Skip to main content

30th September 2013

The Art of Budget Mixology

Ben Walker ventures into the world of home made cocktails

Making a stir in student drinking trends.

Dale DeGroff is the King of Cocktails. He led a revolution in cocktail design and drinking and he pioneered a gourmet approach to mixology. He is the founder and president of The Museum of the American Cocktail. He is accredited to reinventing and professionalising the art of bartending. Keen cocktail drinkers owe a lot to DeGroff, but let us not forget great cocktails must be exchanged for great amounts of money.

No room for highfalutin Iordanov Vodka or Nolet’s Dry Gin here—my mission was to make drinkable cocktails both easily and cheaply.

I had a great time making and sampling these cocktails—it may not have been completely coincidental that the more I made the tastier they were. All I can say is that these are tasty, cheap, and easy to make for you and your friends for a house party or pre-drinks. You can scale the quantities up to make a jug or fish-bowl or make individually to drink with an air of sophistication—your choice.


For 4 easy, delicious Vodka classics you will need:


Vodka (I got a 35cl bottle from Sainsbury’s for £7.50)

Bitters (again £7.50 from M&S, but also available from Sainsbury’s—one bottle will last you forever)

Pomegranate, cranberry, and orange juice,

Ginger ale,

Soda water,

Fresh lime wedges

Brown sugar

Lots of ice



Fill an Old Fashioned Glass (a short, stubby glass) mostly with ice and add 3 dashes of bitters.

Add 2 parts vodka and top up with pomegranate juice.

Rub the rim of the glass with lime, squeeze in a spritz of fresh lime and add a wedge to finish.



2 parts vodka and 3 parts cranberry in a high ball glass and stir well.

Top up with orange (about 1-2 parts). There should be a fade effect of orange to deep red.



Muddle two lime wedges in a high-ball glass and add lots of ice.

Add two parts vodka and top up with ginger ale.



Either .5 part lime cordial or mix fresh lime juice with a little sugar.

Add a few good dashes of bitters, 2 parts of vodka and top up with soda water or lemonade


If vodka is not your spirit of choice…

GIN FIZZ (you can substitute the gin for rum)

I used Bombay Sapphire here, but if you are using a basics gin do taste it first, as cheap gin can be very sweet—if so, hold back on the brown sugar.

Muddle half a teaspoon of brown sugar and lime wedges until the sugar begins to dissolve in the lime juice.

Add 2 dashes of bitters and 2 parts Gin. Top up with ginger ale and a lime wedge.



Jim Beam is reasonably priced bourbon and works well in this drink.

Rub fresh orange peel on the inside of an Old Fashioned Glass. Saturate half a teaspoon of brown sugar in Bitters and fill the glass with ice.

Stir until the sugar is mostly dissolved—the ice should begin to melt to help this process.

Then add 2 parts bourbon and stir in well. Serve with a spritz of orange zest and a piece of orange peel.

More Coverage

Ten top tips for Freshers this flat Christmas

A step by step guide to hosting a successful Christmas dinner with your flat this winter

Have yourself a very merry spritzmas with these festive cocktail recipes

Gin-gle your way into Christmas with these five delicious cocktail recipes

Soul-warming miso beans: A cosy dish to conquer the cold in Manchester

Beans, beans, good for your heart, warm yourself up with this recipe to start!

Winter wonders at The Black Friar: A cosy tavern delight

Are you sick of the miserable weather? Are you a lover of classic, warming British dishes? Are you ready to be immersed in the Christmas spirit? If so, get yourself down to The Black Friar in Salford to try out their new winter menu