Originally the title for this piece was going to be “How Women Destroyed Drinking,” but in the course of writing, a greater problem seemed to reveal itself and your author felt that perhaps it was best to leave all the misogynistic mansplaining on Thermidor to Billy Pratt. While female empowerment has had a role to play in the decline of enjoying drink as drink, the wider escapism of alcohol consumption is not solely the result of the unrestrained social feminine. Bartenders, who during the middle of the last century were almost becoming a unique class of skilled craftsmen, have been reduced to dolling out sugar-coated amnesia to men and women who want the benefit of having an excuse tomorrow morning for their mistakes tonight. It may strike one as a Boomer lament, but gone are the days of afternoon cocktails: less of a Boomer lament, far longer gone are the days of Wassailing—and this is lamentable indeed. There is virtue, after all, in the enjoyment of the finer things, for one must be at least a little virtuous to share in such enjoyment. The reëmergence of temperance puritanism within the dissident right, therefore, while still quite small, is alarming. We have taken to euphemism and idiom which supposes that liquor does not exist for enjoyment: and those who are rightly suspicious of its abuse begin to long for its elimination.
Rather than digress into a long discussion of this more insignificant faction of the broader dissident right, however, why not instead discuss what has been lost and why? Jacobite lately published another addition to the growing hagiography of G.K. Chesterton, on a typically Chestertonian theme: the need for Joy. The core of the piece, though, was unexpected and speaks to a similarly Chestertonian concern, namely the need for food, or, more properly, the need to feast. In ancient days, when Moldbug was still producing original content and the post-racial presidency was at its apogee, another article with similar inspiration appeared in The Distributist Review – “How to Eat like a Hobbit”. The concerns of the latter were more practical; the inherently traditional and good drive to get away from industrialised food in favour of more local, communal, distributist fare, but the focal point was nevertheless the same sort of peasant sensibility that formed the common source of inspiration for Chesterton, Belloc, and Tolkien alike. Food is more than sustenance: it is society. Rather, food is better than society, because it can bind together a community.
Your author has many issues to take with the black pills littering our Editor-in-Chief’s philippic condemning the “Traddad”, but umbrage must give way to reason in admitting that the beating heart of that piece is the truth that culture and tradition cannot exist in the abstract alone and, furthermore, it is disingenuous to think mere introspection is sufficient to sustain a traditional society. Tradition requires a functioning community to exist in a meaningful way—and for us, Carlo is correct to say, the task resides in building that functioning society. Food and drink offer perhaps the most enduring of foundations upon which traditional society—indeed, any society—is built. It is a central element of traditional and communal rituals that are performed free of distracting self-awareness (this may not be true for much longer in America—the anti-bullying craze is already turning its focus to compulsive communal meals for students as a means to pave its very well-intentioned road to the infernal regions). For now, though, people in most of the world still feast and tipple–and do so without thinking much about it.
In the Western, world, however, food and drink have both shifted dramatically—the communal meal, especially in the nuclear family, is growing rarer, and drink, as we have already discussed, is becoming more somatic in its use as a means to impair the brain and therefore less social. Something similar occurred as the Soviet Union reached its nadir—drink became a means of escape, a cause for isolated disguised as a cure, leading to astronomical alcoholism rates. These rates were only to be surpassed when Western-style liberalism under Yeltsin made Russia even more depressing in the 1990s (apparently that was possible). In a society where alcohol consumption is already socially acceptable—indeed, encouraged—the use of alcohol in a pure form to deal with the listlessness and hopelessness of a society in flux, and, for most, in collapse, is not surprising. It turns the fast into a feast within the mind, and turns the luxury of alcohol into a debased chemical necessity. Yeltsin himself exemplified this tendency—incompetent, fearful, and beholden to corrupt liberal oligarchs, the first President of the Russian Federation was inebriated for the better half of his tenure in office.
