Tag Archives: cocktail

Cocktails O’Clock: 5 cocktails that use Monin’s Spicy Syrup…

Monin, the coffee/cocktail syrup experts, sent me some samples way back when and using those samples I got to try some of the cocktails I’ve always wanted to try but never had the chance.

The last post based around a Monin syrup was my 6 ways to use Monin’s Falernum. It is made up with predominantly tiki style cocktails and features some of my new tiki mugs (hurrah).

This post has a slightly different feel because unlike the falernum syrup used in my last one, Monin’s Spicy Syrup is less floral and has an earthier feel to the spice. With cinnamon flavours prominent, I tried to blend this syrup into a variety of already established cocktails, simply to see if the syrup was as versatile as I hoped. Whilst some experiments inevitably fail, below you will find 5 cocktail recipes that I believe make use of this Spicy syrup in a very versatile, yet remarkably subtle way.

Although this syrup is not spicy in the traditional [hot] sense, it does have a subtle aromatic spice to it. It comes across more as an autumn/winter seasonal spicy flavour. This works perfectly for me because this syrup’s subtle flavour is easier to blend seamlessly into a flavourful cocktail recipe. I also have a low tolerance for hot spice so I’m happy I can try all these recipes personally.

Life On The Beach

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Recipe:

2 measures Vodka

1 measure pineapple juice

½ measure spicy syrup

½ measure lime juice

2 pineapple chunks

Garnish: pineapple chunk and lime wedge

Method:

  • Muddle pineapple chunks with lime juice and syrup.
  • Add crushed ice, then vodka.
  • Stir well.
  • Add pineapple juice and top with ice.
  • Stir once more and garnish before serving.

Kickback Mule

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Recipe:

2 measures rum

¾ measure lime juice

1 measure spicy syrup

Top up ginger ale

Garnish: mint and lime wedge.

Method:

  • Build the first 3 ingredients over ice.
  • Stir and top up with ginger ale.
  • Garnish and serve with a straw.

Gin and Bear it…

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Recipe:

2 measures Gin

½ measure blackcurrant liqueur

1 measure Lemon juice

¾ measure spicy syrup

Method:

  • Combine the gin, lemon juice, and spicy syrup in a shaker with ice and shake well (for around 10 seconds).
  • Strain into a well-chilled, crushed ice-filled, rocks glass.
  • Layer the blackcurrant liqueur on top and garnish with a lemon wedge.
  • Serve with a straw.

Algonquin Firehouse

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Recipe:

1 ½ measures rye whisky

¾ measure vermouth

¾ measure pineapple (or orange juice)

½ measure spicy syrup

Method:

  • Combine over ice in a shaker and shake well for about 10 seconds (until the tin ices over).
  • Strain into a martini style glass.
  • Garnish with a pineapple wedge or orange slice (match the juice used).

Fervent Shaker Top Tip:

This cocktail works well regardless of the juice used. The only difference in flavour comes through the tropical vibe of the pineapple. Using pineapple will refresh those hot, bothersome days; whereas orange juice is perfect for those cold evenings when you need a warming elixir.

Spicy Melon Balls (serves 2)

Recipe:

1 measure spicy syrup

4 measure Midori

2 measure vodka

Top up fresh pineapple juice

Garnish: Skewered melon balls

Method:

  • Combine the Midori, vodka in a cocktail glass, over ice.
  • Top up with the pineapple juice and garnish with the skewered melon balls.

So there you have 5 cocktail recipes that, I think, make good use of Monin’s Spicy Syrup. They are not original recipes; they are tweaks of cocktails that already exist. This was done to try and showcase the versatility of such a product, especially with the unconvincing stance held by many in response to the rise in popularity of spicy cocktails.

Monin has a vast array of flavoured syrups at their disposal and as a cocktail imbiber, I am always interested in trying out new and novel syrups! My favourite simply has to be this Falernum, although their Hibiscus syrup is a truly inspirational. You can purchase Monin syrups from a wide variety of outlets but click here for more information!

As always this post has been a culmination of cocktail recipes and my own opinions. Whilst the syrups were supplied by Monin themselves [as free samples], they hold no sway over my opinions.

