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Some cocktails are best resigned to the past. Prawn. The Molotov. The 1988 Tom Cruise classic Cocktail. That cocktail dress your prep school girlfriend wore to The Feathers. Anything involving a tiny umbrella.
But not all sharpeners deserve their plot in oblivion. Indeed, some – as you’re about to find out – are worth revitalising. Here are the five forgotten cocktails that we believe every gentleman should re-discover. Enjoy them responsibly, and then irresponsibly, and then fully-clothed in someone else’s pool.
The Adonis cocktail dates back to the mid-1880s, and was named in honor of the first Broadway musical to run for more than 500 performances. Wildly popular at fin-de-siecle hotspots like the Waldorf Astoria, the Adonis is sophisticated, sleek, and coloured like rich mahogany. It’s also relatively light on alcohol, so you can enjoy one or two or six of them without accidentally proposing to anyone.
45ml amontillado or oloroso sherry
45ml red vermouth or Punt e Mes
2 dashes orange bitters
Stir the sherry, vermouth and bitters well with cracked ice. Strain into a chilled coupe and twist orange peel over the top.
A classic bourbon-backed whiskey sour given a kick of continental je ne sais quoi thanks to the addition of red wine, the New York Sour was the drink of choice amongst New York’s burgeoning aristocracy at the end of the nineteenth century. Back then, all a gentleman had to worry about was wearing the right spats, syphilis, and the hierarchy of soup ladles. Simpler times.
60ml straight rye whiskey
15ml lemon juice
7ml orange juice
5ml caster sugar
15ml cabernet sauvignon
Stir sugar and juices together in a cocktail shaker. Add whiskey, fill shaker with ice, shake well and strain into chilled cocktail coupe. Carefully float wine over the top by pouring it slowly out of a small container over the back of a barspoon. Or soup ladle, actually.
The Sazerac claims to be America’s oldest cocktail, and we’re certainly not going to argue. A muscular, fun-loving, pokey little thing, the Sazerac is filled to the gizzards with New Orleans pomp and pose, right down to its francophone name (pinched, if you’re asking, from Sazerac de Forge et Fil cognac). This is the stuff of saloon doors, French colonial architecture, and burying dead business rivals down by the bayou. Fantastic.
1 cube sugar
35ml Sazerac Rye Whiskey or good bourbon
2 dash Angosturra bitters
3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
A rinse of absinthe
Rinse a chilled rocks glass with absinthe, discarding any excess, and set aside. In a mixing glass, muddle the sugar cube and both bitters. Add the rye, fill with ice and stir. Strain into the prepared glass. Twist a slice of lemon peel over the surface to extract the oils and then discard.
Brought to San Francisco from south of the border with the thrill and promise of the San Francisco Gold Rush, the Pisco Punch marries tropical charm with a hard-nosed alcoholism (One Californian writer of the day noted how “it tastes like lemonade but comes back with the kick of a roped steer.”)
And if all that sounds a little too Smirnoff Ice for you, Just look at the litany of serious men who have named it their weapon of choice – Mark Twain; founder of the New Yorker Harold Ross; Rudyard Kipling. The latter decreed that the Pisco Punch could make “a gnat fight an elephant”, and our own field tests have revealed a similar side-effect of misplaced confidence.
50 ml finest Pisco
50ml fresh Pineapple Juice
25ml Fresh lime juice
25ml Gomme syrup
Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake well and strain into a white wine glass filled with coarsely cut ice. Garnish with pineapple chunks and a cherry.
A drink that screams “The Great Gatsby” like a particularly unoriginal 21st invitation circa 2014, the Gin Rickey was the lip-loosener of choice of the Jazz Age. (In fact, Fitzgerald himself was said to favour gin based cocktails because he thought the spirit was harder to detect on the breath than others.) Well, they didn’t call the big guy “Great” for nothing – and this is simple party drink is filled with all the zest, sparkle and oncoming horror of those pages.
50ml good gin
1 whole lime, cut in half
Some decent sparkling water. Badoit, why not.
Fill a highball glass with ice and add the gin. Juice the lime halves into the glass and drop in the juiced lime shells. Fill with sparkling water.