Cocktail Making Masterclasses

Know Your Spirits! Gin

May 28, 2016
May 28, 2016

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The ‘Infamous Liquor’

Glorious gin has quite a colourful past, and there’s no other liquor quite so quintessentially British.

Lord Byron declared that gin was his muse, and when T.S. Eliot was asked about his inspiration, his reply was apparently ‘Gin and drugs, dear lady, gin and drugs.’

Winston Churchill claimed that Gin & Tonics have ‘saved more Englishman’s lives, and minds, than all the doctors in the Empire’, and who are we to argue?

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Of all the Gin Joints in all the World (The History of Gin)…

The drink of both kings and commoners alike, from Old Tom to London Dry, the spirit we love began with a Dutch juniper-flavoured spirit in the 1600s, a strong tasting medicinal drink used for the treatment of kidney disorders.

Originally called ‘Genever’ (the French word for Juniper) it was eventually renamed by English soldiers fighting on the continent.

Early London gin is said to have been very similar to American moonshine, with the spirit we know today taking years to master.

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Eat. Sleep. Gin. Repeat. (What Makes Gin… Gin)

The aromatic scent of all the botanicals and herbs found in gin, and it’s clean, refreshing taste makes it a favourite for cocktails and it pairs well with many ingredients.

Juniper (actually not a berry, but a pinecone) grows wild in Britain, particularly in the Lake District and on the rugged heaths of Scotland, and it’s what gives gin its distinctive taste and smell.

Modern gin makers use a host of ingredients to make their spirits stand out from the crowd, from simple lemon and orange peel, and exotic cinnamon, liquorice and coriander, to cucumber and rose petals.

Angelica is also used in most gins to add a distinctly earthy quality.

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Gin and Bear it (Gin Trivia)

• Did you know that, despite the name, bathtub gin wasn’t always made in a bathtub? Instead, it was made at home illegally, often in precarious conditions.

• Gin shops in the UK used to be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, until 1839 and the first Sunday Closing law.

• The bar at The Feathers Hotel in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, has over 170 different bottles of gin available.

• London Dry in doesn’t have to be made in London, it just has to be made of the right natural ingredients.

• Sloe gin is a gin that’s been infused with sloe berries, a type of blackthorn fruit that gives it a sweet, almond-like flavour.

• Of all the great Victorian gin-makers, Beefeater is the only one to hang on in London since it was found in 1863. It makes 2.6 million 12-bottle cases of gin per year.

• In Spain, they’ve been known to add frozen rocks to their G & Ts instead of ice to help bring out the mineral flavours and prevent the drink from becoming watered down.

• The Queen Mother had a special fondness for gin and often carried a flask of it in her handbag.

Gin O’Clock (Gin Based Cocktails).

G & T

When life hands you lemons (or limes) make gin & tonics! The classic G & T originated in India and was invented by the British East India Company to help ward off malaria. Any excuse for a cocktail…

Ingredients

1 part Gin

2 parts Tonic Water

Ice

Lime or lemon wedge

Directions

Add a fair amount of ice to a highball glass and squeeze in the juice of a lime or lemon wedge. Add the gin and tonic and stir.

Negroni

A cocktail for serious drinkers, the zesty Negroni definitely packs a punch.

Ingredients

1 part gin

1 part vermouth

1 part Campari

Ice

Orange to garnish

Directions

Fill a short rocks glass with ice, then layer the three spirits starting with the gin, then vermouth, and finishing with the Campari.  Give it a quick stir and garnish with a slice of orange.

Martini

The embodiment of sophistication in a glass.

Ingredients

1 part vermouth

5 part gin

Ice (for mixing)

Green olive or lemon peel for garnish

Directions

Add a generous amount of ice and the vermouth to your shaker glass. Add the gin and stir for about half a minute. Strain into the chilled cocktail glass and garnish.

 

The 6 Best Skinny Cocktails

May 14, 2016
May 14, 2016

6 Best If you love your cocktails but are trying to get fit for the summer, then these mouth-watering, low-calorie mixes are just the ticket. Liquid calories can be extra sneaky when you trying to be good, and the glorious warmer weather means no more hiding beneath cosy layers. But there’s no need to pass up a cool cocktail on an evening out with friends, with fresh fruit and natural Agave syrup to the rescue, plus a few simple swaps, your favourite tipple can just as tasty, but with far fewer calories. Skinny cocktails are popping up on bar menus everywhere, and here are a few of our favourites that you can learn how to make yourself: French Kiss Champagne and Prosecco are both naturally low in calories (which is reason enough to celebrate!) and this light cocktail is the perfect way to start off a fabulous night out. Ingredients Champagne or Prosecco Lemon juice Raspberry vodka Fresh raspberries Directions Place 5 raspberries in the bottom of your champagne glass and, using a spoon, muddle raspberries lightly. Slowly fill the flute with Champagne or Prosecco. Add a dash of raspberry vodka and a touch of lemon juice. Optional- Add a bit honey or Chambord if you need a little extra sweetness. Light Cosmopolitan A lighter version of that favourite cocktail from Sex & the City, which replaces the sugar-filled Cointreau with plain soda water. Ingredients 50ml Citrus vodka Juice Soda water Lime juice Lime wedge or wheel for garnish Directions In a cocktail shaker, combine 50ml citrus-flavoured vodka, 1 splash club soda, 1 splash cranberry juice, and juice of 1 lime wedge. Shake well and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lime wedge. Light Raspberry Margarita Nothing says summer quite like a frozen cocktail, and this one is simply divine and super easy to make. Ingredients Frozen raspberries 50ml Silver tequila The juice of half a lime Dash soda water 1 tbs. agave nectar (or to taste) Dash Chambord Raspberries to garnish Directions Add the frozen raspberries to a blender and blend until smooth. Strain to remove any seeds and add the remaining ingredients. Blend with ice and serve. Garnish with fresh raspberries. Sea Breeze If you’re looking for something tart and refreshing, the Sea Breeze is for you, and with only three ingredients, it’s as simple as can be. Ingredients 50ml Vodka 50ml Sugar-free cranberry juice 25ml Grapefruit juice 1 Gapefruite wedge and a cherry for garnish Directions Fill a chilled highball glass with ice cubes. Add vodka, cranberry juice & grapefruit juice and stir. Garnish with grapefruit wedge and a cherry. Kir Royale An easy classic French cocktail made with crème de cassis liqueur and champagne and naturally low in calories. Perfectly elegant and delicious. Ingredients Crème de cassis liqueur Champagne or Prosecco Directions Pour a dash of crème de cassis in a chilled champagne flute. Top with champagne or prosecco and serve. Watermelon Margarita With the natural sweetness of fresh watermelon, this Margarita doesn’t need any additional sugar, just a dash of agave syrup. Ingredients Juice of 1/2 a lime 1 tsp. Agave syrup 1/4 Cup seedless watermelon 50ml Tequila Directions In a blender add watermelon and puree. Add ice, tequila, lime juice and agave syrup and blend. Serve in a chilled glass and garnish with a wedge of watermelon

The History of Classic Cocktails Part 1

March 20, 2016
March 20, 2016

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People have been mixing cocktails for centuries, with some of the best results achieving legendary status.

Many of our favourites have long and fascinating narratives, and just like every good bartender has a twist on a classic, the original stories of the most popular mixed drinks are rarely the same.

From Speakeasy-style classics to tropical throwbacks, just how well do you know your favourite cocktail?

It’s time to delve into the history of some well-known creations to separate the true cocktail connoisseurs from the casual drinkers…

0Martini

Quite possibly the coolest drink around, and the ultimate classic. A favourite of James Bond himself and a much classier order when you swagger up to the bar than a Pina Colada or a Sex on the Beach.

But ever since Bond ordered his first martini, the debate has simmered among bartenders about the best way to properly make the drink.

Shaken or stirred?

Traditionally, recipes for the classic martini have included both methods, and there are benefits to either choice. A shaken martini will get much colder quicker than stirring, and it will be slightly less diluted.

But a stirred drink looks that little bit more impressive, without any bubbles or cloudiness, and some supporters of the spoon argue that vigorous shaking can ‘bruise’ the gin in a martini, making it taste sharper.

The disagreement over the martini’s origins is just as hotly debated, with some saying the drink’s name simply comes from Martini & Rossi, the company which makes the vermouth that gives the martini its distinctive taste.

Then there’s the legend that it was named after a bartender at the Knickerbocker hotel in New York City, Martini di Arma di Taggia. John D. Rockefeller was said to have popularized this version, which included an olive.

00Daiquiri

First the bad news. The Daiquiri—pronounced ‘dye-ker-ree’ in its native land—was actually not created by a Cuban. An American came up with the first known recipe in the late nineteenth century, but the tropical drink is named after a beach in Cuba.

Jennings Cox, a mining engineer living in Cuba during the US occupation of the country, is said to have come up with the drink completely by accident. The story goes that while he was entertaining friends one evening, he ran out of gin. He went out and bought the easiest liquor he could find, which was rum.

Adding lemons, sugar, mineral water, and ice to the rum, he turned it into a punch for his guests. They loved it, and he named it for the nearby beach and called it Daiquiri.

Another famous version—the Hemingway Daiquiri—was apparently consumed by the author excessively, earning the drink the nickname “Papa Doble”, with a record of 16 doubles in one sitting.

The Daiquiri was introduced to America when it was served at the Army & Navy Club in Washington, D.C. in 1909, and years later it’s said that John F. Kennedy drank them even during the embargo.

0Manhatan

What’s more of a masterpiece than the Manhattan? It’s the pioneer of vermouth cocktails and existed well before classics like the Martini and the Rob Roy.

Known as the ‘King of drinks’, the classic recipe calls for American whiskey and sweet vermouth with a dash of aromatic bitters and a maraschino cherry, for a drink that’s perfectly balanced, elegant and deceptively strong.

As it’s been around for more than a century, it’s nearly impossible to correctly nail down the first recipe, but there’s a good chance that the Manhattan was invented at the Manhattan Club in New York, as the club has long claimed.

The most popular story proclaims that the recipe was created there for a party thrown in 1874 by a Miss Jennie Jerome, also known as the future mother of Winston Churchill.

An earlier claim contests that the Manhattan was invented by a man named Mr Black, who kept a bar on Broadway near Houston Street in the 1860’s.

0Mojito

 

One of the most popular cocktails ever invented, the Mojito was born on the Caribbean island of Cuba.

A refreshing summer drink, the modern version we all know is a combination of light rum, mint, lime, sugar, and soda water, with lots of crushed ice. The Mojito is the cocktail that bartenders love to hate, as it takes a long time to build, but it’s definitely worth the effort.

There are several theories on its origins, with some saying the drink was invented by African slaves working in the sugar cane fields, and the name comes from the African word “mojo” which means to place a little spell.

Another legend says it was discovered by an English pirate named Richard Drake who was on a mission to find gold in Cuba.

The creation of the Bacardi Company bolstered the popularity of the cocktail, and during Prohibition, the family invited Americans to Cuba for fabulous weekend-long parties.

0White Russian

Even people who aren’t that into cocktails know and love the silky-smooth White Russian. The signature drink of The Dude in the cult favourite the Big Labowski—although he called it a Caucasian in the film—this delicious cocktail has seen a resurgence in popularity ever since.

Strangely, this cocktail wasn’t invented in Russia, and the only thing Russian about it is the inclusion of vodka. The White Russian is the sweet and velvety younger sibling of the Black Russian, which was concocted in the 1940’s, and the version we know and love today was first recorded in 1965.

