When looking for a cocktail recipe to stretch one beyond building a straightforward Negroni or topping off your Prosecco with a splash of lychee liqueur (delicious as both those things may be), you might be put off by lengthy or unusual ingredient lists.
But a little prep goes a long way – for instance, most syrups are extremely easy to make (or, these days, buy online) and the proliferation of innovative mixologists pushing cocktail boundaries means you’ve probably already got some key ingredients in your cupboard that you’d never considered mixing into a drink before.
Olive oil, perhaps? Green tea? Even condensed milk – which we know you’ve got hanging round from that one time you were going to make fudge for Christmas presents – can be transformed into beautiful sips worthy of a Michelin-starred restaurant's bar.
Which indeed, these recipes are. Oskar Kinberg has spent more than four years at the helm of Oskar’s Bar below Dabbous in London and has kindly provided us with some creative, yet easy-to-follow recipes from his Cocktail Cookbook – all invented and thoroughly tested at Oskar’s Bar.
Scroll through for four unusual cocktail recipes, followed by deceptively simple methods for making a couple of the ingredients (as well as handy shopping links).
Impressive, yet straightforward to make? We're in...
The Hammer of Thor
Put all ingredients except the porter in a pint glass or pewter pint tankard. Stir together with a few cubes of ice for 15 seconds. Fill the glass up with cubed ice and top with the porter. Give it another quick stir to mix ingredients together and top with more crushed or cubed ice.
Peas and Mint
Muddle mint and pea shoots in a shaker. Add other ingredients and shake with cubed ice for 10 seconds. Double strain into a cocktail glass.
60ml Cocchi Americano
15ml fresh lime juice
10ml green tea syrup (scroll down for recipe or buy here)
35ml aloe vera drink
Prosecco, to top
Mint sprig, cucumber slice
Put all ingredients except the Prosecco in a wine glass. Fill the glass with cubed ice. Stir for 4 seconds. Fill with more ice and top with Prosecco.
Another Day in Paradise
45ml olive oil gin (scroll down for recipe)
35ml Cocchi Vermouth Amaro
5ml/1tsp bay leaf syrup
Add all ingredients to a mixing glass full of cubed ice and stir for around 45 seconds or to taste (it will dilute as you stir). Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist.
Recipes for cocktail cupboard essentials
Gin washed with olive oil
700ml gin (such as Martin Miller’s Dry Gin)
200ml extra virgin olive oil
Put both ingredients in a bowl with a large diameter. Keep the empty gin bottle. Leave for six hours to infuse, then put in the freezer until the oil has frozen completely. Take out of the freezer and lift off the frozen oil. Strain the remaining liquid through a muslin cloth to remove any small bits of frozen oil that remain. Pour back into the bottle – it keeps almost indefinitely. The leftover olive oil (now melted and gin-flavoured) can be used in dressings or for anything else you would use olive oil for.
Sugar syrup base
500g caster sugar
Bring the water to boil in a pan. Add the sugar and give it a quick stir. Wait until dissolved. Cool it down and put it in a sterilised bottle. You can store this in the fridge for up to three months. As a rule, when a sugar is infused with a herb or something dried such as tea, you can keep it for up to two weeks. Most syrups infused with fresh fruit have a tendency to start fermenting after only one week.
Bay leaf syrup
500ml sugar syrup
20 bay leaves
Simmer the bay leaves with the sugar syrup for 30 minutes. Strain off and keep in the fridge for up to three months.
Green tea syrup
200ml sugar syrup
10g green tea leaves
Put the tea leaves in a bowl. Bring the sugar syrup to boil in a pan. Pour the hot syrup over the tea and let it cool down. Once cool, strain the syrup off, pour it into a sterilised bottle and keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.