• Nick Veale

1 bottle cocktail to liven up your isolation

Updated: Apr 3, 2020

It's getting to the point where most of us are now stuck at home in varying degree's of isolation. Unfortunately the bars here in Sydney and in many other cities are no longer around to quench our thirst or provide delicious cocktails.

I'd like to introduce you to a family of drinks that are incredibly versatile and will work with just about any spirit that you have in lying around at home.


The Sour

To make a sour you will need 3 basic ingredients and a lot of ice. From there your can jazz it up a bit as the days pass and boredom increases, but for now, let's start from the top.


This ain't gonna work without ice.

Either pick up a bag of Ice or get 3-6 ice trays in the freezer.


The good news is that pretty much anything will work with this drink!

The most common or popular spirits for a sour would be:

Whiskey - Ideally an American whiskey. If you're going shopping, affordable bottles like Jim Beam or Wild Turkey are great. A Blended Scotch like Monkey Shoulder or the classic Tennessee Whiskey Jack Daniels will also work fine.

Gin - Classic bottles like Tanqueray or Beefeater are delicious if you're on a budget, alternatively you can splash out and grab a bottle of Aussie Craft Gin.

Rum - White rum like Havana Club 3 or Bacardi would be typical but pretty much any Rum will work.

Hint: If you make a Rum sour with lime juice you'll be drinking a Daquiri. A.K.A the best drink in the world.

Tequila - If you're going shopping I'd always recommend sticking with bottles that say 100% agave on the label. The cheapest options for these are El Jimador or Espolon, for my money I always go with Jose Cuervo Traditional (not to be mistaken for their cheaper square bottle which is a lower quality) as I thinks its worth the cash.

Hint: if you make a tequila sour with lime you're as near as damnit to a margarita, and who doesn't love margaritas!

Vodka - Vodka by definition doesn't have flavour so if you're going to hit the shops I'd suggest one of the previous spirits, that being said vodka is a bar staple and when i do buy it I stick with the classic Stolichnaya :)

Liqueurs - Aperol, Campari, Amaretto.... Have a dig around your cupboards and give it a try with whatever you have! Just bear in mind that Liqueurs already have sugar in them so you might not need as much sugar syrup in something like an Amaretto sour as in a Whiskey Sour


Basically you need lemon or limes.

Buy them fresh, right now limes are dirt cheap and in Season.

As a rule of thumb when I go shopping I allow for 1 lemon or lime per drink.

The amount of juice that comes out of your fruit will vary but with that rule, in the worst case scenario you'll have enough for the drinks you planned.

Best case you will end up with more juice than you need and you get more cocktails!

Sugar Syrup

Make this yourself. Take whatever sugar you have and use the following recipe.

White/ Caster sugar is the best because your syrup will remain clear which won't affect the final colour of the drink.

If you use a dark sugar, your syrup and your final drink will end up darker. No big deal.


Boil your Kettle.

Get a saucepan

Measure 1 part sugar and 1 part boiling water (eg. 75g sugar and 75g water) and place on the heat.

It you don't have a scale use a shot glass and cold water (eg. 3 shots of sugar and 3 shots of water. If you try and measure shots of boiling waters it's not going to end well.

Keep and eye on it and stir give it a good stir. As soon as you see it start to boil take it off the heat. If necessary this can be used straight away but its better to let it cool.

Store in a jar or bottle in the fridge. This should last a week or so. You can add a splash if vodka to your syrup to extend the shelf life, but I'd suggest just making small batches.

If that sounds like a pain in the @$$ then pick up a bottle of Crawley's which is pretty much an industry standard for anyone not making their own, plus is an Aussie company.

Optional Extras

Egg White/ Aquafaba (Chickpea water) - This isn't as gross as it sounds and you won't be able to taste it. Egg whites are the way to go unless you're avoiding animal products. Just about any cocktail you've had with a lovely foamy head on it was made with egg white or Aqua faba, so give it a try yourself!

Bitters - If you do hit the bottle shop to stock up, grab a bottle of Angostura bitters. It lasts for ever and is basically seasoning for cocktails. Ango makes drinks taste better.



In a perfect world you would have 1 x Cocktail shaker, 1 Strainer, 1 fine strainer. 1 Jigger.

In a bodge-it quarantine world you might need to improvise. A jar or a protein shaker will work fine. When it comes to straining you're just going to have to work with what you got. Think about it like using a saucepan lid when you drain your pasta ;)

When it comes to measuring, THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!!. If you just pour random amounts into your shaker its not going to taste very good!. If you don't have a jigger, find a shot glass or an egg cup or anything around that size.

Cocktails are all about ratio's of ingredient so you should be able to get a well balanced drink improvising with one of these.


Quarantine Sour

60 ml any Spirit

20 ml Lemon/ Lime juice

15 ml Sugar Syrup


1/2 egg white or 15ml Aquafaba (recommended with Whiskey, Aperol, Campari and Amaretto)

2 dashes Angostura Bitters (recommended with Whiskey and Amaretto)

Add all of your ingredients to your shaker and fill it with Ice. Close it up and shake hard for 10 seconds.

If you have the equipment you could strain this into a chilled Martini or Coup Glass, or over fresh ice in a short Rocks glass.

If you're making this in mis matched Tupperware then just carefully dump the entire drink along with your ice into what ever glass you have to hand.


** Real Talk**

Garnishes make all the difference. It will improve the aroma and as a result the flavour of your drink along with making you feel a little bit fancy. It also looks way better on the 'gram.

A slice of what ever citrus you made your drink with is a good starting point. If you feel like supporting me then check out my dehydrated garnishes available in my online store. They have a long shelf life and have a way more concentrated flavour and aroma that a fresh alternative.

Best of luck

Stay home, stay safe.



Images courtesy of @bittersandtwists using @keepcalmandcocktail garnishes.

Disclaimer: This blog uses links to Dan Murphy's. Any purchases through these links will result in me earning a cheeky commission at no added expense to you I might add! I chose to work with Dan Murphy's as they have the best selection and the best prices that I have found in Australia. If you're not in a rush they also have excellent delivery service that i've used for 4 years. If its a Friday and you wan't a drink tonight, hit click and collect and pickup your order at your nearest store! If you choose to use these links, thank you for your support

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