This Summer's Trendiest Tipples

Mix & Muddle’s top tips for serving this summer’s trendiest tipples

Cocktails are the talking point at any event, instantly impressing your guests and creating a party atmosphere. Here Toast.Life grabs a drink with Richard Maxted of bespoke cocktail events company Mix & Muddle as he talks us through this summer’s top cocktail creations and how to serve them up at your next do.

5 years ago, it was all about jam jars, then tea, then Tiki. Things seemed to have settled now as we reach a peak of this cocktail renaissance’ explains Richard.

‘Now it’s all about ingredients. Celebrating them. Sustaining them. Simplicity has returned. The 3 ingredient cocktail is back at the top of menus. Pure booze, without lots of sugar and citrus. And quite frankly – it’s awesome.’


Don’t know where to start when it comes to choosing what cocktail to serve at your next do? Well Richard suggests turning to a good cocktail bar for inspiration. All in the name of research, of course….

Mix & Muddle is a wee spec in comparison to the amazing things bartenders are creating in London’s best cocktail bars’ he explains.

‘Honestly, London has five of the top ten cocktail bars in the world right now. When I’m after inspiration all I need to do is hang out in one of them! Or follow them all on Instagram and you’ll get tons of ideas! Just some of the people that I idolise include Simone Caporale, Mr Lyan and Remy Savage – they are all absolute genii!’

My Lyan’s Good Things to Drink with Mr Lyan & Friends £15.99 and Good Together: Drink & Feast with Mr Lyan & Friends £15.62, both available on Amazon.

Once you’ve got some ideas from Ithe masters, and if you can remember any of the ones you picked up whilst visiting that cocktail bar, then Richard suggests approaching the cocktail making process like you would when creating a tasty dish in the kitchen.

‘I think like a chef when developing cocktails. Obviously you need to understand classic cocktails, so you know how to balance sweet, sour, bitter, floral, etc. Then I often use a flavour thesaurus to find unique pairings and obscure combinations' he explains.

‘Having said that - sometimes simplicity is the best. I try not to use more than 5 ingredients in total otherwise it just becomes too busy, especially on events where you need to appeal to a lot of people. It’s all balance, balance, and a bit more balance’

The Flavor Thesaurus by Niki Segnit, £12.19 from Amazon.

Cool Cocktails Mix Muddle

Mix Muddle Cocktail Heaven  


One big trend we’re seeing in cocktails this year is the garnish, and we’re not talking about a simple slice of lemon here, oh no. We’re talking smokes, foams, dehydrated fruits, basil leaves, singed rosemary, pieces of popcorn and even Brighton rock, but Richard believes that the key to a good garnish is far more simple that all that.

“Simplicity is beautiful. We’re not in the 80’s anymore!” he laughs, “I hate waste when it comes to cocktail garnish, so usually only add one simple garnish. There’s a rule of one or three, so go for odd numbers basically when it comes to cocktail garnish. Something about the way the eye is guided and how photogenic a cocktail is that likes an odd number of garnishes” 

For instant, effortless, Insta-worthy cocktails, Richard suggests using a miniature version of an everyday household item…

“Mini-pegs. Invest in some mini-pegs and your guests will love you forever and tell their friends about their other friends who use mini-pegs to attach herbs to cocktail glasses”

Mini cocktail pegs, £3.25 for pack of 100 from LBK.

Cocktails Garnishes


Much like all other forms of event food and drink, cocktails are also susceptible to changes in trends. For some reason, ordering a Piña Colada in this country (i.e. when not on holiday) is seemingly a cocktail faux pas, so just what should we be ordering and serving this summer? 

“Negronis are at boiling point right now, and rightly so - they are THE perfect example of balance” explains Richard. 

“However, I’m also seeing a lot of spritz serves and hi-balls i.e. longer drinks. So basically take anything - whatever spirit or liqueur is left on your booze shelf - pour a measure over ice and add half Prosecco and half soda. Done. And most likely it’ll be delicious” he suggests.

