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Manly Cocktails: 5 Mixed Drinks Every Guy Should Try at Least Once

A lot of men tend to steer clear of cocktails.

Our current culture expects us to drink beer, wine, or hard spirits when we’re out.

A cocktail is generally thought of as a pink fruit beverage made for women who can’t or don’t want a ‘real’ drink.

But that wasn’t always the case. There was a time when men drank cocktails more than anything else. Cocktails were ‘manly’ by definition.

What happened?

‘Cocktail’ – Definition and Origin

A cocktail is defined as a drink with two or more ingredients, with one of them being alcoholic.

The origin of the word is still largely disputed. The Morning Post and Gazetteer in London, England has one of the first written uses of the word from 1796.

Cocktail Horse
Photo credit: F. Clifton (1830-1898) (Dorotheum) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
However, the Oxford English Dictionary says the word was first used in the United States Of America in 1803. The first definition of cocktail referring to an alcoholic beverage was seen in 1806.

The word cocktail originally referred to a non-thoroughbred horse, because their tails were docked. Later it became a vulgar slang term for a person who raised above their station without proper breeding.

The first definition of cocktail in reference to an alcoholic beverage including ‘spirits, sugar, water, and bitters’,  meaning the drink was not pure, but diluted, like the horses. The first recipe book for cocktails included punches, sours, toddies, and more. There were also 10 specific cocktail recipes.

manly cocktails
Photo credit: Sam Hood [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By the late 19th Century the term started to change. References to Old Fashioned versus a Highball started to appear for cocktails. This referred to drinks made the old fashioned way with water, bitters and sugars or drinks made the ‘modern’ way with only liquor and mixer.

Cocktails became even more common during prohibition. By the 1970s their popularity started to decrease. But by the new millennium, we have seen a resurgence of cocktails, both classic manly cocktails and new and flashy fruit concoctions.

Here are five of our favorites.

Short on supplies for mixing? Here’s the best bartender kit we’ve found for both value and quality:

Last update on 2019-12-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

It also makes an awesome gift.

1 Old Fashioned

Old Fashioned

The Old Fashioned kicks off our list for a reason. It meets the original definition of the word and the drink happens to be one of my favourites.

So what is it?

1 sugar cube
3 dashes Angostura Bitters
Splash of water or tonic
2 oz rye whiskey or bourbon
Slice of lemon or orange peel for garnish

It’s an impressive looking drink. For a twist, mix in a flavoured bitter like cherry or peach.

Want it to look extra cool? Serve it up in one of these bad boys:

Last update on 2019-11-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

They’re very well reviewed and have that heft and thickness you want in your Old Fashioned glass.

2 Whiskey Sour

Whiskey Sour

The Whiskey Sour is a simple cocktail with only three ingredients. It’s tasty and the preparation will impress your guests.

How to make it:

2 oz whiskey
1 oz fresh lemon juice
1 tsp sugar (or ½ oz simple syrup)

Add an egg white into the mix if you’re feeling adventurous. Put everything into your shaker over ice and shake well for 20 seconds.

Pour and enjoy.

3 Gibson


The first record of a Gibson is from 1908. It’s a simple cocktail made in a martini glass.


2.5 oz gin
0.5 oz vermouth
Cocktail onion for garnish

Mix ingredients over ice, stir and strain into your glass, add your cocktail onion. Although traditionally made with gin, try vodka if you’d like to mix things up.

4 Manhattan


As you may have guessed from the name, a popular history of this cocktail originated in the Manhattan Club in New York back in the 1870s.

Other stories tell of a bartender in 1860s Manhattan area creating it. Whoever you attribute it to, it’s one hell of a drink.

What’s in it?

2 oz rye whiskey
1 oz sweet vermouth
5 drops Angostura Bitters

Add everything into your mixing glass, add ice, stir, strain and pour.

Some people will try making a dry manhattan. Don’t. Just no.

For a change, you can mix half and half sweet vermouth and dry vermouth. If you want to have a little more fun, toss a maraschino cherry in the bottom.

5 Martini


I’d be crazy to leave out the most classy of manly cocktails.

Think Humphrey Bogart, Sir Winston Churchill, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ian Fleming, Dean Martin, and of course James Bond. The famous, the powerful, and the cultured have all made names from the Martini.

How do you make it?

2 oz gin
1 oz dry vermouth
Garnish with an olive or lemon twist

Originally the recipe was:
4 oz gin
1 oz dry vermouth

A basic martini, but I’m sure you’ve heard people say ‘dirty’, ‘dry’, ‘muddy’, the list goes on. Those are all variations on this classic cocktail.

These include: dry: small splash of dry vermouth, rinse: rinse glass with vermouth then empty it, extra dry: three drops vermouth, dirty: splash of olive juice, perfected: rinse of sweet and dry vermouth, smoky: vermouth replaced with scotch, and naked: no ice used but glass and ingredients are chilled.

The list goes on.

6 Bonus: The Bellini

Bonus: The Bellini
Photo credit: John Phelan (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Bellini is a great choice for a date.

The cocktail was first made in Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy, in the 1930s. The creator named it after a 15th century painter, Giovanni Bellini, because the colour reminded him of one of his paintings. The bar itself was frequented by Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles.

See what I mean about the date thing? What a story to share.

If you order one, make sure it’s a classic style. Lots of bars and restaurants have them on the menu but they are a sickly sweet slushy concoction in many colours and flavours. If that’s what you want you may as well just throw a popsicle in your blender with some booze.

Putting it together:

4 oz Prosecco
2 oz strained peach purée or nectar

Pour it into a champagne flute and enjoy. To mix it up, try pomegranate juice for a Tintoretto (also a renaissance painter) or strawberry juice for a Rossini (a 19th C composer).

Last update on 2019-12-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

There you have it. You didn’t think I’d leave you hanging without the perfect date option, right?

Looking for more general cocktail recipes? Check this out:

50 of the Best Cocktail Recipes From Across America

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