Make Cocktails at Home

Learn Mixology – in your own home!

Tag: Ingredients

Make Cocktails at Home

Understanding Your Ingredients

Get to know what you’re putting in your mouth

Now that you have the core cocktail making skills you need to make a good drink it’s time to get up to speed on the next important part – the ingredients. Afterall, if you want to make great tasting cocktails of your own it’s essential you understand exactly what you’re playing with.

Start off by brushing up on the fundamentals behind how alcohol is made with an introduction to distillation and fermentation.

The Easy Guide to Alcohol part one – Fermentation, Distillation and Spirits

Next, dive into the sweeter side with a look at how your favourite liqueurs are made.

The Easy Guide to Alcohol part two – Liqueurs

We follow this up with an introduction to that most versatile of citrus fruits, the lime.

Easy Guide to Lime Juice – Fresh Lime, Roses Cordial and the Gimlet

Now you can tell the difference between a spirit and a liqueur , how they taste, how they are produced, and also when and why we should use fresh citrus. Great! Let’s put this knowledge to use in the next guide  as we breakdown a cocktail into it’s separate components.

Cocktails Deconstructed

Make some drinks!

With a core knowledge of the key techniques and the ingredients needed to make a decent drink it’s time for you to start experimenting with recipes of your own! Feel free to let me know how you go by leaving a comment below, I’m very interested to see what you can come up with.


Revision time – The Easy Guide to Alcohol part one

It’s hard to make decent cocktails if you don’t understand the Ingredients you’re using. If you haven’t already, make sure you check out part one of my Easy Guide to Alcohol series – it looks at the important fundamentals behind how alcohol is actually made, including fermentation, distillation and spirits.


Cheaters Guide to making Grenadine at home



Sometimes it’s good to cheat…


Flavoured syrups are a useful component to cocktails as they allow us to add flavour at the same time as adding the sugar that is necessary in many drinks to achieve sweet:sour balance.


Unfortunately mass production and efforts to achieve economies of scale may be good for many of the big-brand syrup producer’s bottom lines but they have had a pretty negative effect on the quality of many of the products that reach the market. Spinning around to the ingredients list on a syrup bottle you’re more likely to find a long list of artificial flavours, colours, preservatives and other E numbers than anything resembling a simple combination of sugar, water and authentic flavouring. Grenadine is no exception.


Originally made from pomegranates, modern store bought Grenadine is usually a bright red, artificial ‘red berry’ flavoured syrup sweetened with high fructose corn syrup and is commonly used to provide a berry flavour without the alcohol of berry shrubs or liqueurs.


If we are going to make Grenadine to use at home then we want the original, proper pomegranate flavour; we could use real pomegranates but instead we are going to cheat and use pomegranate juice – its quick, easy, and still gives us the real fruity flavour we’re after.


Cheaters Grenadine


What you need

  • Pomegranate juice (we see note below)
  • Fine sugar




Very quick and easy; to make the Grenadine all you need to do is mix equal amounts of the Pomegranate juice and fine sugar in a bowl until the mixture is completely dissolved. Once the mixture has dissolved you can transfer the syrup into a bottle and store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it. It really is that easy!







Followed by juice…


then Stir! Stir! Stir!



The finished product – Grenadine






The key to making sure you make good grenadine this way is to ensure that you are using pure pomegranate juice – you want to make sure that the juice is 100% pomegranate juice so make sure you get a decent product like POM Wonderful. It’s worth paying a little more for a much better flavour.


Sugar Syrup/Simple Syrup

Make Sugar Syrup at Home

Make Sugar Syrup at Home

Sugar Syrup (or Simple Syrup as it is also commonly known) is one of the most common sweetening ingredients used in cocktails and also one of the easiest to make at home.


Sugar is an essential ingredient in cocktails as it allows us to add a sweetener to bitter or sour ingredients and help create a balanced drink. As we are working with liquids when we make cocktails sugar syrup has the advantage of already being dissolved making it mix into our cocktails much faster/easier than if we were using granulated sugar, especially as we will be using ice in the majority of our drinks (I’m sure many of you realise it takes longer for sugar to dissolve in cold liquid than warm).

All about Ratios


The standard ratio for simple syrup is 1:1, meaning 1 part sugar to 1 part water. I prefer to make a syrup with a 2:1 sugar:water ratio with gives a slightly thicker, richer flavour; if you are going to make this then remember  to be careful when using it in cocktails as the extra sweetness means you will not need to add as much syrup as you would from the 1:1 ratio (more sugar = use less in drink).

Put simply, for a 1:1 simple syrup you’ll need 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar. It’s that easy.


You will need

  • Water
  • Sugar
  • A pot
  • An oven (a camp stove will probably do if you need to MacGyver it)



Pour your water into your pot and turn the heat on. Wait until the water is hot but not boiling and pour in your sugar -now stir stir stir!

You want to make sure the sugar dissolves completely but we don’t really want the mixture to boil so now is a good time to turn off the heat.

Continue stirring until the mixture is completely dissolved.

Leave your dissolved syrup to cool off and once cold pour it into a bottle, put a lid on and keep it in the fridge until you need to use it. Refrigerated and with a cap on the syrup should last a few months at least.


Done! I told you it was… simple (hahaha… I’m sorry)


We’ll have a look at making flavoured syrups (like Grenadine) an upcoming post…


Until then, happy mixing


// David



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