The Stockpile

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The Stockpile

Before we get started, and I will always tell you to do this, go and top up the ice in your freezer. If the trays are full, put that ice in a tupperware and refill the trays. You can never have enough ice. How seriously do I take this? I have a 45kg/day Hoshizaki ice machine in my kitchen instead of a dishwasher.

Welcome to The Quarantini. Let’s be honest, things aren’t looking great for our social lives. It’s increasingly likely that you’re going to be stuck in your house for 7-14 days at some point in the next few months, and you’ve stockpiled your loo roll, pasta, tinned beans and such like, but if booze is one of your coping strategies for the pandemic, you might not have figured out the best approach for a sustained confinement, potentially with others.

Or, if not, hanging out on Skype or Slack or Twitch or wherever we learn to congregate and reinvent our social lives. As someone who’s worked from home for a good chunk of the last decade, I know it can be easy to feel isolated so please do find ways to hang out with your actual pals, not just dipping in and out of the increasingly deranged discourse on your social networks. Times like this, we need to check in with the people who know us, and make time for being as social and supportive as we can.

When it comes to stockpiling booze, ABV is your friend. Beer and wine are hard to lug about in significant quantities, and, in the case of wine, hard to consume in small quantities. To get bang for your shelf space, spirits and cocktails have to be the right choice. Also, time to learn a new skill while the rest of the economy shuts down and you need to reboot your portfolio career.

First, you’ll need to figure out a budget and a direction to go in. I have decided for the purpose of this newsletter that there’s three types of cocktail in the world, and it doesn’t come down to loving/hating specific spirits, just the style of drinks you love. I may be wrong, but I’ve been doing this a lot longer than you so probably not.

1. Sweet & Sour cocktails 

  • Margaritas,
  • Cosmos
  • L.I.I.T
  • Whiskey etc sours,
  • Collins,
  • Aviations  
  • and so on.

Can be super refined or trashy, but in all of them there’s a sweetener and a sourer-er. this is the classic balance when we think about cocktails, and most people love these drinks.

2. Elegant cocktails

  • Martinis
  • Olds Fashioned,
  • G&Ts

Drinks where you’re really just making one spirit do all the work. Generally quick to prepare, quite forgiving of variation and ingredients and pretty boozy.

3. Aromatic cocktails

  • Manhattans
  • Negronis
  • Americanos
  • Whisky Mac
  • Rusty Nail
  • Sazerac

Pretty much anything with sweet (Italian) vermouth in it + some other aromatic guys. Bitters also doing quite a lot of work here.

We will not be discussing dairy cocktails at this time. Or ever.

Budgets are going to be in £, I’m afraid. America, your booze pricing is all over the place but predominantly cheaper than UK, so you can probably just turn the £ signs to $ in your head. We’ll start with the cheapest stuff in each bracket to try and keep this as approachable as possible. I’m also assuming that you already own at least one bottle of either vodka, gin, whiskey or rum: whatever your fave is. You might own a bottle of tequila, but it’s also most likely fucking grot, so if you like tequila go and get yourself a bottle of El Jimador already. Also you should have some regular white sugar.


4 bottles soda – £2
4 bottle tonic – £2 (supermarket 1L bottles are FINE, fuck Fentimans, get Schweppes if you fancy it)
12 lemons – £2
Angostura bitters – £10


12 limes – £2
Agave syrup – £3
Cranberry juice – £1.50
Pineapple juice – £1.50
One of amaretto, triple sec or peach liqueur – £15-20
One+ of light and dark rum, bourbon, gin, 100% agave tequila – £20


Bottles of bourbon/gin/whatever your poison is – £20
Dry vermouth – £8 (Martini is good)
Sweet vermouth – £8 (Martini is good)


Sweet vermouth – £8 (Martini is good)
Campari – £14
Bottles of bourbon/gin/whatever your poison is – £20
Fino sherry – £8
Posh drink cherries – £4

Did you already buy chickpeas on your pragmatic stockpile? Great; keep hold of the water from the cans they’re in and it’s a great (and vegan) foamer for your cocktails, so you either don’t need eggs (hurrah!) or you can hold onto them for more important things.

If you absolutely insist on using egg white to make drinks, you’re gonna be making a carbonara with your egg yolks, right?

Managed all of that? Back to your hermetically sealed home with a big clanking bag of bottles? Good. One more job to do then it’s cocktail time. We need to make a bit of simple syrup for our cocktails. Just weigh out 300g of sugar and add 300ml warm water (which will also weigh 300g), then stir till the sugar’s all dissolved. You can keep this in the fridge for up to a week, maybe longer.

Cocktail time


No-one quite knows where this extremely simple drink comes from, but it’s an absolute sweet/sour fundamental. Forget your extra sweet holiday daiquiris, and just shake together:

50ml light rum
20ml fresh lime juice (this’ll be about half a lime, well-squeezed)
20-25ml sugar syrup

Give it a good shake with plenty of ice, then serve how you like! It should really be lightly strained into a cocktail glass, but honestly if you shake it in a jam jar and drink it out of that you’ll be having a better daiquiri than you can get in half the bars in the world.

Old Fashioned

10ml (two teaspoons) of your sugar syrup in a glass, 50ml of bourbon (or pretty much any spirit will work in this), 2 good dashes of Angostura bitters. Stir with ice for at least a minute – I normally hold onto the outside of the glass while stirring and when it’s uncomfortably cold, it’s ready. Garnish with a slice of orange or lemon peel if you’re feeling fancy. Go look on YouTube if you want to ‘express the oils’, you wanker.


25ml Campari
25ml Sweet Vermouth

Mix it all together in a tall glass. You don’t want _too_ much soda for this, roughtly 100ml should be plenty. 

Stay safe out there folks, wash your hands and hassle your favourite local bars and restaurants to let you buy a voucher now to use when all this is over. Tip your delivery people, they are putting their safety on the line to bring you that 15″ Mega Meaty.

Send me a pic of your drinks when you have them (, share this with your pals and invite me to your virtual booze hangouts.