Popularised by ‘The Dude‘, the White Russian is a drinking staple the world over, especially where I live, in Glasgow. It’s a drink that can be made quickly and, in some cases, reasonably cheaply, by throwing some ingredients into a glass and bars like Nice ‘n’ Sleazy‘s and BOX on Sauchiehall St do very well out of this method. However, there is another way, one which makes this a cocktail worth taking the extra time to create, the difference between the two being chasmic.
The whole family of ‘mules’ are a cocktail bar staple (along with sours, Russians etc) and can get exponentially more ridiculous the more locations you try to include. The Moscow Mule, however, is a classic cocktail and one which makes a great start to any evening’s drinking. Sweet and sour enough to please most palates, this is the cocktail to try on friends who might be otherwise hesitant to dive in to more complex drinks and spirits.
The Harvey Wallbanger, named after a proponent of the mixture who, after several libations, was found to be walking into walls in his inebriated state. His name was Harvey, apparently. A twist on the Screwdriver, this is really a classic cocktail and one which is quick, easy and tastes great.
The Black Russian is a drink which I almost always found to be a poor alternative to the more interesting and fun White Russian. However, having recently discovered that the original recipe doesn’t call for any cola whatsoever and, therefore, at least dialling it back dramatically, while retaining the vanilla flavoured vodka which works so well with the milky alternative, I’ve discovered it to be a much more exciting and balanced drink, closer to a Godfather in style than simply a vodka, Kahlúa and coke.
Made famous by Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and the ginger one on Sex and the City, the Cosmopolitan (or Cosmo) is a drink which follows in the sour tradition. A simple enough ingredients list and fruity, light pink colour might suggest that this is an easy drink to whip up, but the balance of the sweet and sour flavours here is key. It’s a common occurrence to see bright pink Cosmos drunk on ‘Girls’ Nights Out’, where the subtle of blend of flavours has been all but drowned and the end result is something more like a Woo Woo.
Take some time over your own Cosmopolitan creation, get to know the subtleties in your ingredients and I’ll guarantee, you’ll love it. Any subsequent compulsion to watch S&tC is outwith my control.
The French Martini is another ubiquitous drink. Catering to city-type sophisticates and raucous hen parties alike, its sweetness and wonderfully fruity flavour, as well as such a deep, rich colour, mean it’s a drink for any occasion and one you’ll definitely want in your repertoire.
Most people have tried this particular cocktail, even if they don’t know it by name. The Screwdriver is probably the simplest drink on any menu, but doesn’t suffer for its lack of complexity. According to my New York Bartender’s Guide, the drink is thought to be named for an American oil-rig worker who was in the habit of stirring his drink with a specific item on his tool belt.