Cocktail culture has made great strides, but for some, men sip a Don Draper old fashioned, while girls order a cosmopolitan and natter about Jimmy Choos. Preconceptions not helped by alcohol companies splitting their advertising down strictly gendered lines. Clear spirits such as vodka and gin, with their lower caloric content and vagina-friendly flavours, are associated with ‘girly’ drinks; whisky, with its musky aroma and beard-growing characteristics, is considered ‘manly’.

“The number of times you go to a table and get the drinks the wrong way around because of these strange pre-conceived ideas,” says Tim Laferla, bar manager at London’s City Social. “It’s crazy. Drink what tastes good – not what you’re told you should because of your gender.”

It’s why Laferla, alongside brand ambassadors David Beatty (Ketel One vodka) and Andrea Montague (Bulleit bourbon), has created two cocktails which poke fun at these traditional gender norms: the vodka-fuelled Billy Big Coconuts is a strong, bold drink served up in a rocks glass; the Freedom of Peach is a fruity, floral whiskey cocktail served in a wine glass.

David Beatty, Ketel One Vodka Brand Ambassador

“Vodka is often viewed through the lens of neutrality and as a mixer only – great for something you don’t want to taste the spirit in. Many vodka cocktails you’ll find on bar menus around the world are the ‘fruity’ ones, a clean and blank spirit layered with fruit juices and flavoured syrups, and often pitched towards women.

“However, when you dig a little deeper into the vodka category you will find there are brands with discerning character and flavour. It is through this exploration that we can challenge stereotypes around the type of drinker vodka cocktails are made for.”

Andrea Montague, Bulleit Brand Ambassador

“Cocktail culture has come a long way, with customers more willing than ever to be experimental with the type of drinks they like to try. Despite this, there is still a common misconception that whiskey is a ‘man’s drink’, and people tend to associate it with boozier, heavier cocktails which are usually targeted at male drinkers.

“Of course, both women and men can enjoy these boozy serves. What’s more, whiskies such as Bulleit bourbon and rye are well-suited to mixing in cocktails due to their high rye content, which gives them a spicy character. You don’t have to be a certain gender to enjoy them.”

Well said. We’ll have both, then.

Billy Big Coconuts (Serves 2)

Billy Big Coconuts (Serves 2) Cocktail

Ingredients

80ml Ketel One vodka
20ml Cocchi Americano
20ml toasted coconut and sage syrup
4 dashes chocolate bitters
Sandalwood essence spray

To Serve

Chilled rocks glass
Block of ice
Sprig of sage, to garnish
Coconut flake, to garnish

Coconut And Sage Syrup

250g sugar
250ml water
100g desiccated coconut
1 tbsp dried sage

Sandalwood Essence Spray

3 drops sandalwood essential oil
50ml Ketel One vodka

Shopping List

“Ketel One is a full bodied spirit, making it perfect for drinks where vodka is at the forefront rather than a passenger. Cocchi Americano is an aromatised wine (like a Vermouth), and it adds body and texture to the drink. Also, we recommend Bob’s chocolate bitters.”

Instructions

Coconut And Sage Syrup

  1. Dissolve the sugar in the water in a pan over a medium heat.
  2. In a separate saucepan, lightly toast the coconut until it turns golden brown.
  3. Add the toasted coconut and sage to the sugar mixture, and keep on a medium heat for 20 minutes, or until syrupy.
  4. Strain off the coconut and sage, and allow the mixture to cool completely in the fridge.
  5. Once chilled, the coconut oils will solidify on the surface. Strain through muslin, or cheesecloth, and pour into a sealable container. It will keep for two weeks.

Sandalwood Essence Spray

  1. Combine the sandalwood oil and vodka, and pour into a spray bottle.

The Drink

  1. Add the vodka, Cocchi Americano, coconut syrup and bitters to a cocktail shaker, and shake until well combined.
  2. Add your block of ice to the glass, and using both hands, strain the drink through a Hawthorne strainer (held flush with the opening of the shaker) and a small fine sieve positioned over your glass.
  3. Gently mist the drink with the Sandalwood essence spray. Top with a sprig of sage and coconut flake to garnish.

From Delicious To Stratospheric

“Use good quality ice,” says Beatty. “A large, singular block that almost fills the glass will slow the dilution and keep your drink super cold. It ensures the last sip is as good as the first.”

Freedom of Peach (Serves 2)

Freedom of Peach (Serves 2) Cocktail

Ingredients

60ml Bulleit bourbon
40ml Rinquinquin peach wine
20ml Aperol
20ml fresh lemon juice
Jasmine tea soda

To Serve

Chilled wine glass
Ice cubes
Jasmine flower, to garnish

Jasmine Tea Soda

250g sugar
250ml water
Jasmine tea bag
80ml soda water

Shopping List

“Bulleit bourbon is perfect here, with its vanilla-caramel sweetness adding to the fruity and floral elements, and the higher rye content ensuring it doesn’t get lost in the drink. Pure rye is too spicy for this kind of delicate drink, and scotch is too malty.

“Rinquinquin is totally unique – it has a super fresh peach flavour. Aperol adds colour and the mild bitterness balances out the sweetness of the jasmine tea soda.”

Instructions

Jasmine Tea Soda

  1. Dissolve the sugar in the water in a pan over a medium heat. Once dissolved, add the jasmine tea bag to the pan and allow it to brew while the syrup reduces (approximately 20 minutes).
  2. Allow to cool, and pour into a sealable container.
  3. Take 20ml of the syrup and add to 80ml of soda water. Set aside until needed.

The Drink

  1. Add the bourbon, peach wine, Aperol, lemon juice and ice cubes to a cocktail shaker, and shake until well-combined.
  2. Pour into your wine glass, including the ice cubes, and top with the jasmine tea soda.
  3. Garnish with a jasmine flower.

From Delicious To Stratospheric

“Carbonate the jasmine tea soda – or even the whole drink – in a soda syphon,” says Montague. “The extra bubbles make the drink dance on your tongue.”