To become a "real" man in women's eyes, men have to learn a lot of things. Making cocktails is one of them.
It seems simple enough, but there are so many contenders for the ultimate martini recipe that it’ll make your head spin. In the ’80s, there was a Saturday Night Live sketch about a game show called “What Would Frank Do?” The idea is that the answers to all of life’s questions resided in Sinatra’s gut. According to a bartender at London’s Savoy Hotel, where Sinatra sometimes stayed, his drink was the martini — specifically, gin and vermouth over ice.
So do what Frank did. At the very least, it’ll be an impressive anecdote as you’re shaking them up.
3 ounces London Dry-style gin, such as Beefeater
¾ ounce dry vermouth
1 small strip of lemon peel
Directions: Fill a mixing glass with ice. Pour in gin and vermouth. Stir for 30 seconds, then strain into an old-fashioned glass over fresh ice. Twist the lemon peel over the drink, then drop it in.
Although old-timey, a martini on the rocks may seem radical. For a classic version, go with this recipe for The Absolute Martini from The Little Black Book of Martinis:
Dry vermouth to taste:
• 4 parts gin to 1 part vermouth is a medium dry martini
• 6 to 1 is dry
• 8 to 1 is very dry
• 12 to 1 is an arid martini
Directions: Shake or stir, with cracked ice. Strain into a cold martini glass. Garnish with a green olive or a lemon twist.
Whiskey combined with muddled sugar, bitters, and water, the Old Fashioned is so named because it was one of the very first whiskey cocktails. Its origin is traceable, anecdotally, to the early 19th century, and a recipe can be found in the awesomely titled 1862 book How to Mix Drinks or The Bon-Vivant’s Companion. Mixologist Emily Farris suggests this recipe.
1 teaspoon white granulated sugar
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
2 dashes orange bitters
4 ounces rye whiskey
Orange twist, for garnish
Directions: Add the sugar and bitters to the bottom of a rocks glass, then muddle them together with the end of a wooden spoon. Add the whiskey and stir well (until the sugar is dissolved, at least 30 seconds), then top it off with a handful of ice or one large ice cube. Twist the orange peel to release its oils and garnish.
Watch: How to Drink Whiskey.
In addition to capturing the manly metier of his time in books such as A Farewell to Arms and The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway was also, perhaps, the Papa of mixology. This drink was created for him when he was living in 1920s Cuba.
Cocktails scholar Philip Green claims to have tracked down the original recipe published by the Floridita Bar, where Hemingway hung out. Called the Papa Doble for its double strength, it’ll have you bidding a farewell to limb control if you’re not careful.
2 oz white rum
1 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz fresh grapefruit juice
1/4 oz maraschino liqueur
1 1/2 to 2 cups shaved ice
Directions: Combine in a blender and frappe until the drink is foaming. Serve in a large cocktail glass, champagne saucer, or goblet. Note: Maraschino liqueur is not the same thing as syrup from a cherry jar.
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Its reputation has been sullied by spring breaks, giant neon cocktail glasses and that frozen sludge dispensed by machines, but the margarita is nonetheless worth learning to do well. Few summer drinks are as refreshing — or as requested.
Just be sure to use 100% agave tequila and skip overly sweet triple sec for smoother agave syrup.
2 oz 100% agave tequila
1 oz lime juice
1 oz Cointreau or dry curacao
Directions: Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously to combine. Strain into a coupe glass rimmed with coarse salt.
As old-school as it gets, Manhattan is an ideal showcase for your favorite whiskey. Ever since we sampled the exceptional George Dickel whiskey at NYC’s Back Forty, it’s been one of our choice options for both sipping and cocktails. So we’ll pass along their recipe for a Manhattan. Use a whiskey of your choice, but go with crisp and clean, nothing smoky or peaty.
1 oz. George Dickel Rye Whisky
0.5 oz. sweet vermouth
3 dash Angostura Bitters
Directions: Stir & strain into a coupe cocktail glass.
Sweet and sharp, this New Orleans standby is the Southern spin on a brandy cocktail. This recipe comes from William Boothby’s 1908 book World Drinks & How to Mix Them. It’s cited in the PDT Cocktail Book by the proprietors of Please Don’t Tell in New York City, one of the finest cocktail bars in the world.