A similar tendency towards alienation and depression has led to a similar if more deluded, form of alcohol consumption in the West. With an alteration in the commons, so to one sees a change throughout the hierarchy—if common food is debased, it can be certain the aesthetic of the feast is also debased, perhaps even dispensed with altogether. The aesthetic of the feast, however, is fundamental to a culture (it is partially for this reason that Marinetti toyed as he did with Futurist Cuisine). At the heart of the feast is the treatment of food as cuisine: that is, food with a specific purpose, especially a celebratory or indulgent purpose. The debasement of cuisine does not look like the debasement of common food, however—although both are edging closer and closer to the artificial. Where common food becomes more grueling and gluttonous, cuisine edges more towards the absurd and prideful: the ridiculous and meaningless surfeit of verbiage one sees thrown about on cooking shows, the obsession with signaling by means of food (one thinks particularly of dark chocolate patté). The Feast loses its function as feast and instead becomes a tool—and this is apparent in the way we drink as well.
Reclaiming the Aesthetic of Mixology
Few things are as festive as a well-mixed drink, tailored to an occasion and audience, meant to draw out the qualities of feasting. The right wine for a meal, the right beer for the season, the right liquor to set the mood at a party or settle a meal—alcohol serves the purpose of establishing a communal experience that is more fluid than the communal meal. While the session has certainly become a practice in the British Isles, drinks are best enjoyed without a set time limit—or rather, with the time limit determined by the presentation of the drink itself, which is always dependent on the one consuming the drink. Meals are enjoyed for a brief period and their pace is set by the whole body of those who have come together to break bread, but drinks permit greater personal participation in smaller groups: quick drinkers dance around slow drinkers and, provided with a well-stocked bar, a cocktail party can afford to be impressionist or even expressionist when the dinner can never hope to escape the confines of still-life
A good mixologist is thoroughly social—a glue binding the group together, he assumes the natural role of leader and link. A bartender will be sociable, of course, but taverns need to survive on money and he will therefore always have a lurking sense of insincerity that he will need to overcome in order to be successful. In the case of a public house, this is especially true, while in the case of a local beerhall or fixture of a local community, the mercantile quality may be less disruptive. In any case, good drinks ease society because of the way they manifest personality, be it communal or individual: the mixologist, therefore, requires the skills of a good confessor as much as a good host, knowing how to blend his guests and knowing them each personally. The barkeep or tavern-master of a community plays quite nearly as important a role as the local priest, and the more impersonal he is, the less cohesive the community will be.
The sacrament he oversees, of course, is one of community with one another rather than communion with God. The Priest is a universal actor – alter Christus in the West especially, acting on behalf of the universal and whole Church. The barkeep acts in the interests of a local community, and on behalf of the community – a protector of secrets, a provider of a policed space for social enjoyment, and one who shares in the joys and sorrows of the community. If he possesses this and nothing more, he is at least the cornerstone of a local bar (most working class bars have a barkeep of this quality). He is in this regard a mixer of people as much as of drinks – making sure the right ingredients come together, discerning similarities and discriminating irreconcilables and inpalatables.
What translates a tavern-master into a true mixologist is the skill with which he plies his trade beyond people-mixing as a drink mixer. This requires a mastery of certain recipes—very much like the Mother Sauces of French cooking. In this regard, every prospective host has the potential to be a mixologist and to serve as the binding figure at the social gatherings that need to happen to make the dissident right meaningful as a parallel society. It also introduces a skill that is valuable because of its aesthetic – the ability to master and discipline the enjoyment of a luxury that is the backbone of any kind of social cultivation. There has been a great deal of talk about the creation of an aristocracy, and it seems absurd to assume that cocktails should be the cornerstone of an aristocracy, but without a doubt, the cultivated enjoyment, in the Epicurean sense, of luxury does form a foundation of aristocracy. It drives the formation of disciplined and refined tastes—the manosphere never tires of saying that the superior man is a needless man, but, more significant, the superior man is inevitably a discriminating man.
