This was quite the challenge for me as I have never made a cocktail before…”

image: Charline Groen

guide and photos by Jocelyn Ash

Before restaurants, gyms, salons, and businesses alike shut down in a state of emergency due to the Coronavirus I spent, unbeknownst to me, what would be my last evening at the bar for a long time. As a University student, going out for drinks and dancing was a pinnacle experience during my time at University, and going to the bar killed two birds with one stone. On one hand I was able to unwind and socialize after a long week of heavy course material; and on the other, I was able to try some fairly tasty cocktails along the way. I haven’t been able to enjoy said cocktails in quite some time and thus have had to resort to making them from home. This was quite the challenge for me as I have never made a cocktail before, typically resorting to picking up the cheapest beer or seltzer offered at the liquor store. As the pandemic has forced us to remain in our homes, I found that the simplicities of beer just weren’t making drinking entertaining anymore- this is where the cocktails come in. To celebrate my newfound skill, I have ranked four cocktails from my favourite to least favourite (in my opinion), enjoy.

Old Fashioned

Old Fashioned

Coming in fourth place is the traditional and strong Old Fashioned. My throat and tastebuds were screaming at me as I choked this drink down.

The Old Fashioned was created in the 1880’s which, in my humble opinion, explains why people drank it- because they probably had nothing better to drink.

This cocktail typically comprises bourbon or rye whiskey, angostura bitters, syrup or a sugar cube, ice and water. Those ingredients alone should have been enough to turn me away from this drink, but unfortunately my pride would not allow it.

Every ‘cool guy’ in the movies drank the Old Fashioned and I felt the incessant need to be one of those ‘cool guys.’ I didn’t even know what bitters were until I had to make this drink. The simple fact that I was able to finish it made me feel like an absolute champion, but the actual process of drinking the Old Fashioned was painful.

However, tasting the pure alcohol was an experience in itself. The raw bourbon whiskey had notes of vanilla and the undertones of wheat softened the drink. If you’re looking for a quick fix to get a good buzz going on for an evening of boardgames during quarantine, consider the Old Fashioned your new go-to.

In order to make this delicacy, I simply added 3 drops of bitters, 1 teaspoon of water and a sugar cube into a glass and stirred thoroughly. Afterwards I added the ice cubes and poured 2 ounces of bourbon over the ice. Moreover, I probably wouldn’t order this cocktail at a bar or make it at home ever again.  I’d rate it a 3/10.

Blue Hawaiian

Blue Hawaiian

Taking third place is the Blue Hawaiian.

I have determined the Blue Hawaiian to be a distant cousin of the pina colada as they seem to taste quite similar. This cocktail embraces the fruity flavours of white rum, blue curacao, coconut cream, lemon juice and pineapple juice. The Blue Hawaiian is the perfect drink to lift your spirits up and will have you dreaming of sunsets on a warm beach.

This cocktail was nearly too sweet for me to handle, it sat right on the borderline of being too much. However, adding some extra lemon juice worked wonders to counteract the abundance of tropical fruits that sweetened this drink.

I began by adding ice, 1½ ounces of white rum, ¾ ounces of blue curacao, 2 ounces of pineapple juice, ¾ ounces of coconut cream and ½ and ounce of fresh lemon juice into a shaker. After I was finished mixing all of the ingredients, I poured the concoction into a glass and was good to go.

Personally, I wouldn’t be able to drink more than one Blue Hawaiian. However, this cocktail transported me to sandy beaches and electric blue oceans far away the confines of my small house and the Coronavirus. I’m also not typically a coconut lover, but I quite enjoyed it in this cocktail. Similar to the images of a beach vacation with my roommates, the subtle sweet taste of coconut lingered on my tongue even after I finished the drink.

Overall, this cocktail was pretty good, I personally just wouldn’t be able to drink more than one- unless of course I were on a tropical vacation. I’d rate this drink a 7/10.

Dr. Who Sonic Screwdriver

Sonic Screwdriver

I present to you, in second place, the Dr. Who Sonic Screwdriver.

The original screwdriver is a modern drink that contains only two ingredients: vodka and orange juice. The Dr. Who Sonic Screwdriver, however, is no ordinary screwdriver. This drink encompasses a variety of flavours that I would have never thought to combine.

Individually, vanilla vodka, orange juice and blue curacao are all very tasty, but together, they create the perfect arrangement of flavours.

I’m telling you; this drink is a danger to society. The combined forces of the orange juice and blue curacao assault your tastebuds with a fruity punch, vanilla seeping through afterwards to take the edge off. Not a drop of liquor in this cocktail could be distinguished on its own, which is what makes this drink so daring.

Once again, my inexperience when it comes to making cocktails had me following the recipe with an assertiveness, I didn’t know I had. I began by filling a ‘cocktail shaker’ (anything tough you can shake it in, as I did not have a proper cocktail shaker) halfway with ice cubes before pouring over 1½ ounces of vanilla vodka, 1½ ounces of blue curacao, and 2 ounces (or however much necessary, I recommend around 5 ounces) of orange juice.

After pouring the drink into a glass I began feeling rather confident about my cocktail and opted to discard adding a splash of pop and instead put my own spin on the Dr. Who Sonic Screwdriver by adding some whipped cream and sprinkles on top. It was a good decision, if I do say so myself.

If you’re like me and are holed up in a small house with your roommates, I assure you that this cocktail guarantees a good time without the taste of alcohol. Overall, the Dr. Who Sonic Screwdriver is a fun yet unexpected drink. I would rate it an 8.5/10.

Lemonade Gin Mojito

Gin Lemonade Mojito

Coming in hot, at first place we have the Lemonade Gin Mojito.

It differs from the classic mojito, which typically contains rum, by swapping it for gin instead! Its sweet taste springs from a melody of gin, lemonade, club soda and mint.

This mojito is such a great departure from the traditional recipe, as it is incredibly versatile in its fun fruity taste and classy appearance. This is the type of drink that makes you forget about all of your problems and recenters your focus on its unique taste. My roommates and I did just that and enjoyed the Lemonade Gin Mojito tirelessly all night long, momentarily forgetting about the worry in which comes with COVID-19.

The sweet and sour lemonade flavour combined with the fizz of club soda had me reminiscing over sunnier days, perfect for a drink on the patio or out to brunch with some friends. Similarly, the underlying taste of mint will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to conquer the days ahead.

As I am a beginner at making cocktails, I resolved to follow the recipe as closely as possible. This worked out pretty well I would say, considering the drink didn’t end up tasting horrific. I began by dividing eight mint leaves between two glasses and garnished them with a lemon slice, muddling them around together in order for the flavours to combine. Afterwards, I poured a generous amount of ice into each glass and topped it with 1½ ounces of gin, ½ a cup of lemonade and ¼ cup of ‘club soda.’ In all honesty, I am not American and have no idea what ‘club soda’ is, therefore I simply assumed it was Sprite- which is what I used. I then stirred the drink thoroughly to make sure all of the ingredients were well combined and finished off by sticking some blueberries on a skewer and plopping it into the drink for visual appeal.

I would rate this cocktail a 10/10 and highly recommend it the next time you are in need of a good drink.

Overall, if you’re looking for something fun to try during COVID-19 I would definitely recommend learning to make a good cocktail. Attempting to create these drinks was quite the experience in itself, but it also helped to curb the want to go out and enjoy drinks at happy hour. All of the drinks listed above were fairly tasty and I suggest having fun with it and let your friends, family or whoever you are quarantining with help out. I made the cocktails with my roommates and we had a blast putting our own spin on the recipes and enjoying them together. Stay safe and enjoy the delicious drinks.

Recipe links to the real thing

Lemonade Gin Mojito:

Old Fashioned:

Dr. Who Sonic Screwdriver:

Blue Hawaiian: