Around this time last year I tried to start branching out more with the drinks that I buy in bars, other than a vodka and dash, and with the help of some bartenders’ and friends’ recommendations, I’ve found some seriously delicious combinations. Try these, and you might never go back.
Tia Maria + Cranberry Juice:
The coffee liqueur makes this a very sweet drink but still retains the tartness of the juice, which is really interesting and I’m guilty of guzzling this. Don’t avoid just because you don’t like coffee, it’s more of an overall chocolatey taste and you might love it. If I have no idea what’s behind the bar and I’m put on the spot about what I’m drinking, this is my go-to. It’s not much more expensive than a regular spirit and dash, although ask for cranberry juice from a carton instead of a bottle if they have it to save a few beans.
Amaretto + Cranberry Juice:
In a similar vein, almond liqueur makes for a really sweet drink. It’s more sugary than the Tia Maria combination– the same as the above goes for those who don’t like almonds. Just give it a try.
Żubrówka + Ginger Ale
This instantly became my favourite thing to drink, and I’m limited only in that not many bars in Ireland stock Żubrówka, a Polish bison grass vodka. It’s a spicy, herby combination and if you’re not into super sweet but you still want something with a kick and a fresh flavour, this is one to try. It also works really nicely with apple juice if you’re looking to sweeten it up.
Jameson + Ginger Ale:
Not surprising seeing as they advertise this mixture on Jameson billboards worldwide but most people I know have not tried this and it’s simply delicious! Ask the bartender to squeeze a couple of limes in to spruce it up even more.
Southern Comfort + Lime Cordial:
The ratio here is difficult to say, as it’s subject to taste, but try out different measures and try not to mask the SoCo taste too much, or it becomes too syrupy and sweet. I started off with literally just a dash of lime and that was really nice, though my preference now would be to be a little more heavy handed. It also looks super sophisticated if you ask for this in a whiskey glass over ice.
Malibu + Pineapple Juice:
It makes a lot of sense if you think about it, but I never considered this until someone ordered one from me at a bar. It’s like a simplified cocktail, which is great if you don’t want to pay extortionate cocktail prices but you want something that tastes like summer. Just make sure the juice is fresh because pineapple goes off really quickly and tastes quite weird.
Martini Vermouth + Lemonade:
This is something for the more experimental, it’s not going to be everyone’s favourite. Vermouth is a fortified wine and gives a strange fruity flavour to the sweet, fizzy lemonade. Take your pick from dry, extra dry or sweet. It doesn’t have a strong alcohol content, around 15%, but worth a go.
Midori + Cointreau:
Midori is a melon liqueur and Cointreau is orange brandy. Triple sec would work fine too but I’m not a fan, it’s cheaper but not by enough to justify the taste difference. This is actually the guts of a cocktail known as the Japanese Slipper, but since the ingredients are so simple, you can order at any decent bar. Since it’s two spirits, it’s nice and potent, and it’s not the cheapest, but if you’re having a big spender kind of night, try this. You could also ask for this at a cocktail bar, most places are happy to do off-menu stuff if they have the ingredients and it will be cheaper than a regular bar. Ask for a good squeeze of lemon over these in equal parts, and if you’re at a cocktail bar, it should be garnished with a maraschino cherry. (Bonus points for tying a knot in the stem with your tongue–it’s how I learned!)
Thunder + Coke/Baileys
I’ll be honest, I’m still trying to find a bar in Ireland that stocks Thunder toffee vodka, but by all means join me in my search and let me know if you find it. This. Is. So. Good. (I’ll be putting up a post with how to make your own toffee vodka soon so stay tuned.)
Anything + Anything:
At the risk of sounding cheesy,the point here is to find something really different and yummy, so pick out something weird at the bar that you’ve always been curious about and some kind of mixer combo, and just try it. If you don’t trust your choices or don’t have the money for a risk, ask your bartender, say what you don’t want and the kind of tastes you have, sweet/sour/fruity/rich, and see what is suggested, it might be something awesome that you’d never have guessed.
And most importantly, try something new and ENJOY—alcohol isn’t just about getting drunk!
Thanks for reading and please follow ❤