Okay, real talk. Some people are out here dealing with COVID-19 by building cool shit to make everybody’s lives better. Others are spending the time homeschooling their children and spending quality family time together. Others still are out here with extra time to finally start the side hustle they always wanted.

To those people, I say amazing! And thank you! (And a special, serious and heartfelt thank you to all of the frontline workers who are out there making sure that the world continues and that the most vulnerable of society get what they need – you are all incredible heroes 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽) 

But me? I’m dealing with the this situation with three basic activities:

  1. Cleaning my house more than I have ever cleaned it before. I voluntarily + proactively cleaned out my fucking shed – an activity that I’ve been putting off for approximately 2 years and you probably couldn’t have paid me to do previously.
  2. Indulging in self care. For me, I define self care as putting on as many facemarks as my supply allows, eating lots of biscuits, and watching old KUWTK reruns.
  3. DRINKING (responsibly!). The reason we are all here today reading this blog post.

Yep, there’s not much going on right now, so in my opinion, this is the perfect time to level-up your drinking (responsibly) game! Here’s my guide of how to do it:

Step 1: Get basic alcohol supplies

As every single one of my colleagues knows, I have a shit ton of alcohol at home. Why do they know this? Turns out placing my drinks cabinet smack bang opposite the desk in my spare room that is doubling as my workstation now was perhaps not the smartest approach.

Every single VC now goes something like this:

Them: Hey Yael, hows it… WHAT THE FUCK. HOW MUCH ALCOHOL DO YOU HAVE!

Me: Oh yep, that’s my alc...

Them: CAN I COME OVER TO PARTY!! HAHA JUST JOKING!

Me: Ha, well after the…

Them: SERIOUSLY! THATS A LOT OF ALCOHOL!!!

Me: So, in this meeting I thought we could…

Them: IS THAT CHAMPAGNE!!!!!!!

So, yep. I don’t need any more alcohol supplies. But maybe you do! Get into the alcohol section on your favourite supermarket online shopping portal and place a bunch of your faves in your basket. Alternatively, there are many independent alcohol sellers online that could sure use your business at this time. Google around, but my favourite is Master of Malt.

Step 2: Get yourself a drinks cabinet

This step is optional, but hey, if you’ve got both the means and the space, and if you enjoy a drink at home, I couldn’t recommend buying yourself a drinks cabinet enough.

This cabinet is actually from M&S and was a complete impulse purchase. Like all good impulse purchases, we didn’t really think about where it would go, which is why it lives in a sad corner of our spare room right now.

In the event we make it out of the pandemic and we’re able to buy a bigger house, I’ve always imagined this drinks cabinet would have a great spot in the living room where I could just glide and fix myself a nice glass of something before settling in for the evening. 

Step 3: Amp up your alcohol collection by eleven

If you’re serious about your drinks collection, especially if you’ve now got a badass drinks cabinet, you need to make sure you’re seriously stocked. Here’s what you need to think about:

Your favourite go-to drinks! Make sure to stock your cabinet with what you need to make your absolute favourite go-to drinks. For me this is the Ron Zacapa Ambar 12 – what I’d usually have on a regular evening in. This rum’s been aged 12 years, comes from Guatemalan sugar cane, and tastes of butterscotch, vanilla, cinnamon and orange. I drink it with a mixer, rather than on its own.

Spread your bets. Aside from your absolute faves, think about different types of alcohol and make sure your cabinet offers a spread, for when you have guests round or for when you might want something a bit different. Try and have bottles of the basic spirits: brandy, gin, rum, tequila, vodka and whiskey, as well as a selection of alcoholic mixers and liqueurs like vermouth, cognac, coffee/orange liqueur or amaretto.

Specialist bottles for when the occasion strikes. It always pays to have some more ‘random’ bottles in, to help save the day when you have guests round who have specific tastes, or for when you’d like to try a new recipe that calls for something a bit different to your usual. Things you might want to try here are Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur), Midori (melon liqueur), Chambord (Raspberry Liqueur) and the Cremes – de Cacao for Chocolate, or de Menthe for Mint.

Some glam glasses. There are many different types of glasses for every type of drink, and so buying glassware can easily become a hobby in and of itself! I enjoy splurging on buying small sets of glassware when I come across special ones. On my wishlist right now are some Tom Dixon champagne glasses and martini glasses 😍

A miniatures collection! We visit the same amazing hotel every year (outside of epidemics!), which happens to include a free minibar that gets restocked every day. So, we always ‘rescue’ a few (okay a bunch) of miniatures every time we go to add to our collection here. They are great for parties, for taking to picnics/outside events, or just if you don’t want to open a whole new bottle of something.

All the fun extras. Don’t just focus on the alcohol itself. If you’re a cocktail person, remember that theres all sorts of other stuff that you’ll likely need. Examples:

  • Some kind of cool ice cube mould! e.g. this one
  • Bitters
  • Fruit juices
  • Sugar syrup
  • Other mixers like tonic water, colas, etc
  • Mint, lime, orange etc for garnishes
  • Cocktail making equipment e.g. muddlers, strainers, shakers.

Step 4: Make some alcohol happen!

Now the fun can begin. Get making your favourite drink or drinks! Here are some of my favourite cocktails to try at home:

Honey Bee Mine

  • 3 spoons runny honey
  • 2 shots light white rum
  • 1/8 shot vanilla extract
  • 3/4 shot Champagne Brut

Stir honey and rum together until honey is dissolved. Add in the vanilla extract, shake up with ice and strain into a glass. Top up with the champagne 🥂

Evita

  • 2 shots vodka
  • 1/2 shot melon liqueur 
  • 1 shot orange juice
  • 1/2 shot lime juice

Shake all the ingredients up together and some ice and strain into a glass 🍹

Caipirinha

  • 2 shots cachaca 
  • 1/2 shot sugar syrup
  • Fresh lime

Muddle the lime in the base of a glass, then pour the cachaca and sugar syrup into it. Add a ton of ice and then stir! 🥃

Kiwi Bellini

  • 1 fresh kiwi
  • 1 1/2 shots vodka
  • 1/4 shot lemon juice
  • 1/4 shot sugar syrup
  • Top with sparking wine

Cut kiwi in half, scoop out the flesh and muddle into glass. Add vodka, lemon juice and sugar syrup. Strain into glass and top with sparking wine! Garnish with some leftover kiwi! 🥝

Watermelon Lychee

  • Fresh watermelon and lychees
  • Lychee Liqueur 
  • Vodka
  • Lemonade

Mix lychee liqueur with vodka, and add a splash of lemonade. Cut up watermelon and lychees as you like them and add them to the glass too. 🍉

Rum and cherry coke

  • Dr Pepper, or Pepsi Max Cherry or your favourite cherry flavoured drink!
  • Spiced rum

Mix together, and drink! 🍒

Jerry’s Punch

  • Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
  • Lemonade
  • Watermelon juice

Combine with measures suited to your taste! Enjoy! 🍉