lifestyle

Easy, cheap and delicious cocktails with one base ingredient.

By HELEN VNUK

Come around for cocktails this Saturday.

Sounds so much more glamorous than just inviting friends to drop around for a drink, doesn’t it?

If you’ve ever thought about hosting a cocktail party in your own home, spring racing season is definitely the time to do it. You can have all the fun of getting dressed up without having to battle the crowds – and you can even have the racing on TV in the background.

Here are a few hints for hosting the perfect cocktail party:

1. Specify a dress code. Maybe go with the spring racing theme, and ask everyone to wear a hat.

2. Have lots of glasses. It can be a good opportunity to use the beautiful ones you never bring out of the cupboard. Otherwise, try buying some interesting mismatched ones from a second-hand store.

3. Choose the right music. If you’re looking for something a bit different, go retro with an artist like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin or Shirley Bassey.

4. Serve up plenty of finger food. An antipasto platter is an easy choice. Or, if you’ve got plenty of time to prepare, try making your own mini beef burgers, sausage rolls or frittatas.

5. Most importantly, make sure you have everything you need to make delicious cocktails. To keep it simple and low-cost, stick to cocktails that have the same few base drinks. The following four recipes all have sparkling wine as their base.

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by Dan Murphy’s. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words. 

Bellini

Peach Bellini

The Bellini was first served at Harry’s Bar in Venice in the 1940s. The bar was a favourite haunt of creative types like Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles.

Ingredients

2 parts Prosecco (or sparkling wine)

1 part peach purée

Method

Slowly pour the purée into a chilled champagne flute.

Add the Prosecco (or sparkling wine) and stir gently.

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French 75

French 75

This cocktail was invented in 1915 by barman Harry MacElhone at the New York Bar in Paris. It took its name from the French 75mm field gun, so watch out.

Ingredients

30mL gin

15mL Cointreau

100mL sparkling wine (chilled)

15mL lemon juice

Method

Add all ingredients to a champagne glass and enjoy!

Kir Royale

Kir Royale

This drink is a variation on the kir, a cocktail traditionally served before a meal in France. The kir has been popular in French cafes since the 19th century.

Ingredients

15mL creme de cassis

150mL sparkling wine

Method

Pour creme de cassis into a champagne flute.

Gently fill with sparkling wine.

Garnish with a cherry.

Mimosa

Mimosa

The mimosa was first served at the Hotel Ritz in Paris in the 1920s. It’s traditionally drunk at weddings and on other special occasions.

Ingredients

15mL triple sec

45mL fresh orange juice

100mL sparkling wine (chilled)

Orange slice

Method

Add all ingredients to a champagne glass and top with an orange slice for garnish.

Have you got a favourite cocktail recipe?

 If you’re keen to take your style cues from the celebs, you might be looking for more of a smart casual outfit for your party as opposed to the cocktail dress. Here’s a gallery of celebrity inspiration on dressing up your jeans…

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