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What classic cocktail would you suggest?

What classic cocktail would you recommend as a nice "go-to" drink to order at a bar? Something simple besides neat or Whatever & Cola that any bartender should be able to do well. I am open-minded but would like to skip the trends such as 'tinis, margaritas, and daiquiris. My tastes run to whiskeys and, on the sweeter side, gold or dark rum. Your help is appreciated. Thanks in advance!

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  1. I like whisky and my go to cocktail is a whisky sour.

    1. Manhattan is the obvious choice. With Bourbon over Rye for a sweeter drink.

      Dark and Stormy - Rum (Goslings) and ginger beer - Barritts if you can get it, with a squeeze of lime.

      4 Replies
      1. re: ASingh

        My Bermudian MIL would never put a lime with her Dark & Stormy. Only two ingredients needed, thank you very much. Americans need the lime. And the ice.

        1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

          So after all of the criticism of Americans liking things too sugary, now we're criticized for wanting some lime to cut the sweetness of a drink? It's like we can never win...

        2. re: ASingh

          I now often order a Dark and Stormy during the summer. Bartenders in SF seem to know what it is but the bartenders I met in NYC didn't know about it, so I would cheerfully explain what I'd like. They were very nice about it. :-)

          1. re: buzzardbreath

            The thing that drives me nuts is that around here it's common to find a Dark ;n Stormy on the cocktail menu alongside other $10-$12 drinks. A Dark and Storny is essentially just a highball of relatively cheap rum (around $15 a bottle) and ginger beer, which is far more common than it used to be. To me, seeing a Dark 'n Stormy costing the same as a Manhattan in some places is the same as someone charging $12 for a Jack and Coke. I love a good Dark and Stormy, but I rarely want to pay restaurant prices for something I can make at home for the equivalent of a couple of bucks.

        3. I go for a Sidecar!

          Brandy, orange liqueur, and lemon juice. Well done, they are exceptional. Poorly done, and they are sickly sweet or too citrus-y.

          6 Replies
          1. re: CarrieWas218

            I think this one is tough. This way my favorite drink for years, but I found many, many, many bars couldn't make it/didn't know what it was. I've had it served on the rocks and with fruit and cherry garnishes and at one point I think soda water was involved. I gave up on Sidecars looooong ago unless it's clear that the establishment is really into classic/craft cocktails.

            Oh, oh, and once I had it with some sort of bottled lemon juice. It was perfectly clear!!!!

            1. re: tokyopix

              The Sidecar is a pretty important classic. It was invented during Prohibition some time during the 20's. It's sad when such a simple cocktail gets messed up. It's a drink that while usually served up in a cocktail glass, can also be served on the rocks on an old fashioned glass.

              I had my first Sidecar back when PDT had first opened in NYC. It was late June 2007, I had just moved to Maine, but was back in town to work on an article about cocktails. It was a Sunday night and it was pretty quiet. A woman and her friend ordered Sidecars and were obviously enjoying them so I ordered one as well. I had only been into fine cocktails for about six months so all good cocktails were new to me. Before that my experience with drinks was 1980's things like Alabama Slammers and Kamikaze's. Sure I knew fine wine, craft beer, and single malt Scotch; but not cocktails. I started chatting with the woman and we had a great conversation and it really started my love affair with cocktail history. I asked her name as she left. Her name was Audrey and she owned a NYC cocktail bar that I later spent a lot of time at.

              Sidecar [1920-1930]
              1 ½ oz. Cognac
              ¾ oz. Cointreau or other orange liqueur
              ½ to ¾ oz. fresh lemon juice

              Shake on ice and strain into either a ice filled O.F. glass or a sugar rimmed chilled cocktail glass.

                1. re: JMF

                  the equal proportions don't throw me -- i've always kind of figured the sidecar for a brandy margarita.
                  that's a good way to order it in a nontrustworthy place, btw.

                  but what the hell is 1/6 gill?

                  1. re: linus

                    Its the mouth-volume of a 1 pound carp - an obscure English measurement.

                    1. re: porker

                      So, if you don't have jigger handy, but do happen to have a carp, then its perfect.

          2. An Old Fashion
            Rye and sugar muddled with maraschino cherry and orange slice

            or
            Bacardi Cocktail
            White rum shaken with ice, lemon juice, & grenadine, then strained (a favorite of Mrs Porker).

            1. My first two choices are up alrady (Manhattan and Dark and Stormy)...

              Sazerac would be my third
              and Mint Julep on hot summer days