2021 Cocktail Round-Up

2021 has been the year I fulfilled a dream, to work freelance supporting the hospitality industry with advice, ideas, training and front-of-house work, drawing on over 30 years of experience as a cook, host and cocktail specialist. Much this has been demonstrating cocktail-making techniques to bar staff and developing manageable cocktail lists for bars or restaurants, but my favourite part is always creating new cocktails, something unique to each bar. All of us who enjoy making cocktails love this part. It's the flash of artistry that gives us chance to show off a little, the moment we prove our credentials by pulling-off something akin to magic: spinning spirits someone thinks of as antiquated into a radically new drink they love and know will sell well with their customers. Here are the recipes for my favourite creations of this year.


I created this riff on a Manhattan for a customer's birthday and invited him to name it. He chose the name of his home town in Italy, remarking that, like Manhattan itself, the streets of Avezzano are laid out in a grid pattern.

50ml good Bourbon
15ml Sacred Spirit English Amber Vermouth
10ml The King's Ginger liqueur
a drop of peach bitters

Stir all the ingredients with ice in a mixing glass. Strain into a coupe or Nick & Nora glass and garnish with a twist of lemon peel.

Ground Control

This was made as the house Espresso Martini for Major Tom's Social in Harrogate. Licor 43 is a Spanish liqueur that is flavoured with vanilla and dried citrus peel, which marry well with the coffee. The chocolate bitters adds a touch of richness.

25ml espresso coffee
a dash of chocolate bitters
25ml Bourbon
25ml Licor 43

Shake the ingredients vigorously in a shaker of ice. Double-strain into a coupe glass and dust with a little ground allspice.

Major Tom's Christmas Flip

Sticking with Major Tom's, I created this Christmas drink for them at a takeover event in December. The manager proclaimed it "glorious," which I was a little pleased about.

1 whole egg
25ml Calvados
20ml The King's Ginger liqueur
a dash of peach bitters
3ml (or so) Gomme syrup, to taste

Put all the ingredients in a shaker without ice. Whisk them together with a fork or bar whisk, then add ice. Shake very hard until your hand can't stand the cold. Strain into a coupe glass and dust with a little nutmeg.

A Lovers' Martini (makes 2)

I made this for a St Valentine's Day event. You don't want to be drinking alone that night, so the recipe is for 2 Martinis. It uses Everleaf Mountain, an alcohol-free aperitif drink that has flavours of cherry blossom and hibiscus and is enhanced with a hint of orange vermouth.

A scant 5ml of Martini Fiero vermouth.
25ml Everleaf Mountain aperitif
100ml London dry gin

Freeze 2 Windsor Martini glasses and rinse or mist the inside of each with a little of the Martini Fiero. 
In a mixer glass of ice, stir together the Everleaf Mountain and the gin for about 30 seconds. Strain into the prepared glasses and garnish with a heart-shaped slice of strawberry. You can watch me making a pair of Lovers' Martinis in this video from my YouTube channel.

Deli Sling

This lovely, refreshing drink was created for Cold Bath Deli & Wine Bar in Harrogate. The flavoured ingredients have a tendency to sink below the soda, so it's important to serve it with a straw.

20ml white rum
juice of half a lemon
15ml cherry brandy
15ml Sacred Spirit English Amber Vermouth
5ml Campari
a splash (maybe 30ml) soda water

Shake the lemon juice, spirits and liqueurs in a shaker of ice to ensure they mix. Fill a high-ball glass with ice cubes and strain the cocktail into it. Finish with a splash of soda, a slice of lemon and a maraschino cherry. Serve with a straw.


  1. Ooh, these sound lovely. I shall seek these out when I'm next out and about.

    1. Thank you. Take your mobile with you, so you can show the bartender how to make them.


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