Happy Martini Day: A Guide To Martini Variants


Today just so happens to be Martini Day, And I was going to write a piece about how to make the perfect Martini but it turns out that I’ve already done  that…. Twice (see the previous posts here and here )

Judging from the previous posts you now know that I know how to make the perfect Martini, So here is a look at some of the variants that can put a spin on your classic cocktail.

Vodka Martini

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What annoys me most about the vodka Martini is that most people think that this is a proper Martini, yes it is probably the most iconic version of the drink owing to a certain fussy spy making it his trademark. So what you need for this abomination is:

3 25ml shots of a decent Vodka

1 25ml shot of dry vermouth

1 lemon slice

And to make said abomination, all you do is slosh your vodka and vermouth into a cocktail shaker full of ice, shake if you’re a pussy who wants watered down booze, or stir gently if you’re a real man, then strain it into a cocktail glass and add your lemon slice, and then wonder why you ever thought James Bond a man of taste.

Coffee Martini 


I was asked to make this at a cocktail  function a few weeks ago and have since perfected it, or some I’m told, hating the taste of coffee, I wouldn’t actually know if this was good or bad, so you’ll have to try it and see. You’ll need:

1 mug of black coffee (allow it to go cold)

2 shots of any old vodka

1 shot of Tia Maria (or any other coffee liqueur)

Its pretty simple to make really, shake it all over ice and strain into a cocktail glass its simply a cold Russian Coffee but it does the job, people seem to think its nice, to turn this into an espresso Martini, all you need to do is switch out the coffee for an espresso pod and shake well.



If you are completely secure in your masculinity and feel the need to make an Appletini for yourself, or have cause to make one for some one else, all you need are: 

4 25ml shots of vodka

2 25ml shots of Apple Schnapps

1 Apple slice

If you can avoid making fun of the recipient of this drink for long enough to make it, again all you need to take this to a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake, you could stir, but no one ordering one of these things can handle alcohol that hasn’t been watered down, so shake away and strain it into a martini glass, then garnish with the apple slice, and then shake your head in sadness at the knowledge that someone actually asked for this drink.

Passion Fruit/Porn star Martini 


I don’t know why these have become so popular of late, but every cocktail bar I go to they seem to be on the menu, so if you’re going to attempt to make one here’s what you’ll need

2 ripe passion fruits halved

4 25 ml shots of vanilla vodka

3 25ml shots of Passoa

1 tablespoon of lime juice and

1 tablespoon of brownsugar

1 teaspoon edible glitter

250 ml of sparkling wine (use Prosecco or Cava or Asti Spumante, don’t go wasting good champagne on something like this)


Making it is a bit of a buggerance however so listen carefully what you need to do first is scoop the seeds from one of the passion fruits into the glass of a cocktail shaker, then add the vodka, passoa, lime juice, glitter and sugar. Add a load of ice and shake well, strain into martini glasses, and then top up the bugger with some prosecco or whatever sparkling wine you have to hand and then finish it off by adding half a passion fruit to each.

Minimum Alcohol Pricing: The Return of the Pub Trade?

In whats being described as a move to curb excessive drinking the Welsh Government has announced plans to introduce a minimum price per unit of alcohol, with the price being set at £0.50 per unit, which would see things like a pint of Carling having to be priced at at least £1.15, and a 440ML can at a minimum of a £1, and your double Jack and Coke will have to cost a £1. Good luck finding those sorts of prices on a night out (if you do, share the knowledge) . However, what this policy is aimed at is to cut out the binge drinking that cheaper prices in the supermarkets lead to, I mean, whats the point in going out when you can get over 30 cans for £20, save yourself cab fare and control the music?


But with the new policy what we could see is a resurgence of pub drinking, over the past few years, thanks to the smoking ban, and cheaper supermarket prices pubs have suffered, but if it now becomes only marginally cheaper to drink at home, will we see more people returning to pubs and clubs? Maybe. A quick survey of the pubs and clubs I frequent show that very few prices would actually be affected, (the only one drink that I found that would increase was absinthe on sale for £1, which was more to do with getting rid of the bottle than a clever promotion).

So if the policy is enacted and even the cheapest of spirits in supermarkets go up in price (a 750ml 40% spirit would have to cost a minimum of £16 regardless of quality) Welsh pubs may begin to see an upturn in trade, as it only becomes marginally more expensive to go out (not factoring in taxi’s, kebabs, outfits, entry fees and the high cost of dignity).

Adequate Food and Drink?

So this week in the news you may have stumbled across the term adequate food in relation to the ongoing Brexit omnishambles. Whilst these articles and news casts refer more to fresh produce coming into the United Kingdom from the European Union it did get me thinking about what other things (mostly booze) that we as a nation import and what things we’re likely to either have to fork out extra for, or we’re soon to be running low on.



