Raising the bar: Crafting cocktails at home

Written by: Jim Wrigley

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, our ability to access restaurants and bars is closing down, and the entire planet is being encouraged to stay at home.

Restaurants, coffee shops, pubs and bars fulfil some fundamental human needs, often the very least of which is providing food and drink. They are also social hubs, creative spaces, debate parlours, business deal backdrops, outlets for music or dancing, places for celebrations, commiserations or romantic assignations.

Social distancing, isolation and quarantines may have removed the easy ability to gather in person and laugh over a bowl of warming goodness, or cheer to the sound of a cork popping or glasses clinking; however, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy good food or delicious drinks. 

For too many people, a home “cocktail” is made by opening a can or bottle of some additive-laden sugary concoction that professes to contain “spirits” in a neon green liquid straight out of a Stephen King movie. This is the beverage equivalent of the microwave TV dinner.

The team at Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa in the Ave and Coccoloba restaurants, not to mention all of the bartenders around the island and indeed the world, have spent their careers learning, practising and perfecting knowledge and skills to make guests amazing drinks with perfect service. Most of this is based on some relatively simple tips, tricks and rules or guidelines — a lot of which are easy to grasp and as easy to do at home as following a recipe in a cookbook.

You certainly don’t need fancy equipment or little apothecary bottles filled with pungent tinctures.

Simple things like a proper shake (very hard until very cold with lots of ice) and getting past that fear of egg white (when used fresh, it’s totally fine and brings fluffy frothiness with nary a hint of eggs) will help you easily astound yourself and the adults you might be living within this time of social distancing.

Here’s just one easy favourite that uses the Caribbean's most famous spirit, rum:


  • A tall, 10-12-ounce glass, chilled in advance if possible
  • Cracked ice (Wrap ice cubes in a clean dish towel and hit gently with a serving spoon or rolling pin.)
  • 8-10 fresh mint leaves
  • 2 ounces light rum — Bacardi or Havana Club by preference
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice (Squeeze per drink for one or two, or prepare a bottle in advance if you're making more.)
  • 1 ounce simple syrup (Mix 1 part sugar with 1 part lukewarm water, then stir until dissolved.) 
  • Splash of soda
  • 1 mint sprig


  • Take the mint leaves and clap them firmly between your hands to release the oils and aromas.
  • Drop the leaves into a tall, 10-12-ounce glass, chilled in advance if possible. 
  • Add the rum, lime and sugar syrup.
  • Add the splash of soda and then nearly fill the glass with cracked ice. Churn lightly with a spoon until mixed, then fill with more ice. 
  • Slap the mint sprig on your hand and add with a straw, then sit back and enjoy.


Jim Wrigley is the beverage manager at Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa.