Old-fashioned cocktails are easy to make. Switch it up by making different syrups which you can use to give this classic drink a twist, says Jody Rahme.
Old-fashioned cocktails are easy to make. Switch it up by making different syrups which you can use to give this classic drink a twist, says Jody Rahme.
Image: 123RF / arinahabich

As lockdown has come into effect, and we won’t be able to spend the night at our usual watering holes, we decided to ask a few of our favourite drink slingers what their go-to cocktails are and how to make them at home.

DINO BATISTA’S PINA COLADA
Director at Molecular Bars

My favourite cocktail to make at home is anything that can be made in a NutriBullet or a blender. Recently, I’ve been enjoying the classic pina colada.

It’s pretty simple. Everything just needs to be thrown into the NutriBullet, in any order, all at once. Start with a really tasty rum – any good rum will do. The more colour the rum has, the richer and deeper the flavours will be; the lighter the rum, the sharper and brighter your pina colada will be.

INGREDIENTS:

Dino Batista.
Dino Batista.
Image: Alexi Portokallis

Pina colada:

  • 50ml rum of choice
  • 75ml pineapple juice
  • 50ml coconut milk or coconut water (25ml each recommended)
  • 25ml sugar syrup (shop bought, or better, homemade)
  • 15 to 20ml lime or lemon juice
  • 1tsp powdered cinnamon

Homemade sugar syrup:

  • Water
  • Sugar

METHOD:

Syrup:

Simmer a 1:1 ratio of water and sugar in a pot for 10 to 15 minutes – it’s as easy as that. You can keep the remaining syrup in the fridge for a few days.

Pina colada:

  1. Pour your chosen rum into the NutriBullet.
  2. Next, throw in the pineapple juice. (Mixologist note: I prefer to use fresh pineapple juice. If you go this route, you’re looking at a quarter to a third of a pineapple, depending on the size.)
  3. Then add the syrup. (Mixologist note: honey or molasses will also work well.)
  4. Add the lime or lemon juice and crushed ice. The ice will not only cool down your pina colada but balance out the taste.
  5. Blend the ingredients until the desired consistency is achieved – a minute or so should do (longer if you’re using whole fruit).

PRO TIP: If you’re going all-out, use lemon sorbet. Two scoops will be awesome in place of the lime or lemon juice.

Don’t have this but have that? Batista gives variations, so you can get experimenting with what you have around the house:

  • A splash of mezcal or an Islay-style whisky adds a light smoke in the background of this tropical classic - a must-try tweak.
  • A touch of paprika, why not? Keep it minimal but a little zing on the tongue goes down a treat.
  • You could use other tropical fruits, like mangoes or granadillas, to shake things up too.
  • A pinch of sea salt always helps to enhance the flavours you are working with.
  • Maybe blend in some biscuits. Never had an Oreo pina colada? Me neither. Try it - be the first!

GEORGE HUNTER’S CLASSIC NEGRONI AND AMERICANO
Head mixologist at Marble and Saint

A negroni is an absolute classic and one of my favourite drinks to make at home. This simple, delicious cocktail works on a 1:1:1 ratio of gin, sweet vermouth and Campari.

George Hunter.
George Hunter.
Image: Supplied

INGREDIENTS:

  • 25ml gin of choice
  • 25ml sweet vermouth
  • 25ml Campari
  • 1 orange

METHOD:

  1. Add all the ingredients to a rocks glass with ice.
  2. Stir for 40 seconds.
  3. Finish with a strip of orange peel.

Low ABV (alcoholic strength by volume) cocktails are on the rise and are also easily mixed at home. Try the americano:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 25ml Campari
  • 25ml sweet vermouth
  • 200ml soda water
  • 1 orange

METHOD:

  1. Fill a highball glass with ice.
  2. Add the Campari and sweet vermouth and top up with soda water. (Pro tip: Pour liquid to liquid so it mixes as much as possible while keeping the carbonation of the soda.)
  3. Finish it off with an orange slice.

JODY RAHME’S LAZY OLD-FASHIONED
Mixologist at Vicious Virgin Bar

My go-to is an old-fashioned.

Jody Rahme.
Jody Rahme.
Image: Supplied

It is super simple and the ingredients are easily accessible too. What I enjoy doing at home is switching it up by making different syrups which you can use to give this classic drink a twist.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 10ml sugar syrup
  • Bitters
  • 50ml whisky or bourbon
  • 1 orange

METHOD:

The trick is to build it in the glass you’re going to drink it from, saving time on clean-up.

  1. Add the sugar syrup to the glass, followed by a few dashes of bitters.
  2. Then add your choice of whisky or bourbon.
  3. Garnish with orange rind, if you’re feeling fancy.
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