Make cocktails with what you have at home
Cocktails in swimming pool

Home sweet home

It’s Friday evening, you’ve had a long week and decide to order pizza. You pour yourself a glass of wine and begin to unwind. You suddenly crave a Cosmopolitan, your favourite cocktail, but you don’t have Vodka, Triple Sec or any Cranberry juice on hand.

Yet your craving persists, and you decide to scavenge through your cupboards, pantry and refrigerator and discover some leftover Gin from your birthday party, a half-empty box of mixed berries, a quarter bottle liqueur, a few sad looking oranges, and a lemon.

Surely you can’t concoct anything with what you think? Or can you…how about making a cocktail with what you have?

Cocktails colourful

First things first – what goes into a cocktail?

Before venture down this somewhat treacherous path of creating our own potions, let’s quickly cover the essential components that make up a cocktail:

  • A base – the principal alcoholic ingredient (gin, vodka, rum, whiskey, brandy).
  • A modifying agent – the ingredient that gives the cocktail a special taste (juices, carbonated drinks, spices).
  • A flavouring/colouring agent – the ingredient that adds flavour or gives the cocktail a special look and feel (liqueurs, cordials, bitters, and non-alcoholic syrups).
  • The garnish – we use the garnish to round off the cocktail and to add a special aroma, flavour or taste (citrus peel, lemon grass, olives, mint,).

What comes next?

Making cocktails with what I have

cocktails at home

Start off by making a quick list of all your home-stocked liquors, spirits and long-forgotten concoctions to see what still seems to be edible. At this point it’s important to remind you of the golden rule of mixology – if in doubt, chuck it out!

Next you can either enter your ingredients into an online cocktail generator such as this one and see what you can make, or do an online search of your favourite cocktails and see if you can swap out some of the ingredients with what you have on hand.

A third option is to simply be bold and can create your own custom cocktail by mixing your home-based ingredients together based on a similar cocktail recipe.

Let’s be bold!

Let’s be bold and use our Friday night example ingredients to make a Cosmo variation with the ingredients we have on hand:

45 ml Vodka 45 ml Gin
15ml Triple Sec 15ml Liqueur (we will add 15 ml orange juice)
30ml Cranberry Juice 30 ml Mixed Berry juice (we make our own)
10ml Lime Juice 10 ml Lemon juice
Ice Ice


First of all, let’s lightly boil the mixed berries in a saucepan for 15 minutes. Let them cool down, crush the berries and strain the contents (we only need 30 ml). This will be our cranberry juice replacement.

Squeeze out the juice out of one or two oranges – try to get at least 15 ml of orange juice.

Pour the gin, the liqueur, orange, berry and lemon juice all together in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake the contents well, and strain into a cocktail glass.

Use a 3 cm round piece of one of the orange peels and wave it (about 10 cm) over an open flame for a few seconds, bend the outer edge of the peel and put it into the drink.

cocktails with friend at pool

Tip: Stock your home bar with craft 1st Principles Organic Vodka. It is a unique spirit with a natural sweetness on the long finish.