Sometimes there’s nothing like an ice cold beer—it’s the natural go-to beverage for most guys at a bar. And why not? Beer is great, and most women don’t mind seeing a man dangle his longneck Bud between his fingers. But sometimes it doesn’t hurt to change things up.
While you don’t need to have an intimate knowledge of every obscure drink in the world, a little variety will go a long way. And by that, I mean mastering 10 time-tested manly drinks that show you are more sophisticated than the average beer fly. It will go a long way too when you’re out on the town with some business associates or on a hot date. Not just any drink will do. “Sex on the Beach” or a Bellini might sound like a fun drink, but unless you’re a cheese-eating frat boy, forget the fruity, sugary drink garnished with fruit and an umbrella. Here are 10 manly drinks you can order with confidence.
1. Dirty Martini: The Dirty Martini is a classic. A slight variation on the traditional martini, the “dirty” comes from the use of olive juice, which is the perfect compliment to a great gin and vermouth. The joy of a Dirty Martini is that you can make is as dirty as you like. What’s better, it might take a few drinks to figure out the perfect taste. Garnish with three olives.
2. Bourbon: On the rocks or neat, bourbon is one of the flagship drinks of being manly. There’s not much to say about bourbon, other than it’s delicious. While there are dozens of great bourbons out there, I think you should start with the warm aromas and the perfect finish of vanilla, caramel, and molasses of Maker’s Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky.
3. Gin & Tonic: This is another classic. It’s clean, crisp, and packs a punch, especially if it’s a double. When ordering, make sure to specify whether you want a lime or lemon. If you want both, order an Evans (gin and tonic with a lemon and lime wedge.)
4. Sazerac: You may not be familiar with this drink, but it is often touted as the first American cocktail—its roots go back to New Orleans before the Civil War. The original recipe called for French brandy (Sazerac de Forge et Fils) but in the late 1800s, it was changed and substituted with American Rye whiskey. The recipe was enhanced with a dash of absinthe. If your local bar doesn’t have absinthe, you can use Peychaud’s Bitters as an alternative.
5. Mojito: Is there anyone more manly than Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and fighter Ernest Hemingway? Exactly. A traditional Cuban drink, a mojito is made with white rum, simple syrup, lime juice, club soda, mint sprigs, and ice.
6. Manhattan: Rumor has it this drink originated at the Manhattan Club in New York City in the early 1870s. The original cocktail included American whiskey, Italian vermouth, and Angostura bitters. Interestingly, the Manhattan was one of the first cocktails that called for vermouth as a modifier; predating the Martini, Rob Roy, and Bobby Burns.
7. Stinger: A classic drink popularized in the 1940s and 1950s, a Stinger is made with crème de menthe and brandy. You can also use green crème de menthe to make a Green Hornet.
8. Scotch and Soda: Scotch is always better neat, but scotch and soda is a highball drink for those men who do not like the raw, peaty, smoky taste of a single malt scotch on the rocks. It’s also a less expensive way to enjoy your favorite scotch. Cutting it with soda water helps make it last longer. And it’s better to cut a great scotch than drink a less expensive one neat.
9. Negroni: Another delicious, manly drink necessitated out of a need to be even manlier. Negroni is a strong apéritif credited to an Italian bartender who (in 1919) replaced the soda water in an Americano with gin at the request of a client who wanted his drink to be stronger. Where an Americano comes with a lemon garnish, the Negroni comes with an orange peel.
10. Boilermaker: If you can’t go a night without beer, you’re going to want to remember the word, “Boilermaker.” The Boilermaker is one of those drinks that fits quite nicely in the bomb shot category of drinks. Fill a pint of beer three-quarters of the way to the top, drop in a shot glass of whiskey, and chug it.