Drinks Cabinet: Get mixed up with our brilliant cocktail recipes
As the much-loved cliche goes, it's always happy hour somewhere. With an duo of drinks days ahead - National Rum Day (August 16) and National Whiskey Sour Day (August 25), it's time to reach for the cocktail menu.
One of life's measured pleasures, with every concoction comes the promise of an exotic-sounding name, ample choice of spirits and, in some cases, lesser-known ingredients.
Worthy of your own little black book of cocktails, here are some award-winning recipes, tropical punches and refreshing sundowners to bring on a thirst and raise the bar.
n Mixing it with the best, World Class UK Bartender of The Year 2015 Ali Reynolds from London restaurant Hawksmoor in Spitalfields has created this fragrant recipe using Don Julio Blanco Tequila, Mexico (£41.50, 70cl, www.31dover.com). Silky and smooth, it marries a citrusy freshness with an earthy, peppery note from the agave plant.
DJs OF OUR THYME
50ml Don Julio Blanco, 10ml lemon juice, 20ml thyme and ginger Don Julio syrup, pinch of saffron
Blitz together three sprigs of thyme and 400g ginger. Add two parts sugar to whatever juice you get from the ginger and thyme. Dissolve the sugar in the ginger and thyme juice. Half fill a tumbler with ice. Add the tequila, lemon juice and syrup, stir slowly, top with saffron and garnish with a twist of orange.
n A white rum with a cult following, 90% of Jamaican's cite Wray & Nephew Rum, Jamaica (£26, 70cl, Sainsbury's) as their favourite rum of choice. Overproof at 63% abv, it's sweet and fiery.
REGGAE RUM PUNCH
25ml Wray & Nephew Rum, 50ml orange juice, 50ml pineapple juice, 25ml grenadine, fresh lime
Half-fill a highball glass with ice. Add the rum, orange juice and pineapple juice and stir slowly. Top with grenadine and garnish with a lemon wedge and mint.
n The quintessential American whiskey made predominantly from corn grain (by law, bourbon must contain at least 51%), Western Gold Bourbon Whiskey scooped Gold (£11.99, 70cl, Lidl) at the Supermarkets Own Branded Spirits Range of the Year. Fairly priced for the worn leather, oaky, spicy, honeyed mouthfeel, it's a good mixer for a taste of Kentucky.
50ml whiskey, 20ml fresh lemon juice, 1 egg white, 20ml sugar syrup, maraschino cherry
Half-fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the whiskey, lemon juice, egg white, and sugar syrup. Shake well and strain into a tumbler filled with fresh ice and garnish with a cherry.
n Botanical recipes are usually a closely guarded secret, but with juniper at the fore, coriander, angelica and liquorice are all evident in Tanqueray Special Dry Gin (£20, 70cl, Tesco). Fresh and vibrant, the flavours won't be drowned in the crush.
50ml gin, 25ml lemon juice, 10ml maraschino, 10ml creme de violette, 15ml sugar syrup
Pour all the ingredients into a blender and blend with crushed ice until smooth. Pour into a tumbler and garnish with lemon zest and a cherry.