Every expert on psychology tells us during this time of having to stay at home to try new things – new hobbies, new box sets, new computer games. You can also try new things to eat and drink, though, dear friends, which is both a creative and a culinary experience and a lot of fun! Last time I shared my favourite sandwich recipes with you; this time, let’s have a look at mixed drinks we all can create without any experience or special equipment and with everyday ingredients most of us will have at home or will still be able to obtain from the supermarket.
You can use any type of glass you’ve got at home – and in order to cheer yourselves up even more, you can decorate your creations with every sort of party decoration you’ve got left over from last New Year’s Eve!
Here are the recipes:
½ lager, ½ cider
This is the simplest of all the alcoholic mixes – beer and cider. Cheap, easy to get (if you haven’t got it at home already), and very easy to do: simply pour equal amounts of cider and lager into a glass, and your snakebite’s ready. Just for the fun of trying something new!
½ Guinness, ½ cider
My favourite version of the beer-cider mix: instead of ‘ordinary’ lager, use Guinness, that majestic Irish stout with the chocolate colour and the full, bittersweet taste… It really makes a perfect combination with a strong cider! (And, of course, you can also use Murphy’s or any other dark porter instead of Guinness.)
200ml cider, 50ml whisky
This mix is for the tough guys – cider and whisky is rather an explosive mixture… It tastes great, though, and makes you feel jolly instantly; but be sure you’ll know when to stop and move on to the alcohol free mocktails further down in this list!
200ml cola, 50ml white rum, 1 dash lime (or lemon) juice, ice
A classic among youngsters all over the world, not too strong and at the same time invigorating due to the caffeine. If you haven’t got any lime juice, lemon juice will do just as well!
200ml ginger ale or soda, 50ml of your favourite spirit (whisky, rum, brandy, gin…), ice
Another evergreen long drink, popular ever since the 1930s! The original recipe is with ginger ale (which gives it its special lovely ginger flavour), but soda water will do as well. Use any sort of spirit you like, anything goes with a highball!
200ml orange juice, 50ml vodka, ice
The Screwdriver, invented in the 1940s, belongs to the larger family of highballs, but unlike those fizzy long drinks it’s made with still orange juice – which adds some vitamins to your daily diet!
½ red wine, ½ cola
Enormously popular among teenagers simply as ‘red wine and cola’, this nice, light mix really has got quite an exotic name: Kalimotxo. It’s actually been around since the 1970s, kids – we oldies had some ideas, too, back in the day!
½ white wine, ½ soda/lemonade/orangeade
Another light long drink for those of you who don’t want to imbibe too much: Spritzer, a mix of white wine and soda (though young people usually prefer orangeade or lemonade instead, which makes it sweeter). Ideal for a sunny afternoon in lockdown!
In case you don’t drink, though, or you’re looking for some mocktail to mix for your kids, here are a couple of alcohol-free mixed drinks – just as much fun to prepare as the alcoholic ones!
200ml ginger ale, 10ml grenadine (or blackcurrant juice), 1 glace cherry, ice
The most famous non-alcoholic cocktail of them all – named, of course, after the immensely popular 1930s child star Shirley Temple with the appealing look and the cute curls. Now what if you haven’t got any grenadine? Pomegranate juice would seem to be the obvious substitute, but don’t forget that grenadine is a syrup, that means it’s pomegranate juice cooked down with lots of sugar. You can add a spoonful or two of sugar with the pomegranate juice, but I think blackcurrant juice is a better replacement, because it’s naturally sweet. Decorate with a glace cherry if you’ve got any…
200ml cola, 10ml grenadine (or blackcurrant juice), 1 glace cherry, ice
A caffeinated version of the Shirley Temple, named after singing cowboy Roy Rogers. Same thing as in the Shirley Temple applies for the grenadine and the cherry!
100ml orange juice, 100ml lemonade/soda/ginger ale, 1tsp lemon juice, 2-3 mint leaves, ice
This vitamin-rich long drink has become hugely popular lately; it’s very easy to do – the only problem might be to find the mint leaves… You might want to try a bag of mint, though, like the ones we put in green tea; it’ll give you some of the flavour at least.
Orange Ginger Juice
100ml orange juice, 100ml carrot juice, 1 ginger stick
Another modern-day mocktail that’s equally healthy and tasty. If you can’t get a ginger stick anywhere, a dash of ginger powder will do just for the aroma!
Eggnog (for 2)
400ml milk, 2 eggs, 3 tsp sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp nutmeg, 100ml whisky/rum/gin/brandy (optional)
An old Christmas favourite that’s special all year round, though – I always find it exciting to create such a unique concoction of drink and baking ingredients!
Separate the egg yolk and white; whisk the egg yolk and the sugar until the mixture thickens, then stir in the milk (you can also add 2-3 tsp of double cream, which will make your eggnog even tastier).
Whisk the egg white and slowly add it to the rest together with the cinnamon, then pour the drink into two glasses or mugs. Top with some nutmeg powder each.
Now here, if we like, we go back to the alcoholic cocktails: for an eggnog can be non-alcoholic or alcoholic, according to taste. If you prefer the alcoholic version, add 50ml of a spirit of your choice to each eggnog before finishing it with the nutmeg!
And finally, here’s the probably most famous and most delicious hot alcoholic mix in the world:
150ml hot coffee, 50ml whiskey, 1-3tsp sugar, 20-30ml double cream
Brew half a mug of Nescafe or filter coffee. Add the whiskey (note that I’m spelling ‘whiskey’ with an e in this case – if at all possible, try to get an IRISH brand for this, like Jameson, Paddy or Bushmills…) and the sugar, stir carefully.
And now the most artistic bit: put a teaspoon over the mug or glass upside down so that it touches it from inside, and slowly and carefully pour the double cream over it onto the coffee. It should form a perfect white layer on top – but I must confess it’s really difficult to do it like a real Irish bartender! Anyway, whether it looks perfect or not, it’s just about the most perfect coffee recipe there is…
So, mix and enjoy, dear friends, have a lot of fun, and keep staying at home – there’s so much to do indoors! Next time, I’ll share some of my favourite cheerful songs with you, for as we all know, music keeps us happy… Meanwhile, happy mixing from me and my little Celtic friends, Ben, Lep and Nessie!