Mixing tricks

If you’re planning a cocktail party, make sure you’ve got the cocktail recipes you need to get it going with a swing

Once the party is underway, cocktails seem to invent themselves spontaneously, but to get the evening started, try the following:


Burning botsford (also known as steaming cockroach)

  • 1 measure Baileys
  • 1 measure tequila
  • 1 measure Kahlua

Carefully pour in the Baileys, then the Kahlua, then finally the tequila, so that three distinct layers are visible. Light the top layer (tequila), wait five seconds, then plunge a short straw through the flames to the bottom of the glass and suck the cocktail up, layer by layer, as quickly as possible before the straw melts.

Toxic waste

  • 1 measure Midori melon liqueur
  • 1½ measures gin or vodka
  • Lilt fruit drink

Pour spirits over ice and mix with an equal measure of Lilt. This extremely nasty‐looking cocktail is best served in a frosted highball. Hold up to black light to enjoy the toxic looking glow, then drink slowly and carefully.

Backseat fumble (alcohol‐free)

  • 4 measures pineapple juice
  • 2 measures coconut milk
  • 2 measures cream
  • 1 dash Grenadine
  • 3 ice cubes

Shake the ingredients in your shaker/blender and pour into a tall glass. Garnish with an umbrella.

At the very least you’ll need:

A cocktail shaker 

This doesn’t have to be an outrageously expensive metal one ‐‐ a large plastic cup with a lid or a blender will do just as well.

Ice, and plenty of it! 

A blender is a must for making crushed ice, unless you fancy hammering at a pillowcase filled with ice cubes.

Plenty of cocktail glass furniture

Swizzle sticks, umbrellas, stirrers topped by parrots or bathing beauties… the more tasteless the better.


Certain cocktails are just naked without them!


Vodka, rum, gin, whisky, Kahlua, tequila, vermouth, Malibu, Campari, Tia Maria, Baileys, Creme de Menthe, Creme de Cacao, brandy, plus any other brightly‐coloured spirits that take your fancy.


Orange juice, soda water, tonic water, tomato juice, lime cordial, cranberry juice, coke, lemonade, cream or milk.

Other stuff

Salt, pepper, Angostura bitters, Worcestershire sauce, Grenadine, Tabasco, strawberries.

There are plenty of books and websites filled with cocktail ideas, but the real joy is experimenting and coming up with your own. Your best cocktails will ideally be discovered the hard way, after much intensive trial and error. As you explore this colourful world, there are three important points worth remembering:

  • A cocktail should taste good. Everything else about it, from smutty or unsavoury name to garish presentation, should be in the poorest possible taste.
  • Variety is everything. If you are going to have a cocktail party, get as wide a selection of ingredients as possible. Then let your creativity get to work!
  • No two cocktails, made to the same recipe, are ever the same. So if you get a good one, enjoy it ‐‐ it will never be repeated.

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