One of the universal effects of the global pandemic has been the reduction of access to restaurants and bars, with many of them having to move to delivery services or closing down as the entire planet is urged to stay at home.
The hospitality industry has been reduced to a shadow of itself. Restaurants, coffee shops, pubs and bars fulfil some fundamental human needs, often the very least of which is providing food and drink. Social hubs, creative spaces, debate parlours, business deal backdrops, outlets for music or dancing, places for celebrations, commiserations or romantic assignations.
While there’s hope that the new normal (whatever that looks like) will come soon, the current status quo has caused society to temporarily find ways to get together online for virtual happy hours, Facetime birthdays and Zoom weddings.
Social distancing, isolation and quarantines may have removed the easy ability to gather in person and laugh over a bowl of warming goodness, or cheer to the sound of a cork popping or glasses clinking, however that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy good food or delicious drinks.
For too many people a home “cocktail” is made by opening a can or bottle of some additive-laden sugary concoction that professes to contain “spirits” in a neon green liquid straight out of a Stephen King movie. This is beverage equivalent of the TV dinner microwave meal!
A lot of the people you see working in your favourite venues have spent their careers learning, practising and perfecting knowledge and skills to make you amazing drinks with perfect service. Most of this is based on some relatively simple tips, tricks and rules or guidelines – A lot of which are easy to grasp, or as easy as following a recipe in a cookbook.
You certainly don’t need fancy equipment or little apothecary bottles filled with pungent tinctures.
Simple things like a proper shake (very hard until very cold with lots of ice) and getting past that fear of egg white (use fresh, it’s totally fine and brings fluffy frothiness with nary a hint of eggs – or substitute for pineapple juice or aquafaba for a vegan alternative) will help you easily astound your guests, friends and family with perfectly balanced delicious drinks.
Here’s a simple fresh and delicious recipe to start with, perfect for Cinco de Mayo:
Glass: Rocks glass
Garnish: Citrus slices
Method: Add all ingredients to ice filled shaker. Shake hard for 10-15 seconds. Strain over cubed ice in a chilled rocks glass. Garnish.
30ml Blanco tequila
15ml Grapefruit juice
15ml Orange juice
30ml Lime juice
30ml Honey (optional) Demerara syrup
(Equal parts local raw honey : demerara sugar : water. Stir until dissolved)
Notes: The honey demerara syrup is a great all purpose rich flavourful sweetening agent, remove the honey to make it vegan.
This mix of citrus works really well, but feel free to swap out for whatever you have access to - You can use blood oranges, swap out the grapefruit or lime for lemon, just make sure you taste the drink and don’t be afraid to use more or less sugar or citrus to taste.
For the base spirits here I used Tequila Ocho blanco and Ilegal Joven mescal, which combines mineral earthy highland tequila with light soft smoke and spice from Oaxacan espadin agave-based mescal. You can use any agave spirits you have to hand – blanco and joven (or silver or plata) work best as the unaged fresh flavours balance the citrus better.
Written by Jim Wrigley - Luhv Drinks Head of Development