Everyone should have a signature cocktail, and it should be relatively simple so that you can make it quickly using a few high quality ingredients... and it should impress your friends and family at the start of the evening.

Mine is a very dry martini. I like a gin martini as opposed to vodka, and you’ll need a good quality vermouth such as Noilly Prat or Cocchi Americano. All you have to do is pour a very generous measure of the gin into a shaker half-filled with ice. Then add the tiniest amount of vermouth, shake well and strain into a chilled glass. Simple, and effective. A larger measure of vermouth creates a less dry martini, and you should experiment (a lot) to find the perfect amount for you.

To become an accomplished stay-at-home mixologist, you'll need a few bits of kit. A shaker should be top of your list, and a bar spoon would come in handy too. Make sure you always have plenty of ice in the freezer. In terms of the drinks store-cupboard, keep a good supply of vodka, gin and rum (and a vermouth) and you won’t go wrong. I’d also suggest bitters, an orange liqueur, Kahlua, a nice brandy, tequila and a bottle of Galliano for emergencies. Anything else you need for specific cocktails can be bought as and when required.

Shop around for your ingredients as you'll often see good brands on offer, but avoid the lower ABV supermarket house labels. You should be using the best ingredients you can to make the best cocktails.

Here are three easy ones to try this weekend...

A Sea Breeze is a classic vodka-based cocktail made with cranberry juice and fresh grapefruit juice. You don’t need to shake this one, simply pour the ingredients over ice into a highball glass, squeeze a lime wedge into the glass and give it all a wee stir. It’s very easy to make, and incredibly refreshing.

If you're feeling a bit elegant, try a White Lady. In a shaker, pour in equal parts gin, Cointreau and fresh lemon juice. Shake well over ice, then strain into your poshest (chilled) glasses. For an extra flourish, you can add a twist of lemon rind.

Although I like Pina Colada, my favourite rum based cocktail is a Yellow Bird. You’ll need white rum, (I also add golden rum, but it's not essential), fresh lime juice, Galliano and triple sec (an orange liqueur). Pour a good glug of the white rum into a shaker over ice. Add half as much of the other ingredients, and shake really well before straining into a chilled glass.