Purple Palate Blog

Cocktails and Cheap Ingredients

I love a good cocktail.  The skill in blending, mixing, the theatre or creation, and just the balance of flavours takes a casual drink into a night of entertainment and epicurean delight. However retail wise, I get a lot of people coming in and buying cocktail ingredients for cocktail nights, and home events and asking what they should buy. Probably the simplest maxim is, if it’s worth drinking straight, it’s worth mixing. Putting good ingredients into a cocktail, is like cooking.  Best ingredients for the best result. However in the real world, I have found that cocktail are broken into 3 very broad categories. Sugar sweet.  If it is about the sugar, cheaper ingredients will be okay, as you are removing subtle, and sublime flavours in favour of sugary hit.  Essentially (like Ready to Drinks eg Bundy and coke), it is about the sweetness and a hint of a simple alcohol (or even hiding alcohol flavour). One of Best examples are Midori Illusion. Which can be made in bulk for ease in the summer months

Ingredients (and current specials at Purple Palate Maleny for Xmas)

  • 45mL Melon Liqueur  (Suntory Midori 500ml $24.99)
  • 15mL Vodka (Skyy Vodka 700ml $34.99)
  • 15mL Triple Sec (Vok Triple Sec 500ml $24.99)
  • 45mL Pineapple Juice
  • 15mL Lemon Juice

Creamy.  Do not use wine based spirits, they will curdle your cocktail.  The cream will dumb down any citrus, or acidic flavours.  So any subtly in acidity or bitterness will be reduced significantly.  Cheaper spirits are okay for these cocktails. A good example is Mudshakes.


  • 30mL Irish Cream (Baileys 700ml $29.99)
  • 30mL Coffee Liqueur (Kahlua 700ml $34.99)
  • 30mL Vodka (Smirnoff Vodka 700ml $34.99)
  • 90mL Half ‘n’ half (milk/cream)

Traditional cocktails.  These are traditional in that they use spirits, bitters and water, or even spirits blended (usually on ice).  These cocktails require good spirits, the better the spirit the better the cocktail.

One classic example is a Dirty Martini:


  • 75ml Gin (Wennecker Elderflower Gin $84.99 – beautiful gin)
  • 1 dash dry vermouth (Martini Extra Dry $18.99)
  • 1 tablespoon brine from olive jar (using Wennecker Elderflower Gin won’t require much brine)
  • 4 stuffed green olives

My Favourite is The Ultimate Margarita:

  • 45ml Tequila (Milagro Reposado $100.00)
  • 15ml Triple Sec (Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur $59.99)
  • 30ml fresh lime juice
  • Lime for garnish
  • Salt to rim the glass

The cocktails that are stripped back and all about the spirits should not be skimped on.



Andrew Jones

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