Something my grandmother doesn't drink, this time.
May 29, 2012 6:54 PM   Subscribe

Need a successor to rye and ginger for cocktail hour.

She who is my wife and I have made a lovely ritual of cocktail hour with a game of cribbage and a rye and ginger (made with fine Alberta Premium).

That drink hasn't gotten old, but after a period of trying various rye whiskeys, we've settled on AP as our preferred brand, and have lost that booze explorer's edge. I'd like to expand our library of "Ooh, one of those would be really good right now!"

  1. Inexpensive. Canadian rye whiskey, in comparison to scotch or Irish whiskey, offers premium brands at reasonable prices. We want to explore good drinks and various mixes without having to take out a second mortgage.
  2. Simple. A rye and ginger is... some rye and some ginger ale. No muddling, no previously made simple syrup, no layers, just pour and serve and enjoy. This most relaxing hour of our day is made moreso by the ease with which we get into it. Fewer ingredients and more straightforward preparation is preferred.
  3. Fewer calories. We use diet ginger ale to shave off a whack of unnecessary calories every day, and it works fine. We tend not to enjoy overly sugary things in general.
We're not experienced boozers, so any suggestion is welcome. We ended up with rye and ginger despite the mockery of friends, and have converted several family members and acquaintances now.
posted by fatbird to Food & Drink (33 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Rum and ginger beer, AKA a Dark'n'Stormy.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 6:59 PM on May 29, 2012 [9 favorites]

Gin and tonic?
posted by barnoley at 7:00 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

A simple Pimm's cup for summer. Feel free to omit the fruit/cucumber.
posted by ephemerista at 7:00 PM on May 29, 2012 [3 favorites]

Rye and seltzer! I drink it just like that and I think it's great. You will adjust to enjoying the bubbles despite the lack of sugar. Better yet, get yourself a home seltzer maker and experiment with your own flavorings. I think SodaStream is awesome.
posted by juliplease at 7:02 PM on May 29, 2012

Rye lime rickey. Perfect for a hot afternoon. Rye, squeeze of lime, and sparkling water.
posted by gingerbeer at 7:03 PM on May 29, 2012 [5 favorites]

1 Gin
1 Elderflower liquor
Ginger Ale/soda water
(Sapphire, St. Germain, Canada Dry [natch] are my brands)
posted by carsonb at 7:04 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Am jealous, sounds like a great tradition and seconding the Dark and Stormy's. SO GOOD. Although honestly you just can't go wrong with a solid gin and tonic either for a change of pace (as I now see that is listed above as the second answer).
posted by bquarters at 7:09 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Moscow Mule? Vodka, lime juice, ginger beer.
posted by SNWidget at 7:17 PM on May 29, 2012 [4 favorites]

My most recent drink of choice is dark rum & pineapple juice, which is all summery and tropical-feeling (and very easy).

You might like a Salty Chihuahua: tequila, triple sec, and grapefuit juice (optional salted rim). (I prefer clear tequilas, often called "silver" or "blanco" - my usual go-to is Sauza).
posted by flex at 7:29 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

I like rye and seltzer and bitters with a slice of lime if I have it. Mega simple and delicious!
posted by capnsue at 7:37 PM on May 29, 2012

Came in to suggest the Moscow Mule. Had a homemade version this weekend and my friends and I really, really enjoyed it.
posted by too bad you're not me at 7:38 PM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

too bad you're not me beat me to the Moscow Mule. That one works well with inexpensive vodka.
posted by colin_l at 8:08 PM on May 29, 2012

Was going to recommend a Dark and Stormy. Supper delicious.

Since it's already been mentioned, I'll mention a Salty Dog. Vodka + Grapefruit juice with a salted rim. Unsalted would be a greyhound.
posted by fyrebelley at 8:48 PM on May 29, 2012

Dark 'n Stormys are like candy, delicious. I love a gin & tonic. Not sure if beer cocktails are quite what you're looking for, but if so try a Black Velvet (Guinness or another stout + champagne). Or just for fun try a Guinness with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Okay, ridiculous, but so good.

