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Impressive Cocktails You Can Make at Home

Are you desperately searching for a last-minute cocktail recipe that will blow your dinner party guests away? We spent the afternoon chatting with Alibi Bar’s beloved cocktail creative, Dom Polito, whose been stirrin’ and shackin’ up some of Sydney’s best concoctions since 2009. Famed for his creative cocktails, stunning presentation and playful recipes, Dom is the perfect man to teach us how to make the perfect cocktail at home and bring us back to the basics with iconic stiff drinks. We’ve asked him for the secrets to making simple cocktails to impress at home that you can whip up in no time.

Easy Cocktail Recipes:

Let’s begin with cocktail making 101 and a few twists on basic cocktail recipes that are easy, simple and perfect for your next dinner party or pre drinks get-together. When we asked Dom for his number one easy cocktail recipe, he narrowed it down to two of his favourite summer drinks. Have no fear, because these seemingly complex cocktails can are 100% do-able at home and only require a few key ingredients.



According to Dom, Sydney is going through a powerful Negroni phase in 2020, so why not use the occasion to master this surprisingly simple tipple. It is truly one of those simple strong cocktails that anyone can prepare. “It’s super easy to make a big batch of Negroni, you just need three equal parts of gin, Campari and sweet vermouth,” declares Dom. “Plus it looks gorgeous with an orange twist and a big block of ice and doesn’t require a cocktail shaker- just stir this one!” This stiff drink is an all-time classic that you can easily prepare and serve at home.

Alibi Bar serves up a unique twist on the classic Negroni- a Negroni Spritz, made with Prosecco and house-made rosemary syrup on their latest summer bar menu, which also features melt-in-your-mouth Mac and Cheese Bites! Photo by Head Chef, Jordan Brogan.

Rose Sangria

Summertime in Sydney calls for plenty of rose! To stir up a quick, refreshing and summery punch, Dom recommends a simple Watermelon Sangria recipe. First, start with a nice big punch bowl or water jug, then “throw in a bottle of dry rose. We use Le Fou, the Madman Rose and it’s honestly perfect for this sangria recipe. Then toss in half a watermelon, cut up however you’d like it, along with two sliced lemons and about 200ml of Triple Sec.” Add as much ice as you’d like and voila- the perfect summer punch!


The Most Sophisticated Cocktails

Are you looking to spice up the evening with a more sophisticated classic? Dom recommends tinkering with an Old Fashioned, because “it’s like learning to play chess. The rules are simple to learn but it can take a lifetime to master!” We recommend this stiff drink because it’s stirred up with just three simple ingredients: bourbon, sugar and bitters. No two recipes are the same though because you can tweak the ratios to suit your personal preference, which means you can prepare one at home and rely on your tastebuds to make sure it tastes remarkable!


How to Make Cocktails Look Good:

Ensuring your homemade cocktail is Instagram-ready is absolutely part of the hosting process. These days, many of us taste with our eyes before the first sip, so an elaborate presentation can really wow your guests! If you’re having a cocktail party, take some time in advance to find some local fauna and flowers that you can garnish your drinks with.

The Cast Away signature cocktail at Alibi is served with radiant orchids and flower petals, which really wows guests.

But what is his number one secret to make cocktails look good? “It’s all about the ice!” Fortunately, our cocktail master has the perfect DIY hack for those mixing up drinks at home: “freeze ice in a general Tupperware the night before. The next day you can cut it into big, beautiful chunks with a sharp kitchen knife!” We additionally recommend placing your knife in hot water to help ease the process of carving your artisanal ice!

Lastly, here are a few easy garnishes that you likely already have at home or can pick up at a nearby grocery store. “Basil, mint and rosemary make amazing cocktail toppers because they really bring out a lot of botanical flavours, especially in gin drinks.”


The Best Date Night Cocktails:

Here’s another important occasion to really impress someone with your at-home mixology: date night! There’s no need to worry, because we’ve confirmed the perfect date night cocktail with our renowned bartender: Margaritas! Tequila is more of a stimulant than any other alcohol, which are typically depressants. Dom recommends a margarita or tequila-based cocktail to kick off your date and give you and your partner a little extra pep. To really turn up the romance, sprinkle a few crushed rose petals or even a fresh one to set the mood.

The Bloody Marvellous signature drink at Alibi Bar is a great tequila drink for inspiration. Made with Beetroot-infused tequila, you achieve a beautiful, romantic-coloured drink that is well-complimented by coconut syrup, fresh lemon and ginger for a luscious and flavourful experience.

The Bloody Marvellous served at Alibi Bar

Fancy Martinis Made Easy:

Spicing up a martini, which is a cocktail classic, is the perfect way to land a big impression on your guests. “A basic martini is just super cold gin or vodka with very nice olives,” begins Dom. He details that the olives and brine are a serious gamechanger on this stiff drink, and ultimately alter the texture and mouthfeel of a martini. “We use Simon Johnson Gordal Olives which have a really marvellous brine that is thick and fills out the drink.” He recommends taste testing a few different types of olives to discover one that best suites your flavour palate.


The Vespa Martini

What is his favourite impressive martini recipe? It just so happens to be 007’s signature cocktail: the Vespa Martini. Made with 45 ml of vodka, 15 ml of gin, 15ml Lillet, which is “a common French vermouth that you can find at just about any Dan Murphys in your neighbourhood,” the Vespa pMartini and easily one of the best martini recipes. To prepare it at home, pour all the ingredients mentioned about in a glass with ice, stir it and then strain it directly into a chilled martini glass. “Be sure to add a twist of lemon to really serve it up like James Bond!”


If you’re looking for further cocktail inspiration, stop by Alibi Bar on the weekend, ask for Dom and let him know you read the article! He’d be more than happy to answer and of your mixology questions and give you a sweet sample of his latest concoction. Plus, he can guide you through Alibi’s latest bar menu for some creative tips on your next homemade cocktail.