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Wednesday 29 November 2023 Dublin: 2°C
Shaken Not Stirred

7 Irish bartenders share the off-duty cocktails they make at home

Not a sprig of rosemary in sight.

HAVE YOU EVER seen a bartender making a fancy cocktail and thought, ‘God, I wish I could do that?’

Well, now you can – and you don’t need a fancy smoke machine or any bottle-throwing skills, either.

We asked some of the country’s top bartenders for them cocktail recipes they turn to most often when they’re at home and off the clock, whether they’re horizontal on the couch or enjoying a few after dinner drinks.

Have a read and get practicing your best James Bond impression.

1. David McConvey, Zozimus

I usually like to finish a long night’s work with a nice whiskey when I get home, but if I’m entertaining friends or in the mood for a cocktail, I’ll whip something special up.

I like classic cocktails of bygone eras, which are usually quite simple to make due to the ingredients available in the era they were conceived.

My favourite is a gin-based Tom Collins. It’s tall, refreshing, very simple to make and it also suits the majority of people’s tastes.


  • 50 mls of Old Tom-style gin (or whatever gin you have in the back of your cabinet)
  • 20 mls of lemon juice
  • 20 mls of sugar syrup (2 parts sugar: 1 part water, reduced down to a syrup in a pot on the stove and left to cool)

Stirred and served over ice and topped up with soda water. You can garnish with a lemon slice, mint sprig, cherry or whatever you feel like.

You can also get inventive if you like by muddling cucumber or raspberries into the mix.

2. Andrew Ennis, Peruke & Periwig

If I’m making drinks at home, I try to keep it simple as possible, with minimum effort required.

I love Irish whiskey and old fashioned-style cocktails. I’d generally reach for Powers Gold Irish Whiskey and some Benedictine, a beautifully complex French honey-based herbal liqueur that emphasises a lot of the character of the whiskey while adding body to the final drink.

When combined, this creates an Irish Old Fashioned. I would serve this in a rocks glass/tumbler filled with ice. Use a good quality ice tray that will make big cubes.


  • A couple of dashes of aromatic bitters
  • 60ml of Powers Gold Irish Whiskey (Just over three tablespoons)
  • 20ml of Benedictine (Just over a full tablespoon)

Pour over the ice, stir briefly, and garnish with a twist of lemon or orange peel, whatever you have at hand. Sláinte!

3. Carl Dalton, Cask

I live by the sea, so dillisk seaweed is a stone’s throw away. A lot easier than a trip to the supermarket when a thirst hits me!

This drink is a medley of smoke, salt and minerality, giving you an umami flavour, finished with a kick from the citrus oils.


  • 40mls Talisker 10 scotch
  • 20mls Mancino Bianco vermouth
  • 7.5mls of my smoked seaweed syrup*
  • 1 gram dried Dillisk seaweed

Stirred down over ice. Garnish with a grapefruit twist. Served straight up in a champagne coupe.

*To make seaweed syrup, add 500g sugar to 500mls hot water. Dissolve sugar in the hot water and add 2 grams of wakame seaweed. (Can be bought in any SuperValu or health food store. Let the mixture cool, then strain and bottle. 

4. Karim Mehdi, The Exchequer

At home I love making myself an Old Fashioned using whatever spirit I have to hand. The reason is that I can sit on the sofa bingeing on a show or watching a movie while making it, with no fancy equipment that reminds me of work.


  • A brown spirit ( I personally love rum so I always have a few bottles at home but you can use Irish whiskey bourbon or any other of your favourite brown spirits)
  • Bitters
  • Sugar (unrefined is best)
  • Ice

Sit down comfortably. Turn on your favourite show or movie. Grab your glass. Add 2 spoons sugar and a couple of dashes of bitters. Mix bitters and sugar. Add a couple of ice cubes and stir for a minute. Add about 20ml of your favourite brown sprit. (Just eyeball it. You are at home, nobody’s watching).

Stir for a minute. Add more ice and more spirit. Repeat last two steps until glass is full. Add an orange or lemon zest on top (lemon works great with rum).

5. Darren Geraghty, The Candlelight Bar

My general favorite go to drink at home is a Negroni, a bitter three-part wonder. A classic Italian marvel. With so much amazing Irish fare on offer, it’d be rude not to use Irish gin. I love this drink for its robust explorative nature.


  • 30ml Glendalough Wild Botanical gin
  • 30ml sweet vermouth
  • 30ml Campari

Add all ingredients to a glass over ice and stir with cautious vigour.

The classic garnish is fresh orange slices. I add an extra orange zest over the top, to add extra oils to lift the drink to new levels.

6. Darren Costello, Bow Lane

When making cocktails at home, my drink choice is entirely dependent on the situation I find myself in. After a long shift, I will usually go for a simple Rum Old Fashioned.

If myself and my wife are enjoying a cocktail after dinner then it may get a little more advanced with an Espresso Martini or Aviation.


Rum Old Fashioned

  • 60ml Bacardi 8 Year Old
  • 15ml brown sugar syrup (2:1 demerara sugar/water)
  • 1 dash plain bitters
  • 1 dash orange bitters

Stir all ingredients over ice. Garnish with an orange twist

Espresso Martini

  • 35ml vodka
  • 20ml espresso liqueur (Illy make a great espresso liqueur, Kahlua will do in a pinch)
  • 15ml vanilla sugar syrup (2:1 Vanilla Sugar/water)
  • Double espresso

Shake all ingredients with ice and double strain into a chilled martini glass/champagne coupe


  • 40ml gin
  • 15ml Maraschino liqueur
  • 10ml Violette liqueur
  • 30ml lemon juice

Shake all ingredients with ice and double strain into a chilled martini glass/champagne coupe.

7. Tom O’Brien, The Bartender Project

A simple, great cocktail is the Dark’n'Stormy. It’s a rum-based drink with fresh lime juice and ginger beer.

  • 50ml gold (or dark) rum
  • Ginger beer (recommended ginger beer – Jamaican Ginger Beer)
  • Lime wedge

To prepare the drink, simply add ice to your glass and then add each ingredient to the glass starting with the rum.

More Culture: 25 of the best bars in Ireland… according to people who work in bars

More Culture: 3 Irish spots serving genuinely tasty late-night food

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