Tips For Making Cocktails From A Hotel Minibar

How to mix a better minibar cocktail

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Ahhh, the hotel minibar. Sitting there quietly in the corner, daring you to partake in a mini bottle of whiskey or an overpriced Toblerone bar. Invented in the 1960s by German company Siegas, the minibar was quickly adopted by many of the top luxury hotels in the United States, offering their guests self-serve alcohol and snacks 24/7.

Though it seems like a good idea at the end of a long day of traveling, panic strikes upon seeing the bill and realizing all you got out of it was a vodka tonic and stale potato chips. But there are more creative ways to make the available ingredients work to your advantage. We consulted Natasha David of Manhattan bar Nitecap to get bartender-approved tips on how to hack your way to a better hotel-room cocktail.

Don't be afraid to indulge or take full advantage of room service. "Hotels are all about indulgence and being a little naughty," David says. "My guilty pleasure is a dirty vodka martini. Take your mini of vodka, order olives from room service and use the olive brine."

Make a beer cocktail. Unless you carry around your own travel-size bottle of bitters or flavored syrups, you might find yourself immediately gunning for something pretty basic: a whiskey soda or screwdriver. But if you haven't already discovered the magic of beer cocktails, now is the time to experiment. David opts for a michelada: "Bottle of beer and can of tomato juice. Combine in a glass with ice and a salt rim, and you've got yourself a michelada. Wanna be fancy? Order some lime wedges from room service." Bonus points if you can snag hot sauce to top it off.

It's wine o'clock. There's bound to be a bottle of wine lying around the minibar, however small. If you're feeling celebratory, order a bottle of Champagne and mix up a modified spritz. "White wine, sparkling wine and a splash of seltzer. Take hot bubble bath," David says. Or go the sangria route: "Red or white. Add some orange and cranberry juice. Make some simple syrup by taking a sugar packet and mixing with water. Add sweetness to your liking." Oranges from room service make it closer to the real thing.