If you’ve tried Monin’s Spicy syrup in a cocktail you liked (or disliked), why not share it in the comments below? Or let me know what your favourite flavour syrup is!

3 Paloma cocktails to restore your Faith in Tequila…

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If I had a £1/$1 for every time someone told me how much they dislike Tequila, I’d have retired and lived happily ever after in my grand-cabin the woodlands of Arizona.


As it is, I don’t get a single penny – which really does make it hard to listen too. Tequila has a bit of a bad rap and, whilst this is slowly being repaired by some of the artisan brands out there, it still needs a little helping hand to get people falling in love with it.

The biggest hurdle is that of the ‘cheap’ brands creating below-par tequila with shots and heavily mixed drinks the aim. To avoid any uneasy feelings by naming those brands, let’s just say anything less than 100% agave is considered by this blog to be ‘below par’.

The best way to get over the hurdles surrounding Tequila is to share the best ways to re-introduce yourself to this earthy and unique spirit. Tequila is, in my opinion, always a difficult spirit to simply sip. Whilst there are brands that specialise in ‘sipping’ quality tequilas, I am not a straight drinker and prefer my spirits lightly mixed into long summer-perfect drinks. Think about the Mule category for a snapshot of my preferences.

So, when it comes to tequila, what is the best way to mix it so you can really enjoy its complex flavour? Yes, there are literally hundreds of cocktails out there that contain tequila, some are classic (for good reason) and others are, at best, dreadful. All too often these ‘poorly created’ cocktails add to the stigma around the spirit.

The best way, by far, is the cocktail known as the Paloma. I’ve written a few posts that have included Paloma recipes before, and it is my favourite cocktail containing Tequila. A lot of people prefer a margarita but I find it to be a little savoury and have had far too many bad margaritas for my own liking.

All you need for a Paloma is 3 things: Tequila, Grapefruit Soda, and Lime.

There are more complex recipes out there, and the 3 recipes I want to share with you will show the differences between easy, medium, and difficult recipes.

The tequilas used are all high quality and whilst you can choose your own brands please try to make sure whatever Tequila you buy is 100% agave. Click here to find out why this is important.

Scroll down for the 3 recipes that I believe, will restore your faith in Tequila…

 

Easy – Paloma

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Recipe:

50ml Ocho Tequila

12.5m Lime Juice

125ml Grapefruit soda

Method:

  • Build the ingredients over ice in a tall Collins glass.
  • Top up with the grapefruit soda, swizzle and top with more ice.
  • Garnish with a lime wedge/wheel or some zest peelings.

 

Medium – Paloma

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Recipe:

50ml Aqua Riva Reposado Tequila

25ml grapefruit juice

15ml grapefruit syrup

Top up soda water

Method:

  • Combine the juice, syrup, and tequila in an ice-filled cocktail shaker and shake well. Around 10-15 seconds should do it.
  • Strain into a tall ice-filled glass and top with the club soda.
  • Garnish with a lime wheel/wedge or a selection of zest peelings.

 

Difficult – Paloma

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Recipe:

50ml Patron Blanco Tequila

15 ml sugar syrup

15 ml fresh lime juice

25ml fresh grapefruit juice

Top up sparkling mineral water

1 lime wedge

Salt

1 lime wedge / zest peel, for garnish

 

Method:

  • Optional: Moisten the rim of a tall glass with a cut lime wedge and dip into a fine salt powder.
  • In an ice-filled shaker, combine the tequila, sugar syrup, fruit juices and shake well. For around 10-15 seconds – until the shaker tin ices over.
  • Strain into your ice-filled serving glass (the one you garnished with a salt rim earlier).
  • Top up with the mineral water and garnish with a lime wedge or zest peel.

Easy – This is a basic Paloma cocktail. Combining lime juice, tequila, and grapefruit soda; this cocktail is simple yet highly effective at giving you a new found liking for the quality tequila you use.

