Turtle Bay’s Top Ten Cocktail Secrets.


When the Wessex Scene‘s editorial team were first invited to a Cocktail Making class at Turtle Bay, I really wasn’t expecting to learn so much. As Southampton’s premier cocktail hotspot, Turtle Bay has a cult following of students and young professionals due to its 2-4-1 deals on a lovely array of drinks. As one of 34 branches in the UK, our local Turtle Bay  is the place to go for nerve-wracking first dates, girls’ nights out, or even celebrating the end of exams. 

This Cocktail Master-class involved testing multiple types of Rum (who knew there were so many and could be so strong?) and then actually making some of Turtle Bay‘s classic cocktails. With the Wessex Scene, Surge Radio, and SUSUtv in residence alongside some of the lovely #sotonbloggers ladies, it was an incredibly fun and informative evening. Our wonderful host for the evening and Rum connoisseur, Adam Gough, was kind enough to give us a run down of his Top 10 Bartending Secrets, for the amateur alcohol enthusiasts and Turtle Bay fans out there.

Credit: Lydia Rose Hawken
  1. A cocktail needs ice. Lots of ice keeps the ice itself cool which stops the drink from becoming watered down. So next time you feel as if you’re being ripped off, think twice! The bartenders know what they’re doing.
  2. Aromatic bitters make or break a drink.
  3. As does grenadine, this pink, super sweet syrup is the perfect final touch and can be purchased easily in most supermarkets!
  4. Cocktail glasses have been designed specifically with a drink in mind to best show it off – and therefore make the person drinking it look better! Most rum-based drinks are sipped out of a chip pot (Turtle Bay‘s classic small silver punch tin).
  5. The skin of a lime is full of flavour, don’t throw it out!
  6. Moreover, mint needs to be muddled to get the best flavour.
  7. Mai’tais are best either served with rose petals or lime.
  8. Bartenders often employ the ‘straw trick’ to test if the flavour of the cocktail is right without taking a slug themselves. If you cover the tip of the straw with your finger and dip the straw in the drink, you can take a small amount easily. Comforting knowing that things are being kept hygienic.
  9. Wray and Nephew is a 63% Rum. Not for the faint-hearted (like me, it genuinely burnt my mouth), this was the most distinctive of all the rums we tried.
  10. And finally, Adam’s personal favourite fact. Appleton rum (like Wray and Nephew) has been aged in Jack Daniels barrels to achieve that whiskey, smoky flavour. Yum.

A huge thank you to the team at Turtle Bay for inviting us along to the evening. It was an incredibly enjoyable and informative event – for all you cocktail enthusiasts reading, we hope you’ve learnt as much as we did!


Third Year English Literature Student. Deputy Lifestyle Editor of The Wessex Scene. Lipstick hoarder and literature enthusiast.

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