Creative cocktail ideas to shake up a special event

If you’re looking for some cool, creative, cocktail ideas, we’re about to shake things up and add a splash of fun to the party.

When planning a big event, it’s easy to focus on food and forget about the importance of your drinks menu. However, if you want to impress your guests on the day, beer is unlikely to blow them away, and wine probably won’t wow them.

With that in mind, we’ve rounded up some of the latest, and most innovative trends in UK drinks industry. From infusing bourbon with bacon to twisting a traditional afternoon tea, here are some unique drink ideas to use for your special occasion.


Afternoon tea with a twist

If you’re serving an afternoon tea, why not spare the scones and save your tea bags for something a little more special? It turns out, tea doesn’t have to be served hot from the pot – it can actually be infused with sugar to give classic cold drinks a new lease of life.

UK cocktail and wine expert, Anthony Hogan, Bacardi BBFB, tells us how you can use leftover tea bags to create a sweet tea party treat. He said: “By leaving your used teabags in a batch of water for around 15 minutes, you can easily create a tea infused syrup to add to any drink you fancy.

“This is becoming increasingly popular, and can give a traditional tea party a fun twist. One of the most popular creations is the Earl Grey Tom Collins, which adds a new element to the much loved classic of gin, lemon juice, sugar, and soda.”

What you need (10 servings):

4 teabags

4 cups water

2 cups caster sugar


How to make it:

To create a tea infused syrup, simply infuse your teabags in hot water for around 20 minutes, then heat in a pan, adding sugar as you stir until you see a syrup begin to form.

Once you’re happy with the consistency, and the taste, take off the heat and leave to cool.

You can then use the syrup as an alternative to sugar in any cocktail you want to serve on the day.

Anthony added: “You don’t have to stick with English Breakfast or Earl Grey tea, as this also works with fruit teas, which would be perfect for a summer event.”

Why not try a green tea gin and tonic? Or a peppermint tea mojito? You don’t even have to boil the kettle.


I don’t want no shrubs

For those who want to keep things natural, organic, and free from artificial sugars and syrups, a shrub is a fruit-infused drinking vinegar that can be added to cocktails and mocktails for a tasty and refreshing twist.

When thinking of flavours for your shrub, watermelon and white wine vinegar work well together – especially when mixed with rum and ginger ale. Strawberry and balsamic vinegar are also a sweet, yet powerful combination of flavours.

Anthony said: “Shrubs are seasonal, so when thinking of unique combinations, remember, what grows together, goes together. If you’re having a winter event, blackberries and oranges will work best, however in the summer rhubarb and strawberries are sure to hit the sweet spot.”
Making a shrub is simple, and the best part? It has a shelf life of up to one year.

What you need (10 servings):

1 cup caster sugar

1 cup water

1 cup vinegar (of your choice)

2 cups of chopped fruit (of your choice)


How to make it:

To start, add equal parts of sugar and water to a saucepan, and heat and stir until the sugar dissolves.

Next, add berries or fruit and simmer until the fruit’s juice blends well into the syrup. Then let that mixture cool, before straining out the solids.
Finally, add the vinegar to the syrup, bottle it all up, and store in the fridge.

To make an alcohol cocktail with your shrub, add 100ml of the shrub to 50ml of alcohol, and top with soda. Serve in jam jars for a rustic finish.


Drink your dinner

If you want to create a hard hitting drink that’s sure to pack a punch – your guests will definitely feel this next idea. Perfect for poker nights, business events, or even as a night cap at the end of your party, fat washed cocktails will leave everyone hungry for more.

Fat washing, which is a method of infusing alcohol with meats, fats, and cheeses was brought to light by Don Lee, the creator of the famous Benson’s Old Fashioned cocktail, which uses bourbon infused with smokey bacon fat, and maple syrup.

The creation is meant to recreate the American breakfast of pancakes, bacon, and maple spirit – in liquid form. The popularity of the Benton’s cocktail led Lee to create the butter-based Cinema Highball, which is also one of the world’s most highly regarded drinks, made with butter infused rum and coca-cola.

