One of our favourite ways to make entertaining even more, well - entertaining, is to make creative cocktails! Making drinks for your guests should be fun and delicious rather than stressful and bland - below are a few of our favourite tips or tricks to make at-home drinks like a seasoned professional.
But first, Cocktails!
Make simple syrup by heating sugar and water together.
Simple syrup is really as simple as it advertises itself to be. 1 part water and 1 part sugar, heated until the sugar dissolves. It can be amped up by using raw or brown sugar, or by adding fruits, nuts or fresh herbs into the mixture (just remember to strain them out before you use the syrup). If you’d like even less work than boiling, try using your favourite syrup, jelly or jam as a replacement for a flavoured simple syrup.
Make your own grenadine by reducing pomegranate juice.
By boiling sugar and pomegranate juice together and letting it reduce down you can create your own grenadine without all the preservatives and dyes in the pre-made stuff. If you like a sweeter, more syrupy version, add more sugar. If you want a more tart grenadine that makes your mouth pucker, use less sugar. A squeeze of lemon adds a touch of acidity that will actually balance out the bitterness of the pomegranate juice without making it too sweet.
Layer your liquors for an impressive cocktail
Do your research on the weight (or specific gravity - use this chart) of the liqueurs in your drinks. Starting with the heaviest and working to the lightest carefully pour your liquids across the back of a spoon to lay one on the top of the last. With a bit of practice it becomes an easy at-home trick to wow your guests.
Make your own sugar cubes bitters with two ingredients and one ice cube tray.
Bitters add a herbal note to a cocktail, and can add balance to the entire cocktail. Turn them into easy to use sugar cubes by mixing them with basic sugar and pressing them into a mini ice cube tray. Let them sit overnight, pop them out, and store them in a sealed container! One Angostura sugar cube is a great addition to a flute of champagne!
control sweet to tart by adding a touch of lemon juice
Save your citrus fruit in the freezer for easy wedges and slices that last!
Limes and lemons are perfect for garnish and flavour, but they don’t keep forever. If you’ve got citrus fruit at the end of it’s life, pop it in the freezer. Not only do they last much longer, but they can be sliced or wedged and added to drinks while they’re still frozen - great for keeping drinks cold! Plus, real fruit is always better than the lemon or lime juice concentrates you can buy in the grocery store.
Make your own liqueurs from the things you have in your pantry!
You can create liqueurs out of pantry staples by boiling a few ingredients together and then adding grain alcohol (everclear) or vodka. For Nutella lovers, make your own hazelnut liqueur in just 15 minutes! Melt together Nutella and milk in a saucepan and carefully bring it to a boil, then remove it from the heat. When it’s cool add your alcohol and let it steep for an hour.
Make crystal clear ice cubes
Nothing ruins the look of a cocktail like cloudy ice and the trick to fix this is extraordinarily easy. Boiling water removes the dissolved air trapped in the water, so the resulting ice is crystal clear! For extra clearness, let the water cool and boil a second time before adding them to the ice cube trays.