Have a look at the list from just a few of the member states and see if there’s anything on there that you might want to begin stockpiling, me personally I’m going to be stocking up on fine French Wine, sweet Italian Marsala and some tolerbale port from Portugal.

Country name Exports
Austria Stiegl (Lager)
Belgium Leffe (Beer), Duvel (Beer)
Bulgaria Zagorka (Lager) Mastika (Spirit)
Croatia sljivovica (Plum brandy), travarica (Herbal Liqueur)
Cyprus Commandaria (Dessert Wine)
Czech Republic Budvar (Lager)
Finland Finlandia (vodka)
France Red, White and Rose Wine, Champagne, Cognac, Eau De Vie, Casis, Absinthe
Germany Jagermeister, Riesling, Erdinger (beer) Becka (Lager)
Greece Ouzo (Spirit), Red Wine, White Wine, Rose Wine
Ireland Guinness (stout) Jameson’s (Whiskey), Baileys, Magner’s (cider)
Italy Red, White, Rose Wine, Prosecco, Asti Spumante, Limoncello, Vermouth, Disarano, Amaretto, Peroni (Lager), Sambuca, Marsala, Madeira, Grappa, Campari
Netherlands De Kuyper (Liqueur)
Poland Tyskie (lager) Vodka
Portugal Port, Red Wine
Romania Bats Blood (red wine)
Spain Red, White, Rose, Sparkling, Fortified Wine, Sherry
Sweden Absolut (Vodka), Kopparberg (Cider) Rekorderlig (Cider)

What Will Be The Next “In” Drink?

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As a slightly more than casual drinker, you tend to notice phases when it come alcoholic drinks which are currently the popular choice of the moment. The trend at this point in time popular opinion seems to be pointed towards Gin as the big drink of the day, last year it was prosecco, when I was a teenager it was alcopops like Bacardi Breezers, Archers Aqua, Smirnoff Ice and WKD, and a few years ago it was fruity cider over ice. So when it comes to trying to discern what’ll be popular in the coming season, alcohol is a lot like clothing, you have to speculate, and generally just hope for the best. My predictions are that its likely to be one of the following.



Rum is sexy and kind of exotic, it has the overtones of some tropical or island paradise where the waves are lapping against the shore, and the sun is always shining. Rum makes this list as I’m starting to see some more unusual brands turn up in bars and clubs throughout my surrounding area, so maybe this is a sign.



This may be more wishful thinking on my part, but more and more people are jumping on the fortified wine bandwagon, with sales of port growing at steady levels throughout 2015 and 2016, with aged tawny port being a particular favourite, with UK sales at over £79 Million maybe, just maybe if I order a port in a bar, I won’t get looked at like some kind of a freak.

Japanese Whiskey 


Brands like Suntory are finally starting to gain traction on the UK market in fact I saw a bottle of 12 year old Yamazaki in a bar, and admittedly it was a really trendy, upmarket (i.e expensive) bar, but it was a bar in the UK nonetheless. But what may be interesting to note, is that the whiskey market in the UK has been dominated by scotch, and that swill that the yanks have the audacity to call whiskey, with a one two exceptions (like Jamesons’s Irish Whiskey) so it would be interesting to see something new, and tasty.



To be honest this is a complete wildcard, I don’t think I’ve ever seen this in real life, I mean who wants an egg based drink on a night out?


Classic Cocktails You Should Know How To Make Part Two

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Yesterday I wrote the first in a series of posts about the classic cocktails that both men and women should probably know how to make, and if not know how to make, at the very least should have some sort of clue as to what actually goes into making them. Now as I write this blog with the slightly old fashioned gentleman in mind today we’ll be setting aside the mind set of unmanliness when it comes to drinking cocktails, as often the alcohol content is more than even the strongest of draft beers. And today we’ll dive back in with some more classic cocktails that you should know how to make, and should probably try.

Cuba Libre 


(Ingredients: 2 Shots of Dark Rum, Lime, Ice, Cola) no idiot could mess up the Cuba Libre, its a rum and coke with ice and a slice. Do I really have to take you through a step by step?


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(Ingredients: 2 Shots of Tequila, 1 Shot of Cointreau, 1 Shot of Lime Juice, Ice, Salt, Lime) Throw everything except the lime and salt into a blender and let rip for sixty seconds. Rub a lime wedge around the rim of your glass and the add salt, then pour the contents of the blender into the glass (again scale up dependent on how many people)



(ingredients: 2 shots of Gin, 2 Shots of Red Vermouth, 2 Shots of Campari, orange, Ice) Take some ice, put it in a cocktail shaker, add your gin, add your vermouth and stir counter clockwise 7 times, drizzle the campari in while stirring, then pour into a glass then add your orange slice. Then drink it, then make another.



