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Here’s everything you need to throw a fabulous soirée. (PS: did you know that London Cocktail week is coming up in October?)…

Bar carts are the hottest thing around right now (I’m gonna go ahead and credit Don Draper for reviving this trend). Not only are they instantly welcoming, they are super versatile and can transform even the smallest nook with a dose of cosy glam. Accessorise with a lamp, the odd plant, and a luxe tray to house a collection of your favourite spirits. Nailed!

Personally I plump for a small but well stocked bar – a good gin, tequila, vodka, white rum and a woody bourbon will have you covered. Throw in some bitters and the odd aperitif drink like Campari, and you’re there.

Finger food and dips are the perfect easy accompaniment to a good cocktail. Prosciutto-wrapped persimmons, shrimp with spicy mayo, hummus dip, and broad bean and feta bruschetta are my favourite nibbles. Nice.

A mix of uptempo jazzy instrumental tunes and some classics are the name of the game, like:

I discovered my latest cocktail obsession on a recent trip to Shanghai. It’s called a Thai Zeed and it’s AHmazing. Refreshing, zingy, with a hint of the tropics and a good spicy kick… what’s not to love? To make your own you’ll need some great quality vodka (I’m reliably informed that Bison or Ketel One are good ones) blended with coconut water and half a shot of lemon juice. Pour over plenty of ice, add lime salt around the rim, garnish with a chilli and swig. Voila! Oh, and if you’re ever in Shanghai the Lost Heaven restaurant serves Thai Zeeds at their very best.

Shop my cocktail hour essentials…


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