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Read our quick tricks to help you serve delicious drinks no matter what challenges the holiday season throws at you…


Guests coming and nothing fancy in the cupboards? Add a couple of teaspoons of berry jam and a teaspoon of lemon juice to the bottom of a glass of sparkling wine, champagne or prosecco for a quick but impressive cocktail. Recipe here 


People due in 10 and forgot to put the beer or wine on ice? Wet a tea towel or paper towel, wrap it around the bottle and place in the freezer to speed up the chilling process. (Just don’t forget you put the bottle in there or you’ll have a nasty surprise in the morning!).



Need to whip up a cocktail but don’t have the right spirits? Bourbon can often make a good substitute for dark rum, while triple sec can almost always be swapped for a fruit liqueur, like cherry or Cointreau. If you don’t have sweet vermouth then sherry will work, or port at a push, while gin and vodka are interchangeable in a Martini. Just be aware, there is no real suitable substitution for Scotch.


If you’ve got cloudy wine glasses that hot water and a nip of detergent won’t clear, soak your glasses in a weak vinegar solution to eliminate any wine-related organic matter.   


Struggling to polish off that leftover bottle of red from the other night? Make wine jelly with this super-fast recipe which uses only four ingredients – red wine, sugar and spices. Recipe here


Forgot to refill the ice trays last night or staying in a bach without any? Freeze a bag of grapes in advance or stock your freezer with frozen berries, so you’ll never be caught short. These ice cube alternatives also add nice flavor to cocktails – and they look pretty beautiful too. (Alternatively, add the berries to ice cube trays with water for flavorsome ice).


Got the tent, sleeping bags, mozzie repellant and camp stove, but forgot to pack the opener? Don’t cry over unopened beer, just reach for your keys. Hold the beer bottle in your non-dominant hand, and hold the long side of a common house key at the edge of the bottle cap. Get a purchase with one of the key’s teeth, then twist it upwards and lever gently to loosen the cap slightly. Repeat another couple of times, rotating the bottle as you go, then place the key tip under the cap to finally pop it.

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