The bar manual has been around since at least 1862, when “Professor” Jerry Thomas published his Bon Vivant’s Companion—you may think of it affectionately as the “Spoonful of Sugar” guide, since almost all of its recipes start with a full tablespoon of sugar at the bottom of the glass—and there have been a multitude of authors who have written various “Bar Bibles”. For your author, however, there are only two authorities on the mixing of drinks well—the Pseudonymous Old Mr. Boston Guide, published by the Mr. Boston Distillery in Roxbury, Massachusetts and David A. Embury, the author of The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks who has lately been unpersoned because he believed in mixing drinks but not mixing races. No one nears the expertise in cocktail mixing and the accompanying spirit of good society displayed by these authors, especially the latter. David Embury, one of the old WASP elite of New York, knew quite a bit about mixing drinks and mixing people: his book on the former is a monument to discriminating taste, and he showed the same sound discernment in his social politics, advocating for the sort of good sense and good manners between different races that have of late been vulgarised into the phrase “freedom of association”. The beauty of his work is the human quality of a discerning palate and a man whose “practical experience with liquors has been entirely as a consumer and shaker-upper of drinks for the delectation of my guests”; he is, therefore, writing “down-bar”, so to speak, while Old Mr. Boston is decidedly across the bar. Best of all, Mr. Embury liked his drinks hard, to be enjoyed for their flavour rather than for their effect— that is, he believed mixers should accentuate the natural flavour of the alcohol rather than mask it. His rules of what makes a real cocktail are the very essence of a refined aesthetic of potables:
- It must whet the appetite, not dull it. This first basic requirement of a good cocktail automatically eliminates a host of over-sweetened, over-fruit-juiced, over-egged, and over-creamed concoctions customarily found in books of cocktail recipes…
- It should stimulate the mind as well as the appetite. The well-made cocktail is one of the most gracious of drinks. It pleases the senses. The shared delight of those who partake in common of this refreshing nectar breaks the ice of formal reserve. Taut nerves relax; taut muscles relax; tired eyes brighten; tongues loosen; friendships deepen; the whole world becomes a better place in which to live…
- It must be pleasing to the palate. In order that a cocktail may satisfy both requirements 1 and 3, it must be dry (i.e., not sweet), yet smooth. Indeed, in compounding a cocktail, the first thought should be the production of a drink sufficiently dry to wake up and energize the taste buds, yet not so sour or so bitter or so aromatic as to be unpalatable.
- It must also be pleasing to the eye. This requires no conscious effort, yet I have seen Martinis that looked like dishwater just recovering from a bad case of jaundice and Manhattans that resembled nothing else quite so much as rusty sludge from the radiator of a Model-T Ford.
- It must have sufficient alcoholic flavour to be readily distinguishable from papaya juice, yet must not assault the palate with the force of an atomic bomb.
- Finally… it must be well iced.
Nevertheless, Mr. Embury’s strict rule that cocktails must only be aperitifs can be perhaps too restrictive: while his distaste for prohibition-era cocktails designed to mask the flavour of inferior liquor is well-received, it is your author’s belief that one should never underestimate the sweetened lunchtime cocktail or savoury nightcap, and a crusade against eggnog is a theatre of the War on Christmas we neglect at our peril. It is for this reason that it is good to supplement Mixing Drinks with Old Mr. Boston, a true reference guide for mixing that fits a proper encyclopaedia into a book that one can comfortably fit into the pocket of your sport-jacket.
The Tools and the Craft
In the interest of cultivating some of the aforementioned skills and discernment, allow your author the indulgence of sharing his own mastery of these skills, in the hopes that you might use them when entertaining fellow NRx or dissident rightists as you are forming IRL communities, or really when entertaining any guests, that you might induce them to toss away the tastes of our age that tolerates $9 bottles of “blended white” or hard-liquor-hidden-by-cola swill “cocktails”. Let us, therefore, discuss the Mother Cocktails (or perhaps better the Ancient Cocktails) – the originals, dating to the 19th century and earlier, when “cocktail” still adhered to its original meaning of any combination of spirits, sugar, and bitters.
