Saturday 13th May is World Cocktail Day (perfectly timed for this year's Eurovision Song contest!)
The warmer spring and summer months have us reaching for refreshing drinks that cool us down in the heat of the sun. And while we love wine, we also love spirits and cocktails too. Sometimes when the temperature rises or we're enjoying a barbecue, a spritz is just what is needed.
Clearly we're not the only ones who think so. The spritz menus in our bars at Altrincham, Mackie Mayor and Picturedrome have become some of the most popular menu items, and they're so easy to make at home. So as we begin the summer season, we thought we'd share some of our teams favourite seasonal cocktail recipes, to give you armchair mixologists some easy inspiration.
To make great cocktails, you need good ingredients, so make sure you've got some cocktail essentials at home. A good vodka, gin or bourbon is the start of many a good evening and we have a carefully curated selection that has something for all tastes.
We asked our team about the cocktails they enjoy ordering or making themselves and turned their answers into made some easy-reference recipe cards:
The versatility of the subtle flavour of vodka makes it the ideal spirit base in many cocktails. So it's no surprise that it's the base of so many of our teams favourites.
We recently discovered that King Charles III’s favourite cocktail is believed to be the most classic of all: The Martini. While some say the King is partial to a 50/50 Martini (which calls for equal parts gin or vodka and dry vermouth), others insist the Dry Martini (which has less vermouth) is his favourite.
We love to serve a Martini with Macclesfield's Forest Gin where the gentle flavours of foraged wild bilberries, raspberries & blackberries really shine. But there are many other variations.
If you find the original a little too boozy, our digital assistant Sogol recommends this:
Of course if we're talking about Martinis, there's one variation that has become ubiquitous on cocktail menus recently and that is the Espresso Martini. The combination of bitter and sweet flavours along with the caffeine boost energising your night has proved to be a winning combination with many drinkers. Daisy, Assistant Manager at our Altrincham Market bar agrees and shared her favourite recipe with us:
Tequila and Rum cocktails
A taste of holidays and zesty flavours is what drives some of our team's choices. While some chose rum-based Mojitos, the Margarita was a standout and a must-try for Marketing Manager Meghann:
However Keith who manages our shop at Bents Garden and Home prefers his Margarita with the complex, smokey flavours of mezcal and a hit of chilli. A twist that is particularly popular during Cinco de Mayo celebrations.
Our Buyer Nic Rezzouk has been on a journey of learning new cocktail recipes to enjoy at home. His previous 'go to' cocktail was a negroni - but then he tried this similar combination made using bourbon and fell in love with the Boulevardier.
Gary - Manager at our Didsbury store told us his cocktail choice is also a Boulevardier. If you'd like to give this a try, he will be serving this on June 14th as part of a tasting lineup, when we welcome representatives from Isle of Raasay Distillery to host a "Welcome to Raasay" tasting event.
We've not mentioned it so far, but gin is the cornerstone of any classic cocktail selection. Classics include a straightforward gin and tonic, gin martini or a gin fizz. However anytime we get to add bit of Sparkling wine to a cocktail, we're going to do it. Charlotte's favourite does just that. The English 75 is London dry gin paired with Gusbourne Brut Reserve - an outstanding Champagne-style English sparkling wine.
We hope our suggestions have filled you with inspiration. To get involved head on over to our spirits collection and pick up a bottle to start your cocktail adventure this weekend!