HOME > Chowhound > Spirits >


now what whiskey cocktails do i need to try...........

so lately i have been mastering (and drinking) my favorite whiskey cocktails. my favorite, manhattan, the old fashioned, and whiskey sour. but now i want to try something new, but i dont know what to try ( i dont really care for mint juleps).

here are the stipulations. i cant afford to go out and purchase a bunch of expensive ingredients, and chances are i wont be able to find harder to find things here in canton ohio.
im really interested in trying the Viuex Carre, but i cant afford congac and benedictine. i can barely afford to keep drinking whiskey every night haha.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. What liquors/bitters do you currently have?

    3 Replies
    1. re: sku

      I currently have bulliet rye, bulliet bourbon, old overHolt, and Russell reserve rye. A Bourke of noully pray sweet vermouth and angustora bitters. I just purchased a bottle of campari so I can try the boulvadier. That should be good for a few more Weeks when I can splurge on something else. Any ideas on the next thing I should try.

      1. re: sku

        Also I have a bottle of 100% agave tequila, don't remember the brand

      2. "NEED": to try? None. "WANT" to try is another question. And rather than running out to but a bunch of expensive ingredients and/or distillates that you admit you cannot afford, why not just go to a top-notch bar in town and ORDER a cocktail. a) it costs less to buy one drink than to buy a bottle ***for only one drink***; and b) you can then go out and buy only the ingredients you truly KNOW that you want . . . .

        3 Replies
        1. re: zin1953

          There are some great places with even better beer selections in a 30 minute radius, but Cleveland is the nearest place that does cocktails well, and that is am hour drive. Gas for two hour round trip plus the price of a couple good cocktails is the same price as adding a bottle of something to my collection. And ill get many drinks from.it!! Haha. I just don't know where to go next, I'm still learning about cocktails. Is there one thing I could add that would give me another cocktail option, our something different to take up, my Manhattan a notch? (although there is nothing I would change about my Manhattan. 2 ounces rye, 3/4 ounce sweet vermouth, 2 dash biters. Stir 30 seconds over ice, stain tip chilled cocktail glass.)

          1. re: charles_sills

            I made this one a while back, and it was an interesting twist - but I used an Islay Scotch (Bowmore legend I think) and cut the 1/2 oz of maple syrup by 1/3.


            1. re: ncyankee101

              That sounds awesome. Thank you. I have considered using honey before, but haven't. So I will try it tonight. ice used brown sugar before, have it am almost rum like taste

        2. If it turns out you like the Boulevardier, then I would try an Old Pal by adding a bottle of dry vermouth. Vermouth is relatively inexpensive. Warning: it won't be particularly sweet, like the other drinks you've mentioned (except the whiskey sour). That dry vermouth will also let you make a Perfect Manhattan (my preferred variety).

          And then you would be one $20 bottle away from one of my all-time favorite drinks: the Paper Plane. Substitute Campari for Aperol and use whatever brown amaro you can find for the Amaro Nonino. Ramazzotti is available at good liquor stores and is reasonably priced. Or Averna.

          If you like bitter, when your sweet vermouth is gone, replace it with Punt e Mes, a sweet vermouth this is more bitter than normal. Or with another brand to try different options.

          In that vein, if you like the Boulevardier, buy a bottle of gin and try a Negroni. Good gin is much cheaper than good whiskey. Gordon's would be a fine place to start, although I would probably spring for Beefeater or Bombay (regular, not Sapphire). You can now make a Gin & Tonic, Martini, Sweet Martini, Gin / Campari / Soda with lemon or lime.

          www.kindredcocktails.com | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

          11 Replies
          1. re: EvergreenDan

            i did like the Boulvedardier. i did 1.5 ounces russel reserve rye, 3/4 ounce of vermouth and 3/4 ounce of campari. i really loved it. at first, it seemed way too bitter. but i learned to appreciate it. the second drink i went down to .5 ounce of campari, and i much prefered the first one.

            ironically, my whiskey sour is the sweetest drink i make, at least the way i make them.

            i have been wating to try Punt e Mes. i cant seem to find it locally. all i can find are Martini and Rossi, and Noilly Prat. i have owned both now. (it has really only been maybe a month and a half since i started my obsession with cocktails.)

            i think my next purchase, ill save for, and will get dry vermouth AND gin. that way i can make the Old Pal and martinis. thanks alot, and a negroni!! keep the whiskey drinks coming please!

