Hollywood Glamour cocktails

I devised a couple of new cocktails for the recent Hollywood Christmas Party. The White Liz was named for the hostess who loved it as it is stylish, tasty and packs a punch! The quantities are per cocktail and both designed to be served in a martini glass. Quantities for larger numbers are given on my White Christmas Cocktail post  http://cookupaparty.co.uk/white-christmas-cocktails/



2oz Gin

1oz Cointreau

1/4 oz Velvet Falernum

1/4 oz lime juice

1 x fresh lime leaf finely chopped

Mix in chilled cocktail shaker with finely chopped lime leaves and crushed ice. Shake and serve in a Martini glass.

Garnish – glace cherry on cocktail stick



This is a beautiful raspberry red colour and dangerously delicious!

2oz White rum

1oz raspberry puree

1/4 oz lemon juice

1/4 oz raspberry liqueur

Fresh lime for garnish

Mix in a cocktail shaker with crushed ice. Shake and pour into a Martini glass

Garnish – thin slice of lime on side of the glass

Bars Open!


White Christmas Cocktails

Here are some fabulous white coloured cocktails to make up for the lack of snow. Cocktails always get the party going and the rule of thumb is that one per person is too little, two is divine and three is too much!  See at the end of the post for quantities and tips on how to serve cocktails at parties.

Christmas cocktail with lime leaves and cranberry

WHITE MISCHIEF – Martini Glass

I devised this for an Out of Africa themed party, and it is based on the classic White Lady. This drink combines a hit of vodka with the fragrance of elderflower and sweetness of the pear juice. Apple and ginger add a bit of a kick.

  • 2oz Absolute Vodka
  • 1oz Funkin William Pear
  • 1oz James White Apple and Ginger
  • 1 oz St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur
  • 1/4 oz Lemon juice

This quantity makes one decent size cocktail. Make up the mixture x 100 in clear bucket, then shake with ice in giant cocktail shakers and pour into chilled martini glasses.

madmen0005THE WHITE LADY

This is the first cocktail I tasted and it felt so glamourous.

It’s a clean-tasting drink and needs to be drunk very cold, so make sure you have plenty of ice.

  • 20ml Dry London gin
  • 10ml Cointreau
  • 10ml  lemon juice

Shake the ingredients together well with ice. Strain into a frosted cocktail glass and serve in a martini glass. Glorious.


A light change to the classic Kir Royale, with a dash of lemon juice to cut through the sweetness. I love the gorgeous St Germain version http://www.thewhiskyexchange.com/P-6383.aspx

  • 10ml Elderflower Liqueur
  • 5ml lemon juice
  • Top up with well chilled prosecco

Pour into tall Champagne glasses and serve very cold.


The ultimate festive martini, using edible loose leaf gold to give a gold snow storm effect. You can buy gold flecked vodka, but this represents very bad value, as you can order leaves of edible gold leaf quite cheaply from Amazon, or buy in art shops. You are then free to add it to your favourite vodka. You can also order gold leaf flakes here http://www.squires-shop.com/uk/product/sk-gold-leaf-flake

The quantities are for 10 as it is not worth making any less.

  • 750ml vodka
  • 250ml dry martini
  • 2 sheets edible gold leaf
  1. Blend the vodka and vermouth
  2. Shake together vodka and vermouth with ice in cocktail shaker
  3. Strain into cocktail glass and garnish with crushed edible gold leaf


To help in calculating how much you get from a bottle of spirits and mixers see the measurements below:

70cl Spirit Bottle = 14 Drinks @ 50ml (double measure)

1 Litre Carton of Mixer = 20 Drinks @ 50ml (double measure)

1 Squeezed Lime = Roughly 35ml of Juice

1 Squeezed Lemon = Roughly 45ml – 50ml of Juice

How to serve cocktails to large numbers:

For a party of 100, I would offer a choice of two to three different cocktails. The idea of shaking up individual cocktails for a crowd of thirsty revellers  just doesn’t work. Our trick is to make up large quantities of the mixture in advance,  then shake with ice in our special giant cocktail shakers. Thus you can serve 10 people at a time very quickly.

If you are offering a choice of cocktails, stick to two-three base spirits, a vodka, a gin and a rum, and offer both long and short drinks. When buying or hiring martini glasses be aware that they vary in size, so check out what size yours are then adjust the quantities for your drinks accordingly. It is important to match your drink to the correct glass, both for practical and aesthetic reasons. Who would want to drink a martini out of an old fashioned glass?


Don’t forget to think about the garnish.  In some cases they add to the taste of the cocktail, though usually add visual appeal Check your cocktail recipe for the type of garnish and calculate how many ingredients you will need for the number of cocktails you are making.

How to make the Perfect Martini

cocktailmartiniNot stirred and definitely NOT shaken!

“I’m not talking a cup of cheap gin splashed over an ice cube. I’m talking satin, fire and ice; Fred Astaire in a glass; surgical cleanliness, insight.. comfort; redemption and absolution. I’m talking MARTINI.”

So, Mr Bond, it seems you weren’t so sophisticated after all. The way to a perfect dry martini is not to shake it at all. Any cocktail barman worth his or her salt knows that drinks involving transparent ingredients must be prepared correctly in order to maintain clarity and texture. Shaking introduces air bubbles into the mix, resulting in a cloudy appearance and a slightly different texture on the tongue compared to a stirred or poured drink. It’s all about technique.

Right, having cleared that up, I should confess I knew nothing of this until last night, when I learnt from a master, none other than Richard Ehrlich, who knows about these things. I signed up for the Guild of Food Writers  member’s workshop when I found out that Richard’s Martini Workshops are always an instant sell out at The Abergavenny Food Festival.

