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I’m Leon Wilkes Back, Head of Mixology at Virgin Hotels Edinburgh Link opens in a new window and I work between our two bars, Commons Club and Eve. I’ve partnered up with Virgin Money to help you glam up your Saturday night and get more bang for your buck at the weekend by making your leftover ingredients go further – ultimately, saving money and reducing waste!

Before I create any cocktail, I like to simplify the process by following 3 key principles:

Locality: choosing products that are made locally. Support your local heroes (brands, producers, distillers)

Sourcing: knowing exactly where your ingredients come from

Maximising your ingredients: find out exactly what your ingredients can do for you

Making cocktails at home is something I love doing, not because I am a bartender by profession but because exploring different flavours is very exciting to discover. Ready to put your mixology skills to the test?! Let’s go…

Please remember to drink responsibly.

First up: ‘The Bees Knees’

Bright, tart, and crispy. The Bees Knees is full of elegance and glam – it’s a real classic cocktail.

Top tip: combine local runny honey with water in a ratio of 3:1 to create your own honey syrup!

Ready for your second serve? How about a ‘Whisky & Apple’?

Juicy, zippy and fresh - this cocktail is perfect for sharing drinks in the sunshine.

Top tip: rhubarb juice would work very well here but it would need some sweetness to balance it, so adding a small 5ml of honey syrup would be a great way to spin a twist on this cocktail!

Next up, a nod to Scotland and Virgin Hotels Edinburgh: A ‘Whisky Treacle’!

Strong, elegant, and rich – a sipping style of drink with subtle elements of freshness from the apple. This cocktail draws on the fruity tones of Scotch whisky and is a brilliant gateway drink into an old-fashioned style of cocktail.

Top tip: garnish with an apple and cinnamon crisp and enjoy! (Recipe below)

How to maximize your ingredients

The fruit pulp left over from juicing your apples or rhubarb can turn into fruit leather or crisps by using your oven at home. These can then be used as an edible garnish on your cocktails to add some flare to your drinks at home. Here’s how to make them:

Fruit Crisp

So there you have it! Three bougie zero-waste cocktails you can make with leftover ingredients and tons of top tips to impress your friends and family. Remember to share your cocktails with us at @VirginMoney Link opens in a new window and @VirginHotelsEdi Link opens in a new window!

A trip to Edinburgh on the cards?

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Just click ‘Book now’, enter promo code VMFriends and show your Virgin Money Card on arrival to grab this sweet deal. Terms apply. Flexible cancellation up to 24 hours prior to arrival, a credit card is required to secure the booking. Subject to availability. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. Guests will need to show their Virgin Money card on arrival. This is valid on stays up to 31st March 2024. Offer open to Personal and Business customers.

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