Medium – This is a slightly more difficult recipe in that it involves a home-made grapefruit sugar syrup (the recipe can be found here). This version of the Paloma is slightly heavier on the grapefruit’s bitterness but is counterbalanced by the sweetness of the sugar and dryness of the soda water. This cocktail brings together a rather more complicated version of a simplified cocktail and delivers a higher depth in flavour for a little extra work. This cocktail is, by far, full of more flavour than its simplified form.

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Difficult: This is where the Paloma cocktail really comes into its own. Once broken down into its many parts, this cocktail can become a thing of true magnificence. Combining a home-made sugar syrup with one of the best tequila’s on the market (not merely opinion, but fact) and by using sparkling mineral water [instead of soda water] this cocktail is elevated from simple pleasure to a true summer evening delight.

The difficult recipe is by far my favourite version of this cocktail [so far]. I love its increased flavour profile, the quality of the tequila is outstanding and to top it all off, the use of mineral water adds to the earthy feel of this long, sweet summer cocktail.

I hope this post has helped you resume your potential love affair with, tequila. Tequila truly is a stunning spirit that has so much to offer. It’s versatile and with so many high-quality brands now available, it would be blasphemous not to give it a second chance!

I trust these 3 Paloma recipes have restored your Faith in Tequila and with luck, you’ll be drinking a lot more of it in the future!

What’s your favourite Tequila cocktail? Do you have a preferred straight drinking tequila? Why not leave a comment below and help me spread the word: Tequila isn’t all bad!

The Fervent Shaker: On being published

I’m now a published writer! Congratulations to me!


This month marks a very important moment for myself and this blog. As of June 1st, 2016 I am officially a published cocktail writer. Thanks to Sainsbury’s Magazine.

In this month’s issue, I have a two-page feature on summer drinks. These include 6 drinks, 3 alcoholic & 3 non-alcoholic – all of which are my own recipes!

The recipes include a non-alcoholic Ice tea, a beachside-themed rum cocktail, and several others.

The picture below show all the colourful cocktails and their recipes. But if you want to really enjoy these drinks, you should head on down to your local Sainsbury’s and get your very own copy. The Magazine is only £2 and inside you’ll find an abundance of food and drink recipes.

 

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Left to Right: Beachside Rumba, Green Breeze, Berry-Basil Frosty, Ice & Peachy, Gin Cooler, Summer Lake Punch, Strawberry-Mint Mimosa.

 

Most importantly, though, you’ll find my recipes on pages 82-83!

I’m extremely proud of this as it shows that you can make it if you keep trying. Never give up and you’ll eventually reap the rewards of doing something you’re so very proud of!

In other news, I’m working on some spicy cocktail posts just in time for BBQ season and also working with a PR rep over at Monin to bring you all some posts that include some of their new products, as well as some of their lesser-known products… Keep your eyes peeled!

Cointreau – Revisited

I wrote a plethora of posts about Cointreau in my very first year of blogging, and even revisited the spirit when I attended a garden party back in 2013, further to that I also wrote a collection of summer cocktails themed on the orange beauty of a spirit.

Those posts have held their own with the latter mentioned consistently hitting high daily views. Because of this I thought I’d revisit one of my favourite liqueurs once more. This time I’ll share several collections of cocktails that are based on, or use as a focus, Cointreau.

With this post, I’ll aim to look at several original Cointreau cocktails, the new collection of Cointreau official cocktails, new summer cocktails, Cointreau classic cocktails, as well as a few little single recipe posts.

So with the above in mind, let’s look at 3 original, or different, Cointreau cocktails…

winter sun cocktail

1. Winter Sun Cocktail

Recipe:

45ml vodka

15ml Cointreau

60ml Clementine Juice

15ml Fresh Lemon Juice

Garnish: Sprig of Rosemary, Lemon Zest & Sugar

Method:

  • Moisten the rim of a large rocks glass with the lemon.
  • Grate the zest of a lemon into some sugar and mix. Upturn the glass and dip into the lemon sugar to garnish the glass.
  • Fill the glass with ice, add the ingredients and stir well.
  • Garnish, finally, with the rosemary sprig.

awaiting grace

2. Awaiting Grace

Recipe:

25ml Cointreau

50ml Absolut Vanilla

1 Tsp Brown Sugar

Top up Cloudy Apple Juice

5 basil leaves

Method:

  • Muddle the basil with the sugar in the bottom of a Collins glass.
  • Add a lime wedge and pour in the spirits.
  • Add ice and stir well.
  • Top up with the apple juice.
  • Stir once more and serve with a straw.

bourbonsidecar

3. Bourbon Sidecar

Recipe:

1m Cointreau

1m Lemon Juice

2m Bourbon

Method:

  • Shake ingredients, for around 10-15 seconds, over ice.
  • Strain into a well-chilled rocks glass.
  • Garnish with a lemon twist.

