When it was once decreed that the staunchest of fools shall protest with every debatable nib and barb that real men will drink only whiskey neat with the occasional ice cube for the pansy, humanity somehow collectively decided against weeping for the hubris that dictated only women may indulge in cocktails. But, the height of oblivious self-importance derived from intoxication should not be merely an affair of spirit and water – and lest you believe your masculinity would be compromised, go forth with the dutiful knowledge that these are the manliest cocktails alive.
Brought to prominence in the Waldorf Astoria hotel bar, New York, the Old Fashioned the strongest of all the cocktails here:
- Request 3 oz of bourbon whiskey and specify Buffalo Trace Bourbon or Bulleit Straight Bourbon Frontier should they have it.
- Ensure there are 2 dashes of Angostura bitters (only they will do here) and a dash of club soda.
- Ask for one sugar cube and insist on a large ball of ice, not crushed (to prevent it melting and premature dilution of the drink).
- Finally, the traditional garnish is an orange slice and cocktail cherry.
To ascend into gentlemanliness is to embrace the crux of the fraternity. For starters, the gentleman would We love ourselves the sturdy punch of a Tanqueray and sometimes the wilful mischief of the Botanist gin, but usual suspects such as Beefeater would do just as great.
- Ask for 2 fl oz of gin.
- 3 tsp of dry vermouth. Dry vermouth is bitter and less sugary, so for a more dry martini, you’ll need to ask for more vermouth. If in doubt just ask the bartender for “3:1 ratio of Vermouth”.
- Shaken or stirred? It stands to reason shaken will go into a cocktail and strained into your glass, stirred will be judiciously placed in a cocktail shaker with ice and gradually stirred for 30 seconds, which results in a smoother flavour.
- Garnishing. If you want lemon, simply state with twist or if you’d prefer a slightly drier essence, ask for an olive.
A veritably simple cocktail to order but the devil is in the detail, avoid overdoing it with the citrus flavours:
- Insist on 1 fl oz of cognac – Prunier VS if they have it.
- Team with orange liqueur – Prunier will complement the cognac choice but Cointreau isn’t too distasteful.
- 1 fl oz lemon juice
- 0.5 oz of simple syrup. Some barmen opt for lime too, but it doesn’t necessarily need it.
- Finally, ensure it’s shaken, with a hint of sugar around the rim of the glass.
Nothing says aperitif more than a Brandy Alexander, but be sagacious about how much creme de cacao you add. This was John Lennon’s tipple of choice when on his ‘Lost Weekend’ break from Yoko Ono. And that lasted 18 months…
- Choose a decent brandy as a base for the drink. V.S.O.P or X.O. will increase the cocktail’s flavour profile.
- 1 fl oz brown creme de cacao such as Briottet.
- 1 fl oz heavy cream.
- Ice and grated nutmeg to serve.
When placing your order for this, ask the barman to crush the ice very finely, and ensure you have Bulleit Bourbon for the whiskey. The bartender will ask you if you like it dry or sweet: remember the drier you’d like it, the more vermouth you add. Your order will include:
- 1.5 fl oz of American rye whiskey.
- Typically, 1.5 fl oz vermouth.
- 2 dashes of sugar syrup.
- 1-2 dashes of Boker’s bitters.
- Ask for it to be mixed and served in a cocktail glass.