Is that store-bought eggnog in your glass looking a bit lackluster? We thought so. The good news is, you don’t have to be a professional bartender to kick your holiday cocktails up a notch. We’ve compiled simple recipes from six of the hottest bars and restaurants in the country—so simple, in fact, that you can easily make them at home. After sipping on these bad boys, you’ll never want to look at eggnog again.
- 2 ounces whiskey — rye whisky
- 1 ounce vermouth — Italian vermouth
- 2 dashes Bitters — Angostura bitters
- Cocktail glass
How To Make the Manhattan:
Stir the rye,* vermouth and bitters well with cracked ice. (Some prefer to shake their Manhattans. There’s nothing wrong with that, really, at least no more than putting ketchup on a hot-dog is wrong or mayonnaise on a corned beef sandwich. If you like your Manhattan cloudy and topped with an algae-like foam, shake away. It won’t taste any worse, anyway, although it’ll feel thinner on the tongue.) Strain into in a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with twist or, of course, maraschino cherry (which is subject to the same challenge re: purity as adding an olive to a martini).
* In case of emergency — you need a Manhattan and you’re out of Rye? — Canadian Club will do; it’s got lots of rye in it.
- 1/2 ounces whiskey — rye whisky
- 1/2 ounce rum — dark rum
- 1/2 ounce port
- 1 dash orange bitters
- 1 dash Bitters — Angostura bitters
- cocktail glass
How To Make the Suburban:
Stir well with cracked ice, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
If you could distill carved-oak paneling and club chairs, leather-bound volumes and three-cushion billiard tables, this is what you’d get. Mellow, robust, comfortable. The rum mellows the tang of the rye, the port tames the raw edge of the distillates, and the bitters add a touch of the exotic, like the stuffed head of that rare Asian gazelle that hangs over the doorway. Not a summer drink, but by August 15, we’re willing to call it fall if it means we can have our Suburbans again, and by December 15 you’ll have a hard time prying us away from them.
Irish Coffee Ingredients
- 2 ounces whiskey — Irish whiskey
- 5 to 6 ounces coffee
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- heavy cream
How To Make Irish Coffee:
Pour the whiskey, coffee, and sugar* into a stemmed, heated glass mug. Stir, then top off with a thick layer of lightly whipped heavy cream. If too lazy or inebriated or depressed to bother whipping the stuff, just pour an ounce or two in over the back of a spoon. In either case, don’t stir it in, and really don’t drizzle crème de menthe over the top.
* The original formula seems to have called for brown sugar.
Hot Buttered Rum
Hot Buttered Rum Ingredients
- 2 sugar cubes
- 2 ounces rum — dark rum
- part of butter
How To Make Hot Buttered Rum:
In a mug, dissolve the sugar in a little hot water, then add the rum and unsalted butter. Fill the mug with hot water and sprinkle a little nutmeg on top, if you feel the calling (we generally take ours without).
You can also substitute cider for the water and add 1/2 teaspoon mixed cinnamon and cloves, but that’s getting away from the rock-ribbed simplicity of the thing. If you’re a real purist, put everything in a mug and then ram a red-hot poker into it until it steams — a most satisfying operation, but not to be considered after round three.
Tom and Jerry
Tom and Jerry Ingredients
- 12 egg(s)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 bottle brandy — brandy
- Pinch of ground allspice
- Pinch of ground cinnamon
- Pinch of ground cloves
- 1 bottle rum — dark rum
How To Make a Tom and Jerry:
Separate the eggs. Beat the whites until they form a stiff froth, and the yolks — to which you have added the sugar — “until they are as thin as water,” as the professor advises, gradually adding 4 ounces brandy (spiceaholics will also add a pinch each of ground allspice, cinnamon, and cloves). Fold the whites into the yolks. When ready to serve, give it another stir and then put 1 tablespoon of this batter in a small mug or tumbler. Now add 1 ounce brandy (although some die-hard Dixiecrats prefer bourbon) and 1 ounce Jamaican rum, stirring constantly to avoid curdling. Fill to the top with hot milk and stir until you get foam. Sprinkle a little grated nutmeg on top. This one may require practice and a certain amount of fiddling, but it’s well worth the effort. Note: Some people find the milk too rich and filling, so they use half hot milk, half boiling water.
- 1 shot whiskey — whisk(e)y
- 1 beer
How To Make a Boilermaker:
Knock back the whiskey* and chase it with the beer. Some folks like to depth-charge the whiskey into the beer. We’d rather not, if only for reasons of taste.
* In our order of preference: straight rye, bourbon, Irish, Scotch (with which the drink supposedly becomes known as a Lester or an L.G.).
- 1 sugar cube
- 3 dashes Bitters — Angostura bitters
- club soda
- 2 ounces whiskey — rye whisky
- old-fashioned glass
How To Make a Old-Fashioned:
Place the sugar cube (or 1/2 teaspoon loose sugar) in an Old-Fashioned glass. Wet it down with 2 or 3 dashes of Angostura bitters and a short splash of water or club soda. Crush the sugar with a wooden muddler, chopstick, strong spoon, lipstick, cartridge case, whatever. Rotate the glass so that the sugar grains and bitters give it a lining. Add a large ice cube. Pour in the rye (or bourbon). Serve with a stirring rod.