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Last-Minute Cocktail Tips from Mia Mastroianni

Spike TV’s Bar Rescue mixology expert reveals her secrets

The charismatic and confident Mia Mastoianni has been crafting unique cocktails on Spike TV’s Bar Rescue starring Jon Taffer since 2013. As one of the resident mixology experts, Mastoianni is responsible for teaching bartenders and mixologists across the country how to create the perfect libation. Implementing new menus, recipes and techniques are just a few of her specialties seen on the hit reality television series.

Outside of shaking and stirring on Bar Rescue you can find Mastoianni reinventing the cocktail program at the California hot spot Soho House West Hollywood or preparing creative recipes at home. These are her top tips to help hosts create easy and delicious drinks, even on short notice.

1. Identify Your Glassware

Popular must-have glasses for any home bar include an Old Fashioned glass and a highball or Collins glass, which are perfect for tall cocktails. For elevated serves, a stemmed martini or coupe-style glass are great options to have on hand.

Select the right glassware for the right drink

2. Select a Go-To Spirit

For an impromptu gathering, keep a versatile spirit in stock and a few trusted recipes in your back pocket. Award-winning Pinnacle® Original Vodka is a great choice because it offers a clean, crisp taste that compliments almost any flavor.

3. Mixers 101

Essential mixers for last-minute gatherings include club soda, flavored sodas, tonic water, cola, lemon-lime soda, ginger ale, orange juice, cranberry juice, tomato juice and pineapple juice. The majority of these items can be found at any local grocery store. As for modifiers, it’s great to have a few non-alcoholic syrups, a selection of bitters and perhaps some vermouths and liqueurs.

Mixers are key for a stellar cocktail

4. Know the Basics

There a few key pieces that every at-home bartender should own. These include a graduated jigger for precise measurements, Boston cocktail shaker, cocktail strainer, mixing glass, bar spoon for mixing, muddler, hand juicer for citrus, peeler for garnishes, and, cocktail napkins for serving. 

5. Use What You Have

Last-minute guests don’t have to be a cause for panic. At the end of the day, keep it simple. Check for fruits or vegetables that could easily be muddled or squeezed into a cocktail. Frozen fruit or sorbet in the freezer? Try blending with some Pinnacle®Original Vodka and top with a mixer – any fresh juices or sodas are fair game.

Pinnacle®Original Vodka, fresh fruit, tea and soda

As for Mastoianni’s drink of choice during the summer season? Check out the recipe for a refreshing Strawberry-Sweet Tea cocktail below.

Strawberry-Sweet Tea Cocktail
2 parts Pinnacle® Original Vodka 
3 parts fresh lemonade
3 parts fresh-brewed iced tea
3 strawberries 

Preparation: Pour into a highball glass over ice. Garnish with fresh, sliced strawberries.