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No matter where you are Alcohol is usually just a 5 minute walk to the shops. It comes in all varieties of flavours and strength and also has a wide price range so everyone can afford to buy it. It can help you to relax and unwind and gives you courage to do things you might not have done sober. The only thing with Alcohol is it's many side effects from a hangover to dehydration and depression. We have all heard the stories of suicide and family wrecker when people drink Alcohol. In a controlled manner Alcohol is ok but because of it's addictive qualities it is easy to slip into unhealthy amounts and this can cause all kinds of problems. Walk down to your local town and you will see a plethora of pubs and clubs, Alcohol is widely accepted as the norm and a lot of people drink it, Some people don't drink Alcohol this could be a recovering Alcoholic a religious belief and fundamental rules such as a Morman or someone that never caught on to it. Health and fitness guru's wont drink Alcohol either and it's best to keep consumption at a low level, The NHS state 3 units for women and 4 units per day for men but most wont keep to this level as it takes varying amounts of Alcohol to actually feel drunk. Most people like to drink to a certain level as otherwise it seems pointless to drink as we all do it for it's effect. Alcohol effects people in different ways, Some might get violent and aggressive looking for a fight, Others will become more confident outgoing and talk about anything, Some will fall asleep for sure. On a personal note I like to drink spirits because lager and beer tends to bloat me out and I don't like all that liquid in my stomach at the same time spirits can be drunk at smaller liquid levels and thus no discomfort. Cocktails seem to be coming back in as there are a lot more cocktail bars these days with new ones opening on a daily basis around the country. There are a wide variety of cocktails to make and a good taster could easily conjure up there own cocktail for sure. From a Fast car to a Pina colada lets have a look at some great cocktails.

The Bourbon Manhattan Cocktail 

The Manhattan Cocktail is a mixture of Whiskey sweet vermouth and bitters, traditional choices include bourbon Canadian and Tennessee varieties. Also known as a Turf club cocktail and Jockey club cocktail this drink first came to light around 1880. A man called Dr Iain Marshall came up with the recipe at a party that was held at the Manhattan Club in New York City to celebrate the presidential candidate Samuel J Tilden and hosted by Lady Randolph Churchill, Winston Churchill's mother. Back then cocktails were quite bitter consisting of liquor a dash of bitters and some sugar for luck, This recipe changed all that and the party was a smashing success. Some people dispute this as a myth as Lady Randolph Churchill was actually at home in England at the time pregnant with Winston so could not possibly have been there.  But some believe a man named Black invented the Manhattan at the famous Hoffman House in New York city. The Manhattan club lays claim to the ownership of this drink as is widely available in bars clubs restaurants and cafe's and is considered by bartenders to be one of the best cocktails to ever be served.

There are many variations of the Manhattan but most contain Angostura bitters, a good single malt whiskey and Sweet Vermouth. 

50ml of a good single malt whisky

25ml of sweet Vermouth

1 or more dashes of Angostura bitters, Add more or less to taste requirements.

2 twists of Orange or add some 100% orange juice.

Add a couple of Maraschino cherries for a garnish.

Pour the whisky sweet vermouth orange and angostura bitters into a mixing jug. Add some ice and then stir well with a bar spoon or wooden spoon. You can slightly mash the ice a little to help the blending procedure.

Use a Jigger to correctly measure the amounts of alcohol and orange, The larger the jigger the more cocktails can be made in one go.

A Hawthorne type of cocktail strainer, This strainer removes ice from the mixed beverage and only allows the liquid to flow through into a glass or shaker.

A Cocktail Shaker.

A Double Sized Cocktail Jigger

A fine mesh cocktail strainer.

After a few minutes pour liquid out of mixing glass into cocktail shaker and shake well. Some ice will also go into the shaker but will be removed with the strainer. Then pour liquid into cocktail glass using strainer to remove any ice. Garnish with a Maraschino cherry or two and serve. Some recipes also use Cranberry juice and you can add a twist of orange peel to garnish the glass. You do not want to water down the drink so add ice accordingly and don't over do it.

The Mai Tai Cocktail was created in 1944 by Victor J Bergeron at his restaurant called Trader Vic's in Oakland California. But there is some dispute as another person called Donn Beach February 22, 1907 – June 7, 1989 claims to have created the drink in 1933, he also was the founding father of tiki restaurants bars and nightclubs. Donn Beaches concoction is more complex than Bergeron's and taste's quite different from his rival. The Mai Tai was very popular in the 50's and 60's and was prominently featured in the Elvis Presley movie Blue Hawaii, I am sure Elvis drank a few of these and whoever invented this drink first it probably did not matter to him, but let's find out what ingredients go into making this delicious cocktail.

Mai Tai ingredients, 60 ml Bacardi Ocho Anos.

15 ml Pierre Ferrand Curacao

22.5 ml Freshly squeezed lime juice.

7.5 ml Giffard Orgeat Syrup, Made from Almonds, Sugar, and Rose water.

