You’ve been ordering a whiskey ginger consistently at every single bar outing since college graduation — so what? Well, we hate to tell you, but it’s time for a change. And, much like the Music Genome Project that Pandora uses to help you find like-minded alternatives to Candlebox, we’re here to provide you with some deeper booze-cuts based on your current preferences, so you can impress your friends, that lady friend from Accounts Payable, and even the bartender.
We asked Thrillist’s go-to cocktail master Nick Bennett for the best cocktails you’ve never heard of, and he delivered:
INSTEAD OF A GIN & TONIC…
TOM COLLINS: ”A simple, elegant, and refreshing classic that has been around since the late 19th century. To those who claim to not like gin because of a ‘bad experience,’ this would be a great cocktail to reintroduce them to it. The most likely scenario is that the local dive used tonic syrup loaded with artificial sweeteners that led to such a life-altering hangover.”
1/2oz fresh lemon juice
1/2oz simple syrup
Top with club soda.
INSTEAD OF A WHISKEY GINGER…
PRESBYTERIAN: ”Drop the ‘e’ and swap in some whisky (Scotch) for something a little more complex. And if the bar is making fresh ginger syrup, you are seriously in for a treat.”
2oz Scotch (may substitute bourbon or rye whiskey)
Serve in a collins glass.
INSTEAD OF A TEQUILA AND SODA…
LA PALOMA: ”A little bitter, a little savory, a little sweet, a little citrusy, and a little boozy; there is nothing not to like about this beverage. A cocktail bar might opt for fresh grapefruit juice, but South of the border, these are enjoyed mostly with grapefruit soda.”
2oz tequila reposado
1/2oz lime juice
Pinch of salt
Credit: Wikipedia/Lewis Ronald
INSTEAD OF A MARTINI…
THE MARTINEZ: ”This concoction is arguably older than the martini itself and there are no ‘lychee’, ‘mango’, or ‘vodka’ variations to sully its name.”
1 dash Boker’s bitters
2 dashes maraschino liqueur
1oz Old Tom gin
1 wine glass (2oz) vermouth
Stirred, top with a lemon twist
INSTEAD OF A MOJITO…
QUEENS PARK SWIZZLE: "This version of a Trinidad Swizzle has the benefit of the dark caramel tones of Demerara rum, the bitter aromatic of the Angostura to pair with the sweet, aromatic mint, and the confidence that comes with knowing there are no mint leaves stuck in your teeth."
2oz 80-proof Demerara rum
3/4oz lime juice
3/4oz simple syrup
In a tall collins glass, muddle mint to bruise, and force to the bottom. Add ingredients, crushed ice, and swizzle to mix. Garnish with mint sprig and Angostura bitters.
INSTEAD OF A LONG ISLAND ICED TEA…
ZOMBIE: ”There is little benefit to drinking a Long Island Iced Tea other than getting really drunk, really fast. The Zombie is a classic tiki cocktail that is so adept at reaching your drunken goal that most bars will only allow you to have one.”
3/4 cup crushed ice
1.5oz aged Jamaican rum, such as Appleton Estate V/X or Extra
1.5oz gold Puerto Rican rum
1oz 151-proof Lemon Hart Demerara rum
3/4oz freshly squeezed lime juice
2tsp white grapefruit juice
1tsp cinnamon syrup
1 dash aromatic bitters, such as Angostura
1 mint sprig, for garnish
INSTEAD OF AN OLD FASHIONED…
IMPROVED WHISKEY COCKTAIL: ”While it is impossible to improve on the classic pairing of spirit, bitters, sugar, and water, this style of cocktail utilizes ingredients that were new to the early American cocktail scene — namely maraschino and absinthe.”
2oz bourbon or rye
1 sugar cube
1 bar spoon maraschino liqueur
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 dash Peychaud’s bitters
1 dash absinthe
Muddle sugar cube with bitters, maraschino, and absinthe. Add whiskey and ice. Garnish with a lemon twist.
INSTEAD OF A NEGRONI…
WHITE NEGRONI: ”This variation keeps the bitter quality of the original, while adding a floral quality because of the yellow gentian root liquor.”
3/4oz Amere Sauvage
3/4oz Dolin Bianco vermouth
Build in a glass and add a large cube. Garnish with a lemon twist.
INSTEAD OF A MANHATTAN…
BROOKLYN: ”Not to spark any borough wars, the combination of Amer Picon and dry vermouth give this variation a sharp, bitter edge over the Manhattan, while the maraschino adds the right amount of sweetness to make it enjoyable enough to move there.”
1/2oz dry vermouth
1/4oz Amer Picon
1/4oz maraschino liqueur
Stirred and served up.
More from Thrillist: