Kahlua and vodka. It seems naughty and it is – full marks for bravery if you try this. The name comes from the deep colour of Kahlua and the Russian bit is a nod to vodka. Vodka is legendary, and the thing is, Kahlua is a more serious drink than you think – it brings sweet depth, leaving the lighter side of enlivening to the main spirit. The little caffeine jolt also makes this an excellent candidate to kick the party off (as well as extend it). The tale of the Black Russian begins in the 1940s with Perle Mesta, American Ambassador to Luxembourg, for whom this drink was said to be created – she was the human incarnation of the party spirit. And since 1936 when Kahlua was first concocted in Mexico, its legacy is a bottle so iconic that it defies fashion and trends. I love the stuff – you need more of it in your life.

45ml (11/2oz) vodka
22.5ml (3/4oz) Kahlua

Ice: Cubed
Equipment: Long bar spoon
Fill a glass with ice
Add all the ingredients
Stir gently to chill

An alternative to a Black Russian
involves adding 22.5ml (3/4oz) cola.

For a White Russian add 30ml (1oz)
single (light) cream.

For a Nutty Russian add 22.5ml (3/4oz)
Frangelico to the Black Russian recipe
(no cola).



This works well with a lighter, more floral gin rather than a classic, juniper-driven dry one. Mighty juniper shares the stage here with scented botanicals, which combine to emphasise the fragrant elderflower liqueur. Elderflower grows wild around my house like bridal bouquets for the birds; as apples on the trees start to swell this is the perfect cocktail to sip al fresco and admire it all. There’s something splendid about the way that ingredients for gin grow all around the world – it’s a spirit that could almost be described as a liquid garden. All that love from the landscape laced into one bottle: something to reflect on as you prepare your English Garden, which, by the way, is also stunning as a treat to get your appetite going for cakes and afternoon tea.

60ml (2oz) gin
22.5ml (3/4oz) St-Germain elderflower liqueur
15ml (1/2oz) freshly squeezed lime juice
75ml (21/2oz) cloudy apple juice

Ice: Cubed
Garnish: Cucumber slice and lime wedge
Equipment: Cocktail shaker, strainer

Fill a shaker with ice
Add all the ingredients
Shake vigorously to chill
Strain into a glass filled with ice
Garnish with a slice of cucumber and a
lime wedge



The Mudslide is my wife Sophie’s secret favourite. Her love affair with this cocktail erupted in Mexico at the swim-up bar in the Grand Velas Riviera Maya resort. I’d landed a job writing a travel piece for the Mail on Sunday and together with my family had a magic time relaxing in the sunshine and romping around Mayan ruins. Sophie found the Mudslide to be the perfect partner for languishing in the sunshine and after some careful experimentation I concurred. This is the ultimate boozy smoothie and while the feeling of a sun-drenched poolside bar can easily be evoked, the best thing about this drink is the dreamy feeling of holiday that the flavours exude. Book yourself a break and mix one up right now.

22.5ml (3/4oz) vodka
22.5ml (3/4oz) Baileys
22.5ml (3/4oz) Kahlua
2 scoops vanilla ice cream

Ice: Crushed
Garnish: Chocolate sauce drizzle
Equipment: Blender

Add a small handful of crushed ice to
a blender cup
Add all the ingredients
Blend until smooth
Drizzle chocolate sauce around the inside
of your glass
Pour over the blended drink
Drizzle more chocolate sauce on top

For a non-blended version, omit the ice cream
and crushed ice. Shake the ingredients with
cubed ice and add 60ml (2oz) single (light) cream.
Serve over ice.



‘Raspberry Watkins’ would be an excellent pen-name, to be signed with a flourish of a luxurious fountain pen. It’s also the name
of this drink, which stands for two of the greatest things in life: 1. Refreshment 2. All things pink Lengthening the drink with soda brings refreshment to the frivolity of colour and fruit-fuelled dynamism of the grenadine- Chambord duet. You could deploy the Raspberry Watkins on romantic occasions, but every day should be a day when love is welcomed with open arms, so for me, this is the drink to pour at the merest hint of a sunbeam. If you’re not wearing a coat, that instantly indicates that a Raspberry Watkins should be in your hand to bring some love to your heart.

37.5ml (11/4oz) vodka
22.5ml (3/4oz) Chambord
15ml (1/2oz) freshly squeezed lime juice
7.5ml (1/4oz) grenadine
Soda water, to top

Ice: Cubed
Garnish: Lime wedge
Equipment: Cocktail shaker, strainer

Fill a shaker with ice
Add all the ingredients except the soda water
Shake vigorously to chill
Strain into a glass filled with ice and top with
soda water
Garnish with a lime wedge


HOME COCKTAIL BIBLE by Olly Smith (Quadrille, £22) Photography: Matt Russell

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