Opening up – It’s good, yes, it’s good to be free!

It’s been a year, hasn’t it?! But from Monday 17 May, indoor hospitality re-opens and I CANNOT WAIT!

I’ll be dusting off those social skills again, but bear with me, I might be a bit out of practice.

Visiting friends and loved ones indoors at their homes and in leisure and hospitality settings is back on the menu and it’s time for us all to throw Netflix to the curb (okay, maybe I'm not ready to ditch it completely just yet) and see the world again.

Heading to a bar, restaurant or indoor activity might feel a little bit strange at first.

Hey, you might even forget what you’re supposed to do! But we’ll get there.

Friday night drinks after work might be back, or a long-overdue brunch with friends, but whatever it is, you’ll no doubt be celebrating a reunion of some description.

And what better to celebrate than with a cocktail?!

These cocktails are the perfect way to kick off the summer with a bang. For all of the garden parties, BBQs, and afternoon catch-ups with friends inside and outside, cocktails are so. much. fun!

Here’s our top cocktails to celebrate happy reunions and newfound freedom…

Strawberry Daiquiri

This is a classic and the sweet hit of strawberry is a delicious way to kick off those celebrations…

Ingredients: Serves 2 - 500g of Strawberries (fresh or frozen), 200g ice (if using fresh strawberries), juice of ½ fresh lime, and 100ml light rum, a teaspoon of sugar.

Step one – Blend the strawberries and pass the mixture through a sieve to remove any seeds. Tip the puree into the blender and add the ice, rum, sugar, and lime juice then blend again.

Step two – Divide the resulting mixture between two Martini glasses, then add lime slices and strawberry halves to a cocktail stick to garnish if desired!

Porn Star Martini / Passion fruit Martini

Ingredients: Serves two - Two passion fruits, 60ml vanilla vodka, 30ml Passoa (passion fruit liqueur), a handful of ice, 1 tablespoon of lime juice, 1 tablespoon of sugar syrup (sugar and water heated until the sugar melts), and prosecco to serve.

Step one – Scoop the seeds from one of the passion fruits into a cocktail shaker, then add the vanilla vodka, Passoa, lime juice, and sugar syrup.

Add a handful of ice, shake well and then strain into two martini glasses. Top up the glasses with prosecco and add half a passion fruit to each!

Negroni (or Pink Negroni)

Simple, boozy, and delicious!

Ingredients: Serves two - 25ml gin (or pink gin if you fancy), 25ml Campari, 25ml sweet vermouth, ice, and oranges slices (to garnish).

Step one – Pour the gin or pink gin, Campari, and vermouth into a mixing glass or jug and add ice – stir until the outside of the glass feels cold (you’ll know when it’s ready!)

Step two – Strain the mixture into a tumbler and add fresh ice before garnishing with an orange slice, or even a blood orange when they’re in season!

Old fashioned

Some traditions you just can’t beat and going old fashioned is always a treat. The glass pre-dates the drink and it’s iconic for good reason – it’s delicious!

I always feel more sophisticated when I’m sat with an old-fashioned, maybe it just puts me in mind of Don Draper from the television series, Mad Men.

Ingredients: Serves two - 60ml whisky or bourbon (your choice!), one teaspoon of sugar, 2 dashes of Angostura bitters, soda water (optional), orange slice, and maraschino cherry.

Step one – Mix the bitters, sugar, and water in an old-fashioned glass (if you have one) until the sugar dissolves. Fill the glass with ice and stir in the whisky, adding in a splash of soda water if you wish, then mix. Garnish with an orange slice and a maraschino cherry!

Espresso Martini

The best of both worlds, coffee, and alcohol.

I love this because it’s catching up with friends over a coffee AND cocktails at the same time!

Ingredients: Serves two - Ice, 100ml vodka, 50ml freshly brewed espresso coffee, 50ml coffee liqueur, 100g caster sugar, and 50ml water to make sugar syrup, and coffee beans.

Step one: Make the sugar syrup by heating the caster sugar in a small pan and adding in 50 ml of water. Stir and bring to the boil, then turn off the heat and allow to cool. Chill two martini glasses in the fridge.

Step two: Once the syrup has cooled, pour one tablespoon into a cocktail shaker with a handful of ice, the vodka, espresso, and coffee liqueur. Shake until

the outside of the shaker feels icy cold to touch.

Step three: Strain the mixture into the chilled

glasses and garnish each with coffee beans, enjoy!

Summer Pimm’s Punch

As we head towards summer, even if the weather has other ideas, we’ve made the most of being able to host customers again with our outdoor seating area AND we’re lucky enough to have a fantastic outdoor gin shack!

And there’s no better way to signify the arrival of summer than with a British icon – Pimm’s.

This is my take on a traditional Pimm’s, giving a light, summery, gin-infused, and fruity twist on a summer classic – check out the video at the bottom of my last blog and let me know how you get on!

Ingredients: 25ml dry gin, 25ml Pimm’s, a splash of lemonade, a splash of cranberry juice, ice, strawberries, cucumber, and mint.

Happy celebrations,