Most conventional wisdom holds these to be the Whiskey Sour (dating from 1870), its cousin the Old Fashioned Cocktail (dating from the same time), the Martini (aka the Martinez, c. 1887—though the Martinez, with its 1:1 proportions is today called a Gibson, not a Martini), the Manhattan (aka the Tennessee Cocktail, originating in the 1860s in New York), and the Sidecar (the youngest cocktail of the originals—from 1922), and the Daiquiri (originating in Santiago de Cuba in 1902). Individual variations of this list will add the Mai-Tai, Jack Rose, Negroni, and Collins, to name a few, but there are a core six that most of the real authorities agree upon. This is for the most part because almost all cocktails are derived from these originals, with minor variations, such as the exchange of syrup for a liqueur or other sweetener or the alteration of one kind of liquor for another (even the Daiquiri, for example, is just a Whiskey Sour but with rum and lime juice instead of whiskey and lemon juice). As time has gone by, more additions have been made, but the beating heart of the cocktail remains the simple balance of base to modifier to flavouring (a Classic cocktail, i.e. pre-1940, will generally be rationed 3:2:1, a mid-century cocktail 2:1:1, while most of the swill consumed in contemporary bars is 1:3:2 unless the bar tender gets lazy). Mr. Embury insisted that the base liquor should always exceed fifty per cent of the drink—and ideally should be upwards of seventy-five per cent.
In addition to the Ancient Cocktails, there are one or two historic drinks with which everyone should be familiar—traditional recipes of the festal seasons. In the ancient of days, when Old World sensibilities and monarchs still reigned in the Americas, Europeans were given to mixing spirits exclusively in large batches for large gatherings. These have come down to us largely as punches and eggnog (of which Jerry Thomas lists 86 variations). The eldest and most famous is probably Wassail. These days the word “wassail” describes any hot spiced punch, but a true Wassail finds its origins sometime between the reigns of Richard III and Henry VIII, being a concoction of lager beer, whiskey, citrus, and various spices like cloves or ginger. Closely related, but coming from the continent, is the deeper-bodied Mulled Wine, of which there are innumerable variations. Whatever variation one uses, it is your author’s humble opinion that a repertoire lacking in these ancient recipes is no repertoire at all.
The Third World Bar
Before we get to the recipes themselves, it is paramount to ensure we have the right tools—a carpenter is not going to use a buck knife to carve a chair leg, though with sufficient willpower and ingenuity the job could be done. A well-stocked bar can be very difficult to attain without proper resources—and the annual tax return in flyover country does not always suffice to restock the necessary liquor, let alone establish the basic accouterments of mixing. This is not an excuse to give up on building a good collection of glassware and bar materiel, but it is a reality few of the parvenu socialites writing about building a bar these days are willing to face. Rather than give an exhaustive account, therefore, it should be enough to design a functional bar that one could build even in the heart of Africa. To make cocktails one really needs only:
- Ingredients (Bases, modifiers, specials)
- A means to measure ingredients
- A means to shake ingredients with ice
- A means to serve the mixed ingredients.
First, the ingredients—the most basic bar needs only five kinds of liquor: gin, whiskey, rum, tequila, and vodka. Most bars will be missing one of these in favour of several varieties of another (drop the tequila, for example, in favour of Irish whiskey, scotch, and/or rye; alternatively, drop the vodka in favour of dark, light, and/or coconut rum), but for a beginner, just stock the big five and one is half-way there. This means inevitably white gin, since yellow gin is usually outside the price point of most novices; Bombay Sapphire is your author's preference from youth, but there's nothing wrong with Beefeaters. Bourbon or rye are the "basic models" of whiskies. For rum, stick to Cuban-style (avoid Bacardi, it's not what it used to be) unless you prefer more pronounced aromatics). For tequila, never drink oro/gold: it fakes the appearance of age with additives. Stick to silver on the inexpensive end. For vodka, the Scandinavians seem to have improved upon this Slavic staple, so for the price, one is better off with a Nordic or Finnish brand.
In addition, the vast majority of older cocktails employ only citrus as modifiers—orange, lemon, and lime juice (rarely grapefruit), so it is often sufficient to have just two of these (orange and lemon or lime). For the special, Mr. Boston lists more than a half-dozen different syrups one can make, but honestly two will suffice: simple syrup for “high sweet” drinks and honey syrup for “low sweet” drinks. It will be difficult to mix many cocktails without the addition of various special liquors and liqueurs, so it’s advisable to add at the least vermouth or sloe gin, one’s favourite variety of schnapps, and brandy as well as sherry or tawny port. Brandy is especially useful if one wants to make homemade maraschino cherries (the fluorescent substitutes one buys in the store are children’s treats from the dark days of prohibition – proper maraschinos are made of dark cherries, simple syrup, and brandy). Optionally, one can stock a creamy liqueur like Coffee Liqueur or Irish Cream, but an experienced mixer can also make these himself. Finally, keep at least one small bottle of bitters, preferably Angostura bitters, the most versatile.
