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The Five Classic Cocktails Every Man Should Know Once upon a time, cocktail hour was an occasion

. A sacred space. When the work day ended, you visited your favourite bar to put a little distance between the office and home. This was not excess; it was ritual. A quiet moment of reflection. In the words of Sinclair Lewis, a “canonical rite”. I think we lost this practice because we live in a society that has trouble controlling it’s appetites. What we’re talking about here is the opposite of Happy Hour. I’d like to bring this ritual back, and in doing so, to revive some of the classic drinks that made cocktail hour a welcome demarkation between a man’s field of battle and his sanctuary. We’re not discussing such staples as the Gin & Tonic or Scotch & Soda in this article. These are both fine drinks, but they should be self-evident. The “mix” is right there in the name. Instead, I want to arm you with a handful of classic cocktails every man should know. Ordering one of these at a respectable bar immediately establishes you as a person of confidence and sophistication. And the literary pedigree of these drinks gives you the perfect backstory for an intelligent conversation. Not for you the alco-pops of high school girls, or the made up fruity nonsense commonly — and insultingly — tagged with the name “martini”! You’re better than that. You’re a man, not a frat boy. Put the binge drinking in the past where it belongs. We’re reviving the sacred institution of the Cocktail Hour. Crack some ice, limber up that shaker, and lets’s get started. 1) The Gibson - Gin - A dash of dry vermouth - or if you’re a purist, simply wave the vermouth cap over your glass

” but this is another topic for another rant.” It’s difficult to get a good Gibson in a bar. The Gibson is a forgotten classic.. 2) The Martini .. push the glass away. If there were a king of cocktails. But I’m determined to bring it back.1/2 part dry vermouth Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an olive.2 parts Canadian (rye) whisky . You may alternatively use vodka in place of gin.1 part sweet (red) vermouth . strain. sometimes listed on a bar menu as a “saketini. a clean incision that lets in air and makes your thoughts instantly lucid. In this case the drink becomes a “Vodka Martini. and instruct them if necessary. “The first sip should taste like a knife to the head. the martini would be it. and serve in a cocktail glass. Garnish with a single cocktail onion. Treat this drink with the respect it deserves. The only thing they have in common with the martini is that they’re served in the same type of glass. so enjoy it while it does.Shake hard with ice.2 1/2 parts gin . Shake your head. and you’ll often be met with blank stares.” Which brings up an issue that pisses me off. The Gibson is as close to zero degree drinking as it’s possible to get. Neither is that sickly sweet orchard reject they call an “appletini”. This won’t last. I was once even given a martini with a cocktail onion in it — as if this abomination were the same thing! DO NOT accept it. These are completely different drinks and they should be given a different name. 3) The Manhattan . Let’s get something straight right away. That drink with sake and vermouth. It’s not what you ordered. author of Classic Cocktails. In the words of Mark Kingwell.” is not a martini. A glass many people erroneously refer to as a “martini glass.

bright. But if a bartender ever suggests mixing you a Manhattan with bourbon whiskey. The Bronx Cocktail is another noble relative. To quote Kingwell again. Make like Count Negroni and order this noble beverage anytime you’re in a Mediterranean mood. 4) The Negroni . or serve on the rocks in an Old-Fashioned glass. The one and only cocktail that really demands a cherry. The Rob Roy substitutes scotch whisky for rye. Icy. by yourself. garnished with an orange slice.1 part Rose’s Lime Cordial . and walk out immediately. and should a bartender insist on using vodka in place of gin. 5) The Gimlet . spit on the floor.. This is not the sort of establishment for you. Oh. gridlocked thoughts.1 part Campari . “Drink it at the bar. The Negroni is as Italian as outdoor cafes and dolce-vita evenings.dash of Angostura bitters Stir with ice. It’s aromatic.1 part gin Shake with ice and strain. bustling.” Many variations of this drink exist. Both are excellent drinks in their own right. hold up your hand and firmly refuse. and with a complicated undercurrent of flavour. look him straight in the eye. Demand the genuine article. It has a straight-up neatness with an undertone of melancholy. thinking deep. dusky and sweet.1 part sweet (red) vermouth .3 parts gin . in railway bars or other places of hard drinking transit. forgotten now but at the time considered a possible rival to the Manhattan. Order it in shady company. strain into a cocktail glass. and garnish with a maraschino cherry. anchored with the essential Italian aperitif — but bolstered with a slug of gin. Vodka lacks the aromatic botanicals to balance Campari’s bitterness.

Robert Wilson. Finally. Five essential classic cocktails every man worth his salt should know. Raymond Chandler’s detective Philip Marlowe briefly flirted with them too. 2 parts lemon juice. To be “gimlet-eyed” is to possess a glare that’s able to penetrate or pierce through. they taste great. Sidecar (6 parts brandy. but proportions matter. Kir Royale (9 parts champagne. the hunting guide in Hemingway’s “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” orders one — and that’s when things begin to go horribly wrong. 1 part crème de cassis). strain. In that case. ice). soda water). Take your time. The Gimlet is a simple drink. 1 part triple sec). Bottoms up. It’s a drink with a sneaky bite. but don’t waste an expensive single malt on a mixed drink. There’s a vast new world waiting out there for you. Let this serve as a starting point for your explorations.Shake hard with ice. There you have it. and it was difficult to narrow down five choices from so many classic drinks. It goes without saying that the quality of your ingredients matters. and mix your drinks carefully and well. They’re sophisticated. A proper gentleman looks after his lady. This obviously isn’t a comprehensive list. Know that when you order this you’re keeping some rather questionable company. . Just cold gin and cold lime juice. and serve in a cocktail glass. Nothing else. fresh citrus juice. and they always go over well. Firmly refuse all garnishes. Avoid knock-off lime cordials. and the Daiquiri (rum. Perfect for confidences shared over dark corner tables. your knowledge shouldn’t stop with your needs alone. Buy the best you can afford. I recommend adding these classic recipes to your library: Cassis and Soda (crème de cassis. You should know how to mix a few classic staples in case she isn’t the hard-drinking type. a good quality blended whisky fits the bill perfectly.