The time for Sangria and Sea Breezes is over, my friends. As the nights draw in it's the whiskies, brandies and aged rums that join us by the fire. Here's a handful of recipes to help raise your spirits (and cocktail game) this winter.


1. Old Fashioned

Originally developed in the 19th century, this was a firm favourite in the 1960s and has been revived by its frequent appearances on TV in the hands of Don Draper, aka the "Mad Men effect".

• 1 tsp sugar
• 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
• Splash of water
• 50ml Bourbon
• Slice of orange and/or maraschino cherries to garnish.

Glass: Old Fashioned (of course)

Put sugar and a splash of water at the bottom of the glass, add the bitters and mush together with a muddler, back of a bar spoon, spare lipstick, whatever is to hand. Add lots of ice, pour over the whiskey, stir and serve with the fruit garnish.

Faff factor: **

Inapub verdict: Touted by bartenders as the "new Mojito" this one also taps into the trend for American whiskies and classic cocktails. A must have.


2. Whisky Sour

Forget lemonade — when life gives you lemons make whisky sours and plenty of them.

• 40ml whisky
• 20ml lemon juice
• 25ml sugar syrup

Glass: Rocks or Martini glass

Put everything in a cocktail shaker and shake it, shake it, shake it like a Polaroid picture (to get that signature foam on the top of the drink). Heeeyy yaaaaaaaah, hey yah...

Faff factor: ***

Inapub verdict: The great thing about this drink is that it's so easy to customise – change the base spirit, the kind of citrus you use and the garnish and you can easily make it your own version.


3. Irish Coffee

Nothing is irredeemably naff and certainly not this retro treat. Just make sure the ingredients are top-quality – instant coffee, cheap whiskey and synthetic cream will not a great drink make.

• 150ml hot black coffee
• 50ml double cream
• 2 tsp brown sugar
• 50ml Irish whiskey

Glass: Anything clear and heatproof with a handle or stem.

Gently whip the cream until it thickens but keep it of a pouring consistency. Pour hot, freshly brewed coffee over the sugar and whiskey into your serving glass and gently stir. Add the cream by pouring over the back of a spoon, so it sits on the top. Garnish with grated nutmeg if you wish.

Faff factor: ***

Inapub verdict: What's that you say — there's snow on the ground and it's two in the morning? We know what we're having...




4. Sazerac

Named after the brand of Cognac (Sazerac de Forge et Fils) that was originally used to make it, this is said to be one of the first cocktails ever created.

• Splash of Absinthe
• 50ml Cognac
• 12ml simple syrup
• 2 dashes Peychaud's Bitters
• 2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Glass: Old Fashioned

Take two Old Fashioned glasses (yes, two!) and splash absinthe into one of them. Swirl it around and tip it out (we know!) Put the other ingredients in the other glass with some ice, stir and then strain into the glass that has been "washed" with absinthe. Garnish with lemon peel, if you can be bothered after all that.

Faff factor: ****

Inapub verdict: On the surface of it two glasses and discarding absinthe might seem a touch decadent because, well, it is but isn't that what cocktails are about? Plus, it's super-easy to execute well.




5. Sidecar

It is said that this cocktail was invented during World War One and named after an American captain who liked to ride in a motorcycle sidecar. Others say that the name stems from the term bartenders use for left over booze they pour into shot glasses. We know which one we believe.

• 30ml brandy
• 30ml triple sec
• 25ml lemon juice

Glass: Martini

Put all of the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake it like a boss. Strain into a glass and serve.

Faff factor: ***

Inapub verdict: You do need a cocktail shaker for this one but otherwise it's a pretty simple drink to make and totally worth it. We could drink these until our faces melted.




6. Blood & Sand

At first glance the list of ingredients for this cocktail do not seem natural bedfellows but — as is the magic of cocktails — the finished drink is way tastier than its constituent parts might suggest.

• 20ml Scotch
• 20ml Cherry Heering
• 20ml sweet vermouth
• 25ml orange juice

Glass: Martini

Put all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Strain into the glass and garnish with orange peel
– flamed if you are feeling fancy.

Faff factor: ***

Inapub verdict: The ingredients read like a list of random bottles found at the back of the parental booze cabinet but it is one of the few classic cocktails made with Scotch, so it's well worth a go.




7. Dark 'n' Stormy

Hailing from Bermuda — the home of pastel-coloured office shorts and long socks — comes this easy-peasy cocktail, which is way more tasteful than the aforementioned Bermudian fashion faux pas.

• 60ml rum
• 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
• Ginger beer

Glass: Highball

Put rum in a glass filled with ice and top with ginger beer.

Faff factor: *

Inapub verdict: Strictly speaking this needs to be made with Goslings Black Seal rum, but you can substitute with another dark rum — it needs to be punchy though, and the ginger beer fiery. We like a bit of lime juice added into the mix too, for a slightly more complex taste, but don't tell any Bermudians. Shhh!




8. Mint Julep

Since the mania for "smokehouse" foods swept the nation Juleps, which also hail from the Deep South, have been popping up on drinks menus everywhere. If you're looking to add a note of authenticity use spearmint leaves.

• 2 sprigs fresh mint
• 15ml simple syrup
• 60ml Bourbon

Glass: A julep tin for authenticity, otherwise a highball will do it.

Muddle (bash) the mint leaves and sugar syrup together in the glass, fill with crushed ice and add the Bourbon. Stir and garnish with a sprig of mint.

Faff factor: ***

Inapub verdict: This one should be an easy sell — to borrow a technique from Amazon, if you like Mojitos, give this a try. Menu match with smoky ribs, hot chicken wings or meat straight off the barbecue for pure on-trend Americana.

Interested in upping your cocktail game? Here's 9 Goddamn amazing hacks.