Luxe up your evenings in

Jamie MacDonald, Diageo Reserve Brands World Class UK 2011 winner and current holder of the UK’s best bartender crown shares his top tips for making the perfect cocktail

We all love a good cocktail, lychee martinis are my poison and just about the only cocktail I can successfully make that has more than 2 ingredients!  To get some more inspiration we spoke to Jamie MacDonald currently the WORLD CLASS UK’s Best Bartender – who else!

Jamie has been in the hospitality industry for over 15 years. Three years ago he opened his own cocktail bar in Edinburgh called ‘The Raconteur’ and is currently in the process of opening another next month.

Here is Jamie’s recipe for the perfect cocktail and what another excellent use for your vintage champagne saucers.



Ingredients (2.9 units):

·         35 ml Ketel One vodka

·         15 ml Bénédictine

·         20 ml sweet Italian vermouth

·         7 ml Lagavulin 16 year-old whiskey

·         Dash of whiskey bitters

METHOD: Stir ingredients in a decanter with orange peel, cinnamon stick, vanilla pod and star anise. Strain, then serve over a sphere or block of ice.

Top tips for making the perfect cocktail

1.       Keep glassware in fridge before making drinks to ensure that it is nicely chilled


2.       Having great ice can make a real difference to a drink – not only does it cool the liquid, it creates a visual spectacle. To make sure that it’s perfect, a few days before you are planning to make a cocktail, boil the kettle and pour the water into plastic baking tubs. Put the tubs in the freezer for a couple of days. Just before you pour your drink, take the tubs out and smash up the ice


3.       Prepare any citrus juices or garnishes as you go along. Making them fresh will add a rich colour and flavour to the drink


4.       Try to use good quality spirits (I use Diageo Reserve brands like Ketel One Vodka and Johnnie Walker if you can. But also pay close attention to the quality of any liqueur you use as these add flavour and depth to a drink


5.       It sounds simple but taste the drink before you serve it. Chances are if you like it, your guest will too


Jamie runs the Raconteur bar in Edinburgh and is supporting this year’s Diageo Reserve Brands World Class 2012 competition to find the world’s best bartender.