Offers! – Rum and Sunshine!

So another week on, and another offer from the drink shop.

They currently have offers on all of their rums! Anyone who knows me knows that I love a good rum. Seriously, I love rum; So this offer is like catnip to me.

Whether you love a ‘Blanco’ white rum in your Mojito, or an Anejo dark rum in your Cuban – there’s bound to be a rum you love on this list. Not to mention you might find a rum you’ve never tried before!!!

So why not check out the offers, grab a bargain or two and chill this Easter! I know I will be!

Check out the offers page right here!

And when you get your new bottle why not try out this cocktail full of sunshine:

My Sharona

My Sharona

Recipe:

6 Raspberries

50ml Rum

25ml Lemon Juice

12.5ml Agave Nectar

75ml Ginger beer

Method:

  • Muddle Raspberries in a mixing glass.
  • Add the Rum, Lemon Juice, and Agave Nectar.
  • Shake well for around 10-15 seconds.
  • Strain into an ice-filled glass and top with Ginger Ale.
  • Garnish with a lemon twist.

Just in Thyme: A Simple Syrup

I don’t usually post syrup style recipes on here but, due to a request for the thyme syrup used in my previous post, I thought I’d make an exception.

This is one of the more fragrant syrups out there and you need to be careful how much thyme you use. the best thing to do is to start with 2 sprigs and add more if you want more flavour…

thyme syrup

Fresh Thyme Simple Syrup

500g Sugar

500ml Water

2-5 sprigs Fresh Thyme

Method:

  • Stir water and sugar together in a non-stick saucepan over a low heat until the sugar dissolves.
  • Let simmer for 2 minutes – DO NOT boil.
  • Gently rub the thyme with your hands as you drop it into the syrup.
  • Once the thyme is added, remove pan from the heat.
  • Let steep for 10 minutes.
  • Strain into a sterilised jar with a fine strain.
  • Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

March Cocktails: 3 For Spring

It’s March… The month of my birth, the peak of spring, and the start of the summer solstice. I thought I’d start my return to this blog with some classic ‘me’ cocktail. So below you’ll find 3 long, fruity and rather gorgeous looking cocktails. All of which will naturally be sweet.

I have been looking for a cocktail that really matches how I’m feeling this march. I’ve been off alcohol for so long that I just want something to really hit home. I looked for cocktails with a well-balanced yet complicated cacophony of flavours and, where possible, cocktails that had a little something special.

I eventually settled for a Tropical Tequila Cocktail: The White Peach Tequila Cocktail, a Pisco sour flavoured with thyme: The Pisco Thyme, and finally a favourite I’ve yearned to make myself: The Canon Cocktail.


 

Cocktail #1: White Peach Tequila Cocktail

white peach tequila cocktail

Recipe:

2 ripe white peaches

60ml silver tequila

60ml peach liqueur

60ml lime juice

2 tbsp. sugar syrup

Garnish: Sliced Peaches & mint sprigs.

 

Method:

  • Pit, peel, and chop the peaches before blending them and then sieving the puree into a bowl.
  • Combine the puree, and all other ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
  • Serve over ice in a large rocks glass and garnish with the sliced peach and mint sprig.

pisco thyme

Cocktail #2: Pisco Thyme

 

Recipe:

60ml Pisco

30ml Lime Juice

30ml Thyme Simple Syrup

Method:

  • Shake all ingredients over ice until well chilled. Around 20seconds.
  • Double strain cocktail into a coupe glass and garnish with a sprig of thyme.

