Entries in Cocktail (9)


Northern Irish Gal Cup

When people arrive at my parties I offer them a drink and its always a very simple choice.  Would you like a cocktail or some sparkling water.  I am a firm believer in keeping things really simple. Not offering too much choice.  Simply lovely ingredients well cooked.  Lastnight we toasted St Patrick with this cocktail, then feasted on several kinds of sausages, champ and carmelised onions.  For pudding with had a St Patrick's Minty Pavlova.  Delicious. Simple. Straightforward.  I am a cook who loves feeding people, bringing them round my table to enjoy laughter and conversation, good food and sparkling lights.

I love Writer's Tears from Marks and Spencer.  This Irish whiskey is 100% barley and distilled in 60% malt and 40% pot still.  Writerṣ Tears” is a old style Irish Pot still Whiskey which makes it a perfect base for a cocktail.  It has a lovely honey flavour with a burst of ginger and butterscotch, there are hints of toasted oat.  It is smooth.  A result of being tripled distilled and matured in charred bourbon barrels.  

To make a Northern Irish Gal Cup - 

Add two cups of whiskey to large jug then a bottle of sparkling ginger and rhubharb presse, top with pure pear juice.  The sweetness of the pear mixed withthe sharp rhubarb, spliced with a hint of gingers fresh spice brings a fresh, mellow note to the honey Writers Tears Whiskey. Serve with ice in beautiful glasses.


Give this a listen while you sip - 


That's it for now ...


Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable


How to make Summer Cup - summer sipping series 

It is difficult to pinpoint the start of the Irish summer, because some years like this one it never really arrives. We spend a lot of time talking about summer, looking forward to it, planning what we are going to do, and when it arrives in all its grey drizzling, windy glory, it is rather a let down.  

I need some sunshine on my face, my feet weren't designed for boots but instead flipflops.

When the weather isn't co-operating we have to find other ways to make us feel summery and sunny.  Enter the 'Summer Cup' a gentle bittersweet drink, served mildly cool rather than chilled. 

Summer Cup is Marks and Spencer's own brand version of Pimms.  A heady fragrant blend of gin, spices, cucumber, lemon peel melon and earl grey tea it has a rich bittersweet flavour, that when mixed with lemonade, a dash of tonic water and lots of fruit becomes mellow and smooth.

Summer Cup is the only drink you will hear me say - don't add too much ice.  It should be a be a cooling drink that slips down our throats with an often dangerous ease, because a chilled summer cup is rather like the insipid feeling of being drenched in a rain shower - flat cold, and yucky.

Summer Cup is a tipple for sipping in the garden or the patio on a Sunday afternoon, it is enjoyed by the most discerning of drinkers, who are imbibing for pleasure rather than the hit of alcohol. 

I like to add a garden of fruit - others prefer a slice or too, but I enjoy the way the flavour meld into the fruit, and create a tasty fruit salad to nibble on as you drink.

Marks and Spencer have created a drink that is smooth and reviving. It's heady notes of tea and lemon, meld into a lightly spiced fruity, cool cucumber gin, that when mixed with lemonade and tonic create a long soothing complex flavourful finish.  The fragrance of bergmot from the Earl Gray tea sets it apart from other drinks of this sort.

I like to serve pitchers of Summer Cup at a garden party or an afternoon BBQ.  Warn your guests this drink packs a punch even though it doesn't taste alcholic in the slightest.

Summer Cup 

serves  4-7


  • 1 Cup of Marks and Spencer Summer Cup
  • 100g strawberries chipped
  • Half cucumber thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon thinly sliced
  • 1 apple thinly sliced
  • 1 orange thinly sliced
  • 4 stems of fresh mint
  • 2 cups of ice
  • litre of lemonade
  • half litre of tonic water


  1. In a large pitcher layer the fruit and ice and add the Summer Cup - leave for 10 -15 minutes for the flavours to combine
  2. Add the lemonade and tonic 
  3. Serve in glass cups or tall glasses

What are your favourite summer drinks to sip?

That's it for now ...




Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable



Cranberry Cider Ginger Fizz

Christmas needs cocktails, and this one is reviving and delicious.


makes one large jug

  • One litre bottle of sweet local fizzy cider (can be alcoholic or non alcoholic)
  • 1 packet of frozen cranberries
  • 2 inch piece of ginger finely grated
  • 5 measures of gin or sloe gin
  • 1 litre of freshly squeezed orange juice


  1. Combine all ingredients in a large jug filled with ice
  2. Adjust to taste
  3. Drink and enjoy

Merry Christmas

That's it for now ...


Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable


Sláinte its Monday, time for some Bushmills Whiskey Mint Julep

It was a rainy day in Charleston when I dived into the Gin Joint to seek shelter from the droplets of rain, that were threatening to make it under my hat, and down my neck.  The bartender was mixing Mint Juleps. The classic cocktail of the south.  Pulling up a chair, discarding my dripping garments, I asked him to pour me one.

I watched as he muddled, and stirred, crushed ice and poured bourbon from a height.  It was fun.

A silver Julep cup, filled with cone of ice and a light crusting of ice forming on the outside of the metal was placed in front of me.  In the South, it's all about the ice, and plenty of it, because ice, sure does melt fast, in the swampy heat. 

It looked as appealing as it tasted.  Sweet mint with the soothing smoke of bourbon.


Having recently been working on some Bushmills 10 Year Old Malt cocktail recipes - whiskey lemonade anyone? - I knew this whiskey with its melted chocolate overtones, and hint of smokiness would make a lighter Mint Julep than the traditional bourbon based one.

This cocktail has few ingredients: mint, simple syrup, bourbon or Bushmills 10 Year Old Malt, and ice.  That's it, simplicity at its finest.

Creation could not be easier -

Bushmills Whiskey Mint Julep Recipe

Serves One


  • 3 fingers or 3 ouces of Bushmills 10 year old malt
  • 1 ounce simple sugar syrup
  • ounces bourbon
  • bunches mint
  • Crushed Ice lots of crushed ice



  1. Muddle 4 mint leaves in the bottom of a tumbler or Julep Cup
  2. Pour the simple syrup over the muddle mint and muddle a little longer
  3. Fill with crushed ice
  4. Pour over the Bushmills 10 year old malt and stir until well combined
  5. Add more ice and a sprig of mint
  6. Sip slowly


That's it for now ...




Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable


Sláinte its Monday, time for some Bushmills Whiskey Lemonade

Whiskey Lemonade is a study in simplicity.  We are talking three ingredients here - Lemons, Whiskey and sugar .  

And, that's it, simple, sensation and sazzy. Not to mention perfect for serving in large pitchers at parties and BBQs.  

Good Whiskey Lemonade needs lots of lemons! I use the juice of 2 and sometimes three lemons per long glass.

What is it about squeezing lemons by hand, that is so satisfying.  The zingy scent makes me smile, and I sense I fresh rush of energy, just from inhaling the aroma.  I love the smell of lemon which lingers on my hands hours after juicing.

Lemonade: tart, refreshing, simple, with the slightless sweetness, add some 10 year old Bushmills Whiskey, and you bring the tiniest hint of smokiness which comes from the fact this Whiskey is matured for 10 years seasoned Bourbon barrels mainly from Kentucky.  The finishing notes of verbenna and the dry nature of this whiskey, open up when its stirred over lots of ice with lemon and a dash or two of sugar syrup.  I prefer this made with 10 year old Bushmills, but it is just as lovely made with Bushmills Original or Bushmills Honey.


Whiskey Lemonade is a summer drink at its finest, (although note to self it can be drunk anytime of year) it's freshness makes it ideal to sip at after a long day at the office.  Or actually just to enjoy over the course of an afternoon as  you watch the world go by.

The most simple way to make this for pitchers is 1/2 whiskey, 1/2 homemade or still lemonade poured into a jug packed with ice, then stir.  

Trust me it's unlikely you will want to make just one glass, but if you do, here's the recipe.

Whiskey Lemonade 



  • Bushmills Whiskey (two measures at least per person) 
  • Lemon juice (allow juice of two lemons per person)
  • Sugar Syrup to taste 




  1. Fill a large highball with ice
  2. Pour over the Bushmills Whiskey
  3. Add the lemon juice and sugar syrup
  4. Stir and serve



That's it for now ...



Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable


Sláinte it's Friday, join me for a cocktail - Smirnoff Gold spiked Ginger Lemongrass tea


Standing golden flecked and proud, a bottle of Smirnoff Gold sits before me on the table, I have been staring at it for some time, wondering what to create.  Apple seems the natural mixer - but it doesn't feel right for summer, a little to reminiscent of the fallen leaves and Apple tarts in Autumn.

It's warm out.  Humidity is high, and nothing seems to quench thirst.  I think of my time spent in Southern Carolina, and the numerous glasses of iced tea I drank.  

Iced tea - doesn't have to be made with actual black tea, maybe there is an iced team combo that would work with the Smirnoff Gold.

I pour a timbal full and taste.  Swirling the thick liqueur around in my mouth.  Lemon, ginger they are flavours that would work with cinnamon.  The zingy freshness of the lemon and ginger would sit well with the sweet spice notes from the cinnamon.


I look at the tea cupboard do I have anything that would work, and I lift out a box of really refreshing Lemongrass and Citrus Tea.  In a large saucepan I make several cups, then leaving it to cool I pick up one of the books from my summer reading list.  When I finish the book the tea still isn''t cool.

In a large jug I place slices of ginger that I have bashed with a cleaver to smash them slightly, which allows their firey flavour to be released.  I then add thin slices of lemon and pour over the Smirnoff Gold.  Letting the flavours mingle for a moment, my patience has worn thin waiting for the tea to cool, so I add a large bag of ice, to speed up tht process.

Filling the jug with ice, I pour the now cooled tea over the top, until its about 3/4 full, then I top the mixture off with some old fashioned lemonade.


Filling up some small glasses with ice, I pour the Smirnoff Gold spiked Ginger Lemongrass tea  I garnish with pieces of lemon and freshly cut ginger.  The result is a smooth clean, fresh taste, which easily quenches thirst, with its sweet sharp scent uplifting the spirits.  

Recipe - Smirnoff Gold spiked Ginger Lemongrass tea (makes one two litre jug)


  • seven 35ml measures Smirnoff Gold
  • one lemon sliced
  • one bulb ginger sliced and smashed
  • one litre of traditional Lemonade
  • one bag of ice
  • one litre of lemongrass citrus tea - cooled
  • Lemon and Ginger slices to garnish



  1. Place lemon and ginger slices in the bottom of a jug, cover with Smirnoff Gold
  2. Fill jug with ice about 1inch from the top
  3. Fill jug 1/2 way with cold Lemongrass tea
  4. Top up with traditional Lemonade mix and leave to sit for five minutes
  5. Serve in glasses filled with ice with a slice of ginger and lemonade



Now that is a cooling drink for warm days.

Sláinte it's Friday!

That's it for now ...




Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable



Cucumber Gin Martini - a recipe for your Bank Holiday Weekend

Cocktail Hour, some of the most celebrated words said to humankind.  Cocktails can be cheap, nasty and generally horrid, but if they made well, using good bases, like this excellent cucumber gin from Marks and Spencer they add sparkle to your life.  And, they can even make you happy, just don't go for one too many or happiness can leave all too quickly.

The light zing from this cucumber gin, mixes well with a hint of sweetness from Elderflower cordial, a sharp note from a squeeze of lime, add a scatter of pomegrante seeds and your drink will take on a deliciously ruby hue, making it all but irresitable. 

Cucumber Gin Martini


makes one martini


  • Three measures of Cucumber Gin
  • Two (maybe three if you like it with a sweeter top note) dashes of Elderflower Cordial 
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • Slice of cucumber
  • Scattering of pomegrante seeds
  • Dash of tonic or soda water, if the pure alcohol is too much for your taste 


  • Stir through ice all the ingredients except the pomegrante and cucumber
  • Strain into martini glasses each with a slice of cucumber and scatter over pomegrante seeds
  • Add a dash of tonic or soda if so inclined
  • Drink - ahaaaaa



That's it for now ...


Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable