Friday, 21 September 2012

Fabulous Friday: Cocktail Hour

How to handle cocktail emergencies: lesson seven

Rachel, Dublin

The random bits lurking at the back of your cocktail cabinet (a fancy term for the shelf in our store room) can lull you into a false sense of security.  You may think you have a beautifully stocked cocktail pantry from which you could easily whip up any number of dazzling creations.  In reality, you have a row of dusty bottles, many of unknown origin and most of them probably past their best. 
I have just such a shelf and decided recently that a spring autumn clean was  required in order to check just how prepared I was for my next major cocktail emergency. My haul included the following:
A full bottle of Pepper Vodka; Manzana Verde: an apple liquer; a full bottle (minus 30mls) of Creme de Menthe that I bought for a Nigella recipe; Boozeberries Irish berry liquer; Creme de Pamplemousse Rose: a pink grapefruit liquer; two small bottles of schnapps: peach and strawberry, leftover from a house party I think; a small bottle of Cerise (cherry) liquer; and five bottles of flavoured Dutch liquers that I inherited from Aoife.

L-R: Coffee, Rose, Vanilla, Aniseed and 'Hemel Op Aarde' or Heaven on Earth, a cherry-chocolate liquer, apparently.

Making great cocktails, like cooking, depends on the quality of your ingredients and normally I would plan my Fabulous Friday cocktail to make sure I had the proper supplies.  However, in a cocktail emergency we have to make do with what we have.  I do have my limits though. I tried two different creations with the Manzana Verde and, loath as I am to throw alcohol away, I swiftly decided that the only fitting home for it was the drain.

I realised very quickly that these cocktail cabinet lurkers are at the back of the shelf for a reason.  They are only ever used a measure or two at a time and they require something else as the main ingredient of the cocktail.  I am determined to use them all up though.  I decided to begin with an easy task and started with one of the smaller bottles, the Rose Liquer that I inherited from Aoife when she was having to limit how much stuff she could move with her to Cambridge.  Those of you who know her will realise that these are therefore pretty old.  I have decided, however, to go with the more pleasant term 'vintage'. When one is experiencing a cocktail emergency needs must...
I chose something really simple to start with; a Rose Kir Royal using a mini bottle of champagne that was also lurking on the shelf.  Two tablespoons of the liquer in the bottom of a champagne flute topped up with champagne or sparkling wine.  I love the delicious, light floral note that the rose liquer adds to the champagne giving it a hint of turkish delight flavour. 

So, that's a whole half of one of my smaller bottles used up.  Suggestions for what to do with the rest of my haul will be gratefully received!


  1. I'm so glad they are being put to good use!

  2. This should really be called "McGyver Bartending". Hehe, a similar food entry would be great - how to make a can of tuna, tomatoes and pasta into an gourmet meal!

  3. Haha - love that! Or Bear Grylls Bartending! I think Aoife did do a post once about putting together a dinner from skant ingredients, it's something my mum calls 'making dinner from floorboards', maybe we could turn that into a post series!

    Aoife-I'm finally giving them a proper home :)