Was also going to recommend Greyhounds/Salty Dogs, which I drink a lot of.
posted by stoneandstar at 8:51 PM on May 29, 2012

I'm particularly fond of a Tequila Old Fashioned. Here is my recipe:
3/4 tsp Agave
a few dashes of Angostura Bitters
3/4 to 1 part good Orange Liquor (Cointreau, Patron Citronage, Dekuyper O3)
2 parts good blanco tequila (I've been using Don Edwardo Silver as of late)

combine, stir and serve on the rocks.

subbing out the tequila for a bourbon like Makers Mark 46 is also very good.

What I like about this drink is that I always have the ingredients on hand and there is no waste. Drinks that call for cola or tonic are pain because once you open it you have to use it. likewise having to have fresh citrus around can be a pain as well. With the agave nectar and bitters will you will go months if not longer before you run out.
posted by mmascolino at 8:57 PM on May 29, 2012

I've been drinking something very close for 25+ years, a CC & Ginger - Canadian Club and Ginger Ale.

More recently I've been drinking rye Manhattans. I make them very simply:

Lowball glass with 2-3 fingers of whiskey, a splash of Angostura bitters, and a Maraschino cherry with a bit of the juice from the jar. Forget the vermouth...

Takes about two minutes for us to make the drink. Nothing hard to find, everything involved is found at the supermarket, and every bar in the world can make this drink.
posted by Argyle at 9:27 PM on May 29, 2012

Golden Age Cocktail:
2 parts strong
1 part sweet
1 part sour
Shake with ice in a shaker, serve.

For example:
Margarita: tequila, lime juice, triple sec.

Daiquiri: rum, lime juice, triple sec

Sidecar: brandy, lemon juice, triple sec (try this if you haven't---it's one of my favorites).

Bourbon street: same thing, but use bourbon instead of brandy.

Delilah: gin, lemon juice, triple sec
(add a dash of angostura bitters and swap lemon for lime to get a Pegu: very good)

But this works with all sorts of stuff, and experimenting is fun. I made homemade chokecherry liqueur, and it was excellent swapped for the triple sec in a sidecar. My parents brought me guava berry liqueur from a trip, and it was great swapped for the triple sec in a daiquiri. I also made chokecherry vodka, and swapped that for sour (with brandy again) and that was good too.

Fresh citrus is better, but bottled's ok if that's what you've got.
posted by leahwrenn at 9:29 PM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

Just coming in to recommend a sidecar. Cognac, triple sec, and lemon juice. Done right, shaken till slushy-cold with a sugared rim, you can hit the ground niiice and easy.
posted by therewolf at 9:38 PM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm partial to a Sidecar myself:
1.5 oz cognac
.75 oz lemon juice
.75 oz Cointreau

(You can do 2, 1, 1 oz., which is easier to measure, but is 33% more alcohol.)

A similar, also tasty drink is what my cocktail book calls the Barbaresque:
1.5 oz light rum
.75 oz lemon juice
.5 oz Cointreau

This is probably a little more wallet-friendly than the cognac.

And one more--
Bee's Knees:
2 oz gin
1/2 oz lime juice
1 barspoon honey
posted by pompelmo at 12:51 AM on May 30, 2012

I absolutely love your nightly ritual and will be dusting off the cribbage board tonight!

Here's something totally different but very summery. It might not fit the bill for you, but since all my other "go-to" cocktails have been mentioned, I thought I'd throw this out there. Throw some pastis of your choosing in a glass, add some sparkling lemonade and lots of ice. The most refreshing thing possible.

Real lemonade with seltzer is best, but in a pinch the diet stuff in a can will do.
posted by Mrs. Rattery at 4:06 AM on May 30, 2012

I know it's not exactly what you asked, but: wine.

