It’s important that everyone stay at home and practice social distancing right now, so many of our usual activities have turned virtual for the time being.
Sipping a carefully mixed cocktail at your favorite hotel bar is on pause for the foreseeable future, but Zoom happy hour is a thing, so why not go a step above this whole quarantini situation and cultivate your bartending skills at home right now?
Observer spoke to mixologists, bartenders and drinks directors at the best luxury hotels all around the world to hear about their favorite cocktails to mix up at home right now. Whether you’re an experienced beverage connoisseur or an aperitif novice, we’ve got you covered. And since we’re all doing our best to stay inside as much as possible, get creative and substitute any ingredients you’re missing with whatever you have on hand. Below, there’s a cocktail recipe for everyone, from a fancy GoldenEye rum drink that’ll transport you to a warm Jamaican beach, to a Bellini reminiscent of a jaunt to Italy and a lychee-infused martini inspired by the Maldives.
THE UPPER SOUTHSIDE
Café Gray Bar at The Upper House Hotel, Hong Kong
“The Upper Southside has been on the Café Gray Bar menu since our opening, and continues to be one of our best sellers,” says The Upper House mixologist Jack Leung. “We always believe less is more, and the ingredients and simplicity of the drink reflect this.”
1.7 ounces Hendrick’s Gin
0.7 ounces fresh lime juice
0.7 ounces syrup
3 to 4 pieces of fresh cucumber chunks
3 to 4 mint leaves
Put the lime juice, syrup and cucumber chunks into the shaker and muddle the cucumber. Slightly smash the mint leaf by hand, then put it into the shaker and pour the Hendrick’s Gin. Shake with ice for six to eight seconds. Double strain into a chilled martini glass, garnish with cucumber slice.
The Ivy Hotel, Baltimore
“We like to focus on classic cocktails with a Magdalena twist. The Bee’s Knees is a classic Prohibition Era drink, traditionally made with gin, lemon and honey. Ours features Belvedere SE Rye, which offers great flavor and a unique finish. We use Portland Honey,” says Emmanuel West, the restaurant manager at The Ivy Hotel. “The orange bitters and egg white give it a brighter, more balanced taste.”
2 ounces Belvedere SE Rye Vodka (or vodka of choice)
2 tablespoons honey simple syrup
1.5 tablespoons lemon juice
1 to 2 dashes orange bitters (if you don’t have orange bitters, a few drops of orange juice works)
1 egg white (optional)
Shake all ingredients over ice, strain the liquid into a martini glass and garnish with a lemon twist, honey stick or any lemon candy. If you use egg white, shake all ingredients over ice, strain liquid into another container. Pour out ice from shaker, and pour the liquid back in. Shake vigorously until egg white is frothy.
Belmond Hotel Cipriani, Venice
“The Bellini is quintessential to Venice and Hotel Cipriani. A simple masterpiece by Guiseppe Cipriani, who founded the hotel in 1958, that is easy to recreate at home for a refreshing aperitivo. I didn’t meet Mr. Cipriani until 1978, when I started as a second bartender at the hotel,” Walter Bolzonella, Head Barman at Belmond Hotel Cipriani, told us. “Over the past 40 years, I have not only served but created new cocktails for Hollywood royalty and presidents, but one thing has never changed. Mr. Cipriani made me promise to never change the method of preparing the Bellini cocktail—always and only fresh, ripe white peaches!”
2 ounces fresh white peach juice
3 ounces Prosecco (or any sparkling wine)
Peel and slice 2.2 pounds of white peaches for homemade peach juice. Dip them in 16 ounces of water and seven ounces of fresh lemon juice. Pass the peaches in a blender with crushed ice and three spoons of sugar. The Prosecco and the juice must be very cold before mixing. Do not mix the Bellini until the last moment before serving otherwise it will separate. Serve in a flute.
WALDORF ASTORIA SIGNATURE MARGARITA
Boca Raton Resort and Club, a Waldorf Astoria Hotel
“We use Casa Dragones premium tequila and fresh squeezed juice,” explains Kirsten Scott, Director of Beverage at Boca Raton Resort and Club. “The rim consists of a light pink Himalayan Sea Salt. I prefer the agave over simple syrup because it adds more of that depth that I believe a margarita needs.”
