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Virtual Cocktail Hour

Bars and restaurants are closed and we’ve been advised that these may be the last businesses to reopen post Covid-19.  This hasn’t stopped the drinkers amongst us from getting our cocktail fix at home.  Whilst we may not be at a level to recreate cocktails from our favourite bars quite yet, despite the deluge of online tutorials, most of us are giving it a good go.

Thanks to having the Mad Hatters’ activation live for seven months and the Cheshire Cat bar attached to the activation, selling much more than the gin cocktails seen as part of the event, we have some experience in making and of course “sampling” some great tasting drinks.

Supermarkets, local shops and global online retailers are all selling our favourite tipples and other ingredients needed for our cocktails of choice. Using Hangouts, Zoom, Teams (other online chat platforms are available), we don’t have to drink them alone either.

We’ve seen lots of bars and mixologists pivot from the real world to online, whether through masterclasses or being able to purchase premixed drinks via Deliveroo.  Time Out have lots of options for us all to continue to get our fix as and when required.  Their top ten bars in London now delivering straight to your door can be seen here

Our friends at Bacardi have started a new campaign #RaiseYourSpirits to help support the bar industry, with all profits going to the teams listed on the menu each week.  Deliveries are being fulfilled by Deliveroo.  You can check out what they’re doing right here

Meanwhile companies such as Bacardi, Diageo and Pernod Ricard are all contributing in the fight against Covid-19 and producing hand sanitiser across their global distilleries.

The more adventurous of us may want to create our own cocktails, whether that’s reproducing tried and tested classics or making something completely new using what we have in the cupboard, fridge and drinks cabinet.  You won’t go far wrong following Difford’s Guide and Drink Up London on Instagram for inspiration.  Difford’s website has every cocktail you can think of listed and how to make it too. Drink Up London has loads of really useful information, blogs and recipes throughout their site.  Who knows, after lockdown is complete we may see you hosting your own bar at London Cocktail Week in the autumn.

Here are some of the teams #CocktailsAtHome for you to enjoy over the weekend!


Favourite cocktails: Old Fashioned, Tommy’s Margarita

Cocktail Recipe: Old Fashioned


  • 2tsp simple syrup or 1tsp of sugar (brown is better),

  • 2-3 dashes of bitter (Angostura is fine, I’m lucky enough to have Fee Brothers Old Fashioned Bitters and their Chocolate Bitters at home which I use depending on my mood),

  • Splash of water,

  • 60ml of Bourbon (my go to is Woodford Reserve),

  • 12.5ml Cointreau (optional and not in a traditional Old fashioned. It adds a little orange kick to compliment the garnish),

  • Orange peel to garnish.


  1. Sugar, bitters and water in a tumbler, mix until the sugar dissolves if using otherwise combine well if using syrup.

  2. Fill glass with ice

  3. Add the bourbon

  4. Add the Cointreau (optional)

  5. Stir well (apparently a good Old Fashioned takes 10 minute of stirring)

  6. Fill a new tumbler with ice and pour liquid in (not the old ice too)

  7. Garnish


Favourite cocktails: Key West Dark and Stormy, Key Lime Margarita

Cocktail Recipe: Rob Roy


  • ¾ oz (half a standard jigger) Italian sweet vermouth

  • 1-2 dashes of bitter (Angostura is the best)

  • 1 ½ oz (full jigger) Scotch whisky (don’t use Single Malt – it’s too good)

  • Cracked ice

  • Twist of lemon peel


  1. Combine vermouth, bitters and Scotch in a tumbler

  2. Stir in cracked ice, then strain into glass

  3. Add the twist of lemon peel

  4. Enjoy – try singing as many Scottish folks songs as you can remember

  5. When you’ve downed several (responsibly) … dig out the bagpipes


Favourite cocktails: Espresso Martini, Dark and Stormy, Bloody Mary

Cocktail Recipe: Bloody Mary


  • large handful of ice

  • 100ml vodka

  • 500ml tomato juice

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice, plus 2 slices to serve

  • few shakes Worcestershire sauce

  • few shakes Tabasco (smoked Tabasco is nice)

  • pinch celery salt

  • pinch black pepper

  • 2 celery sticks, to serve


  1. Place the ice in a large jug. Measure the vodka, tomato juice and lemon juice and pour it straight onto the ice. 

  2. Add 3 shakes of Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco (or more if you like it very spicy) and a pinch of celery salt and pepper. Stir until the outside of the jug feels cold, then strain the cocktail into 2 tall glasses. 

  3. Top up with fresh ice, add a celery stick and lemon slice to both glasses and enjoy!


Favourite Cocktails: Espresso Martini, Dark & Smokey

Cocktail recipe: Dark and stormy


  • Lots and lots of ice!

  • 100ml of Smoked/ Dark Rum

  • Half a Lime

  • Ginger Beer

  • Dashes of Angostura


  1. Fill your glass with ice and squeeze the juice of half a lime into the glass.

  2. Pour the ginger beer in, so it is ⅔ full

  3. Slowly pour the Smoked or Dark Rum into the glass

  4. 2 Dashes of Angostura on top!

  5. Give it a good mix!


Favourite Cocktails: Picante, Espresso Martini, G&T


  • 1 part Kalhua

  • 1 part Absolut or Grey Goose Vodka (some prefer 2 parts strength)

  • 1 part cooled espresso strength coffee


  1. Put your glasses in the freezer 

  2. All 3 parts in a shaker with ice (scale-up measurements according to number of drinks - I passed one over the fence to my neighbour Tim)!

  3. Give it an enthusiastic shake for a few minutes so as to cool the liquid and create a nice foam then strain into chilled glasses

  4. If you have any whole coffee beans you can place a couple in the centre nestling on the foam as a garnish… some people like to dust with a fine layer of powdered Cacao but not necessary

  5. Kick back and enjoy

Word of warning - don’t drink these too late unless you want to be up all night… it’s rocket fuel in a glass!


Favourite cocktails: Old fashioned and dry gin martini with an olive!

Drinks recipe: Kombucha


  • 7 cups (1.6 L) clean water

  • ½ cup (100 g) white sugar

  • 4 bags black tea (or 1 Tbsp loose tea)

  • 1 cup (235 mL) unpasteurized, unflavored store bought kombucha

  • A large glass or ceramic container (two jars holding at least ½ gallon (1.9 L) each, or one jug holding at least 1 gallon (3.7 L)). Alternatively, use a glass jug with a built in spigot to make pouring the kombucha out easier!

  • Tightly woven cloth (coffee filters, paper towels, napkins, cheese cloth)

  • Rubberbands


  1. Bring water to a boil in a clean pot. Remove from heat and dissolve sugar into it.

  2. Add the tea and allow to steep while water cools to room temperature (a few hours). Only when water is at room temperature is it ready to work with (test by drawing out some water with a paper straw, using your finger to keep the ‘buch in the straw).

  3. Pour the sweetened tea into your jar(s), then pour store-bought kombucha in (if you’re using two jars, pour ½ of the store bought kombucha into each), making sure to include any little gunkies that may be at the bottom. These are good!

  4. Cover with a few layers of the tightly woven cloth (keeps out bugs and debris) and secure with a rubber band.

  5. Set somewhere dark, still, and room temperature (70-75 degrees F, 21-24 C), like a cupboard, for 1 to 4 weeks, until a ¼ inch (½ cm) SCOBY has formed.

  6. Keep SCOBY in its original tea until you’re ready to brew your first batch. The SCOBY should live and grow for years if treated with love. The tea you used to make the SCOBY, however, is very vinegary and should be tossed. Don’t use this tea as the starter to your first fermentation!

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