Here’s my take on some of the best-known classic cocktails. As I’m really more a wine drinker than a cocktail fan, these are mostly relatively low alcohol – making them perfect for sipping on a hot day or evening. Add more ice or soda to stretch them even further if you like, after all the idea is to enjoy the flavour and the company, not to get drunk! Nibble on a spicy seafood dip with crudités while sipping (see video below) and have fun!
Margarita with Del Maguey mezcal
I like this Mexican classic quite sour and with smoky mezcal rather than tequila (which is a type of mezcal). I shake 2 parts Del Maguey Vida mezcal, 1 part lime juice, and 1 part Cointreau with lots of ice and strain into a salt-rimmed glass. Increase Cointreau if you like it less sour.
Negroni with Maidenii, Four Pillars, Applewood Distillery
In 1920s Florence, Count Negroni added gin to his Americano (Campari, red vermouth and soda) for a little more oomph. My 100% Aussie version of his cocktail is equal parts Maidenii sweet red vermouth, Four Pillars Spiced Negroni Gin, and Applewood Økar Australian Amaro over lots of ice.
Bloody Mary with Hartshorn Distillery vodka
This classic hangover cure became popular in 1920s New York. Well-chilled vodka and tomato juice are essential, though ratios vary; I like 45ml Sheep Whey Vodka from Hartshorn micro-distillery and 100ml tomato juice with 3 tsp lemon juice, 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, dash of Tabasco, salt and pepper.
Amaretto Sour with Disaronno
Classic sours balance tart citrus juice with a sweetener (sugar, cordial or liqueur). This family includes Daiquiris, Margaritas, gin-, brandy-, pisco- and whiskey-sours. My favourite is equal parts almondy Disaronno Originale and lime juice shaken together with a little egg white, served over lots of ice.
Mojito with Flor de Cana rum
Created in Havana, Cuba, this classic may have been based on a drink Francis Drake used to cure shipboard scurvy. I muddle 6 mint leaves, 2 tsp icing sugar and 30ml lime juice together, stir in 45ml Flor de Cana white rum and top with ice. Taste and add a little Fever-Tree soda if you like.