Surprisingly, it’s not too hard to recreate Benson’s magic, however, if you’re hosting a large party you may need to do a few batches. Here’s how to make a Cinema Highball.

What you need (10 servings):

60ml of clarified butter

750ml of white rum

A bottle of coca-cola

How to make it:

Start by melting the butter over medium-low heat (do not brown), then combine the butter and rum in a nonreactive container and let sit at room temperature for 24 hours.

Next, stick the container in the freezer for 3 hours to solidify the butter.

Finally fine-strain, bottle, and serve with coca-cola and ice.



Although you might not want to say no to wine,  you can do more than simply stick a bottle of red on the table and let your guests help themselves. Why not use your wine to create something a little more exciting, and get your guests talking at the table?

Our drinks expert said: “Choosing wine for a large event is difficult as there are so many variations, and not everyone is going to like what you choose. By using the wine to create a fruity sangria, a mulled wine, or a summer cup, it will sweeten the taste and be easier for guests to enjoy.”

If you’re looking for an alternative to champagne, white sangria is a great way to go. Infusing a dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc with summer fruits like strawberries, peaches, and lemons can really bring out some stunning flavours. It’s quick, easy and cost-effective for larger events. Just be sure to add plenty of ice and spritz with lemonade to lighten the bite.

What you need:

100ml  apricot brandy

100ml peach schnapps

1 bottle white wine 750ml

2 oranges and 2 limes sliced

2 peaches pitted & sliced

200g strawberries halved

Soda, prosecco or gingerale

How to make it:

Making the sangria is simple – just combine brandy, peach schnapps and fruit, and finally the white wine.
Stir and refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

To serve, add fruit from the jug to the bottom of a glass. Fill 3/4 with sangria and top with club soda or prosecco or gingerale if you like it a little sweeter.


Barbados rum punch

Pulling off the perfect punch can be tricky, but we’ve got the secret. The word punch comes from the Indian word “panch” which means five – the five ingredients of sour, sweet, strong, weak, and spice.

To make creating a party punch even easier, there’s nifty a poem to help you get the perfect balance of flavour and strength: “One of sour, two of sweet, three of strong and four of weak, a dash of bitters and a sprinkle of spice, serve well chilled with plenty of ice.”

What you need (10 servings):

750ml Barbados rum (such as Mount Gay)

500ml sugar syrup

250ml lime juice

100ml bitters

Nutmeg to garnish

How to make it:

One of the most famous and delicious variations is the Caribbean punch, made using two parts aged Barbados rum (such as Mount Gay), one part lime juice, one part simple sugar syrup  (sugar and water) and one part angostura bitters.

The rum creates the strength, the sugar syrup brings sweetness, the lime adds a little sourness, and the bitters weakens the intensity. Grate some nutmeg over the top for a kick of spice, and you’ve got all five components for the perfect punch.

Simply add all the ingredients together and add to a large bowl.

To keep the punch cool, fill an empty ice cream tub with water and pop in the freezer over night for a huge ice cube that will melt slowly throughout the day.

Punches are ideal for large events, as they can be made in batches, and are easy to serve in large bowls with ladels.


Infuse it with a splash of you

If a punch isn’t what you want at your party, why not create a drink that reveals your personality – and give it a name guests will remember.

Personalised cocktails are great for weddings, and corporate parties, where values and themes can be reflected in the colours, ingredients, and presentation of drinks.

“Personalised drinks are popular at corporate events, where a brands colours can be brought to life in a signature drink. It’s also great for couples who want a drink to match their colour scheme, or create a meaningful name that showcases their love for one another in a unique way.”

Couples can opt to add embellishments to their signature drink, such as thank you notes, or flowers, whilst companies hosting business events can showcase their brand colours in an exciting and notable way.

There is no recipe for this cocktail as it’s all about you. Shaken or stirred, it’s a chance to add a dash of your dazzle and a splash of your soul.