2 ounces Casa Dragones blanco tequila
1 ounce Combier liqueur
0.5 ounces lime fresh pressed
0.5 ounces agave syrup
Mix together, serve.
Marbella Club Hotel, Golf Resort and Spa, a Leading Hotel of the World
“A Southside or ‘Sau Sau’ as it came to be known at the Marbella Club is a popular, refreshing cocktail said to have originated in the South Side district of Chicago, Illinois,” explains Marbella Club’s Mixologist, Nelson Gallo. “Legend goes the cocktail was a favorite of Al Capone, whose gang dominated Chicago’s South Side. His northern rivals used a smooth, imported gin for the drink. Capone’s imported gin had a rougher finish, so sugar was added to level the kick. In the late 1960s, the Marquesa Bárbara de San Damián, a frequent hotel guest, had just arrived from New York where the ‘Southside’ was all the rage in the nightclubs. Our barmen switched out the gin for vodka, added a little bit of the Spanish accent and the Sau Sau was born.”
2 ounces of Stolichnaya Vodka (or your favorite vodka brand)
Juice of a half-lime, squeezed
1/2 tablespoon sugar cane syrup, simple syrup (or just sugar)
4 ice cubes or equivalent in crushed ice
Several fresh mint leaves
Place all ingredients except for mint in a cocktail shaker (or any 2 interlocked glasses) and shake. Open shaker and add mint leaves. Close the shaker and roll the mint around to release the mint oil. Strain into a chilled Collins Glass filled with crushed ice and top with soda water. Garnish with mint and lime.
SPRING IN BLOOM
“It’s not only delicious, but easy to make at home with five simple ingredients: gin, Aperol, lemon juice, strawberries and sugar syrup,” says John Lake, the Bar Manager at Rosewood Bermuda.
2 ounces Bloom Gin
0.5 ounces Aperol
1 ounce lemon juice
3 fresh strawberries
0.5 ounces sugar syrup
Muddle fresh strawberries with gin, then add remaining ingredients to a shaker with ice. Pro tip: shake for 10 seconds, then double strain into a chilled martini glass.
Adare Manor, Ireland
“Espresso martinis are a classic cocktail that are easy to replicate at home,” explains Ariel Sanecki, the Resort Mixologist at Adare Manor.
1.7 ounces vodka
1 ounce Tia Maria
0.2 ounces sugar syrup
1 ounce espresso
Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice. Strain into martini glass.
JUNIPER AND THYME
MacArthur Place Hotel and Spa, Sonoma
“This fresh, bright and herbaceous cocktail is made with just a handful of key ingredients that most people in the back yard, or can make from scratch,” suggests Ruben Cambero, the general manager at Sonoma wine country hotel MacArthur Place. “The drink’s base is gin and a red fruit shrub; ideally one with an herbal note, but anything with fruit acidity will do the trick. Lemons and eggs are usually kept on-hand. Last but not least is the garnish of angostura bitters and fresh thyme; it’s an earthy and hardy herb ever-present in gardens, grassy fields, or in the produce aisle at your local grocery store. With a few quick shakes, you have a colorful and zippy beverage that embodies spring.”
2 ounces Plymouth Gin
3/4 ounces strawberry, pomegranate and thyme shrub
1 ounce lemon juice
0.75 ounces egg white
Fine strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with thyme and angostura bitters.
Coco Bodu Hithi, Maldives
“The local Maldivian word for beauty, reethi, is a perfectly apt name for this stunning tropical cocktail,” says Maumoon Musthafa, the Resident Manager at Coco Bodu Hithi, a Coco Collection resort in the Maldives. “Reethi is a wonderfully light and refreshing drink that evokes a summer feeling no matter where you are.”
3.4 ounces lychee juice
Green apple juice
2 ounces fresh lime juice
1 ounce crushed and cubed ice
Chill the martini glass by adding crushed ice and water and set aside. Muddle the lychees in shaker, strain the juice. Add lychee juice to the shaker and add ice cubes. Shake the lychee juice and ice with the vodka, fresh green apple juice, and fresh lime juice. Throw out the ice and water in the martini glass. Strain and pour the cocktail into the chilled martini glass. Garnish with a fresh slice of green apple.
