SCOTT SUGGESTS • OLD FASHIONED
2 DASHES ANGOSTURA BITTERS
1 TSP SUGAR
2 OZ BOURBON
SOAK SUGAR WITH ANGOSTURA BITTERS, GENTLY MUDDLE/BRUISE ORANGE. ADD ICE AND POUR BOURBON. STIR. GARNISH WITH CHERRY.
Like Don Draper himself. The old fashioned was perhaps the first cocktail — they were already calling it "old fashioned" in the 1880s when, for contrast, the electric light-bulb was emergent technology. Done right, the sugar and the orange complement the natural sweetness of the bourbon, the bitters add spiciness, and the ice evens it all out just enough to sink into. This is probably the strongest of any of the drinks in this article. It's also one of the best.
Rendezvous's Scott Holliday with a Mamie Taylor.
Good if you like: lemon drops; margaritas; amaretto sours; The Twilight Saga: New Moon
We've included Canadian whiskey on this list because we're feeling generous, and because it is by far the most accessible. Canadian whiskey is generally a blend, mixed by experts to taste as close to nothing as possible. On the other hand, due to its relative lack of personality, it'll play second fiddle to just about anything. If you have only one chance to get a hater to like whiskey, give them a 7&7 — Seagrams 7 Canadian whiskey and 7UP. Clean, fresh, bright, and easy: simplicity itself. It's like an alcoholic iced tea.
EMILY SUGGESTS • MAPLE LEAF
2 OZ CANADIAN WHISKEY
1/2 OZ MAPLE SYRUP
1/2 OZ LEMON JUICE
SHAKE AND STRAIN OVER ICE.
A good example of the upside of Canadian whiskey, as you can do something crazy like add maple-fucking-syrup to it, and it's not only drinkable but good. This cocktail is a bit sour, a bit sweet, utterly unique, with barely a hint of whiskey's flavor found anywhere.
SCOTT SUGGESTS • WHISKEY SOUR
2 OZ CANADIAN WHISKEY
3/4 OZ FRESH-SQUEEZED LEMON JUICE
1/2 OZ SIMPLE SYRUP
SHAKE AND STRAIN OVER ICE. GARNISH WITH ORANGE SLICE AND CHERRY.
The whiskey sour is a deceptively difficult drink to do well, as most bars will give you sweet & sour mix, laced with high-fructose corn syrup and some crappy preservative. While we can't in good conscience recommend that stuff to anyone, the drink would still remain an accessible option. When done right, it's sublime.
Good if you like: vodka & tonic; hoppy or dark beer; gin; Dylan Thomas
Irish Whiskey is smooth without being bland, and is probably at its best on ice — but that's for later. For now, it's for drinkers who value the taste of a spirit, but don't necessarily want to start howling folk songs into the night.
EMILY AND SCOTT BOTH SUGGEST • IRISH COFFEE
STRONG BLACK COFFEE
SUGAR TO TASTE
11/2 OZ IRISH WHISKEY
UNSWEETENED WHIPPED CREAM
COMBINE, FLOAT THE WHIPPED CREAM ON TOP
The Irish coffee is an uncommonly useful drink, perfect for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up before braving the Christmas mall. Irish whiskey is subtle enough in the drink to not overpower, but flavorful enough that you know it's there. Baileys can be substituted for the cream, if necessary. But whatever you do, don't listen to what anyone says about hot toddys. One sip of a poorly made hot toddy would turn John Wayne to G&Ts.