“It’s quite simple. I don’t talk for long and get them tipsy,” Richard told me with characteristic modesty. In fact he gives a very interesting talk about how to make the perfect martini and yes, of course he provides samples to try. <

So, this is what I learnt:

There are five ingredients in making a Classic Dry Martini

  1. High strength gin from Berry Bros & Rudd
    High strength gin from Berry Bros & Rudd

    London Dry Gin or vodka. Not any old gin – it must be of a good quality. We used a high strength (46%) gin from Berry Bros & Rudd, called No3 after their address in St James’s Street since 1698. They only use six botanicals, which is unusual as some gins list up to 14. Costly but gorgeous. Another favourite is Chase gin.

    • Three fruits: Juniper, from Italy, not only gives gin its name, but also the unmistakable gin taste of pine and lavender. Sweet Spanish orange peel gives freshness in the form of clean, crisp citrus, and grapefruit peel to give an extra lift of citrus.
    • Three spices: Angelica root adds an earthy quality and helps to make the gin dry. Moroccan coriander seed releases a lemon flavour during distilling as well as adding a spicy, slightly peppery finish to a well-made gin. And cardamom pods which add a spicy, aromatic, yet warm bite.
  2. Good quality vermouth. It doesn’t need to be the most expensive, good old Dry Martini is fine
  3.  The third ingredient is the glass. It needs to be the correct size martini glass. Not too large, not to small.
  4.  The fourth (and vital) ingredient is coldness. You cannot make a good martini without it being icy cold. Making something cold is about taking the heat out. You need to freeze the spirit for at least six hours before you are ready to mix your cocktail. Then you need to ensure well chilled glasses.
  5. The fifth ingredient is the garnish, lemon zest, orange zest or an olive.


Once you have your ingredients assembled you can decide on your technique. For the strongest, purest Martini Richard advocates the pouring method. This is when you simply add the vermouth to the chilled glass and pour on the frozen gin. Take a properly zested piece of lemon (ie, very thin with no pith) and squeeze onto the martini and drop into the glass. This gives the coldest, purest martini.

We sampled two different styles made to this method, a very dry version made with a ratio of 10 parts gin to 8 parts vermouth and 10 parts gin to 6 parts vermouth. The majority of people at this workshop preferred the stronger, drier one. This gives the strongest, clearest and purest Martini of them all.

The stirring method, as shunned by James Bond, means putting a bar spoon into a mixing glass and filling it with ice. Stir gently until the glass is cold. Then add your vermouth and stir gently and then add the spirit and mix to stir. Strain into individual martini glasses.

Those who are not overly fussy can use a cocktail shaker with a lid for the shaken method. Simply place your vermouth and spirit into the shaker with ice. Shake vigorously to chill then pour into cocktail glasses.

Classic Dry Martini


  • 1 tsp Dry Vermouth
  • 85ml London Dry Gin or vodka
  • 1 lemon

Method Pour the Extra Dry Vermouth into a frozen martini glass (either 7oz or 5.5oz glass) and coat in a circular motion. Top up the glass with ice cold No.3 gin. Pare the rind of a lemon finely and give it a twist to extract the oils into the glass.

Very Dry Martini for those who like their martinis “heroically” dry. That is you simply swirl a dash of vermouth around a chilled glass and discard. Pour the frozen spirit into the glass and add a twist of lemon. Famous advocates of this method were Winston Churchill and Noel Coward.

Churchill famously said the only way to make a martini was with ice-cold gin, and a bow in the direction of France.

Refreshing Iced Tea

While the hot weather remains with us, this is amazingly refreshing and a lovely alternative to the daily cuppa. Of course there will always be those tempted to add a drop of rum or vodka for an early evening pick me up. And why not?

Iced tea with mint and cucumber
Iced tea with mint and cucumber

Iced Tea

  • 6 ordinary tea bags
  • 10 sprigs mint
  • 300.00ml apple juice, either freshly pressed or bought but not made from concentrate
  • juice 1 lemon

To Serve

  • Slice of cucumber, mint leaves and ice to serve
  • Make the tea with 1.2 litres water. Add mint to the pot and infuse for 10 mins 
  • Strain and cool
  • Once cool stir in the lemon juice and apple juice
  • Keep in a jug in the fridge until it is cool enough to serve
  • Serve with sprigs of mint and a slice or wedge of cucumber


I often use a large cafetiere to combine the tea and mint leaves. This is then easily strained ready for combining with the juices prior to chilling.


The 37

IMG_0097Celebrate summer with this gorgeous cocktail which is perfect for a party – rain or shine! It is light, slightly scented with rose lemonade and has a nice kick of vodka. We like to use Chase potato vodka, but any premium brand vodka would work. This cocktail was created for number 37 Old London Road, a quirky interiors shop in Kingston upon Thames. Run by the inimitable Denny & Dazzle, the shop featured in the BBC programme, Mary Queen of Shops.

We held a party in the shop to celebrate their TV debut and it attracted lots of interest from locals, and there was a great mix of people. I was sorry to see that the shop now has a closing down sign, so hurry along to pick up any bargains before they shut. Perhaps we should have another party?


For 2 cocktails

  • 10-12 cubes of ice
  • 60ml vodka
  • sprig of fresh mint
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 120ml Fentimans Rose lemonade
  1. Place half the ice cubes into a cocktail shaker 
  2. Pour the vodka, mint and lemon juice over the ice
  3. Shake well until well mixed
  4. Put the remaining ice cubes into the glasses and strain the cocktail over them
  5. Top up with Fentimans Rose Lemonade
  6. Decorate with a fresh mint leaf, crystallised rose petal or slice of lime