From a Bloody Mary to a Mojito: How to make classic cocktails

As well as Bond's shaken drink of choice, the Martini, and holiday favourite the Piña colada

Wednesday 08 October 2014 14:00 BST

London Cocktail Week is taking place from 6-12 October, where 200 bars will offer a range of cocktails for £4. But if you can't make it to the capital for the event, try making these classic cocktails at home - by the experts involved in the event.


The daiquiri is one of the most important classic cocktails as it really demonstrates the perfect balance between sweet and sour, strong and weak – the trick to a good cocktail!

Part of their charm is that they’re so easy to make - you just need some rum, some sugar, a fresh lime and some ice and you’re set. The 80s blended strawberry daiquiri may put a few people off and often they are just sweet, pink slushies, but a REAL daiquiri should be shaken, really tart and zingy - the rum should shine through. It's the perfect drink to really wake you up in the early evening.

Once you understand the daiquiri and what each component does, it opens the door to the vast majority of other cocktails, such as the mojito (a daiquiri on crushed ice with mint), the sour (use lemon instead of lime and add some bitters and an egg white) or even the Margarita (a daiquiri tequila instead of rum with orange liqueur instead of sugar!).

Glass: Martini

Garnish: Wedge of lime

50ml good quality white rum (El Dorado for a hint of vanilla, butterscotch and coconut hint)

20-25ml of freshly squeezed lime juice,

2 spoons of icing sugar (or 10-15ml sugar syrup).


SHAKE hard with cubed ice. STRAIN into a pre-chilled martini glass.

Stefanie Holt, International Brand Ambassador for El Dorado Rums. The Eldorado City of Gold pop-up in Seven Dials will be open during LCW

Tom Collins

In England, this drink is traditionally credited to John Collins, a bartender who worked at Limmer’s Hotel, Conduit Street, London. Both delicious and refreshing, they are so tasty because they are the perfect balance of sweet, sour and strong when made to the right recipe. To really nail this drink, use big cubes of ice to keep dilution to a minimum and keep the flavours at their best!

Glass: Collins

Garnish: Orange slice and cherry on a stick

50ml Gin

25ml freshly squeezed lemon juice

10ml homemade grapefruit sherbet

Top up with Soda water


To make the sherbet take 200g caster sugar and the zest from 1 pink grapefruit. Muddle together until the sugar absorbs the oils from the zest. Once this has taken place remove zest and add 100mls boiling water to make a syrup.

SHAKE the first 3 ingredients quickly with cubed ice. STRAIN into a large hi ball glass with fresh large ice cubes and top with soda water.

Tim Homewood, UK Brand Ambassador for Tanqueray No TEN gins. The Tanqueray Hub in Hixter Devonshire Square will be hosting free masterclasses 6pm-7pm every day during LCW

Sweet Manhattan

There are a number of origins suggested for this drink, most dating back to the 19th Century, but no one doubts it’s a classic.

Use a premium bourbon such as Maker’s Mark and get creative with the bitters you use - the original Manhattan calls for Angostura bitters but there are many to choose from. Try a cherry, chocolate or orange bitter for subtle flavour differences in your Sweet Manhattan. Gerry’s on Old Compton St, Soho have a wide variety of bitters to choose from.

Glass: Martini

Garnish: Maraschino cherry

75 ml Maker's Mark bourbon

4ml Maraschino syrup (from cherry jar)

30ml Martini Rosso sweet vermouth

3 dash Angostura Aromatic Bitters


STIR all ingredients with ice and STRAIN into chilled glass.

Amanda Humphrey, mixologist from The Mixxit Team. Find Your Perfect Serve masterclass at Steam and Rye on Thursday 9th October during LCW

Classic Vodka Martini

60ml Belvedere Vodka

10ml Lillet Blanc


STIR over ice and STRAIN into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a pink grapefruit twist.

Ali Dedianko, Belvedere Vodka Global Brand Ambassador

Bloody Mary

The origination of the Bloody Mary is contented, but possibly links back to 20th Century Hollywood star George Jessel, who also may have named the drink. The idea of a perfect Bloody Mary can be as personal as the Martini. Number one, experiment with spices! Hot, sweet, tangy, Christmas, amalgamating - all of these different groups of spices add character to your cocktail.

Use savoury produce with low water content such as beetroots to bring more flavour to the drink and using citrus such as orange instead of lemon can create a lighter, more refreshing style of Bloody Mary. Most importantly, start with a good base - your vodka should have character, mouthfeel and be sip-able on its own.

50ml Vodka

80ml fresh-pressed savoury juice blend (tomato, carrot, beetroot)

10ml lemon juice

‘Mortar-and-pestled’ spice mix (white pepper, anise, cloves, sea salt)

Garnished ornately with aromatic and edible herbs.


POUR all liquid ingredients into your choice of restorative drinking vessel. PLACE your spices in mortar (or on a chopping board) and smash into tiny pieces with pestle (or rolling pin). ADD spice mix to glass with liquid ingredients and STIR thoroughly, add ice, garnish elaborately.