 


 

Cocktail #3: The Canon Cocktail

jamie boudreau canon cocktail

Recipe:

1 measure Rye Whisky

½ measure sweet vermouth

½ measure Ramazzotti Amaro

Cointreau Foam

Bitter Truth old time aromatic bitters

Method:

  • Stir first 3 ingredients over ice.
  • Strain into a chilled rock glass and top with a Cointreau Foam
  • Using a dropper, place a few drops of bitters on top of the foam.

This final cocktail is the signature cocktail of the Canon Bar, Seattle. Canon is a bar owned and run by a legend in the bartending world: Jamie Boudreau. It’s a great cocktail I’ve always wanted to try. Sure it’s a whisky cocktail, and whisky is not my favourite, but this Manhattan-old fashioned style hybrid cocktail really has an air of class about it.

To give some idea of how the legend himself makes this cocktail please refer to the attached video below:

Offers! – Gin & Gimlets

I know that it may have been noted that in the recent few months I’ve not really posted much content.

That’s due to some personal circumstances that do not belong on this website. Bar any awful reoccurrence that is now behind me, which thankfully means I can get back to writing for this blog!

My return to this blog after a momentary lapse has come at the perfect time seeing as I’ll be visiting London at the end of the month. During my time I’ll be visiting a shortlist of cocktail bars I’ve always wanted to visit. I’ll also be popping into a few others within a reasonable distance of my hotel.

I’ll obviously be making an event of this and will be sharing pictures via Instagram and twitter. So if you’re looking to follow me please do! There are links in the drop down menu located on the homepage.

For now, at least, let me share with you the latest offer over at The Drink Shop: GIN!

Gin is awesome and is one of the big spirits (alongside Rum, Vodka etc.) and, whilst not #1 on my spirit list, it is an irreplaceable ingredient in several classic cocktails including the Gimlet.

The gimlet is a fantastically simple blend of Gin, Lime Juice and Sugar Syrup.

Using the Gimlet recipe below, and the link supplied here, why not try out that gin you’ve always wanted to try or were intrigued by?

I personally prefer a fragrant gin like Hendricks or Sipsmith – both of which can be found on the offers page!

Cocktails O’clock: The Gimlet

classic gimlet

Recipe:

2.5 measures Gin

0.5 measures Lime Juice

0.5 measures Sugar Syrup (2:1 ratio)

Method:

  • Combine ingredient in a cocktail shaker and shake well.
  • Strain into an old fashioned glass filled with fresh ice.
  • Garnish with a lime wheel and serve immediately.

Enjoy this cocktail and enjoy the gin! Within the next two months I’ll hopefully be starting back up with Shaken Cocktails so expect a flourishing selection of posts to come. Until then? Remember to always drink responsibly!

Tomato & Basil Vodka, And A Bloody Nose To Boot…

The third of my infused vodkas is the only savoury one I’m sharing. I have a sweet tooth, well several actually, and therefore it is extremely hard to find savoury infusions that I actually like…

This infusion is mainly for those who like their bloody mary mixtures a little more home-made and flavourful. Infusing Tomato and Basil into a quality Vodka will, if done correctly, add a completely new layer of depth in flavour. Sure Bloody Mary Cocktails are great, but you can always do it better…

Tomato & Basil Vodka

Recipe:

6 large tomatoes

Handful of fresh Basil

70cl (700ml) High-quality Vodka

Method:

  • Cut each tomato up into 8 pieces put into a sterilised glass jar with the fresh basil.
  • Add the vodka, seal the bottle and gently shake to mix the ingredients.
  • Store in a cool, dry place away from sunlight for up to 7 days.
  • Fine-strain into the original vodka bottle, and discard the solids.
  • Re-seal the original bottle and store in a cool, dry place away from sunlight or in the fridge.

Whilst I don’t usually go for such a savoury concoction, this one works rather well in a particular type of vodka based cocktail: Bloody Marys.

Basil Bloody Mary

tomato and basil bloody mary
Image taken from A Beautiful Mess (see below for link)

Recipe:

50ml Tomato & Basil Infused Vodka

150ml Fresh Tomato Juice

2 sprigs Fresh Basil

1/2 Lemon

1/2 tsp Tabasco Sauce

1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce

Garnish: Olives & peppered cheddar skewers, pinch of salt, pinch of pepper..

