How to make your favourite cocktails at home like a bartender - according to First Dates' Merlin Griffiths

Luxury tonic brand, The London Essence Company, has partnered with TV bartender, Merlin Griffiths, from First Dates, to gives ideas and tips for how to bring the pub to you and make your favourite cocktails at home. Here's what he recommends.

Chill your glass

Whether you like your drink short and strong, long and loose, or in the ever-popular balloon glass, a chilled glass looks good and keeps your drink colder for longer. If you have the space, keep it in the fridge but for the best result, pop the glass in the freezer for 20 minutes before serving.

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The more ice the better

Using ice does not water your drink down but instead keeps it colder for longer. Grab yourself an old ice cream tub and fill with water. Once frozen, get a large lump of ice, wrap it up in a clean tea towel and give it a whack for a large piece of ice for your drinks. If you’re feeling extra creative, freeze water directly in the glass (about a third) and pour your drink on top.

Fruit zests

Bartenders love fruit zests because the skin contains a massive amount of aromatic oils. Simply take a knife, and cut down the edge of the fruit, skin the pith from the back and trim the edges. Gently twist over the top of the drink to get the flavour and then put the rest of the zest in the drink as a beautiful garnish.

Simple twists

Get creative with cocktails and add a little twist to your go-to drinks. Rather than a stand-alone prosecco, consider sprucing it up by topping with a flavoured soda, such as the White Peach & Jasmine Crafted Soda from The London Essence Company (roughly half and half in measure). Add ice and a grapefruit zest garnish to finish it off. A simple yet delicious twist on a classic tipple, perfect for lighter drinking.

Charity donation

With social distancing measures in place, the hospitality industry has been one of the hardest hit in regards to lost revenue, and will also be one of the last to fully emerge from lockdown. Recent figures also show that 10 per cent of industry professionals are now left out of work due to Covid-19, with a forecast of one million jobs at risk if the current climate continues.

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With this in mind, London Essence is also inviting the UK to protect the drinks industry by donating £10 to The Drinks Trust by texting ‘CHEERS2U’ to 70212. Those who donate will be given the chance to win a year’s supply of London Essence to make delicious drinks from the comfort of their own home.

London Essence has kickstarted fundraising efforts by pledging £10,000, as well as 10 per cent of every sale from The Whisky Exchange. This and further consumer donations will contribute to The Drinks Trust Wellbeing Initiative.

The initiative supports industry professionals to live healthy lives via counselling and other therapies; especially important in these times of uncertainty, isolation and distance from an otherwise social and community-orientated industry.