“Also try Amaro, which is the modifier to end all cocktail modifiers. Italy’s answer to Vermouth, but with varying spirit bases. These incredible liqueurs are packed full with aromatic botanicals and herbs that instantly beef up your Manhattan, or your Negroni instead of Sweet Vermouth”

 Spirit Selection For Summer

Amaro Lucano £24.95, Amaro Montenegro £21.90, Amaro Averna £20.26 and Vecchio Amaro Del Capo £23.33, all from Master of Malt. 

“Also low-abv is becoming a new calling card over the bar for the daytime drinker. So I’m doing a lot with un-aged wine at the moment. We do a G&T type serve with rosé wine, lychee liqueur, topped with tonic and a splash of lemon. Yes please”



Pregnant? Driving? Teetotal? Or simply fancy giving your liver a break? Well the good news is that just because you’re off the booze doesn’t mean you have to miss out on all the tasty fun.

“One word - Seedlip. And another word – Borrago” suggests Richard. 

Seedlip, in case you were wondering, is the world's first distilled non alcoholic spirit. Choose from the herbal Seedlip Garden 108 or the aromatic Seedlip Spice 94 – both act as a great gin replacement when mixed with tonic and are super versatile when it comes to cocktails too. Borrago is the new kid on the booze-free block – a new botanical spirit with no alcohol, sugar, fat or calories, which again works well both when mixed with tonic and used in cocktails.


Seedlip Cocktails


Borrago £19.99 for 500ml. Seedlip £27.99 for 70cl. 



“If you want to make top cocktails at home then you’ll need a mixing glass” Richard explains. “A nice stirring glass is essential for Martinis, Negronis or Manhattans. I hate it when I see someone stirring in a cocktail shaker - I can’t see the beautiful liquid!”

Mix N Muddle Recomended Kit

Calabrese Footed Mixing Glass  

Japanese Mixing Glass £14.42, Calabrese Footed Mixing Glasses from £18.49, Scallop Straw Stirrer £6.01, all from Urban Bar.  Mixtin™ Stirring Tin £49.99, Kiruto™ Mixing Glass £29.99, gold plated De Soto Double Teardrop™ Stirrer £28.99, all from Cocktail Kingdom. 



Once you’ve nailed your concoction and got all the right kit, what are you going to serve it in? There’s so much choice, from martini glasses and cut crystal to novelty Tiki mugs and everything in between. Thankfully Richard has the answer when it comes to this summer’s ultimate vessel, and I am pleased to tell you that it’s a simple one.

“Go for stemless water glasses. That completely smooth outer layer of the glass without hard corners or edges is really attractive and instantly looks classy as hell

LSA Balloon Set

LSA Balloon Glasses

Oliver Bonas Boja Four Gold Foil Tumblers

LSA’s balloon tumblers £32 for 8.  Riedel Gin Set £37.40 for 4. Habitat Hamburg glasses, £28 for 4.  Oliver Bonas Boja Set of Four Gold Foil Tumblers £28.



Finally, we all know the pitfalls of drinking on an empty stomach so it’s important to make sure you’re serving up some food as well as all your deliciously boozy cocktails. But what’s tasty to serve with your Negroni? I hear you ask. Well Richard believes that food pairing with cocktails is more straightforward than you might think.

“Cocktails are easier to match with food than wine or beer, mainly because you’ve got more flavours to work with” he explains. 

“We work with ASDA a lot, and in particular on fancy media and influencer dinners. Mark, who is Head Development Chef at ASDA and a bit of a legend, designs a five course menu showcasing ASDA’s produce, and we then design ‘pallet preparer’ cocktails to go in-between each course - almost like a precursor to the next dish. This is far easier and more playful than doing pairing with wine – give it a try!”

ASDA Summer Showcase Mix Muddle

ASDA Summer Showcase Mix Muddle Cocktails

For more from Richard and Mix & Muddle  then don’t miss Toast.Life’s recently Spotlight  feature with the man himself over on TheEdit now, and don’t forget to tag @ToastLifeUK in all your cocktail fun – we would love to see your photos!


Posted in Inspire Me

by Inspire Me
on on 03 July 2018

  cocktail making, cocktails, summer cocktails

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