With just three ingredients—equal parts vodka, coffee liquor, and cream—this cocktail is a busy bartenders dream. No shaking or straining required, and garnishes like coffee beans or chocolate shavings are optional.

Just layer the cream over the vodka and coffee liquor using the back of a spoon into an Old Fashioned glass filled with cubed ice, and you’re pretty much done.

If you like your drinks strong but easy to drink, then it doesn’t get better than this.

0margarita

The merry Margarita is often considered the perfect party cocktail, containing the barfly’s best friend and worst enemy—tequila.

No one knows who came up with the original recipe, but there are plenty of tequila-soaked stories to take with a pinch of salt.

Carlos “Danny” Herrera, the owner of a restaurant called Rancho La Gloria in Tijuana, asserts that he invented the drink in 1938 for a customer who was allergic to every spirit except tequila.

Dallas socialite Margarita Sames claims that she concocted the drink for a group of her friends while vacationing in Acapulco in 1948.

However, a few years earlier, Jose Cuervo had already been running an ad with the slogan “Margarita: It’s more than a girl’s name”, so we may never know which recipe came first.

 

7 Simple and Delicious Easter Cocktail Ideas

March 1, 2016
March 1, 2016

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Easter arrives early this year, which means we can officially welcome Spring with some fresh and flavourful cocktails.

The temperatures are rising, the daffodils are out and a couple of extra days to unwind are as welcome as a crème egg for breakfast.

Easter weekend is the perfect time to entertain and if you’ve recently taken one of our Cocktail Masterclasses now’s your chance to show off your skills and impress your guests.

Whether you’re having an intimate brunch with friends, or a more formal lunch with family, there’s a fun, delicious cocktail that complements any occasion.

Mimosa

The easiest way to make an ordinary brunch extra special. You can use Champagne or Prosecco, freshly squeezed orange juice or store bought, or mix it up with another flavour like mango or lychee.

Ingredients

Champagne (or Prosecco)

Orange Liquor

Juice (of your choice)

Directions

Rinse and chill Champagne flutes in the freezer to frost glasses. Pour juice into flute until about a quarter full.

Top with Champagne or Prosecco and a dash of Orange Liquor.

Watermelon Mojito

If you love watermelon (and rum) then this fresh and fruit cocktail is a great way to start your Easter weekend.

Ingredients

Handful fresh mint leaves

1/2 lime

3 tsp brown sugar

1/4 cup seedless watermelon (cut into 1/2-inch cubes)

50 ml white rum Soda Water Mint sprig, watermelon wedge for garnish

Directions

In a highball glass, muddle mint, lime, and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Add watermelon, and continue to muddle. Pour in rum and fill the glass with crush ice, stirring gently.

Top with soda and garnish with a mint sprig and a wedge of watermelon.

Rosemary Gin

This is a grown up combination for the gin lovers out there. It works best with a classic dry gin (rather than infused) and the rosemary adds a hint of sophistication and style.

Ingredients

50 ml gin

2 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp Rosemary Syrup (see recipe below)

Ice cubes Cold soda water

1 rosemary sprig for garnish

Directions

Stir the gin, lemon juice and Rosemary Syrup* together in a glass.

Fill the glass halfway with ice, top with club soda. Garnish with the rosemary and serve.

* For the Rosemary Syrup, bring 2 cups water, 1/2 cup sugar & 4 rosemary sprigs to boil in a saucepan and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit for 15 minutes. Strain the syrup and chill.

Berry Caipirinha

Pretty cocktails just taste better for some reason, and this one is as easy to make as it is tasty and attractive.

Ingredients

50 ml Cachaça

20 ml Sugar Syrup

Half a lime cut into 4 pieces

Handful of mixed berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, etc.)

Directions

In a rocks glass, muddle the lime with the berries and sugar syrup. Add the Cachaça and lots of crushed ice and stir.

Garnish with berries and serve with a straw.

Kiwi Daiquiri

Refreshing and delightfully green, this daiquiri is packed with vitamin C and tastes fantastic.

