A Gentleman’s Guide to Classic Cocktails

They say curiosity killed the cat, right? Well, it also killed the days of necking sickly sweet shots in order to see who could ‘handle’ their drink. At some stage in every gentleman’s life, drinking becomes more of a hobby than a means of simply getting drunk. Upon graduating from boy to man, the desire to experience new flavours, sample different brands and become more informed overall about certain beverages takes over, and for many budding gentlemen, quality begins to far outweigh quantity.


While beers, ales, brandies and whiskeys have remained firm favourites amongst men for centuries, the newfound aspiration to widen their alcoholic palette is often encouraged by the drinking trends of the time, the latest being the gin craze which continues to grow in popularity. However, one type of beverage that you may not expect to have hit the jackpot amongst males has remained popular since the start of the 20th century; cocktails.


In comparison to their now luxury status, cocktails originate from a very humble background; they were made to dampen the dreadful taste of old-school liquor. Even for the manliest of men, drinking 20th century booze without diluting it first was a pretty grim experience, so cocktails originally served an important and necessary purpose. Nowadays, although the flavour of alcohol has greatly improved, cocktails continue to be one of the most popular drinks amongst modern-day gentlemen. Consequently, we want to share with you some classic cocktail recipes for you to enjoy:



Following in the footsteps of Mr Bond, any distinguished gentlemen will need the recipe for a martini. However, it is important to know that traditionally, a martini was made with gin, not vodka, so if you’re after the modern-day version, be sure to clarify that you’d like a “vodka martini”. If you’re happy with the original recipe, you’ll need:


  • 2-1/2 oz gin (of your choice)
  • 1/2 oz dry vermouth
  • Either a lemon or an olive


Once you’ve collected your ingredients, combine the gin and vermouth by mixing them together with ice in a shaker or mixing glass. After mixing, stir and strain into a chilled glass to give it a refreshingly cool edge. Finally, add a piece of twisted lemon or an olive for extra sophistication.



Similar to a martini, the Negroni recipe also incorporates both gin and vermouth, however, is made a little more bitter with a dash of Campari. Admittedly, this is not a drink for everyone, but when made properly, demonstrates a shining example of the importance of ‘balance’ in cocktail making. To make this fiery beverage, you’ll need:


  • 1-1/2 oz gin (whichever you like)
  • 1-1/2 oz Campari
  • 1-1/2 oz sweet vermouth
  • An orange slice or lemon peel


Pour all three components into a rocks glass, stir well, and always remember to add ice. Whichever you’ve gone for, place the orange slice or lemon peel on top to garnish.


Old Fashioned

Originating from the 19th century and consequently earning its name, an Old Fashioned is a true gentleman’s cocktail, made using a selection of classic ingredients including whiskey and bitters. This firm favourite was thought to be consumed by gents shortly after eating their breakfast – shame that’s not as acceptable now hey chaps? To make an Old Fashioned, you’ll require:


  • 2 oz whiskey
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1/2tsp of sugar
  • Lemon peel


Grab yourself a rocks glass and spoon in the sugar with a dash of water. After this has dissolved, pour in the whiskey and bitters, adding a couple of ice cubes as well for good measure. Mix well with a spoon and finally, if you want to go all out, rub the lemon peel around the brim of the glass before popping it into the liquid to add that extra hint of flavour when drinking.



Perhaps the most timeless of all, the Manhattan has survived throughout the centuries, earning itself the privilege of being considered ‘one of the greats’. Not for the faint-hearted, this robust cocktail is all about the alcoholic taste; however, it’s other elements add a touch of refinement, giving it a strong yet sophisticated edge. The ingredients you’ll need to make a Manhattan are:


  • 2 oz rye or bourbon
  • 1/2 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1-2 dashes bitters
  • A lemon or maraschino cherry


Add each of these ingredients to a shaker or mixing glass. Add ice, shake or mix together, then strain into a cocktail glass. Finally, garnish with the lemon peel or maraschino cherry, either is good.


Whether you prefer a sugary sensation or a good stiff drink, these classic cocktail recipes are worth knowing so when the time comes, you can make one that’ll hit the spot. Pair them all with a Cuban cigar, and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying the fruits of manhood.


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