Method:

  • Muddle the basil leaves with half a lemons worth of juice.
  • Half fill the glass with ice and then the same again with the Bloody Mary Mix.
  • Add in the vodka, stir and then add the tabasco and worcestershire sauces.
  • top up with ice and then garnish with a skewer comprised of the olives and cheddar squares, and a sprig of basil.

Combined with various other savoury ingredients the tomato and basil flavour really shines through and even takes away some of the alcohol burn associated with a strong drink…

To visit the ‘A Beautiful Mess’ – the site home to the recipe upon which i based my own, please click here.

Fervent Shaker Top Tip: If you have any vodka cocktails that involve tequila, you should definitely give this infusion a try. It pairs well with tequila and especially spicy cocktails!

Pineapple Vodka, With Extra Toppings…

The final of my 3 Vodka infusions; this sweet and tropical infusion will be perfect for those with a sweet tooth and a penchant for the tang of a fresh pineapple (like me).

It is a relatively versatile infusion that works best in tropical cocktails but also finds its place in the more ‘traditional’ recipes. Think along the lines of a Tropical Martini or Tangy Screwdriver…

Check out the infusion recipe below and then enjoy the tropical combination of your new Pineapple Vodka and a cocktail whose origin story was set in Brazil; The Very Tropical Caipiroska.

Pineapple Infused Vodka

Recipe:

1 whole (medium) pineapple, sliced/diced

70cl (700ml) Vodka

50 grams Sugar

Method:

  • Add all of the ingredients to a sterilised & tight sealing bottle.
  • Leave to sit for up to 48hrs.
  • Strain into the original vodka bottle and seal it.
  • Keep in a cool dry place away from sunlight, or in the fridge/freezer if you want it served chilled…

This infusion is extremely fresh and does not hide its tropical pineapple flavour! This vodka is a wonderful inclusion in any cocktail you want to perk up with a tropical hit. Try it in your next vodka base tropical drink or as an addition to your next Pina Colada!

Cocktail: Very Tropical Caipiroska

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Recipe:

50ml Pineapple Infused Vodka

1 Lime

2 teaspoons Sugar*

Garnish: Pineapple leaf & speared fruit.

Method:

  • Add the sugar into a rocks glass.
  • Cut the lime into quarters and then squeeze and drop each piece into the glass skin up.
  • Very gently muddle the lime and sugar together until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Once the sugar has dissolved, fill the glass with crushed ice.
  • Add in your infused vodka, cover with a napkin and swizzle.
  • Top up with more crushed ice and then garnish.
  • Serve with a straw…

*the type of sugar determines the amount of muddling. Whilst using a sugar cube looks good, it also requires a lot more work. Use some granulated sugar, or better yet go for caster sugar!

This cocktail is based on the classic Caipirinha from Brazil and was huge during the last world cup [Brazil 2014]. During the 4 weeks that Fifa’s biggest tournament ran, there were more variations on the Caipirinha than one could shake a proverbial stick at. Whilst the Caipiroska was already well-liked before the WC, it did benefit a great deal from the exposure of its parent during the football tournament…

Caipirinha ingredients
A Caipirinha is a simple 3 ingredient drink: Cachaca, Lime & Sugar…

With citrus flavours galore and vast amounts of other tropical flavours a-plenty, the Caipi family of cocktails have gone from strength to strength. There are so many different varieties of this drink that it was only a matter of time before infused spirits/liqueurs made their way into the recipes!

This pineapple vodka based version is fruitier and lighter than a normal Caipiroska (the infusion process takes some of the alcohol burn away.

Fervent Shaker Top Tip: This cocktail is fantastic short and iced. But if you’re after something a little longer (and lighter) then why not make this in a tall Collins glass? You’ll have to prepare it in a rocks glass before adding it to the larger glass. You should pour the ingredients (once muddled) into a Collins glass, add the ice, then the alcohol. Before adding more crushed ice, add in some fruit juice – in this instance a splash of Pineapple & Mango would be fantastic! – Then top up with the ice.