THE BREAKFAST MARTINI
Brown’s Hotel, a Rocco Forte Hotel, London
“The dream for any bartender is to immortalize themselves with a drink. More than any of my other creations, the Breakfast Martini is the cocktail that has become known throughout the world, making it a modern classic,” explains Salvatore Calabrese, cocktail maestro at Brown’s Hotel, a Rocco Forte Hotel. The recipe uses the method Calabrese developed in 1996, after his wife encouraged him to eat a piece of toast and marmalade for breakfast—he took inspiration from there.
1.7 ounces London Dry Gin or vodka
0.5 ounces Cointreau
0.5 ounces fresh lemon juice
1 full bar spoon of thin cut orange marmalade
Pour all the ingredients into a shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Shred some orange peel on the top of the drink as garnish.
SUNSET POMEGRANATE MARTINI
Six Senses Bhutan
Pomegranate grows well in the Punakha Valley during the summer season, so this drink colorful drink is über popular at the Six Senses Bhutan.
2 ounces Local Vodka Raven or a vodka of your choice
0.5 ounces Cointreau brand of your choice
Fresh pomegranate seeds from half a pomegranate
0.5 ounces fresh lime juice
Shake hard, double strain in a martini glass and garnish with the pomegranate seeds.
STEEPED SAKE COCKTAIL
Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia
“Sake is an incredibly underrated beverage. It actually has four times the level of succinic acid than wine, allowing it to pair beautifully with shellfish and other proteins. Sake does not lower the body temperature as much as other alcoholic beverages, it provides energy, and has been proven to be good for the skin,” Michele Gargiulo, Certified Sommelier at Jean-Georges Philadelphia, informed us.
1 ounce Angel’s Envy Rye
1 ounce grapefruit juice
1 ounce Sake (Mutsu Otokoyama Ginjo)
1 ounce lemon juice
1 ounce Earl Grey Tea simple syrup
Shake, pour and enjoy.
THE BRIDGE AND TONIC
The Sur House at Ventana Big Sur
The Bridge and Tonic at Ventana Big Sur is a Spanish-style gin and tonic; it’s an ode to Big Sur’s original Spanish settlers, and is named after the Bixby Creek Bridge.
1.25 ounces Bixby Gin
0.75 ounces Martini & Rossi Dry Vermouth
1 bottle Fever Tree Mediterranean Tonic
Mix together, garnish with fresh thyme and three lemon wheels. Serve in a balloon glass.
Links House, Scotland
“With the Links House garden growing during our current closure, I couldn’t bring myself to not use some herbs that we are cultivating for our new restaurant, Mara,” Kieran McGale, the Restaurant Manager at Links House, said. “This take on a gin martini adds a refreshing and mouthwateringly savory note to a well-loved classic. If you’re not lucky enough to have your own supply of fresh herbs, stores still have plenty of growing pots! The lemon makes this great on its own, but the basil just begs you to have another with dinner.”
8 to 12 basil leaves
0.7 ounces vermouth
1.5 ounces gin
Juice from one half of a lemon
Twist of black pepper
Muddle the basil leaves in a glass, add vermouth, fill with ice. Stir for 15 seconds before adding gin, stir for another 30 seconds. Add the lemon juice and give a final stir for 20 seconds. Strain into a chilled martini glass, or any short glass of your choice. Garnish with a twist of freshly ground pepper and a final basil leaf.
FLEUR OF THE VALLEY
Moxy Chelsea Fleur Room, New York
“In my opinion, fresh seasonal strawberry paired with Prosecco is a classic combination that can never go wrong,” declares Moxy Chelsea Beverage Directer Nikki McCurtcheon. “Made bolder still by the addition of vodka and balanced with citrus, this cocktail can hold its own in any occasion.”
1.5 ounces vodka
1 teaspoon strawberry puree or strawberry jam
0.75 ounces lemon juice
top with Prosecco
Measure liquid ingredients, minus the Prosecco, into a mixing tin. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain over fresh ice into a rocks glass and top with Prosecco. Garnish with basil leaf.
Rosewood Little Dix Bay, British Virgin Islands
“The Mango Sangria is a personal favorite that can be made from the comfort of your own home. It is a refreshing cocktail that perfectly celebrates the approaching spring season and warm weather,” offers Maximilian Deickert, the director of food and beverage at Rosewood Little Dix Bay. “With simple and easily available ingredients, the cocktail offers a tropical take on traditional white sangria and brings a taste of the Caribbean to your home.”