Almost endless opportunities to explore, available at lots of accessible price points, very easy to 'make'!
posted by Kololo at 4:21 AM on May 30, 2012

Manhattans! This is just Rye + sweet vermouth + bitters. This is a classic cocktail, and as such there is lots of room for exploration... Bourbon instead of rye, different brands of vermouth, different brands of bitters. In our house, its Maker's Mark bourbon, Martini brand sweet vermouth, angostura bitters all on ice. No shaking (or accurate measuring).
posted by teriyaki_tornado at 6:18 AM on May 30, 2012

I second the Moscow Mule (which can be enhanced by using its signature vessel, a rotund copper mug), the Rickey (lime, seltzer, and any booze in a highball glass) and the Bourbon Manhattan. (Woodford Reserve, of course.)

I've been known to make a pitcher of Manhattans-- premix the booze and add the bitters to order.

Argyle, you might like the Prospect Park, a Maraschino (liqueur)-enhanced Manhattan-variation. Any other cherry-lovers may as well.
posted by Sunburnt at 7:55 AM on May 30, 2012

Jesus God. You do not want any drink involving elderflowers, fresh squeezed lemon juice, bitters, Pimm's fruit or any of that shit for this job. I like sidecars, hipsters, Pimm's and fresh squeezed cocktail components just fine, but what you want is a gin and tonic.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:30 AM on May 30, 2012

I am all about the Dark and Stormy, so I'm nthing that one!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:52 AM on May 30, 2012

Thank you very much, everyone. This is exactly the sort of thread we were hoping to get. Looks like our next purchases are a bottle of good gin and a soda/seltzer maker (some friends have a sodastream and swear by it). We've got bitters and usually have limes around, too, so we've got lots of options to try out.
posted by fatbird at 11:57 AM on May 30, 2012

Another thing that will make a radical change in the drink is upping your ginger beer game. There's a bunch of great suggestions in an old ask thread I posted a few years ago - I've eventually settled on Gosling's Ginger Beer as my go-to mixer, with explorations continuing on the side. For some amazing works to combine with it, I recommend Kraken dark rum for a mighty fine Dark'n'Stormy, Sailor Jerry for a lighter rum blend, or Hendrick's Gin for a sharp but not overpowering Gin'n'Ginger.
posted by FatherDagon at 1:32 PM on May 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

My recipe which I came up with by trial and error, but I'm sure some mixologist has doen

I shall call it the lalocheztail

Generous shot of rye (60-70ml - I use Rittenhouse)
Teaspoon of Ginger Syrup
Half a can of cold Pompelmo Grapefruit Soda

Optional: Dash of Creole bitters.

Make sure the grapefruit soda is chilled so that ice doesnt water this down. Stir the syrup into the whiskey, once dissolved, add the soda, put over a couple of big cubes of ice, add bitters to taste, stir, and enjoy.
posted by lalochezia at 5:51 PM on May 30, 2012

Since FatherDragon suggested a different brand for ginger beer, I'm going to suggest Fever Tree, if you can find it. It's spicy - too spicy for my wife, actually. It's a powerful ginger punch, but I love it for my Moscow Mules and Dark'n'Stormies.
posted by SNWidget at 7:35 PM on May 30, 2012

Get a nice mixing bourbon (Maker's Mark, etc.), and substitute that in place of the rye. Tastes great with a twist of lime.
posted by evoque at 10:06 PM on May 30, 2012

Did someone ask about gingerbeer?

I do have strong opinions on this topic still, and it's still Ginger People at the top of the list. Usually with the Goslings rum for a Dark & Stormy, which is indeed an excellent drink.
posted by gingerbeer at 10:07 PM on May 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Kentucky Colonel: Bourbon, ginger beer, lemon, bitters
posted by waitangi at 12:11 PM on May 31, 2012

Dry Manhattans--use dry instead of sweet vermouth. Works (wonders) for me.
posted by lapsangsouchong at 3:38 PM on May 31, 2012

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