Secondly, one requires a means to measure ingredients. Liquor is measured by the pony (1 fl. oz.) and jigger (1 ½ oz.) on the most basic level. Divisions of this measurement are the tablespoon (½ a pony), teaspoon (1/3 tbsp.), splash (½ tsp.), and dash (3 drops); multiples are the snit (3 ponies), wineglass (4 ponies – 2 ponies in old recipes), split (6 ponies), and cup (8 ponies). The standard two-sided jigger shot is one pony plus one jigger, but to measure most ingredients, all a man needs is a shot glass, a good eye, and a steady hand. Mixing requires only slightly more—very few drinks are more than a cup of liquid, so any glass (avoid plastic) that is the equivalent of a 1½c. of space is sufficient for one half of your mixer—the second should have a mouth large enough to engulf the first glass and create a slight seal for shaking ingredients. One can, of course, avoid all this hassle by simply buying a shaker with a strainer.
Finally, let’s talk about glassware: Mr. Boston lists twenty separate shapes and sizes: the Hurricane, the Highball, the Collins, the Old Fashioned, the Cocktail, the Champagne flute, the Champagne coupe, the Irish Coffee, the Mug, the Beer Mug, the Punch-cup, the Red Wine, the White Wine, the Pilsner, the Parfait, the Pousse-Café, the Sour, the Cordial, the Shot, and the Brandy snifter. Unmentioned are the Whiskey tumbler (a variant of the Old Fashioned glass) as well as the Pint glass, the Tankard (Bierstein), the Julep cup, and the table glass. In any truly well-stocked bar, you want at least three or four of each of these, save for the Pint and Tankard, of which you want respectively at least a half dozen of the former and just one of the latter for show—but a collection of over a hundred articles of glassware takes a good deal of time and a great deal of money to acquire. This isn’t to say that you should be serving your cocktails in Solo cups, but there is a way to find a compromise. All of these can be reduced to three: the wine glass (preferably a red wine glass), the Collins glass, and the Old Fashioned glass. There is definitely a great deal to be lost in nuance by abandoning specialised glasses like snifters, champagne coupe, cocktail glass, and pousse-cafés, to say nothing of the hurricane, but most of the drinks to be served in any of these can be served effectively in a wine glass. Tall drinks with soda water (what used to be called a Rickey) require more volume, which the Collins provides just as well as a Highball, Hurricane, beer mug, or Irish coffee would. The shorter Old Fashioned glass is good for everything else – including the Sours.
Some Basic Recipes
We’ve already discussed the Old Cocktails above as the beating heart of a good drink repertoire, and any expansion on that core collection is dependent largely on the taste of the mixer and of his social circle. If one is looking to expand one’s horizons, though, it seems advisable to start in the most basic and popular liquors (gin, whiskey, and rum) first, and then venture into the more exotic and esoteric. Above all, a good mixologist is always confident in his own ability to invent a new drink because he knows his ingredients so well. Here, then, is a short collection of recipes, including the Old Cocktails, some peripheral classics, and one or two mixtures that your author has come to enjoy after some years of experimentation. All of these recipes make a single drink, so adjust accordingly for guests.
The Old Fashioned Whiskey Cocktail
The Old Fashioned should never be made with Scotch, whose smoky and earthen qualities blend poorly without an acid to accentuate them. Otherwise, though, pretty much any Whiskey (or Whisky – the difference is a significant nuance for another time) will work. The preferred base, though, is Rye (the Reconstructed or Missouri River Old Fashioned) or Bourbon (the Unreconstructed Old Fashioned). This is a stirred cocktail, not a shaken one – shaking blends too much water and dulls the flavour of the whiskey too much. There’s two ways to go about this, but the most important rule is do not ever muddle an Old Fashioned. The orange wheel is meant to be slowly absorbed by the liquor and the cherry is meant to be consumed after the drink is finished. An Old Fashioned is not a shooter, it is meant to be enjoyed – mashing up the cherry and orange is something poorly trained bartenders do to release the flavours quickly on the assumption the drink is going to be consumed in a hurry. If a bartender does this to you, correct him. If he argues, find a new bartender.
