There are a lot of guys who pretty much avoid mixed drinks.
When going out these days, the top choices seem to be beer, wine, or hard liquor.
Cocktails get a bad rap for being “froo froo”, or sissyfied pink-colored drinks for chicks – and definitely not something any self-respecting macho type would be seen holding.
However, that image is unfair, and things didn’t used to be this way. Once upon a time, cocktails were the go-to drinks of choice for men. They were manly by default.
So what caused this tarnished image?
What is a Cocktail?
According to the dictionary, a cocktail is defined as being a beverage containing some form of alcohol and at least one other ingredient.
Where the term ‘cocktail’ comes from is uncertain. One of the earliest mentions of the word was seen in London newspapers in the late 1700’s.
But according to the Oxford English Dictionary, this term was originally used by Americans in the early 1800’s. Either way, the first official definition of the word as being an alcoholic drink was published in 1806.
The word ‘cocktail’ was originally a term used for non-thoroughbred horses, whose tails were docked. It was later used as a disparaging term for individuals who had risen above their societal class without having come from a distinguished family. Today, the term nouveau riche is often used in a similar way.
Because the drink was mixed with other ingredients, the term ‘cocktail’ became popular because the alcohol was diluted, not pure – just like the horses. Back then there were just ten different drink recipes that fell under the cocktail category.
The term began to change by the late 1800’s, however. Cocktails were commonly referred to as either an Old Fashioned or a Highball. One was made the old fashioned way, with sugar, water, and bitters, and the other was the newer way, with just the liquor and a mixer.
During the prohibition period, cocktails became even more popular. But by the 1970’s, their popularity began to diminish. However, in the 2000’s, there’s been a cocktail resurgence, both the classic masculine cocktails and the newer, colorful fruity drinks.
Here is a list of our top 5 favorite manly cocktails.
1. Old Fashioned
The Old Fashioned makes the top of the list for a good reason. It’s basically synonymous with the original meaning of the term cocktail, and this beverage is actually one of my go-to drinks.
- 2 oz bourbon or rye whiskey
- Splash of water or tonic
- 1 sugar cube
- 3 dashes Angostura Bitters
- Slice of lemon or orange peel for garnish
It’s a really cool looking beverage. For an additional kick, add in a peach or cherry flavored bitter.
There’s no way this list would be complete without this classy, yet manly cocktail.
Celebrities, the rich, the powerful, and high society types have all been associated with the Martini. This includes the likes of Dean Martin, Humphrey Bogart, George Burns, Earnest Hemmingway, and Johnny Carson. And who could forget James Bond’s favorite drink, a “martini, shaken, not stirred”?
- 2 oz gin
- 1 oz dry vermouth
- Garnish with lemon twist or an olive
The original recipe is:
- 4 oz gin
- 1 oz dry vermouth
These are the ingredients for a basic martini, although there are other variations, including:
- Dry martini: Add only a splash of dry vermouth.
- Rinse martini: Before adding the gin, rinse the inside of the glass with dry vermouth and empty.
- Extra dry martini: Just three drops of vermouth.
- Dirty martini: Add olive and mix with a splash of olive juice.
- Perfected martini: Rinse with dry and sweet vermouth.
- Smokey martini: Replace vermouth with scotch.
- Naked martini: Uses a chilled glass and ingredients rather than ice.
3. Whiskey Sour
A very simple cocktail that uses only three ingredients, the Whiskey Sour is nevertheless a delicious crowd-pleaser.
- 2 oz whiskey
- 1 tsp sugar or ½ oz simple syrup
- 1 oz fresh lemon juice
For an interesting extra twist, mix in an egg white before adding all ingredients into a shaker over ice.Shake well for 20 seconds and serve.
As the name suggests, this cocktail is believed by many to have had its start at New York’s Manhattan Club in the 1800’s. Another version attributes the drink to a bartender working in Manhattan in the 1860’s. Either way, this cocktail kicks ass.
- 2 oz rye whiskey
- 1 oz sweet vermouth
- 5 drops Angostura Bitters
Add the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice. Stir, strain, pour, and enjoy.
Some insane individuals will attempt to make a dry Manhattan. Do not dare do this. Just don’t do it.
If you must, you can add half sweet vermouth and half dry vermouth. And for more of a fun twist, throw in a maraschino cherry.
The earliest known record of this simple martini-like cocktail is from 1908. It’s basically a martini served with a cocktail onion instead of an olive or lemon twist. Not surprisingly, the Gibson is served in a martini glass.
- 2.5 oz gin
- 1/2 oz dry vermouth
- Cocktail onion for garnish
Add the ingredients over ice, stir, and strain into a glass, and add a cocktail onion. Even though it is typically made with gin, you might try making one with vodka for a different approach.