One of the most enjoyable ways to destress after a tough day or week is to have some cocktails after hours. Before the novel coronavirus pandemic swept over the globe, this meant meeting up with colleagues and friends on Friday night, loosening your neckties or taking off your stuffy blazers while enjoying drinks at the bar. Today, happy hour is likely to happen at home with the kitchen island serving as your private bar.
As many people are now realising, working from home is not exactly a walk in the park. It can be just as stressful as reporting at the office every day. So when your stress level’s rising but you can’t go outside to unwind, bring the party to your home instead.
Now’s the best time to take out those special-occasion wines and champagne-and-flute gift set you received from how many months or years earlier. You can enjoy them on their own or, to make things more fun and exciting, mix some simple, delicious cocktails using staple ingredients from your kitchen.
Below are a few recipes you should try.
This is a classic cocktail that combines the smoothness of champagne with the strong kick of brandy. You can enjoy with your dinner or afterwards.
Recipe: Put one sugar cube and half a teaspoon of Angostura Bitters (your flavor of choice) in a champagne flute. Add one-third ounce of cognac (roughly two teaspoons), then gently pour three ounces of champagne.
A refreshing cocktail that’s also very versatile, the daiquiri only needs three basic ingredients.
Recipe: Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice cubes and add one and a half ounces of light rum, three-fourths ounce of freshly-squeezed lime juice, and one-fourth ounce of simple syrup. Shake well for a few seconds. Pour through a strainer, then serve in a cold or chilled wineglass.
Got a blender? You can also whip up some frozen, strawberry or lime daiquiri if you don’t mind the extra washing! Simply blend all the ingredients (add a bit more ice) at high speed until you get a smooth consistency. Serve in a chilled wineglass, then top off with a slice of fresh strawberry or lime wedge. It will be just like what you can order at a bar!
Anyone with vodka at home can mix a Black Russian. It’s a simple cocktail, but it leaves room for creativity.
Recipe: Put some ice in a glass tumbler. Add one and a half ounces of vodka and three-fourths ounce of coffee liqueur. Stir well, then garnish with red cherries.
If you want an extra kick in your Black Russian (or a jolt of caffeine, if you’re tempted to make this in the afternoon), you can add a double shot of espresso in the cocktail. Another decadent twist to this cocktail is blending all the ingredients along with a scoop or two of chocolate ice cream.
Gin and Tonic
For those who’re new to drinking cocktails, the gin and tonic is a must-try and must-learn.
Recipe: Fill a glass with ice cubes, then pour in two ounces of gin. Top it off with tonic water, then gently mix with a stirrer. Garnish with a thin slice of lemon or wedge of lime. You can also squeeze lime juice directly into the cocktail until it is to your taste.
If you know how to mix a vodka martini, you can learn all other fruity variations easily.
Recipe: Fill a shaker with ice then pour two ounces of vodka (premium always tastes better) and three-fourths ounce of dry (white) vermouth. Shake well, then pour in a chilled glass. Top it off with a stick of olives. You can also add a dash or more of bitters to taste.
To create flavors, you can replace the vermouth with schnapps and fresh juices like cranberry, peach, orange or lemon.
Just because you have to stay home doesn’t mean you can no longer enjoy Friday nights the way you used to. With these simple cocktail recipes, you can de-stress without having to spend £10 for every glass. Even better, you can enjoy a cocktail any day of the week!