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Make cocktails like the professionals

by Sarah Alcock

Serves: 1

We popped into Balans restaurant in Kensington, London one evening after work to join an expert cocktail making class. It's a tough job, but someone has to do it! Top barman Ginge showed us how to prepare Bloody Marys, Mojitos, Cosmopolitans, Margaritas, French Martinis and a Strawberry Daiquiri like proper mixologists. The evening costs £20 including all your cocktails and an extra Peach Bellini when you arrive and it's a great girls' night out, although you might have (as we did) a slightly sore head in the morning....

Ginge wasn't stingy with his advice and here are some of his cocktail making tips:

• Remember to G & G: glass and garnish. You don't want to have to dress your glass and prepare your garnish once your cocktail is made. It needs to be served fresh, without the ice melting
• Always add your least expensive ingredients first, in case you make a mistake and have to start again.
• Before cutting citrus fruit, roll it in your hands or on a table to release the juices
• When you're shaking your cocktail, shake towards you and until the shaker goes freezing cold
• Don't be afraid to add more ice; it won't dilute the cocktail until it melts, but it will keep it colder for longer
• To really impress your guests, cut off a slice of orange rind, hold a lit lighter against the rind then squeeze the orange peel between your fingers to create a burst of flame – mind your fingers!

Balans cocktail classes cost £20 and are on the first Tuesday of every month from 6.30-8pm. Go to Balans for more information and to book


  • 20ml fresh lime juice
  • 15ml sugar syrup
  • 20ml orange liqueur
  • 40ml El Tesoro Blanco tequila 1 lime wedge
  • 1 lime slice to garnish


  1. Garnish your glass by rubbing a slice of lime around half the rim then rolling the same half in salt.
  2. Squeeze the lime juice into your cocktail shaker, then add sugar syrup and the alcohol.
  3. Add cubed ice to about three-quarters full and shake hard. Strain into a whisky tumbler filled with cubed ice. Garnish with the lime wedge.

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