Let’s chat cocktails!
If you’re familiar with my uploads on, well, actually all my platforms, you’ll know I’m partial to a cocktail. Okay, that’s probably an understatement. This gal loves a good boozy – but in my defence, the ol’ cheers-ing boomerang on Stories does a lot to ward off the regular newlywed pregnancy rumours. Heh.
Honestly though, I’m very much a quality over quantity girl and I’d much rather sip on one or two really good drinks over an entire evening, than go crazy on say, vodka and cokes – no disrespect for the humble drink of my student days, I’ve just got a taste for something a little more sophisticated in my late twenties!
Friday nights are usually reserved for Jord and I’s ‘gin and dinner’ eves, where we make dinner and have a couple of drinks at home, usually some form of cocktail he’s whipped up. I honestly look forward to those nights all week.
I wanted to share a few tips and tricks for building your own bar cart – this doesn’t have to be a drinks trolley, just a shelf in your home or a section of your kitchen cabinet even. It will upgrade your hostess skills in an instant, trust me on this one…
Given it’s the festive season and you’re likely to have a few visitors over the next few weeks, it’s wise to get your bar cart kitted out with a few different spirits and liqueurs. I thought I’d introduce to a few staples of mine and also a few more interesting additions…
Of course, gin is a given. Who doesn’t love gin? I usually go for something a bit different each time, but my go-tos include Edinburgh Gin, Eden Mill, Bloom Gin and Isle of Harris. We are absolutely spoilt for choice here in Scotland, and I’m always happy to try local finds but I tend to come back to the few above.
I usually also have Absolute Vanilla on hand too, I find this upgrades just about any cocktail and is more fun than plain ol’ voddy.
Prosecco is another good ‘un (nothing fancy, just whatever’s on offer) because it’s so easy to create sparkling cocktails that require very minimal effort, and look like the perfect host while you’re at it. Add in any sort of flavoured liqueur (more on that below) or even a dash of nice cordial, a garnish or some edible glitter and you’re all set.
A bottle of Disoranno is ideal for Amaretto Sours (recipe here), and you can’t go wrong with Bailey’s. We’ve been enjoying the new Almond Dairy-Free version, although I’m still a big fan of the original.
Ahh now this is where it gets fun! There’s just so many liqueurs and flavoured gins available now, I always stock up on fruity versions and experiment. One of my most loved drinks is rhubarb gin (this is a good one) with soda water and fresh lime – so refreshing, with lots of flavour but never too sweet.
My favourite spirit of all time is probably the Eden Mill Love Gin, it’s beautiful; a really subtle hint of flavour but perfect in every drink! I always, always have a bottle of this on hand… although I can’t see it on my bar cart so maybe a bottle will come my way for Christmas?
The Edinburgh Gin liqueurs are perfect too; Rhubard & Ginger and Elderflower are two I’m rarely without. I add a splash to prosecco or add them to cocktails, they’re an easy way to add a little somethin’ somethin’ to a homemade creation.
Of course, you’re going to want to up your game a little at Christmas. Wrapping presents on Christmas Eve calls for a sexy lil somethin’ over ice – Bailey’s is an obvious choice, or you could whip up one of my Salted Caramel White Russians.
I also recommend a bottle of Frangelico, which is basically boozy Nutella in a glass! Have it over ice, or make my Nutella cocktails – these are heaven.
The Mozart Chocolate Liqueurs are also fun to work with, we have the Dark Chocolate one – perfect for these Chocolate Orange Martinis I love to make!
If you’re in to your Russians or espresso martinis, I adore the Salted Caramel Kahlua (although the original is awesome too), and I also found this Mr Black Cold Brew Liqueur for Jord – he loves it over ice, so simple but so delish.
A lot of what you create is down to your mixers, I love the Belvoir cordials and pressés but I find any big supermarket always has an impressive selection on offer.
Fever Tree tonic is our go-to because you can get mini cans that don’t go flat like a big bottle, which is perfect for the occasional evening drink.
I usually make sure I have elderflower cordial on my bar cart, as well as some rhubarb or raspberry cordial. Sparkling water is always a must too. Oh, and rose lemonade – so delicious!
If you’re in to margaritas or mojitos, having some flavoured syrups will up your cocktail game tenfold! I adore passionfruit margs, or any sort of strawberry cocktail, so good syrups like Monin or Teisseire are perfect.
A lot of cocktails like Amaretto Sours and classic margaritas call for simple syrup, which you can buy, or make at home by mixing equal parts sugar and boiling water (a cup of each, say) and then stirring to dissolve.
A good bar cart isn’t without a few tools! First up, my bar cart itself is from Oliver Bonas – I’ve had it for years and love it.
You’ll need a cocktail shaker, I’ve been through many in my time but our current one is the best I’ve found in terms of looking cute and being practical. If you want to up your game though, the Corkcicle ones are pretty awesome.
You’ll also need a jigger for measuring, and a bottle opener – I’ll pop some recommendations below, but these sets from Amazon pack in everything!
Don’t forget some pretty glasses too; Oliver Bonas, Anthropologie, IKEA and John Lewis always have a great selection, so make sure you get a few champagne saucers, some martini glasses and beautiful tumblrs.
Jordan and I have these Anthro initial glasses and they are perfect, especially with these ice trays! Just pop a giant ice cube in, add your gin, mixer and garnish and you are set!
I hope you found this helpful, I really think I could have gone on forever! Bar carts are so much fun, especially with all the pretty glassware and bottles of gin I keep coming across.
Has this inspired you to stock up this Christmas?