Cocktails to Elevate Your Next Dinner Party

Drink Being Poured

Aug 5, 2020

Cocktails To Elevate Your Next Dinner Party! 

Learning new skills, or improving existing ones, is a great way to spend your lockdown time. And now that summer has finally arrived (what was up with all that rain?!), it’s an excellent opportunity to gather up your cohort-crew for an at-home dinner party to show off your new mixology skills!

Check out these fun and summer cocktails, made with local Alberta spirits, that are sure to impress everyone – even yourself.

Cucumber Mint Lime Refresher

This super-fresh summer beverage is like taking a sip of nature in a glass. Cucumber brightens the cocktail, while the mint and lime add a hit of freshness. 

You’ll need:

  • 2 English cucumbers
  • 1 cup of loosely packed fresh mint leaves
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar or simple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • ½ cup of Confluence Vodka
  • 2 tablespoons of Cointreau
  • Ice

Directions:

Peel cucumbers and remove seeds to discard. Coarsely chop the cucumbers and puree in a food processor until smooth. Strain using a fine-mesh colander or cheesecloth. Press to extract as much liquid as possible.Fill a cocktail shake with ice. Add mint, sugar, lime juice, and shake. Add ¾ cup of cucumber juice, the vodka, and Cointreau. Shake again. Strain into glasses filled with ice and garnish with a cucumber round.

Makes 4 cocktails. This recipe can be batched into a larger amount and stored in the fridge until your guests arrive!

Honey Honey

The Honey Honey is a cocktail of our creation! We love Burwood’s refreshingly smooth honey vodka, which plays beautifully with a homemade honey simple syrup. Pair this sweet cocktail with a cheese board to elevate your gathering.

You’ll need:

  • 1 ½ ounces of Honey Eau de Vie Vodka from Burwood Distillery
  • ½ ounce of Honey simple syrup (directions below)
  • ½ ounce of fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • Lemon soda water
  • Ice

Directions for honey simple syrup

  1. Combine 1 cup of raw honey and 1 cup of water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Stir occasionally until the honey dissolves.
  3. Cool and pour into a squeeze bottle for easy measuring.

Directions for Honey Honey cocktail

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Add vodka, simple syrup, and lemon juice. 
  3. Stir until well chilled.
  4. Fill a Collins glass with ice, and pour in shaker contents.
  5. Top with lemon soda water.
  6. Garnish with a lemon peel.

Fizzy Ginger 

Pickled watermelon rind?! Yup, that’s a thing! Give these scraps a new lease on life by pickling them into a tender-crisp cocktail garnish that will impress your group and give them something to discuss.

You’ll need:

For the pickled watermelon rind:

  • 1 small watermelon
  • 1 ½ cups of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 4 tablespoons of salt
  • 1 (4-inch) piece of cinnamon bark, broken in half
  • 1 teaspoon of whole black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon of red chilli pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves, whole
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds, whole

For the ginger-infused vodka:

  • 1 cup of peeled, fresh ginger root, sliced into ½ inch pieces
  • 2 cups of Park Vodka 

For each cocktail:

  • 1 ½ ounces ginger-infused vodka
  • ¼ ounce dry vermouth
  • 3 ounces chilled Prosecco
  • Pickled watermelon rind, for garnish
  • Ice

Directions:

For the pickled watermelon rind:

  1. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the outer green layer of skin from the watermelon and discard it. Cut the rind into 1-inch cubes and set aside. Reserve the pink flesh for any other use (or just eat it!).
  2. Combine all other ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the watermelon rinds, return to a boil and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  3. Remove from heat and carefully place a heatproof plate on top of the peels to keep them submerged as the mixture cools to room temperature. 
  4. Once cooled, transfer the entire mixture to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least two days and up to two weeks.

For the ginger-infused vodka:

  1. Combine vodka and ginger in an airtight container. Let stand in a cool, dark place for five days or until your desired spiciness, up to 14 days in total. Strain into another airtight container and store at room temperature for up to six months.

For each cocktail:

  1. Combine vodka and vermouth in a mixing glass, and fill ⅔ of the way with ice.
  2. Stir until well chilled.
  3. Strain into a coupe glass and top with Prosecco.
  4. Garnish with the pickled watermelon rind.

Smoked Manhattan (Eau Claire whisky, bitters from Silk Road)

Mixology and fire are a popular combination due not only to the theatrics but also for the incredible flavours you can create by smoking your cocktails. Perfect for your next COVID-cohort poker night, the smoked Manhattan is a modern twist on a favourite classic.

You’ll need:

Directions:

For smoking the whisky:

  1. Measure out the whisky for your cocktail and set aside.
  2. Prep your wood by chiselling off a small piece, around the size of a 2-inch chip
  3. Place the wood on your non-flammable surface and light it until smoking.
  4. Invert the mason jar over top of the wood to capture all of the smoke.
  5. When the jar is entirely white with smoke, pour in the whisky and seal the mason jar.
  6. Swirl the liquid gently to incorporate the smoke and set aside.

For each cocktail:

  1. Add the smoked whisky, bitters and vermouth into a mixing glass with ice.
  2. Stir until well chilled.
  3. Pour into a short glass without ice and garnish with the cherry.

Which of the above cocktails do you plan to try out first? Do you have a favourite cocktail that you’ve created, or like to make to impress your family and friends? Visit our community on Facebook and share your cocktail photos with us! 

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