(Ingredients: 2 Shots of Vodka, 1 Shot of Cointreau, 1 shot of lime juice, top with cranberry juice, Ice) take your ice and put it in a cocktail shaker, then add the vodka, Cointreau, lime juice and cranberry juice, shake it up, strain it out into the glass and then garnish with a slice of lime.

Long Island Ice Tea


(Ingredients 1 shot of Tequila, 1 shot of Vodka, 1 shot of White Rum, 1 shot of Triple Sec, 1 shot of Gin, 2 spoons of sugar, 1 shot lemon juice, top with cola, ice) This is one of those drinks that is really difficult to get right, its a fine line between nice cocktail and vomit inducing mess. Pour all the alcohol over ice, add the sugar and stir vigorously. Then you need to add the lemon juice and then top up with the cola. And then get down on your knees and pray that it tastes alright.

Join again tomorrow for some more classic cocktail recipes that will tantalise your taste buds and pickle what remains of your livers.  

Classic Cocktails You Should Know How To Make (Part One)

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The other day I wrote a piece on how to make the perfect Martini, a few people have said good things to me about it, so I thought I would use some of the knowledge that I’ve gained from years and years of experience, both behind the bar and under it, to put together a little guide on some classic cocktails that bartenders everywhere would probably hope you don’t actually order, but are always good to try and do yourself, or give a go if you are in an actual cocktail bar, order one in your local pub and there is a could chance you may get laughed at, but from the comfort of your own home, or a pool bar in the Caribbean they can prove quite the alternative, to whatever happens to be on draft.

Black Russian


(Ingredients- 2 shots of Vodka, 1 Shot of Tia Maria, 4 shots cola, Ice) For this smooth, short cocktail, you’ll need a short tumbler, put in the ice, pour in the vodka and the tia maria then top up with the cola, stir lightly with a straw and there you have your Black Russian

Tom Collins


(Ingredients- 2 shots of Gin, 1 shot of lemon juice, 2 tea spoons of brown sugar, 100 ml soda water, Ice) Take your Gin, you lemon juice and bung it into a cocktail shaker, spoon in your sugar and stir, pour over the ice in a long tumbler, then fill to the top with soda water, garnish with a slice of lemon and add a straw, and that ladies and gentlemen is a Tom Collins

Sex On The Beach 


(Ingredients 2 shots of vodka, 2 shots of peach schnapps, 2 shots of orange juice, 2 shots of cranberry juice, ice) This one takes me back to my misspent youth spent in nightclubs with this sickly sweet sensation. Firstly you take the vodka and the schnapps and the orange juice, pour it into your shaker over ice, and give it your best flamenco dance, pour this whole concoction (ice and all) into a glass, and then add the cranberry juice, and now you’ve just had sex on the beach, this time without having to floss out sand.



(Ingredients, 2 shots of white rum, 1 lime, soda water, 1 sprig of mint, ice) whilst this mother jumping cocktail does involve a little bit of plant life, its actually pretty easy to make. Pour your rum over ice, add the mint sprig, and squeeze some lime juice into the glass, top it up with soda water, and then add another wedge of lime, just for good measure. It looks good, and tastes nice, and above all is pretty easy to make, and always goes down well if you make one for a young lady.

Pina Colada 

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(Ingredients, 2 shots of white rum, 2 shots of coconut milk 4 shots pineapple juice, Ice,) this classic cocktail does require the use of a blender if you’re going to do it right, so firstly you bosh your ice cubes into the blender, then in a completely unceremonious manner, you pour in the rum coconut milk and the pineapple juice and turn on the blender to full power for about 60 seconds until you get a nice frothy head on it, then pour it out, make sure you scale up depending on how many people your catering for.


Join again tomorrow for some more classic cocktail recipes that will tantalise your taste buds and pickle what remains of your livers.  

How To Make The Perfect Martini

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We’ve all seen James Bond, it sounds pretty cool when Sean Connery or Roger Moore, saunters over to a bar in some fancy Cannes or Monaco casino dressed up to nines in his finest dinner jacket and dickey bow and comes out with that famous line “Vodka martini, Shaken not stirred” and every man watching that screen wishes he could be that cool and sophisticated. Would you begin to question the whole foundations of manhood if I told you that every part of James Bond’s famous drink order is just plain wrong? Well question away because it is.


Lets start with the second half of the line “shaken, not stirred”. WRONG. If you shake a martini over ice, you’re bashing the ice about in a cocktail shaker, chipping bits off willy nilly, thus watering down the alcohol content. So what 007 is actually doing is ordering a watered down drink and being a bit of a pain in the arse in doing so.

