cocktails and mocktails for a wet or dry january

Some of us have gone dry for January, so if you’ve got friends over this month, keep these cocktail and mocktail recipes up your sleeve. We’ve got some great cocktail recipes from Brighton’s best bartenders for you, including a couple of low/no alcohol options too. Dust that shaker off and get mixing…

Classic Old Fashioned
640 East Brighton has only been open a few weeks, but mixologist David Miller (ex London’s Merchant House) has already been busy behind the bar. He’s created a dessert cocktail giving a nod to Brighton using Tuaca, which is well worth a try if you get a chance to pop in. But for now, here’s David’s take on a classic Old Fashioned to try at home:

What you’ll need:
Angostura bitters
Orange bitters
Orange peel

How to make it:
Grab a lowball glass and add ice.
Add 25ml bourbon, 2 dashes of bitters, 2 dashes of bitters and sugar to taste
Stir and add orange peel as a garnish to serve

Low alcohol top tip: Offer guests a fizz Collins, made up of lemon juice, elderflower cordial and topped up with soda.

Nightcap Old Fashioned (alcohol-free)
Stocked at 640 East Brighton, Three Spirits have a range of plant-based alcohol-free spirits, including Nightcap, which is an indulgent elixir made with tree saps, aromatic plants and ancient remedies used to relax and unwind. Here’s a decadent, woody & smooth recipe worth giving a try for your guests that fancy a hangover-free party.

What you’ll need:
50ml Three Spirits Nightcap
5 dashes of Angostura Bitters
Orange slice
Maraschino cherry

How to make it:
Combine all the ingredients in a whisky-style glass and fill with ice. Stir until ice-cold, garnish with an orange slice and top with a maraschino cherry.

brighton-cocktailsA Sussex martini
Isaac At source all their ingredients as close to Sussex as possible, giving guests at their tasting restaurant a true ‘Sussex on a Plate’ experience. Being home to the only all English drinks menu in the country, they share their Sussex Martini to try at home. Sommelier Alex Preston recommends making a candied rhubarb garnish for the cocktail as it accents the 40 botanicals in Albourne 40 Vermouth brilliantly.

What you’ll need:
Albourne 40 vermouth
Brighton Gin
Blackdown Silver Birch Vodka
Candied rhubarb to garnish (as below)

How to make it:
Add a splash of Albourne Vermouth to a tall glass with ice
Add 25ml Brighton Gin and 25ml of Silver Birch Vodka
Stir and then pour into a martini glass
For the garnish, they would recommend making some Sussex candied Rhubarb, which can be used throughout the festive period. To do this add 300ml local honey to 500ml rhubarb juice and cook down until thick. Brush this on thinly sliced rhubarb and bake in the oven to make candied rhubarb.

The Sweet Pea
The Salt Room have a great cocktail bar and they’ve had some award-winning mixologists working their magic behind the bar over the years. Here’s their Sweet Pea, served without a straw.

What you’ll need:
45ml East London Liquor Company gin [they infuse theirs with sugar snap peas. You can do this yourself by pouring a bottle of gin into a sealable, non-reactive container, adding about 225g of sugar snaps that you’ve broken in half and a handful of mint. Then refrigerate the mixture for 24 hours before straining.]
20ml fresh lime juice
5ml gomme syrup
5ml green Chartreuse
enough prosecco to top the glass up

For the decoration/garnish:
a lemon
some smoked paprika
pea shoots

How to make it:
Grab a tall glass and give it a smoked paprika rim. To do this, work a slice of lemon around it and then twist in a dusting of paprika. 
Put all the ingredients (except the prosecco) into a cocktail shaker, shake well and strain into your glass over ice. Top up with prosecco, garnish with pea shoots and enjoy!

The Red Carpet
You may be familiar with MyHotel’s in-house cocktail bar Merkaba; it’s renowned for the element of theatre that’s added to every cocktail they make. From firing up their bar (they literally set it alight) to a cocktail shake that will impress even the best maraca players, Merkaba have a cocktail menu with something for everyone, including this glamorous beauty:

What you’ll need:
25ml Absolut Vodka
25ml Licor 43
25ml apple juice
25ml lemon juice
25ml strawberry purée
10 ml sugar
prosecco to top up

For the garnish:
one marshmallow

How to make it:
Add all the ingredients (except the prosecco) to a cocktail shaker and do as Merkaba do… shake it, shake it, shake it. Pour the mixture into a glass and top up with the prosecco. Garnish with a toasted marshmallow. Sit back, relax and enjoy.

Photo credits: Foodie Eshe (The Sweet Pea), Restaurants Brighton 
(main image)