How to up your at-home cocktail game | The Gourmand & Gourmet

How to up your at-home cocktail game

Wacky cocktail hacks, anyone?

We are no stranger to the odd cocktail (or five). While it’s killing us that we can’t spend our Saturday nights out smashing cocktails at bars across town, we can most definitely make some magic from home.

Buckle up—we have a few secrets to share with you!


Every home bar needs basic spirits. Most cocktails contain either vodka, gin, tequila, rum or whiskey. If you know you’re going to be making fruity, sweet, aromatic cocktails, vodka and gin will likely be your most used, while rum and whiskey will create some deep, punchy drinks.

Mixers, syrups and liqueurs are huge carriers of flavour, and will make or break your home bar! We’ll talk more about imparting flavour through garnishes later – but a simple 1:1 sugar syrup can be infused with just about any flavour simply by soaking whatever you want in it overnight (a dash of rosemary syrup in a G&T=pure bliss).

Also, remember to always, always, always, have full ice trays!


Equipment-wise, it’s ideal to have a Boston shaker and strainer on standby for all your shaking needs—but a simple glass jar definitely does the job. A jigger comes in handy when you’re wanting to get perfect measurements, but sometimes life calls for a long free pour… especially now.

The shaking of a cocktail is arguably the most important part of the process. Once you’ve filled the shaker (or jar) with the cocktail ingredients and plenty of ice, ensure the lid is on securely and shake vigorously or a slow count of ten, until the shaker or jar is nice and cold. Strain over fresh ice. 

You can serve cocktails in whatever glassware you desire, but any bartender will tell you to chill that bad boy before you serve! A cold glass goes a long way…


Here’s a random but insanely useful ingredient you’ve probably never heard of…

So you crack open a can of chickpeas and go to drain those bad boys over the sink. Please, for the love of God, save the juice from the can: it’s liquid gold.

Aquafaba is the name of that liquid, and it makes the perfect substitute for egg whites for plant-based pals or if panic-buying has made it hard to source eggs… The brine has many of the same properties as egg whites, acting as an emulsifier and foaming agent. You can substitute egg whites with aquafaba in just about any recipe; we personally like to include it in our amaretto sours!

Good to know: once the aquafaba is shaken into your cocktail, it loses all of its taste. No, your sour won’t taste like beans! Use one tablespoon of aquafaba in place of one yolk, or two tablespoons for one white.

Read more about aquafaba here.


We actually have an entire article dedicated to garnishes that you can easily make from home, because we are that passionate about the power of the garnish! We’re talking dehydrated citrus, pickles, syrups, and garden garnishes: you can read more here. 

And that, ladies and gentlemen, was our home bar hacks. Go and get shaking!