            1. re: charles_sills

              Welcome to the wonderful world of bitter cocktails.

              You might get a half-bottle of dry vermouth, although sometimes the selection is very limited. Dry vermouth goes off pretty quickly. Keep it in the refrigerator (sweet vermouth too, if there's room). Also, get a Vacu Vin, a system of a cork with a check valve and a pump. You use it to suck most of the air out of an open bottle. Works on still wine, too. That and refrigeration will greatly extend the shelf life of your vermouth.

              Try your next Whiskey Sour sour ... or at least less sweet.

              For some odd reason, I often find Punt e Mes where the Campari and other amari are, rather than where the sweet vermouth is. It can be a little hard to find. If Bud Lite cases are stacked up by the front door, forget it. ;)

              You will have the stuff to make a Rosita -- sort of a perfect tequila Negroni, if you will. With dry vermouth, you can control the sweetness in these Campari / Spirit / Vermouth cocktails. by combining it in whatever ratio you like with sweet vermouth. My favorite Negroni ratio is Perfect (half of each).

              If you (eventually) get a bottle of a brown amaro like Ramazzotti or Averna, you can make a Black Manhattan -- a Manhattan using an amaro in lieu of sweet vermouth.

              www.kindredcocktails.com | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

            2. re: EvergreenDan

              The Amaro Montenegro is a good substitute for Amaro Nonino, but any darker amaros will make a Paper Plane too bitter. I used my Luxardo Amaro the first time, and had to drop it entirely to make the drink taste even close to a Paper Plane. I also don't think tastewise the Campari is a perfect swap for the Aperol. However, the Paper Plane is an excellent whiskey cocktail when made right.

              1. re: kimfair1

                Yes, I did not mean to imply that the version I recommended tasted like the current-recipe Paper Plane, but rather that I prefer it, plus it used the ingredient(s) he has.

                A Campari version (probably) preceded the Aperol version, and also specified Buffalo Trace as the bourbon. This has been widely misprinted (including here in CH) as using Ramazzotti, but the Amaro Nonino is properly used. In researching this, it is unclear when Sammy Ross or Toby Maloney created the Airplane version, and whether the name change was intentional. It does seem that the original version used Campari, and the switch to Aperol (and Elijah Craig) came a bit later. I've contacted the people involved, and I'm not sure we'll every exactly know the history. I still prefer Ramazzotti to Amaro Nonino, though. And it's quite a bit cheaper.

                I have not had Montenegro, but I've heard it is very orange forward, which would tilt the cocktail away from the blend of a hard pie-spiced amaro plus a bright citrus-forward amaro. Might be excellent nonetheless, but with Aperol, that's a lot of orange in one drink.

                Fair warning: I like things quite bitter. That said, this cocktail is a template for a huge variety of awesome drinks: equal parts spirit, bright amaro, dark amaro, and acidic citrus.Try Gran Classico, Zucca, just about any mint-free amaro. Lemon, lime, maybe even white grapefruit.

                www.kindredcocktails.com | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

                1. re: EvergreenDan

                  And to illustrate, tonight was
                  Reposado tequila (Espolon)
                  Luxardo Amaro Abano
                  Lemon juice

                  Superb, although I scaled back the Abano to keep it from dominating too much. Abano has a very strong black pepper flavor.
                  www.kindredcocktails.com | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

                  1. re: EvergreenDan

                    I use the Nonino, but my local bartender told me that Montenegro was good in a pinch. I need to seek out the Ramazzotti, however. I generally use the Buffalo Trace as my bourbon.

                    1. re: kimfair1

                      I used Averna, which I've read is a good, cheaper alternative to Amaro Nonino.

