Have you ever found yourself hosting a last-minute cocktail party, or trying to mix a cocktail at someone else’s place or in a vacation rental? These impromptu evenings can sometimes turn out to be the most entertaining, but not if you’re scrambling around trying to get the drinks just right. And yet, you don’t need the most expert or expensive equipment. There are tons of household utensils you can use to mix your own cocktails and spirits. Here’s how to be a cocktail connoisseur when you don’t have all the professional bar accessories on hand.
Keep it Simple
If casual hosting is the name of the game, one or two simple, well-made cocktails are enough to entice your guests without overwhelming them. It also means less equipment, which is a good thing when you’re using household alternatives. We love the Rosemary Gimlet for its fresh, citrusy aromatics and the Grand Manhattan enchants us with its warmth and complexity. These are two very different classics, and both have that wow factor and are very simple to make. Keep a good vodka, cognac and scotch whisky in your home at all times.
Six equipment basics - and their household alternatives
As well as having plenty of ice available in a bowl (with a spoon if you don’t own tongs), here are six items you can grab from your kitchen to set up your own casual hosting, mixology bar. The glasses you decide to use are up to you…
- The cocktail shaker (for shaking cocktails): Use any tubular container with a tight-fitting lid so you can mix without the fear of spilling. Try: a portable coffee thermos.
- The mixing glass (for stirring cocktails): Any large, open-topped glass jar or jug works well here. The more elegant, the better. Try: a normal pint glass
- The strainer:Use any small mesh strainer (like a tea strainer or small sieve) to catch any bits of stalk, seeds or pulp.
- The mixing spoon: Use a long-handled teaspoon if you have one or even, (shh) a clean chopstick!
- The paring knife (for citrus): Many cocktails require a twist of fresh lemon, lime or orange rind. A small kitchen paring knife works perfectly well here.
- The jigger (for measuring spirits): Bakers might have measuring cups, but if none are available, try an egg cup for size. It holds just the right, single portion of alcohol./li>
A small flourish of just about anything on your glass will add a fun finishing touch to your cocktail. For citrusy, fresh drinks, a simple spiral of lemon, orange or lime is incredibly effective. Or try a sprig of rosemary, thyme, basil or mint for more herbal concoctions, and for warmer scotch whisky- or rum-based drinks, use a stick of cinnamon, a bay leaf or a sprinkle of nutmeg to add a baking spice touch. You can probably find all of these things in the garden or pantry.
You’re all set! All you need now is a strong cocktail shaking arm (or borrow one) and your own effortless charm.