The Standard Old Fashioned
2 oz. Rye or Bourbon Whiskey
¼ oz. simple syrup
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Fill an Old Fashioned glass with cracked or crushed ice (Embury says cracked), then add the syrup bitters and stir. Add the Whiskey and stir again. Garnish with an Italian-preserved Marasca cherry and an orange (or lemon) wheel.
The Old Old Fashioned
1 tsp. confection sugar
2 oz Rye Whiskey
2-4 dashes of bitters
Start with a teaspoon of confectioners’ sugar and an orange wheel at the base of an Old Fashioned glass and then fill it with ice. Put enough bitters in to discolour the sugar, and then pour in the whiskey and stir until the sugar has completely dissipated. Garnish with a Marasca cherry.
The Mint Julep
Probably the most famous and most beloved variation on the Old Fashioned is the Mint Julep. In fact, it’s difficult to say which of the two came first. Most early Julep recipes essentially look like an Old Fashioned without the garnishes. There are quite nearly a hundred ways of mixing a Mint Julep, but there are only two right ways, the long way and the short way. In both cases, the only appropriate liquor to use is real Kentucky Bourbon. There is a special room in Hell for people who mix Mint Juleps using Southern Comfort, next door to people who muddle their mint, two doors down from those who use mint syrup, and on the same floor as people who listen to Luke Bryan and pull down Confederate monuments. Get a strong Bourbon, too—leave the Wild Turkey and Knob Creek on the shelf. Elijah Craig is an excellent and affordable brand for this purpose.
The Long Way
1 tbsp. confection sugar
2 tsp. water
3 oz. Bourbon Whiskey
2 dashes Angostura bitters (optional)
5-6 sprigs of fresh, young mint, cleaned and pruned
In a table glass or mixer, combine the confection sugar with water, bitters, and the leaves from one sprig of mint. Gently mix this so as to bruise, but not muddle, the mint. Do this carefully for several minutes, pausing to make sure the mint has not been crushed too thoroughly. Chill a Julep cup briefly in the freezer and pour half of this mint mixture into the bottom of the cup before filling it about ¾ of the way with shaved or finely crushed ice. Then pour the rest of the mint mixture in and place the cup to the coldest spot in the refrigerator and let it rest for not longer than an hour. Then, remove it from the refrigerator and add the bourbon, which should come nearly to the top of the cup, and return to the refrigerator for another half hour. Finally, add straws and take the remaining sprigs of mint and squeeze them in your hands tightly before placing them in the corner of the glass near the straw so you can bury your nose in the mint when you drink.
The Short Way
2 tsp. simple syrup
2 oz. Bourbon Whiskey
2 dashes Angostura bitters
5 sprigs of fresh, young mint, cleaned and pruned
Chill a Julep cup in the freezer until they have become thoroughly frosted—do not cheat by soaking them before putting them in the freezer!—meanwhile, mix the syrup and bitters with a little mint in a mixer with ice just as above, being sure to lightly bruise, but not muddle, the mint. Let this sit for a moment before adding the Bourbon to the mixer. Remove the Julep cup from the freezer and place a long straw in the glass before filling it with shaved ice nearly to the top, then strain the mixture from the mixer into the cup and stir until the ice has settled completely. Garnish as above.
The Whiskey Sour
The Whiskey Sour is, along with its cousin the Whiskey Sling (a variant is listed below), the avatar of Mr. Embury’s perfect cocktail – a decidedly alcoholic drink that whets the appetite with the perfect dry smoothness. This one can be made with Scotch, but please don’t ever waste a good single-malt in mixed drinks. A good single-malt Scotch, like a virgin, is beautiful for a lack of pretension and adornment, and should therefore be consumed without mixers. If you’re going to drink Scotch in mixed drinks, stick to Dewar’s. Traditionally, though, the Whiskey Sour is an American drink and therefore employs Tennessee Whiskey, Rye, or Bourbon. This is a shaken cocktail.
