Food & Drink

Cult cocktails: 3 recipes for the home bartender to rustle up

Sam Wylie-Harris delves inside a new cocktail book which reveals how to make the perfect Pimm’s Cup, among other classics.

Cult cocktails… 3 recipes for the home bartender to rustle up
Cult Cocktails by Liquid Liquid, illustrations by Cécile Huang Cult cocktails… 3 recipes for the home bartender to rustle up

“Cocktails have evolved from being a fashion phenomenon to simply another form of alcoholic drink, which can be enjoyed as much in specialised bars as in restaurants and cafes,” suggests an excerpt from Cult Cocktails: 100 Recipes and Tricks for the Home Bartender.

“But even more remarkable are the inroads that cocktails have made into the domestic sphere,” writes the author of Liquid Liquid.

“Now beginners and connoisseurs alike wouldn’t hesitate to offer guests a cocktail as a pre-dinner drink – it’s a playful ritual that often inspires novices to recreate a favourite restaurant or bar cocktail in their own home.”

This is where Cult Cocktails comes in, say the mixology experts at Liquid Liquid: “Which is aimed at both beginners who want to start a cocktail ‘apprenticeship’ without being overwhelmed.

“And for experienced connoisseurs who will find tips and ideas to take their cocktail practice to the next level.”

Here are three classics to kick-start summer soirées…

1. French Martini – not so French after all

Origin: “This very fruity cocktail was created in 1980s New York in one of Keith McNally’s restaurants. It belongs to the Martini category of cocktail, whose name comes from the shape of the martini glass in which it is served.

“There is no connection, therefore, to the Dry Martini, whose flavours are at the opposite end of the spectrum. The French Martini, along with other drinks like the Espresso Martini, is part of a more modern approach that typifies the tastes of that decade.”

Ingredients: 50ml vodka, 15ml Chambord liqueur, 25ml pineapple juice, 1 small wedge of pineapple to garnish.

Method: Chill a martini glass. Half-fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add ingredients, shake for 15 seconds, double strain into the glass and garnish.

2. Negroni – proudly bitter

Origin: “The story goes that the Count Camillo Negroni was a regular of the Caffè Casoni in Florence. This was in 1919 and the aristocrat usually drank an Americano as an apéritif.

“Coming back from a trip to England, however, where he discovered gin, he asked the bartender of the establishment, Fosco Scarselli, to modify his usual cocktail by replacing the soda water with the English spirit, of which he had brought back a bottle.

“The cocktail was an immediate success and Scarselli, in homage to the count, decided to name it after him.”

Ingredients: 30ml red vermouth, 30ml Campari, 30ml gin, 1 orange slice to garnish.

Method: Fill an old fashioned glass with ice. Add the ingredients. Stir with a bar spoon for 10 seconds. Garnish.

3. Pimm’s Cup – ever so British

Origin: “This is the quintessential English summer drink, enjoyed at picnics and outdoor sporting events. The story starts in 1840 with an invigorating digestive drink that a certain James Pimm made for his customers in the London bar where he presided: Pimm’s No 1.

“It was so successful that Pimm decided to bottle the drink’s base mixture and sell it. All the customer had to do was add a few pieces of fresh fruit and lemonade to serve in a cup: a Pimm’s Cup!”

Ingredients: 60ml Pimm’s No 1, 100ml lemonade, 3 slices cucumber, ½ slice orange, ½ slice lemon, ½ strawberry, 1 sprig fresh mint to garnish.

Method: Half-fill a highball with ice. Add the cucumber slices and fruit. Add the Pimm’s and lemonade. Stir slowly from top to bottom with a bar spoon. Garnish.

Extracted from Cult Cocktails, 100 recipes and tricks for the home bartender by Liquid Liquid. Illustrations by Cécile Huang.  Published by Murdoch Books, priced £14.99. Available now.