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Suggest the perfect cocktail for my in-laws(and me)

Last year I got recipes and advice from Chowhound on making Brandy Old Fashioned Sweets for my in-laws for their week-long summertime visit. It's pretty much all they ever order when they go out.

This year, i'd like to add a little variety because: well, you know, it's the spice of life, PLUS I can't drink that crap. And i'll need a drink, trust me ;-)

So what would....

Appeal to a couple from Wisconsin in their 70's who apparently like sweet cocktails, but order their tea unsweetened (horrifying to a Southern girl)
Be something meaningful, or new and trendy, or that they would at least have HEARD of...
maybe some classic cocktail from their era?
Use some sort of alcohol not as cheap and nasty as Korbel brandy
Work in an old fashioned glass or a martini glass (all I have except wine glasses)
Not be terribly powerful...they're old and I'm a lightweight
Possibly use some of the bitters I bought for their old fashioneds
Maybe even be easily adaptable to a virgin concoction for their son who is strangely
uninterested in booze.
Not be a frozen blender thing
BTW, I also hate Bourbon, which is unfortunate since I own pewter julep cups and have mint growing in the backyard.

OK, thinking caps on....GO (thanks)

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  1. Are they only to be allowed one cocktail suggestion for the entire week?
    What about just stocking the bar up a bit with a little variety of the common liquors and mixers and perhaps a small bar manual (what *was* that little book that used to be available everywhere..Bartenders Friend, a recipe book??)
    Summer drinks to me scream Gin and Tonic (very classic) or Mojitos. When I'm having house guests and I don't know what they're going to drink, I just buy a vodka, gin, bourbon, whiskey, small scotch and assorted mixers.
    You could have fun (and perhaps a conversation starter!) by going through the bartenders recipe book and pick one out to try each day. Something new, or perhaps something they recall from their younger days?

    1. How about a "sidecar"
      http://www.skilltip.tv/video.php?acti...
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sidecar_...

      You could possibly use brandy instead of cognac and triple sec instead of Cointreau.

      Or, you could go for the Cosmo's. I like Cosmo's it's one of my favorite cocktails.

      2 Replies
      1. re: theginguy

        Sidecar was my first instinct as well.

        Or a Tom Collins is both summery and old school, and can be easily adjusted for strength and sweetness to suit individual tastes.

        1. re: roundfigure

          Tom Collins are the perfect summer drink in my mind. As roundfigure pointed out you can easily adjust the amount of gin, sweetness and sourness for each person.

      2. I saw this recipe in Savuer Magazine and have adapted it for my own...although it may be difficult to cover all your requirements, this popped into my head as -perhaps- an 85% winner (and also backs up theginguy's suggestion)!!

        Pomegranate Sidecar

        Hennessey
        Grand Marnier
        Fresh Sweet n Sour (prefer fresh lemon juice/simple syrup mix)
        Pomegranate Juice (POM prefer)
        Dash of bitters (recipe calls for orange bitters, but I think any interesting bitters will add a twist to this drink)

        Cheers, and good luck!!

        3 Replies
        1. re: cocktailqueen77

          So, Sidecar has the most votes so far...and apparently I can put it in a martini glass, and it certainly sounds old school. But...I'm unsure about cognac. I see you have specified a brand...would you suspect this will be much more palatable to me? My only cognac to date is something cheap I bought for Coq au Vin. Thanks!

          And in answer to Goomba above... I really don't drink anything but wine, so I don't want to stock a bar...plus I think my in-laws would not see "make your own" as a fun thing...they would think I was too lazy to make them a drink. Although I DO like the idea of going through a bartender's manual looking for nostalgia...conversation starters are a good thing!

          1. re: danna

            The only Cognac I like to drink is the real old stuff that is way out of my price range.

            I drink my sidecars with Bourbon. I don't like Cognac, but you have stated that you don't drink Bourbon. So I'm not sure what to say. I would hate for you to go out and buy a bottle of Cognac only to find out that you don't like it.

            I do like Sidecars though. they are pretty good and they'll mask the liquor pretty well. The Sidecar is an old cocktail with some history. The other thing, is that no one ever really orders sidecars anymore, so when I go to the bar, I get interesting looks from the bar tenders. :)

            1. re: theginguy

              Well if it is bourbon, it is not a Sidecar then. But I digress...

              Landy's Brandy is perfectly acceptable and tasty in a Sidecar. I do 2 parts brandy, one part lemon juice and one part Cointreau. You can play with the lemon and Cointreau proportions for your taste.

              cocktailqueen, do you just dump those ingredients indiscriminately into a shaker, or do you follow a recipe at all?

        2. I've made a lot of mojitos over the years. My new use for mint is the Gin Gin Mule. I think if it as a gin-and-gingered mojito.

          1. Sorry to hear you don't like boubon, because Lynchburg lemonade is a great summertime cocktail, and very easy to mix. I'll second the G&T recommendation, also gimlets are great in the summer (gin or vodka). I've been drinking a dark n' stormy or two lately, so if they have a taste for ginger, it's a +1.

            Anyway, if you hate bourbon, please send your julep cups on to those of us who can really put them to good use :)