Drink Like a Dude: Winterize Your Bar

21 Nov

The December 2009 issue of GQ magazine has an interesting concept on cold-weather cocktails.  The thought here is that you eat and dress seasonally, so why shouldn’t you drink seasonally as well? For colder days what you need are drinks with depth and complexity, ones that pack a punch and warm you up but with a subtlety that won’t leave your throat on fire. Invest in these bottles and you will have fireside-worthy cocktails to last until spring (when its mango margarita time again).

1. Amaro – the perfect digestivo (try it with a couple ice cubes), this Italian liqueur really does help you digest after a big meal. If you find the standard variety too Jagermeistery, try Amaro Nonino – it’s just bitter and herby enough.

2. Ri (Rye) Whiskey – Less sweet than bourbon, rye holds up better in cocktails that call for whiskey.  A quality rye needs only an ice cube or two; for something smoother, try this… Old Fashioned: 1 sugar cube, 2 dashes of angostura bitters, 2 ounces Rye, 1 amarena cherry.  The sugar and bitters take just enough of the edge off the liquor.  Muddle them with just a little warm water and when the sugar dissolves, add the rye and some ice, stir vigorously and drop in a cherry – preferably not the neon red kind.

3. AppleJack – The world’s only maker of AppleJack – a cider-based spirit – is Laird’s, a distillery in New Jersey that’s been producing it since the 1600’s.  And the number one reason to stock your bar with it is to make the following…Jack Rose: 2 ounces AppleJack, 1 ounce lime juice, 1/2 ounce grenadine.  Like the sidecar, this is one of the most deceptively boozy cocktails you’ll ever drink five of.  And its not the same when made with easier-to-find apple brandy.  Shake the ingredients with ice, then strain, sip, and settle in for the night.

4. Red Vermouth – Vermouth might play a bit part, but it’s the difference between an awesome cocktail and an overly saccharine one. Dolin, a vermouth from the French town of Chambery that has just become available in the US, is so light and dry you should consider drinking it on the rocks with a twist of lemon.  Or use it to make a manhattan, the ultimate cold-weather cocktail.

5.  Brandy – Distilled from grapes and aged in French oak, this brandy is not unlike Cognac – smooth, rich and ideal for the sidecar, one of the most drinkable and warming cocktails around.  Sidecar: 1 and a half ounces of brandy, 3/4 ounce of Cointreau, 3/4 ounce of lemon juice, orange peel.  Shake the first three ingredients with ice, strain into a glass, and garnish with the orange peel.  Also try squeezing the peel over a lit match while holding it above the glass.  This gives the drink’s surface a thin layer of concentrated orange flavor, but it mostly impresses guests.

If you would like information on any of these, feel free to contact us or pick up the December 2009 issue of GQ Magazine, on newsstands now.

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