A lot of men steer clear of cocktails.
Our current culture expects us to drink beer, wine, or hard spirits when we’re out.
And while alcohol doesn’t discriminate as to gender, there’s a stigma surrounding cocktails. They’re commonly thought of as pink fruit beverage made for women.
But that wasn’t always the case. There was a time when men drank cocktails more than anything else. Cocktails were ‘manly’ by definition.
Definition and Origin of the Cocktail
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.
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 referred 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.
By the late 19th Century, the term changed. 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 our favorites.
The Best Cocktails for Men
The 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 favorites.
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 flavored bitter like cherry or peach.
Want it to look extra cool? Serve it up in one of these bad boys:
Last update on 2020-07-09 / 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.
The Whiskey Sour is a simple cocktail with only three ingredients. It’s tasty and the preparation will impress your guests.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Bonus: 3 Super Easy Cocktails You Can Make With the Bespoke Post Aged Box
One of the boxes is called Aged. And the theme?
You guessed it—the perfectly aged cocktail.
Here are three cocktails we made with our Aged box (follow our links to get 15% off). They’re all super easy to make and require only a few ingredients.
Brandt Bailey’s Old Fashioned
Back in my college days, I was a waiter at Sutro’s Cliff House restaurant in San Francisco. One of the waiters there, Brandt Bailey, spent years perfecting the Old Fashioned. He shared his recipe with me, and it’s truly the best Old Fashioned I’ve ever had.
I’ve aged it to go along with the theme—try it both ways and see what you like.
Oak Stave, Aging Bottle, Two Rocks Glasses, Sugar Cube, Angostura Bitters, Orange, Bourbon, Ice
1. In a tall glass, mix together six double-jiggers of your favorite bourbon, six dashes of bitters, and one-inch shaving from an orange peel.
2. Using a funnel, pour that mix into your aging bottle and add an oak stave. Let sit for four to six days.
3. Place sugar cube in the center of two rocks glasses.
4. For each cube, add two dashes of bitters and let sit for 30 seconds.
5. Add Ice. One large cube is preferred, but two smaller cubes will do.
6. Pour a double shot over the ice.
7. Run a strip of orange peel around the edge of the glass, squeeze the oils over the top, place the peel in the glass.
8. Give one stir and serve.
It seems complicated, but once you’ve made it you’ll see how simple it really is.
Aged Vodka Tonic
My wife is a big vodka-tonic fan, and after a tough work week recently, I wanted to treat her to something special.
The oak flavor here adds a bit of sweetness to the otherwise dry and slightly bitter drink.
And if you want to put this one over-the-top, use a top-shelf vodka and great tonic. Yes. Great tonic. There’s such a thing.
Your supermarket will likely have a few different types of tonic. If you’re in the beer and wine section, browse your options. With such a simple drink, you’ll want top-of-the-line ingredients.
Oak Stave, Aging Bottle, Vodka, Tonic, Lime, Ice
1. Fill the aging bottle with vodka and an oak stave. Let sit for five to seven days.
2. Add ice to a highball glass. Squeeze a wedge of lime over the ice.
3. Pour two jiggers of aged vodka over the ice and let sit for ten seconds.
4. Fill the glass with tonic and serve with a slice of lime.
The Old Man and the Sea Daiquiri
Ernest Hemingway’s favorite drink toward the end of his days was the Daiquiri.
It’s become synonymous with the slushies one might find in a comically oversized cup while partying pool-side in Las Vegas. But the true drink is nothing like that.
It’s a tropical classic. And when made true-to-form, it’s unforgettable.
To go with our Aged theme, I chose the daiquiri because it was Hem’s choice cocktail as he wrote his final book, The Old Man and The Sea.
When the manuscript was done, he patrolled the coast of Florida on a fishing boat, armed with a shotgun, looking for Russian submarines.
Love that guy.
To make the simple syrup, just boil a cup of water and add a cup of sugar. The ratio is one to one so you can scale that as much as you’d like. It lasts months in the fridge and it’s used in hundreds of different mixed-drinks
Oak Stave, Aging Bottle, Lime, Light Rum, Simple Syrup, ice
1. Age light rum with an oak stave for three to five days.
2. Add one jigger lime, two jiggers aged rum, and a half jigger simple syrup to a shaker filled with ice.
3. Shake vigorously for ten seconds. Strain into a cocktail glass and serve.
One Last Shake
There you have it. You didn’t think I’d leave you hanging without the perfect date option, right?
Be sure to check out the Bespoke Post Aged box for an easy way to kickstart or upgrade your cocktail-making accessories (follow our link to automatically get 15% off).
Looking for more general cocktail recipes? Check this out: