For many, 2016 may have felt like a bit of a tough year. It’s into the final stretch now though, and with that there will be many a festive occasion ahead.

Home entertaining is going to come into play here, and to best enjoy those warm South African afternoons with family and friends, you are going to need to raise your cocktail game.

Here are 5 classics you need to be able to produce like a pro:

The Gin and Tonic


You may think this is just a drink, but it’s actually a classic cocktail, and something that is as much part of the summer holidays as swimwear and over eating.

To make a good gin and tonic, you naturally need good gin, and good tonic. Buy a bottle of something pure gin wise, go brand name on the tonic, and serve it with a nice juicy lime wedge and ice.

It’s a house favourite in warm weather, so make sure you serve a good one in a nice tall glass.

The Margarita


Every holiday needs a little tequila, and the best way to consume it is in a margarita. Sure, you can do shots, but messy day drunk on holiday is never a good look.

For the margarita it is advisable to use a blender, it’s not the traditional way of making it, but blending cocktails is an essential summer sound. Blender aside, this is what you will need for a classic margarita:

  • 2 parts good silver tequila (cold)
  • 1 part orange liqueur
  • 1 part fresh lime juice

While that’s whirling around the blender with a bit of ice, rub a lime wedge on the rim of your serving glass, coat the rim in salt, pour your blended cocktail into it after that.

The Mojito


Say it with me, mo-he-toe. It just sounds like something that needs to be a part of your holiday. It’s fresh, it’s fun, it’s a must have cocktail.

Here’s what you need:

  • White rum
  • Fresh mint leaves
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Sugar
  • Soda water

Muddle the sugar, lime juice and mint into a glass. Get in their good and proper with your ‘muddler’, releasing the flavours and creating a tasty base to pour the white rum onto. Muddle a bit again, then top it up with soda water and garnish with some more mint.

Interesting fact, the mojito is a Cuban cocktail.

The Daiquiri


What’s a summer holiday without a daiquiri! Often thought of as the mostly bastardized of the classic cocktails, it’s something you can play around with and personalize. Cocktails are all about mixing after all.

Your classic base goes like this though before you get too fruity:

  • 2 shots of white rum
  • 1 part fresh lime juice
  • 1 part sugar syrup

Just like the margarita, blend it all together with a bit of ice. Taste it and see what you think, feel free to then add an exotic fruit juice of your choice.

Garnish extravagantly too, why not, you’re on holiday.

The Champagne Cocktail


You need a ‘classy’ classic to round off your summer cocktail arsenal. You are going to be popping bottles at various stages of the festive season, so the champagne cocktail is a must. For this you will need:

Champagne (good sparkling wine)

Cognac (good potstill brandy)


Sugar cube

It’s an easy make this one. Pop a shot of cognac or fine potstill brandy in the bottom of the glass, fill it up with bubbles, drop a dash or two of the bitters on top and celebrate with a cube of sugar that dives to the bottom of the glass as you serve with a broad smile and a CHEERS.

Happy holidays!