2 oz Rittenhouse rye whiskey
3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 sugar cube
Directions: Muddle the sugar and bitters, then add the whiskey. Stir with ice and strain into a chilled, Vieux Pontarlier Absinthe-rinsed rocks glass. Pinch a lemon peel over the surface and discard.
You’re cringing, but if you have lady friends, you’ll be called upon to make this sweet-and-tart drink on occasion. Don’t get cute with it — go with this straightforward recipe from the International Bartenders Association.
1 ⅓ oz Citron Vodka
½ oz Cointreau
1 oz Cranberry juice
½ oz Fresh lime juice
Directions: Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Strain into a large cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime slice.
The requisite cocktail at Kentucky Derby parties — unofficially the start of warm-weather drinking season — the mint julep is also a refreshing summer cocktail. Jim Meehan, the author of the PDT Cocktail Book, turns to this recipe from The Bar-Tender’s Guide, published in 1862. “The keys to a great mint julep are a proper julep cup (preferably silver), cold crushed ice, lively mint and the finest overproof bourbon you can afford to mix with,” he writes.
2.5 oz bourbon
0.5 oz simple syrup
8 mint leaves
Directions: In a chilled julep cup, muddle the mint and syrup, then add the bourbon and top with pebble ice. Swizzle, then top with more pebbled ice. Garnish with 3 mint sprigs.
This classic cocktail is an excellent showcase for quality scotch if someone in your party doesn’t have the palate to drink it straight. (Drambuie is, after all, scotch-based liqueur.) You can also use bourbon, a smoky whiskey or mezcal if that’s to your taste. Fun fact: Subbing in Canadian rye whiskey makes this a Donald Sutherland, after the iconic actor and New Brunswick native.
2 ounces blended scotch whiskey
½ ounce Drambuie
1 lemon twist
Directions: Combine scotch and Drambuie in an old fashioned glass over ice (if you like your drinks sweeter, add a little more liqueur). Stir, and garnish with a lemon twist.
You might rely on this most classic of brunch cocktails to help you forget the night before, but this recipe is worth committing to memory. It’s the original Bloody Mary, created at the King Cole Bar in New York City in 1934. There, it was called the Red Snapper, and it doesn’t lack for the bite.
Dash of tabasco
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
2 ounces vodka
Splash of dry sherry
5 ounces tomato juice
1-ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed
Pinch of celery salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Celery stick or a slice of lemon, to garnish
Directions: Pour the Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce over ice in a shaker and add the vodka, dry sherry, tomato juice, and lemon juice. Season with celery salt and cayenne pepper. Shake vigorously and strain over ice into a highball glass. Garnish with a celery stick or a slice of lemon.
According to legend, the Sidecar was invented at the Hemingway Bar at the Hotel Ritz in Paris, for a patron who always pulled up on a motorcycle with a sidecar. It first appeared in Robert Vermeer’s 1922 book Cocktails and How to Make Them, with the specification that it “takes the drinker for a ride.” If you want to go big, make the hotel’s deluxe version, which substitutes cognac for the brandy.
2 oz brandy
1 oz triple sec
twist of orange peel, to garnish
Directions: Shake the brandy and Triple Sec over ice, strain into a tumbler filled with ice and add the orange peel to garnish.
This classic cocktail might be considered a somewhat delicate deflection of a Manhattan, but its history is hardcore: 19th-century sailors brought the drink ashore after mixing their rum rations with lemon juice to ward off scurvy. It was first published in 1862’s The Bar-Tenders Guide by Jerry Thomas as a simple sugar-lemon-bourbon ratio. We like this updated version from The Gentleman’s Guide to Cocktails. Accept no substitutes — and by God, stay away from the bottled sour mix.
2 ounces bourbon
2 dashes of Angostura bitters
1 tablespoon of cherry juice
2 ounces lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2 ounces sugar syrup (or to taste)
Directions: Add the ingredients to an ice-filled shaker. Shake hard and strain into a tumbler full of ice.
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Essentially a boozy sparkling lemonade, this 19th-century libation is about as classic (and refreshing) as cocktails get.
1 tsp sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 ounces gin
Directions: Place ice cubes in a tall glass. Add sugar and lemon juice. Pour in gin, then fill to the top with club soda and stir.
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