The Whiskey Sour
2 oz. Tennessee Whiskey or Bourbon Whiskey
¾ oz. lemon juice
½ to ¾ oz. simple syrup
1 egg white (optional)
Combine the lemon juice and the syrup in a shot glass and pour them together into the mixer. Then, add the Whiskey and shake with ice. Pour into a chilled cocktail or Old Fashioned glass; garnish with just a cherry if you are planning to add the egg white, a cherry and a lemon twist if you are not.
To float the egg white, separate it thoroughly and froth it in a separate bowl, then take a large bar spoon and convex it over the glass such that it just touches the top of the liquid, then slowly pour the egg white into the glass.
The New York Sour
2 oz. Rye Whiskey
¾ oz. lemon juice
¾ oz. simple syrup
1 oz. full-bodied red wine
Do just as with a Whiskey Sour, except before adding the garnish, carefully float the red wine on top. Then add the cherry and a lemon half-wheel.
2 oz. Tennessee Whiskey (preferably Jack Daniels)
1 oz. lemon juice
½ oz. simple syrup
Shake Whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup with ice and strain into an ice-filled Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
The Daiquiri is often mistakenly thought of as a ladies’ drink because of its strawberry variation, but the original Daiquiri is without a doubt the drink of the white suits, broad panama hats, and well-groomed moustaches. The Daiquiri is best made with light or medium rum, though a high-proof rum gives it a very pleasant kick. As rums go, stick to Jamaican and Barbadian stuff—steer clear of the swill they make in Puerto Rico. Try it with black rum if you wish, but the result is decidedly inferior to the original. One certain improvement, though, is to use key lime juice instead of regular lime juice. Like the Whiskey Sour, this is a shaken cocktail.
The Daiquiri (Key Lime variant – the Hemmingway Daiquiri)
2 oz. light or spiced rum
¾ oz. key lime juice
¾ oz. simple syrup
Shake the ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled Cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.
The Planter’s Cocktail
2 oz. Jamaican rum
¾ oz. lemon juice
2 tsp. simple syrup
Shake the ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled Cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
This is one of those old greats that has been terribly corrupted over the years by adolescent women and tip-seeking bartenders. If ever a cocktail needed to be mixed according to Mr. Embury’s proportions, it is the Manhattan. As with any drink employing vermouth as a modifier, there are two chief variations: the dry and the sweet. In addition to this, your author has a personal variant he has been mixing since he was first started tending bar as a teenager. Traditionally, the Manhattan has been a bourbon-based drink, but Irish Whiskey is a very good variation to either of the original recipes. It is a stirred cocktail.
The Dry Manhattan
2 oz. Rye Whiskey
1 oz. Dry white Vermouth
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Stir the Bourbon and Vermouth with ice to avoid foaming and strain into a cocktail glass. Add the bitters and garnish with an Italian-preserved Marasca cherry.
The Sweet Manhattan
2 oz. Bourbon Whiskey
1/2 oz. Sweet red Vermouth
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Stir the ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a Maraschino cherry.
The Five Points
2 oz. Irish Whiskey
1 oz. Dry white Vermouth
¼ oz. Grenadine or Maraschino liqueur
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Shake the whiskey, vermouth, and maraschino liqueur together with ice and a maraschino cherry or two. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and add the bitters. Garnish with a Maraschino cherry.
The Martinez Cocktail
The Martini is either a corruption of the name Martinez or is named for Italian vermouth distiller Martini (whence Martini & Rossi)—in either case, there are a dozen ways to make one and a great deal of debate over which is the best. For our purposes, there are only three ways to mix a martini—the Dry Martini, the Gibson, and the Sweet Martini. Your author agrees with Mr. Embury that whoever came up with the name “Perfect Martini” has a very low bar for perfection—so eschew recipes bearing that name. The Martini is a very contentious and delicate cocktail—it requires the best possible gin, which is inescapably a yellow gin, and Mr. Embury described it as “the perfect aperitif cocktail”. It is always a stirred cocktail. For our purposes, the lowest quality gin tolerable is probably Tanqueray or Bombay Sapphire.
