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Improve your at home cocktails

Making cocktails at home is so joyful and therapeutic we can’t understand why it doesn’t feature on wellness apps! Whether you’re getting into the party mood, or investing in quality domestic time, upping your cocktail game is an investment that just keeps giving. Here’s the Double Dutch lowdown to mastering the at home cocktail…

Our tips for improving your at home cocktails

Improving your at home cocktails

Order, Order!

A big mistake that beginner mixologists make when creating their own cocktails is to add ingredients in the wrong order. Unless you’re following a recipe, simply start with the least expensive item in-case you make a mistake.

Mint julep

Let’s use the mint julep as an example. Starting with your sprigs of fresh mint and simple syrup, muddling to release the mint’s aroma and then pour in the bourbon. This means that if you get your mint/syrup proportions wrong, all you’ve wasted is a couple of minutes and a few pence. Start with the bourbon and get the rest wrong and you’ve wasted all that lovely spirit too!

Fresh is best

As with almost everything in life, cocktail ingredients work best when they’re fresh. Citrus is a prime example because it’s not stable, bottled lemon and lime juice usually contain preservatives. This alters their taste and they lack the depth and sheer zinginess of fresh citrus. A citrus press or reamer makes it easy to improve your at home cocktail by giving your drinks the full citrus spectrum.

Measure for Measure

A great drink requires a little discipline. Scotch on the Rocks and Gin and Tonic might not need careful measuring but for everything else, you need a set of jiggers. They are an extra cost, but they elevate your cocktails, and allow you to have consistency in your creations.

Premium mixers = performance cocktails

Double Dutch premium mixers

Of course we’re going to say this, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true! The better your mixer, the better the cocktail.

Our Mixers and Tonics

At Double Dutch we spend our time experimenting with the best ingredients in perfect proportions to deliver outstanding flavours and we know that nothing ruins a good cocktail faster than an underwhelming mixer. When you’re planning your at home cocktail extravaganza, invest in great mixers to enhance your spirits.

Ice, Ice, Baby

Often overlooked by the amateur cocktail maker, the professional mixologist is always aware of their ice. We’ve got three tips to ensure your ice is just right:

Bigger is better

our ice moulds should be as large as you can make them, because this means your ice dissolves more slowly and keeps your cocktail chilled for longer

Fresh from the freezer

‘Wet’ ice, which has begun to melt, dilutes your cocktail too quickly and is tricky to handle. So keep it properly frozen until you need to use it. Ice buckets - no thanks!


While there’s no discernible flavour difference between clear and cloudy ice, there’s a huge difference in taste depending on what water you use. Some tap water negatively affects your cocktails, test your ice before using it and choose bottled water if necessary. As for crystal clear ice - simply invest in a directional ice cube tray to get clear ice, time after time.

One final tip, which is ideal for the home cocktail fan, infuse fruit, herbs or even coffee into your ice-cubes. This gives more depth and visual appeal to your drinks.

And on the subject of ice - here’s what to chill

Knowing what to chill, and not what to, can make the difference between average cocktails and outstanding ones.

What should you chill?

All fortified wines: port, sherry and vermouth and any syrups you’ve made. A rough rule of thumb is you should refrigerate anything under 15% ABV and use within a couple of weeks. Chill your glassware too, to keep your dilution rate slow.

What not to chill?

Don’t chill your fresh citrus though - it reduces the juice and oils available to flavour your cocktails.

Syrup - a home hit

Simple syrup is easy to make and cheaper than buying ready-made. You can ring the changes on your ingredients to create a unique element for your mix. A simple syrup recipe is typically equal parts sugar and water, heated until fully combined and then cooled. This couldn’t be simpler, however, there are ways to personalise it.

Infused Simple Syrup

Infuse simple syrup by adding herbs or spices or using fresh fruit juice instead of water.

Autumn Syrup

Autumn-themed drinks could have cloves, cinnamon or fig added to the syrup.

Spring Syrup

Spring cocktails benefit from rhubarb or elderflower.

Winter Syrups

You can enhance a winter cocktail with cranberry, sloe or ginger.

While it doesn’t have a long fridge life, we don’t think it matters. We always quickly use up infused syrups, so they won't have time to hang around!

Better cocktails? Invest in bitters

While you can make your own simple syrup, bitters are an investment you need to make for really stand out cocktails. Bitters add flavour to a cocktail and leaving them out means your drink will lack depth and dimension. While there are a ton of bitters you can buy, we recommend two to start with:

  • Angostura bitters - the most famous bitters of all, blend herbs and spices and provide a gentle cinnamon note. They’re essential for an Old Fashioned, a Manhattan, and many whisky-based cocktails
  • Orange bitters are less commonly used but add a tropical tang. They can transform a gin or vodka cocktail from good to great.

Up your at home cocktail game

If you're looking to up your cocktail game and make the best cocktails at home these tips are sure to impress. To find the perfect pairing for your next cocktail view our mixers and tonics.