Back to basics

Back to basics

Bartender faves

Chances are, many of us will be spending more time in the garden this year. Here are some fantastic holiday-inspired cocktails to try when you do, plus the techniques to give them that professional touch

There’s nothing quite like catching up with friends, and if you’re planning on serving drinks, why not sharpen up your bartending skills? Here, we show you how to make four classic cocktails, transporting you to the beach for some sun, sea and sangria vibes!

Sunny sangria (V) (GF)

Hugely popular in Spain, sangria is great to share in warmer weather

Serves 4 • Ready in 10 mins

THE KNOWLEDGE:
Sangria is traditionally made with red wine, and chilling the wine beforehand can help focus the flavours and give it a lighter body. Adding brandy gives the sangria a kick, along with a little heat, while orange juice balances it out with sweetness. Giving the still liquids a stir before adding the fruit helps prevent the berries from breaking up too much. This is best served in a big jug — chill the glasses first if you have time.

THE METHOD:

  • 75cl bottle dry red wine, chilled (we used Co-op Spanish Garnacha) 
  • 100ml Co-op Napoleon brandy 
  • 50ml Co-op smooth orange juice 
  • Large handful of ice 
  • 1 orange, sliced 
  • 200g Co-op British raspberries 
  • 100g Co-op British strawberries, halved
  • 1 peach, cut into wedges 
  • 200ml Co-op lemonade 
  1. Pour the wine, brandy and orange juice into a jug and gently swirl. 
  2. Add the ice and fruit to the jug, stir again, then pour in the lemonade and serve immediately.

Energy per glass 953kJ/229kcal.
Alcohol units per glass 3.4*


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Frozen strawberry daiquiri (VG) (GF)

You’ll need a blender for this, but it makes it easy to put together

Serves 4 • Ready in 10 mins, plus overnight freezing

THE KNOWLEDGE:
Strawberries are great for this boozy slushie as they’re at their seasonal best right now — raspberries would work well, too. Avoid darker berries like blackberries though, as they can be too sour. Using a combination of fresh and frozen strawberries creates a smooth, drinkable consistency rather than a sorbet-like texture, while leaving ice out means you don’t dilute the flavours. A powerful blender will also help break down the strawberries completely so you don’t end up with lumps. 

THE METHOD:

  • 1kg Co-op British strawberries, chopped
  • 4 tbsp Fairtrade caster sugar  
  • 200ml Co-op white rum 
  • Juice of 2 limes, plus wedges to garnish 
  1. Put half the strawberries into a freezer-proof lidded container and freeze overnight.
  2. Meanwhile, make a sugar syrup. Put the caster sugar and 60ml water in a pan and bring to the boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then remove from the heat and leave to cool fully.
  3. Next day, put the fresh and frozen strawberries, sugar syrup, rum and lime juice in a blender, then whizz until you have a smooth, slushy consistency.
  4. Divide between four glasses and garnish with lime wedges to serve. 

Energy per glass 1016kJ/242kcal.
Alcohol units per glass 1.8*


WASTE NOT

Fruit on the turn? Freeze on trays, then keep in a resealable bag in the freezer for a twist on ice cubes.


Classic mojito (VG) (GF)

This vibrant drink is a great balance of zesty, sweet and fresh flavours

Serves 2 • Ready in 5 mins

THE KNOWLEDGE:
‘Muddling’ is essentially the art of crushing ingredients with sugar in cocktails, and involves bashing aromatics like herbs (in this case, mint) or fruit to release their flavour. Doing so draws out fragrance as well as flavour. For an extra burst of freshness, put the mint in the palm of your hand and clap your hands together to release its essential oils.

THE METHOD:

  • 2 limes, cut into wedges 
  • 4 tsp Fairtrade caster sugar 
  • 4 mint sprigs, leaves only, plus extra to garnish
  • 100ml Co-op white rum  
  • 2 large handfuls of crushed ice 
  • 50ml soda water 
  1. Put the lime, sugar and most of the mint in a cocktail shaker or lidded jar and ‘muddle’ with the thin end of a wooden spoon until the lime has released all its juices and the sugar has dissolved (you can also do this in a separate glass, if you prefer). 
  2. Add the rum and a handful of ice to the shaker, put the lid on and shake for 1-2 mins, until the outside of the shaker is cold.  
  3. Put the remaining ice and mint in two glasses, then strain the cocktail into them. Top up with soda water and garnish with the extra mint to serve.


Energy per glass 640kJ/154kcal.
Alcohol units per glass 1.8*


Sunset martini (VG) (GF)

The height of simplicity and sophistication, a great martini is all about quality ingredients, treated correctly

Serves 2 • Ready in 5 mins, plus chilling 

THE KNOWLEDGE:
Serving this iconic cocktail ice-cold is key, so make sure those glasses are chilled. You can customise martinis to your taste, too — add a little lemon, or olives for a touch of salt — but purists say never both! We’ve gone for a simple but impressive lemon twist here, along with the classic mix of gin and vermouth. Twisting the lemon peel firmly releases its natural oils and adds more flavour to the drink. It’s important to mix it well, too, to blend the flavours properly. If you like, make it a dirty martini by adding a splash of olive brine to the shaker, and garnishing with three olives on the end of a cocktail stick instead of the twist of lemon.

THE METHOD:

  • 120ml Co-op Irresistible London dry gin, chilled 
  • 30ml white vermouth, chilled
  • Handful of ice 
  • 1 lemon
  1. Put two martini glasses in the freezer for at least an hour to chill.
  2. Pour the gin, vermouth and ice into a cocktail shaker or lidded jam jar and shake for 10 seconds. Strain into the chilled glasses.
  3. Using a peeler, remove two strips of lemon zest, then twist each strip over the drink to release its oils. Wipe the strip around the glass rim, then drop into the cocktail to serve.


Energy per glass 623kJ/150kcal.
Alcohol units per glass 2.6*


Tips & tricks

Cocktail making won’t be so daunting if you follow our handy hints

ICE-LY DOES IT
Most cocktails require ice, but not necessarily standard cubes. Crushed ice works well for vodka-based or fruity drinks, so keep some in the freezer if you can. Large cubes are better for whisky or gin — you could even try novelty shapes! If you don’t have much room for ice in your freezer, plan ahead and chill the glasses before serving, instead.  

KEEP IT GLASSY
The type of glass you serve your drink in is part of the experience. Use highballs for ‘tall’ or ‘long’ cocktails, such as gin and tonic, and shorter glasses for neat spirits or muddled cocktails. Martini glasses are self-explanatory, while coupes are a good alternative, and showcase garnishes nicely. Serve with a napkin, in case of spillages, and be careful when taking glassware outside, of course. 

GET INVENTIVE
Once you’ve grasped the classics, you’re on the road to your own personalised cocktails. Try infusing simple syrups with leftover herbs or citrus zest for example, which can then be used in a range of drinks. Or steep fruit in gin or vodka to build flavour. Get creative with your garnishes, too — slices of fruit, sprigs of herbs or even sweets can all work well.


For more drinks inspiration, check out coop.co.uk/recipes

* Approximate, based on Co-op branded alcohol where possible