                      1. re: kimfair1

                        now that Amer Nouvelle (the "USA" version of Amer Picon) is available, try that instead of Ramazotti

                        1. re: barleywino

                          Do you know how this compares with the Amer Picon available outside the US (which I understand is itself not even the original formula)?

                          1. re: tokyopix

                            Yeah, I second that question. Actually, perhaps we need a new Amer Picon thread.

                            1. re: tokyopix

                              They taste quite similar but the Amer Nouvelle is not caramel colored.

                2. so many great suggestions here.

                  im dieing to try a sazerac, but im doubting i will be able to find absinthe/herb saint/ or whatever.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: charles_sills

                    Use Pernod or Ricard if absinthe or Herbsaint isn't available. It is just a rinse.

                    1. re: charles_sills

                      My local place has a ten dollar big mini of Absinthe that I use for my Sazeracs.

                      1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                        where are you located? anywhere near canton, ohio? haha

                        1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                          I have that bottle - 100 ml of Grande absente?

                      2. A friend sent this to me yesterday: When Figs Fly--fig jam (or fresh figs), bourbon, orange liqueur (preferably dry Curaçao), lemon:

                        1 Reply
                        1. How do you make your old fashion?

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: porker

                            i muddle one sugar cube, and 3 dashes of bitters together. i will muddle an orange slice with it if its for my room mate, that is how he prefers his. i usually add a little splash of water to his too. 2 ounces of whatever whiskey im feeling that day, fill with ice. it is good with the orange slice, but i generally like it without. an orange twist at to garnish would always be welcome though.

                            1. re: charles_sills

                              I only ask as old fashion is what I first thought of when seeing the thread. Your method is similar to mine, but I include maraschino cherries:
                              muddle 2 slices of orange with teaspoon of sugar and 2 maraschino cherries
                              stir in rye (I prefer CC) and ice (I skip the bitters)
                              sip while imagining thousands of speakeasy bartenders doing the same with bathtub gin during prohibition.

                                1. re: EvergreenDan

                                  exactly! not to say it doesnt taste good other ways, it just doesnt taste like an old fashioned.

                                  1. re: EvergreenDan

                                    Well... If you want to get reallly wonky... In regards to the oldfashioned101 directions:

                                    I've read (I think in Gary Regan's book) that you actually want to stir the drink, with ice, in a separate mixing glass, then strain into the serving glass, preferably over a single, giant cube of ice. The science is that by pre-chilling the drink, it won't dilute as much in the glass. Furthermore, since it is already diluted (let's not forget that water from the stirring is an ingredient) it will be ready to drink as soon as poured, rather than needing time to dilute in the serving glass before reaching optimal balance and smoothness.

                                    Also, I'm a simple syrup guy when it comes to Old Fashioneds. Muddling the cube is showy, and has the flair of being old-fashioned...which one can certainly argue is appropriate when making an Old Fashioned...but it tends towards only partially dissolving, and leaving sugar "grit" in the drink. 1/4 oz. of simple syrup blends completely and immediately, making for more consistency.

                                    1. re: The Big Crunch

                                      i agree about the simple syrup, however just like when i get home i enjoy chopping veggies to make for dinner after a long day, i also find it kind of soothing to muddle the cube and stir and stir.

                                      from time to time, i also build my old fashions in a mixing glass, but usually i just do it the normal way because i drink it fast enough that it doesnt get any more diluted from the ice anyway. from time to time a add a splash of water anyway.

                              1. You can order 375ml bottle of Benedictine for $20 from Astor Wines (assuming they ship to Ohio?) Add 375ml bottle of Dolin Blanc vermouth for $10 and (most expensive, but worth it) 375ml bottle of Hudson 100% corn whiskey for $33 (all from Astor Wines). With this you can make White Manhattans (1 1/2 oz corn whiskey, 1/2 oz Dolin Blanc, 1/2 oz benedictine, orange bitters if you have) at about $5.50 apiece, about 1/3 the price that you would pay in a bar after tip, assuming they have the Hudson corn whiskey, which they might not. Add an Amarena Fabbri cherry (available from amazon.com) if you like. If you get tired of this drink, swap in punt e mes and maraschino for the benedictine and dolin blanc.