The Dry Martini
1 ½ oz. yellow gin
½ oz. dry vermouth
1 dash orange bitters (optional)
Pour the gin and vermouth into a mixer with ice and stir until the ice is slightly reduced. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist.
The Original Martini
1 ½ oz. yellow gin
½ oz. sweet vermouth
1 dash orange bitters
Pour the gin and the vermouth into a mixer with ice and stir vigorously. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a cherry.
1 oz. white gin
1 oz. dry vermouth
Pour the gin and vermouth into a mixer with ice and stir until the ice is slightly reduced. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a pitted green olive or a cocktail onion.
To this point, all of our recipes have been American in origin, and all but one have been 19th century inventions (the Daiquiri). By the 1920s, with Prohibition in the US, Europeans were experimenting with their own cocktails; these tended to be sweeter and more aromatic than their sharper American cousins, and the oldest of these is the sidecar, which acts as a sort of Platonic form of European aperitif cocktail. Sidecar variations are a good option to initiate a girlfriend or wife into cocktails. It is, as with all European cocktails, shaken.
The Ritz Sidecar
1 oz. Cognac
1 oz. Triple sec
½ oz. lemon juice
Chill a cocktail glass and coat the mouth with confectioners’ sugar. Shake the ingredients with ice and strain into the glass. Lemon twist garnish is optional.
1 oz. Vodka
1 oz. Triple sec
½ oz. lime juice
Shake the ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a Marasca cherry. A group of sodomites in Massachusetts ruined this drink by adding cranberry juice to the recipe, inventing the Cosmopolitan.
The simplest of all cocktails, and the font from which springs perennial favourites for simple minds with simple tastes, the Highball has plenty of redeeming features if it is made properly. The basic highball is nothing more than the combination of liquor and soda water with a garnish—a remnant of prohibition when the taste of alcohol in America needed to be masked. Since we no longer have this problem, however, a true highball never allows the soda water to make up more than half the drink, meaning that most of the recipes below are never made properly. Here are four favourites and an original concoction that is guaranteed to appeal to one’s wife or lady friends.
The Whiskey Highball
2 ½ oz. Whiskey
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Soda water or ginger ale
Fill a Highball glass with ice and pour in the whiskey. Add soda until the glass is nearly full, and then drop in the bitters and stir. Garnish with a cherry.
The Rum Highball
2 ½ oz. dark or spiced rum
1 tsp. lime or lemon juice
Shake the rum and juice together and pour into an ice-filled Highball glass. Add soda water and garnish with a lime wheel.
The Gin & Tonic
2 oz. good Gin
Pour gin slowly into an ice-filled Old Fashioned glass. Add Tonic water to taste, and garnish with a lemon or lime halfwheel. OR When drinking Hendrick’s gin, garnish with a slice of cucumber before putting anything else in the glass
The Cuba Libré
3 oz. dark or spiced rum
Cola (historically only Coca Cola for a true Cuba Libré)
Fill a highball glass with ice and pour in the rum. Add the cola until the glass is nearly full, and then stir lightly. Garnish with a lime wheel.
Wind in the Peach Trees
1 ½ oz. Bourbon Whiskey
1 oz. Peach Schnapps
½ oz. orange juice
½ oz. grenadine
Shake flat ingredients with ice and strain into an ice-filled wine glass. Add soda water to taste. Garnish with a Maraschino cherry and orange half-wheel.
These recipes should be more than enough to start out, but remember not to become enslaved to recipe measures—mix drinks to your own liking and those of your guests. Hospitality and camaraderie are grounded in common courtesies of the sort that make civilization possible—the ancients placed greater emphasis on the law of hospitality and hearth than nearly any other unwritten law of their civilizations. However good a drink tastes, the experience of the drink in the company of good society is the essence of the cocktail and the reason why Civilization can't lack a bartender or at least someone very much like him.