General Question

RedMosquitoMM's avatar

What's a classy and clean-tasting highball or cocktail to order at a bar?

Asked by RedMosquitoMM (539points) October 29th, 2009

I just graduated and left my college town of Madison, WI, and I need some ideas. I really love gimlets, a good old-fashioned, and sidecars (but those are a bit too sweet for my tastes). I also love anything that merits a real glass even in the cheapest of college bars (where plastic is the default). Suggestions, and include some reasoning and general directions on how to make it. Thanks!

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31 Answers

zephyr826's avatar

I’m a big proponent of gin and tonic. It’s a very clean taste, it can’t be screwed up, and there’s something very classy about it. If you already like gimlets, it might be a good next step.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

Forget classy, I’m going to fill you in on what may be the greatest drink ever – the espresso bomb. Similar to an Irish car bomb, You take ¾ of a pint of Guinness, and a shot of espresso. Drop the shot into the Guinness, and get busy drinking. It tastes amazing and gives you plenty of energy. Nothing tastes better on a cold day.

Judi's avatar

I used to LOVE my long Island Ice Teas, but they got me in a lot of trouble and I no longer drink. Lots of booze and you can barely taste it.
1 part vodka
1 part Tequila
1 part rum
1 part gin
1 part triple sec
1½ parts sweet and sour mix
1 splash Coke

RedMosquitoMM's avatar

Ha, ok. So classy isn’t a necessity @jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities

Also, I started with t&ts (gin & tonic that is) and moved to gimlets. So I’m thinking something more unique or a bit more creative. G&Ts see like a really default drink for me.

Capt_Bloth's avatar

A 7&7 isn’t classy at all (7up and Seagram’s 7), but they are good, and I have only seen them in a glass But then again I don’t dink at college bars.
@jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities That sounds really good, I think I’ll go pick up some Guinness.

gussnarp's avatar

What’s classy about booze in the first place?

Haleth's avatar

I like Moscow Mules- vodka, ginger beer, and lime. I usually drink wine or beer, though.

trailsillustrated's avatar

a well made cosmopolitan. made with real juice, not mix.

judochop's avatar

You are talking my game….but before I get started:
@gussnarp: Booze is very classy. Distilled spirits have been involved in every major decision ever made since the Egyptians. If it was not for Alcohol, the Tea Trade and Coke, the world would not be what it is now.

Bars like the Rainbow Room in NYC shaped the classic cocktail while people like the Tommy Dewar traveled the world as an advocate for Scotch and politics thus making the two go hand and hand. The first barrel of Whisky introduced to the USA post prohibition was Dewars Scotch. The first barrel to grace the White House was also Dewars Scotch. Distilled spirits play a huge part in our generations make up pre and post. What’s classy about “booze?” Maybe you need to look beyond your corner bar where they think Cranberry is a good mixer, “booze” my friend is very classy.
Okay….On with the drinks:

Classic drinks you ask, here are more than a few and a few short stories as to what makes them golden:
Flips are drinks that were drank during Shakespearean times, made properly they are a pleasure to drink.
2 part Sherry
½ egg (beaten)
1 part sugar
Nutmeg grated on top of the foam.
You can look this drink up for the proper way to make it. Flips need to be shaken hard.

This drink requires Vermouth and might I suggest to everyone who enjoys Vermouth that you DO NOT DRINK VERMOUTH THAT IS NOT FROM THE COLD STORAGE OR FRIDGE. Vermouth left out often goes flat and looses its flavor profile not too mention bad.
¾ part brandy
¾ French dry Vermouth
¾ fresh orange juice
2 dashes of grenadine
2 bar spoons sugar
dash of green creme de menthe
½ part ruby port
garnished with a rose petal.

COLLINS or Tom Collins, John Collins or Vodka Collins:
1.½ parts gin, vodka or bourbon
1 barspoon sugar
¾ part lemon juice
Club soda
Cherry and Orange for garnish
Served on the rocks.

1.5 part Vodka
1.5 part Lemon Juice
1 barspoon sugar
1 part ginger syrup
dash of grenadine
2 part club soda
Lemon slice for garnish.

Other kickass drinks include:
Presbyterian, Flamingo, Cat’s Eye, Sours, Fitzgerald, Negroni (my fave), Velvet Fog, Stork Club, Gibson, and a popular fave the Vesper.

The bartender used to be reverend in the same respect as a Doctor and Lawyer! It was not until the late 50’s that this started to change.
I obviously work deep in this industry for emerging brands as a trainer and consultant. If you have any questions please let me know. I love to talk shop. Cheers!

RedMosquitoMM's avatar

Anybody going to top that? Even a match would be good… :)

Cartman's avatar


There is nothing to beat it in my opinion. Nothing. Classical, stylish, sophisticated and super tasty. Gin (not at all the same thing with vodka), a sprinkling of vermouth and an olive. Have it dirty, with some olive brine alongside the vermouth, to change it up from time to time. Also an excellent choice to serve at a dinner party to get things going, or to make those in-laws feel comfortable or talkative or pass out and shut up (all a matter of the right dosage). People often don’t realise how much a good Martini can do to you :)


It’s good enough for 007

MissAnthrope's avatar

Vodka gimlet, my favorite. I always feel very sophisticated when I order and drink one.

RedMosquitoMM's avatar

Thanks @MissAnthrope . I always find gin gimlets to have more character, but vodka isn’t bad if you cut back the lime juice. I just find that since vodka has less overt flavor than gin a vodka gimlet – if mixed poorly – can let the rampant lime juice run wild.

