Three Fancy Cocktails Using Ingredients You Already Have

If you keep your pantry and fridge reasonably well-stocked, a perfect vegan cocktail party awaits at any moment!

Want a cocktail veganized? Bought a bottle of something and don’t know what to do with it? Need a cool mocktail? Want to make your own liqueur? We’ll drink to that. Bartenderly is here to make all your vegan drinking dreams come true. If you want to check on whether a specific brand of alcohol is vegan, I recommend Barnivore.

Making resolutions for the New Year can be fraught with self-imposed pressure — or a great opportunity to take stock of your goals and values, and proceed with renewed vigor. If your aim for 2020 includes buying less and working more with what you already have, then these cocktails were built with you in mind. My idea for these recipes is fabulous drinks using existing ingredients that are probably sitting in your pantry or fridge right now. There’s enough flexibility to be inspired by your own inventory, and enough deliciousness to reward you for your sustainability. Cocktails you can make without leaving the house — what could be better?

Apricot Jam Gin Sour

The cheapest jam and bottled lemon juice (or fresh, if available) come together with a splash of gin to form a remarkably grand and luxurious cocktail. There’s a perfect balance between sweet, sour, and strong, and the delicately fragrant apricot flavour is excellent with the slightly herbal notes of the gin.

If vodka is more your scene, or indeed, if it’s what you have in the liquor cabinet, then you could easily switch out the gin for it. White rum would also be ideal, taking this into daiquiri territory, and while you’re there, lime juice would provide a particularly zesty kick instead of the lemon. As for the jam, the choice is endless — plum, peach, raspberry, even marmalade — there’s really no fruit that gin isn’t friends with. It’s worth noting that an ounce is two tablespoons, the latter of which is probably the easiest way to get at the jam. Don’t worry too much about accuracy here though — my spoonfuls were generous and the finished product tasted wonderful. If it’s too sweet, just add a dash more lemon.

Apricot Jam Gin Sour

  • 1.5oz gin
  • 1oz apricot jam
  • 1oz lemon juice

Shake the ingredients over fresh ice in a cocktail shaker — although a clean jar easily does the trick as well — for about ten seconds. Strain through a sieve into a cocktail glass.

Strawberry Jam Margarita

Using this idea as a blueprint, why not swap out the jam and liquor to make a Strawberry Jam Margarita. As with the recipe above you can use anything you like, but there’s something about the lush sweetness of strawberries that goes so well with the dense, rather savoury tequila. If your jam is very firm you may wish to gently heat it or dissolve it slightly with a little boiling water, otherwise just shaking it extra hard ought to do the trick.

Strawberry Jam Margarita

  • 1.5oz tequila
  • 1oz strawberry jam
  • 1oz lemon or lime juice
  • Salt, for the glass

Wet half the rim of your chosen glass and sprinkle it with a little salt, so it sticks. Whatever salt you have on you is fine.

Place the tequila, jam and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker or clean jar, fill with fresh ice, close, and shake hard for about ten seconds. Dump the whole thing, shaken ice and all, into your prepared glass.

Pantry Bloody Mary

The last decade saw the rise of outlandish garnishes stacked precariously on top of your Bloody Mary. Much as they look fun, I do feel that they distract from the solidly bracing drink itself, and they take so long to make that the ice dilutes everything by the time your bartender is done hanging garlands of hamburgers about the glass.

This is more a suggestion than a recipe, because I don’t know what’s in your pantry, but feel free to dig around and get creative. If you don’t have any tomato juice, you could experiment with something from a jar or a can — passata would be fine, even ready-made pasta sauce could possibly work — but if it comes to that, you might just want to call it a day and do shots instead. On the other hand, there’s also nothing stopping you leaving out the spirits altogether, and enjoying your spiced tomato juice with a clear head.

Pantry Bloody Mary

  • 1.5oz vodka, or spirit of your choice
  • 4oz tomato juice
  • A selection of spices, salt, and sauces from your pantry, to taste. For example, you could consider a pinch or a splash of any of the following: ground cumin; ground coriander; celery salt or seeds; sea salt; black, white, or lemon pepper; chili flakes; smoked paprika; pre-made spice blends such as berbere or Old Bay; lemon or lime juice (or a splash of full-bodied vinegar like balsamic or red wine); soy sauce; other seasoning sauce, such as Maggi; vegan Worcestershire sauce; horseradish; wasabi; mustard; hot sauce such as Tabasco or sriracha; olive, pickle, or even sauerkraut or caper brine.

You can make this directly in the glass you’re going to drink it out of — simply stir your spirit, tomato juice, and chosen add-ins together over enough ice to fill the glass. Taste to see if it needs more of anything — stirring in a small pinch of sugar if it’s too sharp — and then drink. No garnish necessary, unless you have a stick of celery in the fridge, in which case go ahead. For mine, I used a pinch of celery salt and cumin, about a teaspoon of lemon juice, a splash of brine from a jar of cucumber pickle, several dashes of sriracha, and some ready-ground white pepper. Delicious.

l-r Strawberry Jam Margarita, Apricot Jam Gin Sour, Pantry Bloody Mary

Food blogger and author from New Zealand. Writing at; Twitter at @hungryandfrozen; and exclusive stuff at

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