How to Become a Cocktail Making Pro in Time for New Year’s Eve

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Now that Christmas is over, it’s time to turn your attention towards the next big event – New Year’s Eve and we’re here to help you celebrate in style.

Whether you’re hosting a big party for friends and family to see in the New Year or are planning on heading out for the evening to dance the night away there’s always time for cocktails on NYE. We’re going to be sharing with you our top tips, tricks and recipes that are guaranteed to turn you into the cocktail making pro.

We’ve teamed up with brands and experts who know their stuff when it comes to cocktails. So you can rest assured we’re only sharing with you the best advice!


The Dingle Gin Old Fashioned

If you’re looking for a warm and manly cocktail made using top quality spirits, then Dingle Distillery’s Dingle Gin Old Fashioned cocktail is the one for you. This sweet yet spicy blend of Dingle’s original gin, cranberry and orange is the perfect tipple to get your New Year’s Eve started.

To keep updated on what’s going on at the Dingle Distillery, be sure to follow them on Instagram – @dingledistillery

The Grand Anno

Nothing says New Year’s Eve like a glass of champagne but if you fancy going the extra mile for your party guests this year, add a fruity twist to your champagne with this bubbly cocktail recipe from Waitrose Cellar! We’ve turned our hand to creating Waitrose’s signature cocktails for other occasions, such as Bonfire Night, so you can rest assured that this is going to be a crowd pleaser!


Keen to keep updated on the best wine and fizz for the festive season? Follow @waitrosewine on Twitter for the latest on all things party booze!


Tia Espresso Martini

If fresh and fruity isn’t to your taste and you want something sharper and richer then the Tia Espresso Martini by Tia Maria is bound to be a favourite. A classic for this time of year, you can’t see in the New Year without an espresso martini in hand!

For more inspiration on coffee infused cocktails, check out @tiamariadrink on Instagram!

The Manifest Negroni

The Manifest Negroni is made using the newest creation from Jägermeister, their Manifest herbal liqueur, designed for the more discerning drinker, made using 56 herbs, roots and spices. This deep and flavourful liqueur is at the heart of this rich tasting cocktail.

Whether you want the latest on seasonal shots or more inspiration on to how to use their new Manifest liqueur, follow @jagermeisteruk on Instagram!

The Health Kick

Although the diet has gone out the window for most of us by the time we reach New Year’s Eve, the concept of a cocktail that has a health kick is something that definitely has appeal. Scotch + Limon have joined up with The Whisky Exchange for the festive season to create a range of party season cocktails and we think everyone needs to try this warm and spicy alternative to a Bloody Mary, designed by Scotch + Limon drink designer, Jamie Jones!

If you fancy making this healthy yet seriously tasty cocktail on New Year’s Eve, grab yourself a bottle of the Virtuous Vodka Ginger from The Whisky Exchange and get 10% off using the code ‘VODKA/VIR4’.

Top Tips

Although we like to think that we’re the cocktail making professionals here at Slaters’ HQ, we decided it was best to enlist the help of a real pro on this occasion to provide you with some tips for creating show stopping cocktails on New Year’s Eve.

We’ve partnered up with Josh Ramsay, the general manager at The Blackbird, a super stylish bar in Edinburgh that serve up some seriously impressive cocktails. Josh is part of a team of multi award-winning bartenders, so we think it’s fair to say that he knows what he’s talking about when it comes to creating delicious drinks.


After working in the industry for many years’, Josh recommends making your life easy where possible and doing something professionals refer to as ‘pre-batching’.

This is a technique in which your basically pre-measure and prepare your non-perishable ingredients before hand to allow you to make cocktails quicker when catering for large groups or simply gives you more time to enjoy yourself. Pre-measure things like your spirits and non-perishable mixers so that you’ve got the perfect amounts weighed out and ready to be thrown in the shaker when you’re ready to get drinking.

Big Ice

We all know that ice is an essential for finishing off a tasty tipple, but a bartender’s secret to creating a professional finish and reducing dilution in your drink is to use big ice cubes! Josh feels this gives more of a wow-factor and as big lumps of ice melt slower, you’re more likely to have finished your drink before the ice water can dilute it down!

Mix Up the Syrups

If you’re looking for a simple way to put your own spin on a classic but don’t want to risk creating a disastrous flavour combination, the easiest way to add a hit of a new flavour is to swap out plain sugar syrup for a flavoured syrup.

Simple sugar syrup is an essential in a bartender’s tool kit, but Josh recommends having a supply of flavoured syrups on hand for adding in a splash of a new flavours into the mix. Adding coffee syrup to an Old Fashioned is one of Josh’s signature moves.

Infuse the Spirit

The success of your finished cocktail is often down to the prep you put in, so as much as the professionals may make it look as simple as throwing everything in a shaker and pouring it out, there’s a lot of behind the scenes work that goes into creating the finished product.

One of Josh’s favourite ways to spice things up and add a new hit of flavour is to infuse the spirits before hand to create a deeper and more complex flavour, however ensuring it still works with the mixture of ingredients.

Infusing gin with flavoured teas is a great way to create your own custom gin that works perfectly in your cocktail or infusing heavier spirits such as whisky and bourbon with vanilla adds a sweetness which makes the spirit appeal to even the non-whisky drinkers!

For more tips and tricks to help you steal the cocktail making show this New Year’s Eve, follow @theblackbirdedinburgh on Instagram!

So, they’re our top tips for putting a professional spin on at-home cocktail making as well as some of our favourite crowd-pleasing recipes, perfect for New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Be sure to send us your snaps if you have a go at any of these tips or recipes, you can find us on both Twitter and Instagram – @Slaters1973!



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