A few months ago I was at a bar where the hip, mustachioed bartenders were touting their selection of superlative old-school cocktails. So I ordered a Manhattan. My husband turned to me and said, “You know a Manhattan is a guy’s drink, right?”
“No, man, that’s fine,” the bartender interrupted. “You’ve got a woman who knows what she wants.”
Yup, I do. Sure, I like a refreshing mint mojito and a champagne sparkler just like the next gal, but there are times when I crave something stronger, more muscular, like scotch or bourbon.
Since that night I've ordered many a manly drink. I've also asked many a manly man what he thinks of women who imbibe traditional men’s drinks. Everyone I spoke with was OK with it, and many thought it was sexy. But most were quick to add this caveat: “Just not on the first date. You might scare us off.”
They also agreed: Don’t go too masculine too quickly. Want to order an Old-Fashioned? Don’t. Too Don Draper. A Rusty Nail? Too Bob Villa. A Godfather? Too Michael Corleone.
If your current drink of choice is a fruity Cosmopolitan, then don't switch to a bitter Negroni. You might not recover from the shock.
So why not be adventurous and try a bolder manly cocktail such as a classic Manhattan or a Tom Collins?
Here are 5 more traditional men’s drinks that women can safely order:
Sidecar: The mixture of cognac and cointreau creates a sexy amber color and leaves a sweet taste on your mouth. You know, just in case he’s got nice lips.
Gin Martini: Ask for a martini, and most bartenders will assume you want vodka. So specify gin and whether or not you want it dirty or with a twist.
Whiskey Sour: As far as sour cocktails go, a whiskey sour is eminently drinkable. Plus, a classically prepared whiskey sour should come with a slice of orange or lemon, and a maraschino cherry which lends a flirty touch.
Salty Dog: If you’re out for brunch, skip the mimosa and order the more playful Salty Dog, a mouth-puckering combo of vodka and grapefruit juice, spiked with salt.
Sazerac: Sazerac is to New Orleans cocktails what gumbo is to New Orleans cuisine. Made with rye, Peychaud's Bitters, and Angostura bitters, this is a heady, spicy cocktail. Purists insist New Orleans is the only place to find an authentic Sazerac, but you can buy Peychaud's Bitters and Herbsaint online. So drink up.
So what do you think about women ordering classic men’s drinks? Do you?
The Manhattan was conceived with rye as its essential component, but the consensus is that even if you don't use rye, Manhattans should be made with American whiskey, such as a good bourbon. --Rob Chirico, author of Field Guide to Cocktails.
2 ounces straight rye or bourbon
1 ounce sweet vermouth
Dash of Angostura bitters
1. Stir the bourbon, vermouth, and bitters in a pitcher half filled with ice, or shake them with ice; then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.
Susan Russo is a free lance food writer in San Diego, California. She publishes stories, recipes, and photos on her cooking blog, <Food Blogga and is a regular contributor to NPR’s <Kitchen Window. She is also the author of Recipes Every Man Should Know and The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches.