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Why Duty Free Is The Best Place to Buy Your Summer Cocktail Ingredients


As we approach the humid heights of summer, thoughts turn to cool pools, languid afternoons, and long drinks sipped slowly. Of course, you could head to the nearest rooftop bar for this, or you could try your hand at making your own cocktails. It’s surprisingly simple – and unsurprisingly cost-effective.

Just stock up on booze the next time you’re passing through duty free, pick up any fresh fruits you need on the day, and make sure you have the basic equipment at home. According to GQ, that bastion of style and taste, there are only “six tools you need to make drinks, and none should come with batteries.” These are: a Parisian shaker, a mixing glass, a strainer, a jigger with one-ounce and two-ounce sides and a stirring spoon. Oh, and a decent paring knife for all that citrus you’ll be handling.

Your home bar should already be stocked with a core collection of whiskey, gin, vodka, and rum, but the beauty of shopping duty free is that you can afford to go a little off-piste. Coconut rum? Sure, why not. A bottle of absinthe? Well, it wouldn’t be a party without one. What’s more, distillers quite often create exclusive expressions for duty free, so it’s the perfect opportunity to unleash your inner bar nerd (or impress one you know).

Once you’re home, take inspiration from our print-out-and-keep list of summer cocktails that you can make, with nary a tiny umbrella in sight. Enjoy.

Handy Hints

To muddle simply means ‘to mix’. A bartender would likely do this with a muddler, but if you don’t have one, the blunt end of an ice cream scoop or cooking utensil will do the job just as well. Crush the fruit (or herbs) against the ice, until it has broken down, allowing it to mix evenly throughout your drink.

For the best citrus peel twists, always use unwaxed fruit. The easiest way to get a nice strip, is to use a vegetable peeler, following the natural curve of the fruit. Alternatively, firmly but carefully run closed scissors along the pith side of the peel and it should curl up nicely.

Tess Harold
written by: Tess Harold
Born in Hong Kong, Tess currently lives in London where she is Editor at PretAirporter. Over the course of her career, she has worked for the likes of Stylist, The Telegraph, Prestige Hong Kong, Asia Spa and Harper’s Bazaar UK.