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Dare to Pair: Cocktail and canapé pairings for summer dinner parties

July 5, 2019

Summer is upon us and our weekends are now filled with late nights, refreshing drinks and exotic food as we make the most of warm summer evenings. Getting creative in the kitchen, with our cocktail and canapes combinations, will not only help to wow your guests but also boost your wellbeing!

Cocktails offer so much more freedom than traditional alcoholic drinks, such as beers or wines. These mixed beverages are endlessly versatile, so can accompany whatever scrumptious food takes your fancy. For the perfect serve, you’ll need sparkling glassware! You can trust the AXI dishwasher to look after even the most delicate cocktail glasses – giving superb results in a single, A-class efficient load.

Mocktail Mojito

Who doesn’t love a classic Mojito on a hot summer’s day? Originating from Cuba, it usually consists of five ingredients: white rum, sugar, lime juice, soda water and mint however, for this version simply hold the rum! It offers a tasty combination of sweetness, citrus, and herbaceous mint flavours for all the family, but what food should be paired with it?

While the drink looks light and refreshing, it packs a powerful mint-based punch that needs fresh, yet still strong, food flavours to balance them out.

Anything with rare lamb and a yogurt sauce is a winner, or crunchy green crudités, flash fried with a smattering of mint or basil. While the flavours of the foods will still be present, the herby flavours will help marry them to the cocktail seamlessly.

The perfect mocktail Mojito recipe


  • A muddler (or rolling pin)
  • A spoon
  • A long glass


  • 4 lime wedges
  • 12 fresh mint leaves
  • 2 heaped teaspoons of caster sugar
  • Dash of soda water
  • Crushed ice
  • To Garnish: Sprig of Fresh Mint

How to mix

  1. Put the four lime wedges into a glass, then add the sugar and muddle (squish everything together) to release the lime juice
  2. Put the mint leaves in one hand and clap, this helps to release a strong minty aroma. Rub the mint leaves around the rim of the glass and drop them in. Use a spoon to gently push the mint down into the lime juice
  3. Half fill the glass with crushed ice and a splash of soda water – stir the mix together until the sugar dissolves, lifting the mint and limes up through the ice to spread the flavours throughout the whole drink
  4. Top up with crushed ice, another dash of the soda water and garnish it with a sprig of mint


What party would be complete without a Margarita? Tequila is the star of the show with this one and everyone knows you can’t have tequila without a dash of salt and a splash of lime. This is true when it comes to what food to pair with the drink.

Margaritas are a great summer party drink and work well with food you can enjoy with friends – such as tapas! Prawns with lemon and garlic are a delicious, light way to start your party. Then think about introducing some chorizo braised in red wine and patatas bravas to curb your guests’ carby cravings.

A Margarita classic*


  • A shaker
  • A strainer
  • A sieve
  • Cocktail glass


  • 25ml part Cazadores Tequila
  • 5ml triple sec liqueur
  • 5ml lime juice
  • 1 lime wedge
  • Salt
  • Cubed ice

How to mix

  1. Chill your glass
  2. Put lots of ice and all the ingredients into the shaker, then shake hard for about 30 seconds to chill the liquid well
  3. Run a lime wedge around the outside of the rim of your glass before rolling the rim in salt
  4. Double strain the mix into the glass using both the strainer and sieve

Espresso Martini 

No dinner party would be complete without an Espresso Martini. While not refreshing, it makes the perfect after dinner drink. A nutty biscotti or rich chocolate dessert is going to balance the bittersweet-ness of the coffee element. One thing to remember, sweet flavours shut down the palate so don’t serve this as your guests arrive, otherwise they won’t want to savour the rest of your food.

After dinner Espresso Martini**


  • A shaker
  • A strainer
  • Cocktail glass


  • Handful of ice
  • 25ml vodka
  • 35ml Tia Maria or other coffee liqueur
  • 35ml fresh espresso
  • Coffee beans, to garnish

How to mix

  1. Chill martini glasses in the freezer for at least 20 minutes before serving.
  2. Add the vodka, liqueur and lastly the coffee to the shaker and top with ice – shake vigorously for 20 seconds.
  3. Taste cocktail and add a splash of additional liqueur to increase sweetness if required.
  4. Strain into the chilled glasses and top with coffee beans. Serve immediately.

The secret to a good cocktail is plenty of ice and chilled glasses. Our new Retro model is a modern update of a design classic. Available in cream, red and black it provides a functional yet stylish place to cool your equipment and store your scrumptious canapés ahead of your guests arriving.

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