David Beatty, UK Brand Ambassador for Ketel One Vodka. Cocktail enthusiasts will be able to create their own seasonal cocktail at the Ketel One Hub during LCW

French ‘75

Although The Bellini might be the best-known champagne cocktail, the French '75 is an all-time classic – and some would argue more delicious - sophisticated, elegant and refreshing, with plenty of poke worthy of its name. Named after the French “Canon de 75 modèle 1897”, a ruthless and efficient weapon from the First World War, this stunning aperitif is likely to have been created by Harry MacElhone at Harry's American Bar, Paris, in 1925.

Simplicity is something that many classic cocktails have in common, and the combination of a good Dry Gin, a beautiful Champagne, some freshly squeezed lemon juice and a hint of sugar is the definition of simplicity. The subtle complexity of the ingredients complement each other without being overpowered.

45ml Dry Gin

10ml freshly squeezed lemon juice

5ml sugar syrup (or a small teaspoon of superfine sugar)

Top up with Champagne


SHAKE the gin, lemon juice and sugar syrup with cubed ice. STRAIN into a Champagne Flute, top up with Lanson White Label & garnish with a twist of lemon.

Tim Robinson, Managing Director of Twist London. Seven Dials pop-up bar The Silver Screen Drinkorium will be offering cocktails during LCW


Use orange liqueur for a classic margarita, good ice, and a cocktail shaker. Salt if you like , and depending on your selection, if you like it on the rocks or straight up! Fresh lime juice - the fresher, the better - people tend to keep lime juice, but after a day the taste just isn’t the same as limes oxidises super quickly. The kind of ice used can also affect a margarita as if it has any pores this will dilute the drink and make it tasteless, so the time of shaking matters!

35ml Tequila

1/2 lime juice (about 15/20ml).

15/20ml. Orange liqueur depending how sweet you like it.


ADD all the ingredients to the shaker, then prepare the glass you are serving it in (salt &/or ice).

Then fill the shaker with ice to the top and SHAKE hard for about 7/10 seconds.

Pour into your glass.

Gabriela Moncada, Brand Ambassador for Jose Cuervo. Cuervo’s Hacienda is a week-long pop up Mexican tequila garden during LCW


The Mojito is one of the archetypal iconic cocktails. It's history lays in Havana which is the Godfather of Spanish Style rum and the birthplace of many great cocktails. It's fresh, it's fun and it's simple.

The key to a a great Mojito is a well distilled yet flavoursome white rum (I like Diplomatico Blanco) and fresh ingredients. Make sure you slap the mint before you throw it in the glass to release all those amazing aromas, and leave aside a mint sprig to garnish right next to the straws so when the drinker drinks they smell the goodness too!

Glass: Collins

Garnish: Sprig of Mint

12 Fresh mint leaves

60ml Diplomatico Blanco Rum

22ml Freshly squeezed lime juice

15ml Sugar Syrup

Top up with Soda Water


Lightly MUDDLE mint in the base of the glass. Add the rum, lime juice and sugar. Half fill glass with crushed ice and STIR with a bar spoon. Fill the glass with more crushed ice and STIR some more. TOP with soda, stir, and serve with straws.

Leon T Dalloway MD and Gin Guardian of Shake, Rattle and Stir. The Rum Ramble will take guests to five of London’s finest cocktail bars during LCW

Piña colada

A Hilton Hotel employee in 1950's Puerto Rico is one amongst three who lay claim to inventing their national drink. With its exotic ingredients, indulgent nature together with tropical heat refreshment, it's no wonder it's become a holiday makers staple.

For me, it wasn't until Rupert Holmes released what has come to be known as “The Piña Colada Song” and further endorsements from Del Boy Trotter, that really elevated it to iconic status. My top tip for making a great one, don't get caught in the rain.

Glass: Pineapple shell (frozen)

Garnish: Pineapple wedge & maraschino cherry

50ml Rum

100ml Fresh pressed pineapple juice

25ml Coconut milk

25ml Double (heavy) cream

Pinch Salt


BLEND all ingredients with one 12oz scoop crushed ice & serve with straws.

Ferdie Ahmed, Founder and Owner of Barrio Bars, which will be serving cocktails during LCW

The forgotten classic – The Pisco Punch

Pisco is a fabulously aromatic spirit distilled from grapes and has been shipped from Peru to San Francisco since the 1800s. The Pisco Punch was the signature drink at the famous Bank Exchange in San Francisco which opened in the late 19th century. Sadly, the bar closed in 1919 but the drink continues to be widely enjoyed in San Francisco’s bars to this day and there’s a lobby for the drink to become the city’s official drink.

Glass: Collins

Garnish: Pineapple wedge & mint sprig

2 dried Cloves

60 ml Peruvian Italia pisco

30 ml Pressed pineapple juice

15ml shot Freshly squeezed orange juice

15ml shot Freshly squeezed lemon juice

15ml Sugar syrup (2 sugar to 1 water)

Top up with Laurent-Perrier Brut champagne


MUDDLE (smash) cloves in base of shaker. ADD next 5 ingredients, SHAKE with ice and strain into ice-filled glass. TOP with champagne.

Simon Difford, International drinks expert and founder of Difford’s Guide. The pop-up Pisco Punch bar at Lima Flora Street will be serving cocktails during LCW

Photography: Difford’s Guide

To be part of the festival and enjoy £4 cocktails i in London during LCW, you'll need a wristband which you can register for online - Wristbands cost £15

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in