I learned how to drink alcohol between the ages of 21 and 25.
Learning how to drink is an exercise in irony. It’s like you have to learn how not to drink in order to learn how to properly drink.
The lessons learned are often far too numerous and embarrassing to acknowledge.
Stay away from that dark rum. You didn’t need to drink whatever was in the paper bag. Any booze made in a bathtub is really really really not a good idea. A shot on the way home from the bar is 100% foolish. Every drink in Vegas will somehow multiply itself by WAY TOO MANY! Tequila… ugh. Cheap gin is downright criminal. Dropping a shot into any other drink and consuming it quickly should be reserved for sushi karaoke bars, or better yet… NEVER. Don’t Jagermeister anything. You are not Tyra Banks in Coyote Ugly before she went to law school. Vodka is not spicy water.
The lessons really are too many to chronicle. I mean…
I found my drink by figuring out what wasn’t my drink, a feat I hope you all approach gingerly. My drink order: A Maker’s Mark Manhattan, up, with two cherries. Gah… just to think of 21-year-old me ordering that drink makes me roll my eyes. I was going for sophistication, poise, edge, knowledge, with a touch of sweetness. Also… gag me with a spoon. Right? I think mostly I was trying to seem cool enough not to get carded.
These days, anyone that cards me is an angel sent from heaven. Literally? My drink of choice currently: an Old Fashioned, no cherry, extra twist and what kind of Rye Whiskey do you like best, bartender? It’s simple and classic and admits defeat when it comes to proper rye whiskey knowledge. I think it might also betray my Mad Men fan girl tendencies but I’m ok with that.
Let’s do this one together.
Rocks glasses, a bit of turbinado sugar (if you don’t have sugar cubes), ice cubes (I love these super square cubes), bitters, club soda, rye whiskey (Bulleit Rye is dreamy), lemon and orange peel, and GO!
A bit of sugar in the glass. Just a small spoonful will do.
Bitters are sprinkled over the sugar. Three dashes.
A tiny splash of club soda over the sugar and bitters. Muddle muddle!
Add the ice. Add the whiskey!
Peel lemon and orange zest from the fruit and spritz zest (not pith) side down into the cocktail. This will release the essential oils into the cocktail. I like to rub the zest along the rim of the glass… you know, like a real bartender (mixologist/cocktail maker/drinkist).
And there you have it!
A very fine, extra refined cocktail. Enjoy one, not five. We’re grown (I guess…).
makes 2 cocktails
2 raw sugar cubes (or small spoonfuls of raw/turbinado sugar)
6 dashes bitters
2 quick splashes club soda
2 large or 4 medium ice cubes
4 ounces rye whiskey
2 lemon peels
2 orange peels
Find yourself two nice rocks glasses. Place a sugar cube in each glass. Drop three drops of bitter atop each sugar cube. Add just a splash (like 1 teaspoon) of club soda to each glass. Use a muddler to crush and mix the sugar and bitters.
Add one large or two medium ice cubes to each glass.
Add two ounces of whiskey to each glass.
Squeeze the yellow rind side of the lemon peel into the glass. Run the yellow rind around the rim of the glass. Drop the rind into the glass as garnish. Do the same for the orange. Serve and enjoy immediately.