Now heading back to the first part of this atrocity. A Vodka Martini. WRONG. Martini’s aren’t meant to be made with vodka at all, they’re meant to be made with gin. Preferably English gin, although Bombay gin, or what passes as gin from the continent will suffice in a pinch, and is certainly a damn sight better than vodka.


Now that I’ve outlined some of the things that make a bad martini, I’ll talk you through how to make, to my mind, the perfect martini.

What you’ll Need

  • 100ml of Gin (Brecon Botanical’s for preference)
  • 25ml of Dry White Vermouth (Martini Bianco for preference)
  • Ice
  • A cocktail shaker
  • A Coctail Spoon
  • Two green pitted olives.

How To Do It

Put your ice in the cocktail shaker then add your vermouth, I, for preference go for a full shot, but some people range from a pretty hefty double to just mixing the drink in front of picture of a bottle of vermouth, but for my method stick to a full single measure (25 ml), then add all of your gin (don’t cheap out on the gin, you want something that tastes nice, not something that tastes like paint stripper or a widow’s tears). After you’ve added your gin, stir the mixture 7 times clockwise and then once anticlockwise (I’m fairly certain this is just something that I picked up from a Harry Potter book, and does nothing to enhance the flavour). At this point you need to put your olives in your glass (a proper cocktail glass) and then strain the mixture into the glass. Now drink up.


Booze Review: Liberti Marsala Superiore

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Marsala is a wine, dry or sweet, produced in the region surrounding the Italian city of Marsala in Sicily, the wine produced for export is universally fortified similar to Port, Madeira and Sherry. Originally, this addition of alcohol was to ensure that it would last on long ocean voyages, but now it is made that way because of its popularity in foreign markets.


I’d never tried Marsala before, but this bottle called to me for some reason. I was looking for something new to try, and just reached up and grabbed it. I got it home and put it in the decanter, then tasted it, and I was blown away by the flavour, it was like drinking mead it was so sweet, it was phenomenal it had a slightly smokey flavour that lingered on the tongue, it was what I assume nectar must be like. In fact after writing this review, I may actually go out and buy a case of the stuff, it is that moreish, and it only gets better the longer you leave it in the decanter, one of my colleagues and I managed to polish off a bottle of the stuff in an afternoon, which wasn’t too sensible given that we had a meeting later that day, but the moreishness grows on you, and takes you by surprise, it really does.

Booze Review: Warre’s Otima 10-Year-Old Tawny Port

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I like Port. This came as quite a revelation to me, because until about 6 months ago I thought I hated the stuff. Then I had some at a civic dinner in the Vale of Glamorgan, and my mind was opened, and so the other day I decided to treat myself to a bottle of Otima 10 year old Tawny Port, if only because it was on offer in Morrison’s.


I picked up a bottle, and I’m glad I did, so following the rules of port I decanted the bottle and after about an hour I was blown away by the complexity of the flavour. It was so sweet it was like drinking mead and taste stays with you for long enough to appreciate it, unlike a lot of ports, where after a sip or two you feel that you’ve had enough, so much to my chagrin, I found that in a short period I was short of port, but it was well worth the hangover that I am now suffering through, my only wish is that I had a few cigars accompany it, but these days as I’m not allowed to smoke indoors (and have given up on cigarettes entirely) I don’t tend to keep any about the house, but c’est la vie, or so the people say.

Decanting My Wisdom- How To Make Your Port Passable

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One of the things that I’ve discovered this year is that I actually rather quite like port. But with anything that I like, you can bet that there is quite a series of rules and complications that surround it.

Port is a fortified wine hailing from the sunny climes of Portugal, its usually very sweet and is served as an aperitif or as a dessert wine, it goes well with cheese, most notably Stilton and other varieties of blue cheese (try it with a cambozola and then put me in your will).



The best way to serve a bottle of port is to decant it before serving. Port is actually pretty unusual among wines in that the older a bottle is, the less time you need to leave it. for example, a 40 year old bottle would only really need about 1-2 hours, where as a 10 year old bottle would need about 3-4 hours, and a young port, you’re better off leaving open for a week, although within 10-12 hours would be fine.

When it comes to actually pouring from the decanter tradition in the UK calls for port being served at a formal dinner to be passed to the gentleman to the left (“pass the port to port”), who will also pour for any woman on the right. Some schools of thought suggest that the bottle or decanter should not to touch the table on its way around. If someone fails to pass the port one should inquire “Do you know the Bishop of Norwich?” if this hint isn’t taken up etiquette suggests carrying on “He’s a wonderful chap, but he often forgets to pass the port.

Recommended Tipples: 

  • Taylors: 2012 Reserve 
  • Warre’s Otima 10 Year Old Tawny Port
  • Cockburn’s Special Reserve Port NV