1 ounce mango puree mix
0.7 ounces gin of choice
0.7 ounces Grand Marnier
4 ounces white wine of choice
Garnish with mango and dry orange
Combine all ingredients into shaker tin; shake gently. Pour into glass and garish.
Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal, Mexico
“A spicy twist on your traditional margarita, the Pedregal Reyes truly captures the essence of Los Cabos,” said David Hernandez, the Lead Bartender at Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal.
1 part London dry gin
2 or 3 parts tonic
2 ounces Reposado Tequila
1 ounce Ancho Reyes liquor from Puebla
1 ounce freshly squeezed orange, lime, grapefruit and a splash of pomegranate
1 ounce Chile Ancho Syrup
Garnish with peppers and grapefruit.
GoldenEye, an Island Outpost Hotel, Jamaica
“I was at my bar at Goldeneye and decided to make myself a cocktail,” recalls Island Outpost owner Chris Blackwell. “I had my Blackwell Rum and some pineapple juice in the fridge. I simply put equal amounts of pineapple juice and rum in the cocktail shaker and took a sip. It was too sweet so added some fresh squeezed lime to taste. And there it was. The perfect cocktail, which I named the GoldenEye.”
3 parts Blackwell Rum (or substitute with rum on hand at home)
3 parts pineapple juice
1 part fresh squeezed lime juice
Lots of ice
Combine rum with pineapple juice and a squeeze of lime in a mixing glass with ice and shake. Strain into a fresh glass with ice and garnish with a fresh slice of lime or pineapple.
MOCHA ROCKA CHOCA VULA VULA
“No morning drinks stop on a South Africa luxury safari is complete without a kick-start jolt of caffeine to invigorate the senses and make you feel alive. Bush coffee (or Mocha Rocka Choca Vula, Vala as many of our rangers more affectionately refer to it) is the harmonious blend of piping hot, freshly brewed coffee with a creamy dose of rich hot chocolate, topped with a most generous splash of Amarula Cream, which is a popular African liqueur made from the exotic Marula fruit,” said andBeyond’s Claire Trickett.
3 spoonfuls hot chocolate powder
1 splash of milk
1 splash Amarula
Add hot chocolate powder to each mug. Add a splash of milk so that you can stir the powder into a chocolatey paste. Pour hot filter coffee over the paste and stir. Continue stirring and add a splash of Amarula.
Six Senses Fiji
Six Senses Fiji uses their own homemade ginger beer, and we have the recipe for you here if you feel like making your own right now.
2 ounces spiced rum
1 dash old spice syrup
1 drop old spice bitters
top with ginger beer
Ice a short glass and pour in spiced rum. Add a dash of old spice syrup and drop of old spice bitters. Top with homemade “living” ginger beer.
To make your own ginger beer:
1 cups ginger
6 cups water
2 cups palm sugar syrup (composed of 2 cups water and 2 cups palm sugar)
2 cups lime juice
1 teaspoon yeast
Coarsely chop the ginger and put in the pan with the liquid ingredients. Bring it to a boil at medium temperature for 20 to 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the mixture to cool. Once at room temperature, add the yeast and mix well. Sift mixture and pour into a bottle for fermentation. Keep in room temperature for three to four days. Open bottle cap to release gas a few times a day.
Sofitel Mexico City Reforma
“Montparnasse is the perfect cocktail to cozy up to for a night in at home,” says Riesler Morales, Bar Manager at Sofitel Mexico City.
1.5 ounces Beefeater Pink gin
0.7 ml Crémant de Bordeaux rosé
0.7 ounces rose honey
0.5 ounces lime juice
2 ounces Crémant de Bordeaux rosé
In a shaker, add the gin, lime juice and honey rose. Pour the drink into a wine glass. Pour the sparkling wine on top of the drink. Decorate with a rose petal.
DUNTON RIPPERS REPOSE
Dunton Hot Springs, Colorado
This drink is “anchored by whiskey and botanical notes,” says Seth O’Donovan, the Director of Operations at Dunton Hot Springs.
1.5 ounces The Decc (at home, replace with 1/2 whiskey and 1/2 simple syrup)
1 ounce cranberry juice
0.25 ounces lemon juice
Fill with soda water