Tuesday, February 7, 2023

It’s World Cocktail Day! How to Make the Most Epic Cocktail at Home

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That’s right, World Cocktail Day is a thing (and you bet your bottom dollar we’ll be marking the occasion at Capsule!) And to help you celebrate in style and make cocktails at home – whether that’s a traditional booze option or a mocktail situation, we chat to Black Pineapple founder Frankie Walker and find out how you can whip up a cocktail even Carrie Bradshaw would be proud of.

It’s World Cocktail Day (and GREAT that it’s a Friday!) What cocktail will you be drinking to celebrate?

I’m on a no-drinking buzz at the moment but I am a huge fan of Lyres non-alcoholic spirits (sounds oxymoronic but it’s actually amazing stuff). They do an Americano cocktail (non-alcoholic Campari, Vermouth and soda) in a can and they have the top shelf in my fridge right now.

How hard is it for people to make cocktails at home?

It’s easier than you think! Here’s a couple of simple starter points for you:

  • Ice, ice baby – this is such an important component and you should always have more on hand than you think you’ll need. Invest in some large ice trays and stock pile, the 12 tiny cubes in the tray at the top of the freezer just doesn’t cut it.
  • Pantries are full of unexpected cocktail ingredients – vinegars, preserves, honey, spices, sugar, teas… this a great time to get creative!
  • No bar kit? No worries! Jars with lids are shakers, sieves are strainers, salad crispers make awesome make-shift punch bowls – give it a good clean first though!

What tools does the budding cocktail maker need at home?

We believe having the right kit makes all the difference. Fortunately as New Zealand’s largest purveyor of professional bar tools, we have you covered! These are my absolute essentials:

  • Tin on tin shaker (indestructible & better conductor of coldness)
  • Quality Hawthorne strainer
  • Jigger / measurer – you wouldn’t bake a cake without measuring..
  • Bar spoon
  • Paring knife for citrus / garnishes
  • Citrus press for squeezing juice (genuinely one of my most used kitchen tools)

If this seems overwhelming, I would recommend starting out with one of our at-home cocktail masterclasses. Each kit includes everything you need shake up four delicious cocktails whilst following along with our drinks experts on screen. Not only is this a fun and slightly unique way to spend an evening at home, you’ll come out with whole new cocktail repertoire!

Frankie Walker

What spirits should you have on hand to make the basics?

When it comes to spirits I like to always have vodka, gin, white rum, 100% Agave Tequila (Reposado is probably the most versatile), bourbon and blended whisky (for mixing – Johnnie Walker Black,  Chivas and Monkey Shoulder are all good for this) on hand.

Cointreau, Triple Sec, Orange liqueur and White and Red Vermouth are also great to keep handy. Bitters (Angostura is a great starting point but there are hundreds of different types out there) is also a really versatile ingredient to have on hand to throw into the mix!

What do you think the three best cocktails are that everyone should know how to make?

I’m a believer in learning to make cocktails by category rather than by specific drink, because if you nail the basic principles you can start to unlock hundreds of drinks using that knowledge. In my opinion, if everyone knew the building blocks to Sours, Punches and stirred down boozy drinks (think Old Fashioned’s) then the world would be a more educated, happier place!

Do you think New Zealand has a favourite cocktail?

I mean say Espresso Martini three times on a Friday night and see what happens…

Where do you think people go wrong when attempting to make cocktails at home?

Keep it simple. As Coco Chanel once said, “before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” Less is often more. Think about the classic cocktails – Margarita, Manhattan, Old Fashioned, Daiquiri, Mai Tai – they rarely have more than four ingredients. Understand the fundamentals and keep it simple, clean, balanced and classy!

When I’m in bars I often see bartenders trying to be super clever, using weird and wonderful ingredients & out-there techniques. Sometimes I think people forget that cocktails are just supposed to be totally delicious!

Click here for more cocktail recipes!

To mark this global celebration, the team of drinks experts at Black Pineapple are excited to offer their famous virtual cocktail masterclasses to small groups for the first time ever. Each masterclass kit contains everything you need to shake up four delicious cocktails while following along and learning the tips and tricks of the trade from Black Pineapple’s master bartenders on screen. 

There are currently two types of classes available – the Party Starter and the Tikki Masterclass. With the kit contents delivered to your door, it’s perfect for sharing with family, flatmates, friends, partners or even just your own company! Here are Black Pineapple founder Frankie Walker’s top tips for making the perfect cocktail at home.

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