serve.
If the ubiquitous mojito doesn’t do it for you anymore then add some five-a-day to the equation. I’ve suggested a grapefruit but you could opt for an orange instead.
- ½ grapefruit
- 1 or 2 sprigs of fresh mint
- 40-60ml (1-2oz) white rum (to taste)
- Club soda
- Crushed ice
Muddle the grapefruit juice, mint and honey in a highball glass until everything’s broken down. Add some cracked ice and top with rum and club soda for taste.
While this one’s pretty straightforward it pays to taste as you go along, after all you don’t want it to be too sour.
- 60ml (2oz) blended whiskey (Jameson etc)
- 15ml (½oz) fresh lemon juice
- 15ml (½oz) simple syrup (or agave, maple etc)
There’s nothing to stop you from adding egg white and bitters or tinkering with the potency. Just place everything in a shaker (bar bitters if you’re so inclined) and shake till it’s nice and frothy.
You probably know this one offhand. Your mind’s probably whirring right now and going, ‘Rum and coke, right?’ And yes, it’s basically rum and coke.
- 60ml (2oz) white rum
- Juice and fruit of 1 lime (cut into quarters)
- Coke (regular, diet, non-branded, whatever)
Squeeze your lime and drop your fruit into a glass, then add the rum and fill with coke.
If you’re the kind of person who likes to abstain from sugary liqueurs then ditch the triple sec and opt for a natural sweetener like agave. If you find you’ve some spare fruit juice in the fridge – I’d recommend cranberry – then make a pitcher by increasing the measurements and topping with juice.
- 35ml (1 – ½oz) Tequila
- 20ml (½oz) Triple sec
- Juice of ½ fresh lemon or lime
- Lime to garnish
Pour the ingredients with some ice into a cocktail shaker and shake for 20-ish seconds. Tip your concoction into a salted glass and garnish with a lemon or lime wedge.
Tip: no one likes stray salt in their drink; rub some lemon along the edges then dip the rim in salt.
When in doubt always take the Sandra Lee approach. Good luck.