7.5 ml Sugar Syrup 2 sugar to 1 water

Add all ingredients to mixing jug with some complimentary ice, Allow a few minutes for ingredients to blend slightly mashing the ice with a bar spoon. Then pour into cocktail strainer but try and leave most of the ice out, Shake and leave for another 3 minutes then pour into glasses using the cocktail strainer. The more ice you use will affect the alcohol content so add accordingly to strength. Garnish with Lime Mint sprig, Pineapple cube and Maraschino cherry or any of these. I would probably leave out the mint and have edible orchids but the choice is yours.

Trader Vic's Original Recipe.

Don The Beachcomber's Mai Tai Recipe 1933

50 ml 17 year old J Wray & Nephew Rum

Juice from one fresh lime

15 ml Holland Dekuyper Orange Curacao

17 ml Trader Vic's Rock Candy Syrup

15 ml French Garier Orgeat Syrup

  • 1 oz gold rum

  • 1 1/2 oz Meyers’s Plantation rum

  • 1 oz grapefruit juice

  • 3/4 oz lime juice

  • 1/2 oz Cointreau

  • 1/4 oz falernum

  • 6 drops Pernod or Herbsaint

  • Dash of Angostura bitters

The White Russian cocktail is made with Vodka Kahlua or Tia Maria and Cream served over ice. Known as a black Russian the adding of cream turns it into a white Russian drink. It was first mentioned on November 21st 1965 in California's Oakland Tribune newspaper as a recipe. A surge in popularity occured after the film The Big Lebowski was released as Jeff Bridges who plays Jeffrey the dude Lebowski drinks it as his beverage of choice.

Jeff Bridges in the movie The Big Lebowski.

Try 1 25ml Kahlua

50ml Absolut Vodka

50ml of Double or Single cream

A couple of shakes of your favourite chocolate sprinkles.

Fill jug with some ice, Add Vodka and Kahlua to jug using a Jigger to measure, slowly mash with spoon and leave for 2 minutes, Pour contents into shaker using strainer adding a little ice and shake until outside of shaker feels chilled. Dont over shake contents best to shake for 20 seconds then let it stand for 20 seconds and repeat until liquid is cold, This should only take 2 minutes as liquid will have cooled from jug. Pour contents into glass using the fine mesh cocktail strainer adding a little ice also. Add a little ice first then use strainer to pour liquid into glass. You can also use some ice from jug with the cocktail spoon but you will probably add more ice to jug as these will go down a treat. Gently top up glass with cream and then add some chocolate sprinkles. Tip keep alcohol in the fridge for these cocktails.

Harrison Ford plays Deckard in Bladerunner a sci fi neo noir film from 1982. In this screen shot he can be seen drinking a Mezcal which is a variety of Tequila.

The Rising Sun Cocktail

The rising sun cocktail was invented in Portland Oregon at the Toro Bravo restaurant. To create this drink you will need these ingredients. US sizes are 29.5735297 ml per fluid ounce slightly more than UK 25 ml shot measurements.

50 ml of Mezcal this version also has a worm in the bottom.

25 ml of fresh Grapefruit juice, Carton is also ok if you can't get any fresh fruit.

20 ml of fresh Lime Juice

25 ml of Maraschino liquor which is made from Marasca Cherries. This is a type of sour Morello cherry. This type of fruit is more on the acidic table.

Pinch of Salt

Lime Wheel for the garnish

Add Mezcal to jigger then transfer to jug, Add Maraschino liquor to jigger and add to jug, Add lime juice and Grapefruit juices to jigger and then transfer to jug. Ensure jug has a 20% ice lining before you add liquids. Mash slowly with bar spoon to slightly excite the liquids and ice. Add all ingredients to cocktail shaker using a Hawthorne type of strainer. After liquid is into shaker pour in some ice and shake for 20 seconds. Rest for 20 seconds then shake again for 20 seconds. Strain contents into coupe glass using fine mess strainer. Add a little ice to bottom of glass from jug if required. Salt can be used to rim the glass to suit taste buds. If using sea salt use the lime wedge to slowly go round the glass first until lightly moistened, Try and keep the line of moisture even and squeeze the fruit piece softly you dont want it to drip down the outside of the glass, You can also dip the glass into a small layer of salt and slowly go round. Tip hold glass by it's stem and slowly revolve it round tapping the glasses rim to apply the salt. Be careful you want the salt to stay on the outside of the glass, It is best to prepare glasses in advance so the salt is nicely dried ready for the liquids. You can keep left over salt and it is fine to use the next time you decide to make a cocktail.

This Mezcal Margherita maybe a better option if you can find the ingredients. For this drink you will need. 

50 ml of Del Maguey VIDA Mezcal

50 ml Del Maguey VIDA Mezcal

25 ml De Kuyper Triple Sec Liquor

25 ml Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice

Pinch of Salt

2.5 ml AquaRiva Agave Syrup

Measure out alcohol into jigger and then add to 20% filled ice jug. Add Lime juice to jigger and then add to jug. Add Agave syrup to jigger and then add to jug. Slightly mash with bar spoon and leave for 2 minutes for flavours to blend. Add liquid to shaker using strainer and shake for 20 seconds. Wait for an additional 20 seconds then shake again for another 20 seconds. Add some ice from jug to glass with spoon and then add liquid from cocktail shaker using a strainer. Garnish with a lime wedge.

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