I always thought I was pretty good at mixing a drink. Then I was led through a cocktail masterclass by Joseph Chisholm, an ex bartender who is now Bacardi-Martini Australia’s Commercial Execution Manager on Patrón Tequila. It turns out that my years of experience consuming cocktails does not translate to any particular skill in mixing one.
Nevertheless, because I’m committed to continual improvement, I’ll keep practising at home. The problem (if you can call it that) is that I tend to avoid cocktails in winter because I associate them with summer and water and sunscreen. They’re cool and refreshing – which is not what you want in winter. Joseph was quick to help, providing a recipe for Bramble Mulled Wine that is sure to warm the cockles.
Keep scrolling for that recipe and more insider bartender tips on what you’re doing wrong at home.
What’s your favourite spirit to work with and why?
JC: That’s like asking who your favourite child is! At the moment I love working with Patrón Tequila and I’m not just saying that because I represent the brand; It’s such a versatile spirit that delivers a unique taste profile, that elevates cocktails and can be used across a wide range of cocktails. In Australia, aged Tequila appreciation is rapidly on the rise due to its versatility. Aged Tequilas can be enjoyed neat, bringing out its smooth and complex flavour or used in classic cocktails such as the Old Fashioned – one of my all-time favourites!
Have you noticed any trends around cocktails emerging this year, post-lockdown?
JC: During lockdown we saw a rise in premiumisation and love for cocktails re-ignited. People upskilled their home bartender game, choosing premium spirits and experimenting with new cocktail recipes and old favourites, due to having the time and money to experiment and wanting to bring the bar experience home. We’ve seen this thirst for premium spirits and cocktails continue post-lockdown with consumers returning to bars and wanting to try new, sophisticated options.
What’s the one mistake you consistently see amateur (or at home) bartenders make when it comes to mixing cocktails?
JC: Making Margaritas at-home exploded during lockdown, a trend which continued post lockdown. However, the biggest mistake I see people make is putting salt around the whole rim of the glass… No one wants that much salt with their cocktail. Instead, I only salt half the rim to give the option of a salty or non-salty sip. Another mistake I often see at-home mixologists make is not adding quality ice-cubes to their cocktails and not adding enough ice-cubes. When making cocktails you can never add enough ice as it adds to the look, feel and taste of the cocktail.
Cocktails feel like summer drinks – how can we ‘warm’ them up for winter, at home? eg can you suggest ingredients / mixes etc to work with?
JC: Cocktails aren’t just a summer drink, there are many cocktails with warming ingredients such as Rooibos tea, cinnamon or cardamom which bring out wintery flavours. A great cocktail that will keep you warm for the remainder of winter is the Bramble Mulled Wine.
How to make a Bramble Mulled Wine
JC: Ingredients include 100ml Bombay Bramble, 250ml Red Wine, 20ml Brown Sugar Syrup, 1 orange slice, 1 pinch of cinnamon and then garnish with raspberries and blackberries. Add all the ingredients (excluding garnish) to a pan and warm slowly on a hob allowing the flavour to infuse. When serving, ensure the temperature is above 50°C and decant in glasses before garnishing.