5 essentials for your at home cocktail experience
1. Fresh Mint
Buy a plant for the garden, it's a massively resilient herb and can last in almost any climate, Mint is super versatile and lends itself to a multitude of drinks, from tall and refreshing, all the way through to strong or sour. Add a sprig to your G&T or Highball to brighten it up or throw a couple of leaves into you favourite sour or Old fashioned for a refreshing twist.
2. Fresh Citrus
Fresh is Best, The difference between fresh citrus and the bottled stuff at the supermarket is huge. To up your game on daiquiris and sours or even your garnish, the key to the best is using the best quality fresh fruit and juice. Add a fresh zest to your Strong drinks, fresh slices to your Buck’s & Mules & Fresh juice to your Whisk(e)y sours & Daiquiris
3. Jigger/Measuring Cups
Being precise is key to making replicable drinks, especially if you are looking to create that at home staple that your friends are dying for. Make sure you find yourself a good set of jiggers or measuring cups/spoons so that you can keep your drinks consistent, writing down the recipe’s is also a great step to get comfortable with to make sure you get the best drink every time.
4. 2:1 Sugar Syrup or Liquid Honey
No matter how many times you have made your favourite cocktail, your fresh citrus juice will change from time to time, this is usually down to seasonality but lemons and limes can vary from dry and acidic to fresh and zesty. A key to balancing these is first and foremost tasting and comparing to your last drink but also understanding how to balance them, that's where 2:1 or Liquid honey comes in. I would start by making a test drink at your usual recipe and see how it tastes, if it's good, you win, if it's too tart, you can add a dash or two of 2:1 or Honey to your mix. The flipside of this is that, if its too sweet you can adjust your current recipe to have a little less sweetener. 2:1 syrup is simple to make it consists of 2 parts sugar to 1 part water, you can do this on a set scales and use lukewarm tap water, stir until sugar has dissolved, label and chill, if sealed this should keep for up to 2 months, Liquid Honey comes in many flavours and styles and easy to pick up at the supermarket. 2:1 or Liquid honey is a great tool to have around as it doesn’t add too much extra dilution to your drink and is super effective in small changes to your drinks, experiment away!
5. Tin on Tin Shaker & Hawthorne Strainer
For a more durable and resilient piece of your bar kit, you can't go past the bartenders workhorse, in the trenches of a busy night behind the bar, it's a tool that all great bartenders would be stuck without. The tin on tin set is something that is readily available and for home use, outside of helping you make sure your drinks are consistent in dilution and temperature, it has the added feature of lasting forever. The Hawthorne strainer helps us keep large ice shards out of our drinks creating a cleaner and tidier finish. This is the definitive piece of kit and the combination is amazingly versatile, from Martini’s through to Gimlets, the Tin on Tin & Hawthorne combo has you sorted.