Cocktails are the perfect way to add a bit of spritz and glamour to a balmy summer evening.
Fortunately the days of Piña Coladas adorned with glacé cherries and paper umbrellas are long gone. Nowadays cocktails are a much more sleek and sophisticated affair - but that doesn’t mean they can't be fun.
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The possibilities for cocktail creations are endless and our top tipples can easily be made at home: you don’t need a fully-equipped bar to whip up simple cocktails.
However, whilst experimental mixology is encouraged, we advise that ingredients should always be fresh and garnishes be kept to a minimum.
A basic cocktail-making kit consists of six items: a measurer, a shaker, a juicer, a muddler, a mixer and a strainer. These can easily be substituted for everyday kitchen items if you don’t fancy yourself as a fully fledged mixologist just yet.
Regardless of your level, with our tips you’ll be a cocktail pro in no time:
• For added taste, squeeze the juice from your lime and drop the wedge in your glass for a zingy boost.
• Filling your glasses to the top with ice not only looks good, but also makes the ice last longer, keeping your drinks cool and preventing them from becoming diluted.
• Stick to whole iced cubes rather than crushed ones. These melt too quickly and dilute your cocktail.
• Go the extra mile and chill your glasses in the freezer an hour before serving.
• Use the best quality ingredients you can afford.
• Mint leaves are best stored in an airtight container – to bring out the flavour and lovely aroma, clap the leaves in your hands before using.
• If planning a celebration allow for two drinks per hour for each guest – allow for extra if you think your cocktails will prove popular!
Our cocktail list features a variety of scrumptious and summery combinations including fruity, fizzy and alcohol free tipples:
Crisp Apple Fizz
For regular cocktail inspiration, check out the fantastic blog Shaken and Stirred brought to you by HELLO!'s The Recipe Room.