Food & Drink

1st October 2021

DIY cocktail night on a budget

If we learnt anything last year, it was how to do a good night in…

While you’re at uni, it can feel like you should be clubbing at every chance you get. Sometimes though, all my friends and I want is a girl’s night in, where we can catch up over cocktails that won’t use up our budget for the month. During the various lockdowns of the past 18 months, TikTok was full of flatmates hosting cocktail nights. At first, we all got carried away planning our cocktails, before realising that the ingredients soon add up (Pornstar martinis are very expensive to make!). With this in mind, here at LGSM we’ve found some cheap cocktails for you to host a great night with your friends and not break the bank.

1.    Cosmopolitan

Photo by Alem Sánchez from Pexels

I always associate cosmopolitans with Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw, as she sips them nonstop throughout the series. Not only are cosmos classy, sassy and fun (just like Carrie herself), but they are relatively cheap to make too. To achieve the perfect cosmopolitan, just shake the ingredients below with ice, before straining into cocktail glasses. You could even use citrus vodka if you’re feeling extra fancy.

  • 3 parts vodka 
  • 1 part triple sec
  • 2 parts cranberry juice
  • 1 part freshly squeezed lime juice

2.    Piña Colada

Photo by Lina Kivaka from Pexels

Piña coladas are a holiday classic, the perfect cocktail to make you forget about the dreary autumn weather. Similarly to the cosmopolitan, shake your ingredients over ice before straining into a tall glass. For an even stronger coconut flavour, why not use coconut rum? 

  • 1 part coconut cream
  • 1 part white rum (or coconut rum)
  • 3 parts pineapple juice

3.    Peach Bellini

Photo by Rene Asmussen from Pexels

A brunch classic, peach bellinis are another sophisticated yet simple cocktail you can wow your friends with. This really is the easiest cocktail to make – just blend (or mash) tinned peaches until they’re smooth. Add some of the peaches to each glass, before topping off with prosecco. Give the drink a stir and serve.

  • 1 tin of peaches
  • Bottle prosecco

4.    Mojitos

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Mojitos are one of my friend group’s go-to drinks for a cocktail night. Mojitos are slightly more extra than just shaking everything with ice. Start by muddling the lime juice, sugar and mint (this really makes the mint stand out!). Pour the muddled ingredients into your glass of choice, before adding the rum and topping with soda water. Mojitos are a good one to scale up and perhaps serve in a pitcher (or even from a dispenser) so you don’t have to keep remaking them throughout the night!

  • 3 parts white rum
  • 2 parts fresh lime 
  • 2 teaspoons sugar (or in proportion to other volumes)
  • Mint leaves
  • Soda water (to top it off)

5.    Sangria

Photo by Charlotte May from Pexels

We’re finishing off with a big one here. Not only because sangria has the most ingredients out of our budget cocktails but also because it’s guaranteed to get you a bit more than tipsy! To start, chop all the fruit and add into a large jug (you can choose different fruits to get the flavour you fancy). Stir in the sugar and cinnamon with the fruit. Add ice, before pouring in the wine, brandy and sparkling water. 

  • Fruit of your choice (e.g. oranges, apples, strawberries)
  • 3 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Ice 
  • 750ml bottle light red wine
  • 100ml Spanish brandy (I just use a supermarket own brandy)
  • 300ml sparkling water

If you’re trying to stick to your weekly budget, try to find the cheapest spirits you can in supermarkets such as Aldi, to make this an affordable night in for all. Also, the alcohol you buy will last longer than just for your cocktail night, so will do for pre-drinks. If someone in the group is trying not to drink, then the drinks can definitely be made as mocktails to accommodate this, or you could try alcohol free alternatives. So, if you don’t fancy braving the cold autumn weather this week, why not try our budget cocktails with your friends?

Feature image credit: Min An from Pexels