                                2 Replies
                                  1. re: charles_sills

                                    the 100% corn whiskey has less heat than rye and the sweet corn notes give you a whiff of summer

                                1. Lots of good suggestions here. All of the following should be stirred a long time over plenty of ice and strained into a chilled cocktail glass or coupe.

                                  Fort Point, the house cocktail at Boston's Drink: 8 parts American straight rye, 2 parts Punt e Mes sweet vermouth, 1 part Bénédictine, served up with a good cocktail cherry (they make their own, I believe), like a Luxardo maraschino cherry.

                                  The 1794, a Boulevardier variant with a bit more whiskey, which I prefer: 2 parts American straight rye, 1 part Campari, 1 part sweet vermouth. I like to squeeze an orange twist over it and not drop it.

                                  The Moto Guzzi, a No. 9 Park original: equal parts high-proof bourbon (Booker's is the canonical choice) and Punt e Mes. No garnish. Named for its resemblance to motor oil, I believe.

                                  Vieux Carre: 1 part American straight rye, 1 part Cognac, 1 part sweet vermouth, 1 bar spoon Bénédictine, dash each of Peychaud's and Angostura bitters. Cherry garnish.


                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                                    yes! i have been enjoying the the 1794!! im dieing to try the Vieux carre, but it will wait till i can afford to purchase cognac, benedictine, and peychauds.

                                    the fort point sounds delicious, as well as the moto guzzi

                                    1. re: charles_sills

                                      At home, I confess I don't actually use Cognac in cocktails that call for it, usually just an inexpensive California brandy like E&J. But that's the canonical recipe.


                                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                                        I'm sure you know this, but just in case anyone else reading this thread is unaware, the two are basically interchangeable in cocktails, assuming the brandy is decent. Cognac is basically just brandy from a certain region of France, much like champagne is just sparkling wine from a certain region of france. Yes, cognac has certain requirements such as type of grape used and aging, but, particularly in cocktails, the taste profiles are similar enough that substitution is often fine.

                                        Also the Vieux Carre is one of my favorite cocktails.

                                  2. I'd suggest that you find a bourbon and rye you like and stick with them, then instead of buying more brands of whiskey, you start picking up liqueurs here and there.

                                    Speaking broadly in terms of classic cocktails, Cointreau (really just a high-end triple sec) is used a LOT. With darker liquors, like whiskey, Benedictine also gets used a good deal.

                                    In terms of brandy, Landy VS cognac is an excellent and affordable choice for mixing drinks, or even for sipping.

                                    1. Maple Syrup Whiskey Sour

                                      3 parts bourbon, 1 part real maple syrup and 1 part lemon juice. Shake with ice and serve in martini glass with twist of lemon. This was in a recent edition of Cooking Light and is simple and good fall/winter cocktail.

                                      1. It sounds like you need to do your liquor shopping over here in Cleveland!

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: alicia_cle

                                          one day i wanted to try a new rye, as the selection in canton is pretty pathetic. so i called every liquor store starting in canton and working north until someone had a good selection. i ended up at Minottis (spelling) in rocky river. i love that place. a great selection of everything. are there even better liquor stores in cleveland?

                                          1. re: charles_sills

                                            There are 3 or 4 Minotti's in the Cleveland area and Rocky River is the best one, though I have been disappointed in their selection lately. Southland Beverage in Middleburg Hts and Golden Gate Beverage in Cleveland Hts are the best, I think.

                                            Have you been to the Old 97 Cafe in Akron? They don't have a list really but they have a cool atmosphere and a massive selection behind the bar. It's not like a NY modern bar but it's worth checking out! Also DBA which is Dante's new addition in Akron - we've had some fantastic drinks at Dante here in Cleveland.

                                            1. re: alicia_cle

                                              ill check some of those stores out. thanks!!

                                              i havent been to Old 7. generally when i go out to a bar, its because of a great beer selection. but ill be sure to check it out soon. i have a birthday coming up, so ill make my friends take me there haha.