Ingredients

1 kiwi (peeled and sliced)

2 -3 tsp sugar syrup

1 tablespoon lime juice

50 ml white rum

2 slices kiwi or a lime wedge for garnish

Directions

Blend the sliced kiwi, sugar syrup, lime juice and rum. Add a handful of ice and continue to blend until smooth.

Serve garnished with kiwi slice or lime wedge and a straw.

Pink Lemon

This is definitely a crowd pleaser, and you can make it in advance and add the ice when your guests arrive.

Ingredients

½ cup lemon juice

1 cup sugar syrup

2 cups cranberry juice

1 cup vodka

½ cup orange liquor

2 cups soda

Lemon slices,

Fresh mint sprigs

Fruit for garnish.

Directions

Mix all ingredients except the soda in a large serving jug. Add lots of ice and top with soda.

Garnish with lemon slices, fresh fruit and mint sprigs.

Raspberry Smoothie

An alcohol-free alternative that’s a real treat. It requires a bit of work, but the combination of white chocolate and raspberries is out of this world.

Ingredients

2 tbsp white chocolate (melted)

1/2 cup vanilla yoghurt

3/4 cup frozen raspberries

1 cup almond milk

Berries and chocolate shavings for garnish

Directions

Melt the white chocolate in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds and set aside. Once slightly cooled, add the melted chocolate, yoghurt, raspberries and almond milk, plus a handful of ice to a blender and blend until smooth.

Pour into tall glass and garnish with berries and chocolate shavings.

Enjoy!

bookcocktail mobile app has launched!

May 17, 2015
May 17, 2015

We are pleased to announce that our mobile app has now launched and is available for free on the iOS App Store. Our brand new mobile app has many great features which include the following;

-You can easily view our class locations, venues and other details including packages, options extras, minimum group size and more
-You can complete a booking enquiry form to check availability and one of our team will be in touch


cocktail making classes app

We have also made the app perfect for when you are at one of our cocktail making classes by providing the following features; 

-Easily check-in to Facebook with your friends at the cocktail class
-Take photos of the cocktail class and post them to our photo stream wall (show us the best cocktail you made!)
-Easily post your cocktail class photos to Facebook for your friends to see
-View live photos from other cocktail making classes happening at the same time across the country (to see who’s making the best cocktail!)
-Contact us anytime on our dedicated hotline number using the app (one button to call us!)

You can download the bookcocktail app by searching “bookcocktail” on the app store or by clicking here.

 

Brand new Cuban Cocktail Making & Salsa Packages!

March 19, 2015
March 19, 2015

Fancy a cocktail making class with a difference? Then our Cuban cocktail making packages are just for you. Today we are pleased to launch the brand new packages for all five Revolucion De Cuba bars (Cardiff, Derby, Manchester, Norwich, Sheffield). The new packages are great as they offer a variety of food options and you can now also add Salsa to any of the packages!

Packages

Masterlass + Pinchos & Lunch = £30pp

Masterclass + Pinchos + Tapas = £36pp

Masterclass + Pinchos + Three Course Meal = £38pp

Add Salsa to any package = £12pp

For more information or to book a Cuban cocktail making class select your nearest Revolucion De Cuba by clicking here

Cocktail Making in Bournemouth

March 1, 2015
March 1, 2015

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We are pleased to announce a brand new cocktail making class in Bournemouth. This sea side coastal resort has a great atmosphere and is perfect for hen parties or nights out. The cocktail class packages start at £25pp and includes party nibbles to share! We also have add on food packages available as well. For more details and to book a class click here

Rift & Co bars join bookcocktail.com

February 14, 2015
February 14, 2015

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We are pleased to announce the addition of the brand new Rift & Co bars to bookcocktail.com. Rift & Co have 9 bars across the UKand we will now be offering cocktail making classes for the venues.  The classes have the same format that we known and love! Cocktail Making with food nibbles from £25.

Rift & Co Cocktail Making Classes are now available in the following location;