Advice on cocktails from the usual mojitos to exciting drinks from the East...!ODESSA CHITTY FOR VARSITY

The Varsity team gives their wisdom on the exciting world of cocktails and mocktails to suit any taste and occasion. Whether you’re looking for something quick and easy, or are feeling slightly more adventurous, there should be something here for you to welcome the warmer months!

Isabel Sebode

Sitting outside a bar during the summer, drinking frozen margaritas after a day of work has always been how I imagined my future. Now, in uni accommodation without any fancy equipment that could possibly blend ice, a normal margarita will have to make do. Nonetheless, I love to spice these up by adding different fruits or fruit juice (frozen raspberries, pineapple juice, cranberry juice – you get the idea).

For two cocktails:

  • 2 shots of tequila
  • 2 shots of triple sec
  • 2 shots of lime juice
  • However much fruit juice you want
  • a tiny bit of sugar syrup!
  • add some crushed ice


Alex Jarvis

My extensive experience as mocktail expert at the bar during my week at the Peak scout camp has set me up in good stead for this moment – my go-to cocktail of choice is often a virgin mojito (or now, many years on, perhaps even a proper one).

"Enjoy, but don’t say I didn’t warn you..!"Odessa Chitty for Varsity

To make the non-alcoholic version, you need nothing more than sugar and mint leaves, which you muddle (smush them until they’re nicely mixed in) together in the bottom of the glass or in a bowl before transferring it across. Add ice, lime juice and ginger beer (the spicier the better) to each glass, along with the mint and sugar, and you’re well set.

The friendlier alcoholic version is really similar; this time, though, mix the lime juice along with the sugar and mint. Add that to a glass with some ice, and top with white rum. I tend to go with my heart on the quantities, but the BBC recommends 60ml. Top up with soda water or, for a kick, ginger beer. It's very easy to drink a couple of these, so be warned! Change it up between alcoholic and non-alcoholic every once in a while; the mint and ginger beer makes this a tasty mocktail for any occasion.

A quick, (not so) pro-tip: if you’re going all-out and using a shaker, remember not to add carbonated drinks at this stage. It has to be said.

Charlotte Holah

The French 75

I first came across this cocktail in preparation for New Year’s Eve, determined that I would enjoy the night despite spending it with my family for the first time in years. Unsurprisingly, this one comes from TikTok, but a quick Google tells me this cocktail is actually over 100 years old! Like most things that look fancier than they are, it comes from France, and since December it’s become one of my favourite drinks. 

  • 30ml gin
  • 15ml lemon
  • 15ml sugar
  • Ice to shake
  • Sparkling wine to top

Simply add 30ml of your favourite gin (I use pink to make the cocktail extra glamorous), 15ml of lemon juice and 15ml of sugar syrup (just dissolve sugar in hot water in a 2:1 ratio) to a cocktail shaker then shake with ice. When it’s all combined, pour the pink mixture into a champagne flute and top off with a sparkling wine of your choice! (The cheapest Sainsbury’s own cava usually works for me). It’s a sweet cocktail, but the lemon balances out the sugar and it’s unnervingly easy to drink quite a few of these in a night. Enjoy, but don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Yan-Yi Lee

A Taste of the Far East in Cocktails

Margaritas, Mojitos, Cuba Libres, Sidecars, Sex on the Beach- It isn’t difficult to realize that the main cocktails on bar menus today originate from the West. So does the East have anything to contribute to the fast-evolving world of cocktails?

Absolutely! Unconventional as it may seem, a mixture of teas and herbs native to East Asia gives a liqueur-based cocktail a whole new personality! Those who have oolong tea lying on their shelves should try these delicious drinks with the ‘building’ method (no shaking – just pop the ice into a highball glass, add ingredients in order, and stir gently):

Cassis oolong: 45 ml cassis liqueur + 120 ml oolong tea.


Mountain View

Coffee, Wine, and All Things Fine

Shoyojurin: 45 ml green tea liqueur + 120 ml oolong tea. (Come to think of it, green tea liqueur might go well with mulberry tea as well).

These easy recipes are an absolute delight for busy party hosts! If you’ve got more time and would like to try something harder and fancier, there is always the bold cocktail made of loquat paste – a typical syrup to cure coughs in East Asia (sure, it may be bizarre to add medicine into a cocktail, but traditionally absinthe and other spirits were used as medicine as well!):

Black Pipa (黑面琵琶): in a Boston shaker, put in some ice along with 30 ml of brandy, 15 ml of fresh lemon juice, 10 ml of almond liqueur and 12 ml of loquat paste. Shake the ingredients together. In a whiskey glass, add 15 ml of ginger liqueur and big ice cubes. Filter all that’s in the Boston shaker into the whiskey glass, and there you have it!