A Hendrick’s Gimlet is my personal favorite, fresh juice versus Rose’s, but thats another drink that often comes dangerously close to drowning out any one of the many wonderful flavors swirling around in there.

missingbite's avatar

I sometimes get on a kick for a White Russian or a Colorado Bulldog. Almost the same drink but both very good. I usually drink a couple of those before I start in on Hendrick’s Gin and tonic with a cucumber slice. Don’t even waste your money on Hendrick’s if the bar tender is going to put a lime in it. You might as well order a well gin!

MissAnthrope's avatar

@RedMosquitoMM – Until recently, I never really liked gin. Not sure what happened, but I guess my tastes have changed! My friend made me try her gin and tonic and I was surprised I liked it. I’ll have to try a gin gimlet. :)

Iclamae's avatar

Smooth? White Russian. It is delicious.

Not smooth but also delicious? Margarita, all the way.

occ's avatar

Vodka martini, extra dirty*, extra olives.
*means they put some olive juice into the drink

occ's avatar

Or, if you’re in the mood for something sweet, a Mojito!

fundevogel's avatar

Tom Collins! I only order them when the bartenders are all wearing vests.

Mamradpivo's avatar

@judochop Thank you for the lesson. I saw a book once on seven drinks that changed the world. Should have bought it, but I didn’t. But thanks for the info. I learned something.

boffin's avatar

Scotch / Rocks (ice)

Heck, order and drink what ever YOU like. It’s not a popularity contest, seeing what is trendy or cool when you go out. The idea is to enjoy the evening, the company you’re with and if having a drink then get something you are comfortable with…


judochop's avatar

your welcome. The book you are reffering to is called The History of the World in Seven Glasses.
It is a fantastic read filled with a brief overview of drinks. Another great read is the Bacardi Family Story. Your jaw will drop when you read it.

Psychedelic_Zebra's avatar

whiskey, neat. No dimbulb bartender can screw that up.

Dr_C's avatar

A few of my personal favorites (and poker night staples):

Deauville Cocktail
A classic since its creation in 1930 New Orleans, the Deauville Cocktail is a brandy-filled delight.

* ¾ oz brandy
* ¾ oz applejack or calvados
* ¾ oz triple sec
* ¾ oz fresh lemon juice


1. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice.
2. Shake well.
3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

One of the finest and oldest cocktails. The Manhattan was the first cocktail that used vermouth as a modifier.

* 2 oz rye whiskey
* ½ oz sweet vermouth
* 2–3 dashes Angostura bitters
* maraschino cherry for garnish


1. Pour the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice cubes.
2. Stir well.
3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
4. Garnish with the cherry.


* 1 sugar cube
* 2–3 dashes Angostura bitters
* 2 orange slices
* 3 oz bourbon
* maraschino cherry for garnish


1. Place the sugar cube at the bottom of an old-fashioned glass.
2. Saturate the cube with the bitters.
3. Add one orange slice.
4. Muddle these ingredients.
5. Fill the glass with ice cubes.
6. Add the bourbon.
7. Stir well.
8. Garnish with a second orange slice and a maraschino cherry.

Creole Cocktail

* 2½ oz bourbon
* 1 oz sweet vermouth
* splash Benedictine
* splash maraschino liqueur
* lemon twist for garnish


1. Pour the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice cubes.
2. Stir well.
3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
4. Garnish with the lemon twist.

fundevogel's avatar

@Dr_C the Deauville Cocktail sounds delicious.

Dr_C's avatar

@fundevogel quite yumeh… you should give it a whirl

RedMosquitoMM's avatar

@gussnarp and @Dr_C : Those were exactly the kind of answers I was looking for. I’ll be trying the Deauville tonight, and a Collins was already on my list. @occ I tried an extra dirty martini last weekend and rather enjoyed it – but a bit too big. The flavor is wonderful while cold but doesn’t merit the size glass those things come in. @boffin I do enjoy scotch on occasion, but I feel silly ordering it without other people ordering the same or whiskey. That seems like a good “discussion” drink. At least those are the times I associate it with. And I save Hendricks and Tonic (strike the lime) for dates. Also, sure I like a drink that looks cool in your hand and feels exotic, but the point of this thread was more to garner interesting recipes that I know come recommended. That means A) they’re probably tasty and worth my $6, B) the bartender at a halfway descent establishment will know how to make them. Thanks for your input!

I appreciate the help all, and keep this discussion going if we can! New drink every weekend…?

RedMosquitoMM's avatar

Update: @judochop I was told by a local bartender that a place down the street makes an amazing flip (which takes them a good five minuts to prepare), so I’ll try that soon. @Dr_C The Deauville cocktail was good, though not my favorite. I can’t place why. I tried a Manhattan – too strong, even with a touch of cherry juice. Oddly, I don’t feel the same about a dirty martini. Tom Collins – really tasty. Exactly what I like. Dark & Stormy – very good, very tropical, only appropriate for certain occasions it seems. Old Fashioneds have become my go-to drink.

Dr_C's avatar

@RedMosquitoMM you can’t go wrong with the old fashioned… It used to be considered the typicall country club drink (and that’s actually where i learned how to make it after a long day on the golf course). It’s a laid back drink to have calm conversation over. Not too strong and not a foo foo drink. Great for any season.

ItsAHabit's avatar

A gimlet can’t be beat if you like a crisp, clean tasting drink.

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