Pete Stewart and Andy Gemmell
Everyone should have a signature cocktail, and it should be relatively simple so that you can make it quickly using a few high-quality ingredients.
Mine is a very dry martini. I like a gin martini as opposed to vodka, and you’ll need a good quality vermouth such as Noilly Prat or Cocchi Americano. All you have to do is pour a very generous measure of the gin into a shaker half-filled with ice. Then add the tiniest amount of vermouth, shake well and strain into a chilled glass. Simple, and effective. A larger measure of vermouth creates a less dry martini, and you should experiment (a lot) to find the perfect amount for you.
To become an accomplished stayat-home mixologist, a shaker should be top of your list, and a bar spoon would come in handy too. Keep a good supply of vodka, gin and rum (and a vermouth). I’d also suggest bitters, an orange liqueur, Kahlua, a nice brandy, tequila and a bottle of Galliano for emergencies.
Here are three easy ones to try... 1) A Sea Breeze is a classic vodkabased cocktail made with cranberry juice and fresh grapefruit juice. You don’t need to shake this one, simply pour the ingredients over ice into a highball glass, squeeze a lime wedge into the glass and give it all a wee stir. It’s very easy to make, and incredibly refreshing.
2) If you’re feeling a bit elegant, try a White Lady. In a shaker, pour in equal parts gin, Cointreau and fresh lemon juice. Shake well over ice, then strain into your poshest (chilled) glasses. You can add a twist of lemon rind.
3) Although I like Pina Colada, my favourite rum-based cocktail is a Yellow Bird. You’ll need white rum (I also add golden rum, but it’s not essential), fresh lime juice, Galliano and triple sec (an orange liqueur). Pour a good glug of the white rum into a shaker over ice. Add half as much of the other ingredients, and shake really well before straining into a chilled glass.