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The Best Old Fashioned to Make This Father’s Day

And four other modern spins on classic cocktails to serve.

Flickr / Sam Howzit

Despite the ongoing cocktail revolution taking place in bars across the country, most innovations in the world of mixed drinks took place before your grandfather was old enough to drink. For this reason, most of today’s cocktails are simply riffs or variations on the classics. Below are five such cocktails, as well as modern day updates presented by Sother Teague, New York City barman, recent Wine Enthusiast Magazine Mixologist of the Year and author of I’m Just Here for the Drinks. This Father’s Day, make one or three for the dad on your list — even if that dad is you.

1. The Old Fashioned and the Campfire Old Fashioned

A classic that’s name comes from the repeated request to have a cocktail made the way folks used to, the Old Fashioned is a pure presentation of the spirit/water/ sugar/bitters format that defined early cocktails. As such, it’s also easy to modify to your own tastes, as in this variation meant to evoke the experience of sipping whiskey by a campfire — something all dads deserve, but don’t all have time to enjoy.

The Classic: The Old Fashioned

Ingredients:

Dash Angostura bitters
2 oz rye
Spoon demerara or cane syrup
Lemon twist

Directions:

Add first three ingredients to an Old Fashioned glass. Add a large lump of ice and gently stir to combine. Garnish with lemon twist.

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The New Riff: The Campfire Old Fashioned

Ingredients:

Dash Angostura bitters
Dash Bittermens Hellfire Habanero Shrub
1.5 tsp of cane syrup
.25 oz peated scotch
.75 oz rye
.75 oz bourbon

Directions:

Add ingredients to an Old-Fashioned glass. Add a large lump of ice and gently stir to combine. Garnish with an orange twist.

2. The Negroni and Secret Service

A classic with origins in Italy or Senegal depending on whom you ask, the Negroni is traditionally made with equal parts Campari, sweet vermouth and London Dry gin. Sother prefers double dose of gin to keep it punchy as the ice starts to melt, and his riff on the cocktail, the Secret Service, packs a wallop as well. It has notes of cinnamon and cocoa and is suitable for presidents or dads who always told you you could be commander-in-chief someday.

The Classic: The Negroni

Ingredients:

1.5 dashes Angostura bitters
1 oz Campari
1 oz sweet vermouth
2 oz London Dry gin

Directions:

Build all ingredients in a rocks glass. Add one large format ice cube. Stir to combine. Garnish with an orange twist.

The New Riff: The Secret Service

Ingredients:

2 dashes mole bitters
1.5oz Plymouth gin
.75 oz Maurin Quina
.75 oz Ancho Reyes

Directions:

Pour all ingredients into a mixing glass and add plenty of ice. Stir to chill and dilute. Strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with an orange twist.

3. The Margarita and the Retox

Among the most popular cocktails ever created, it’s hard to screw up a margarita, though if that were your aim you could start by buying that cheap mix they sell at your local grocery store. If an exemplary version is what you’re after, always opt for fresh lime juice, a better than average triple sec, and the best tequila you can afford. Sother’s riff on the classic marg is the Retox, which, as it’s name suggests, takes inspiration from the Master Cleanse. What better way to toast the health of dear old dad?

The Classic: Margarita

Ingredients:

1 oz lime juice
.75 oz Cointreau
2 oz blanco tequila

Directions:

Rim half a double rocks glass with kosher salt. Combine ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake to chill and dilute. Strain and serve over ice in salt-rimmed glass. Garnish with lime wedge.

The New Riff: The Retox

Ingredients:

2-3 slices of fresh jalapeno
.75 oz grade B maple syrup
.5 oz fresh lemon juice
2 oz reposado tequila
Kosher salt for rim

Directions:

Muddle jalapéno in base of tin, add syrup, lemon and tequila. Shake vigorously with ice. Double strain (to remove any pepper bits) into a half-salted rim glass of fresh ice. Garnish with lemon slice.

4. The Suffering Bastard and The Suffering Fools

Concocted by a chemist in Cairo as a specific for British soldiers dealing with both Nazis and hangovers during World War II, the Suffering Bastard features both gin and bourbon for a crisp cocktail that’s as bracing as it is refreshing. Sother’s take on this classic from the era of the Greatest Generation relies on Cognac from our allies in France and adds a touch of pineapple shrub for a Pacific Theater feel. Drink one with your war buff father-in-law, or after an assault from your own growing army.

The Classic: Suffering Bastard

Ingredients:

2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 oz Bourbon
1 oz London Dry gin
1 oz fresh lime juice
Ginger ale

Directions:

Combine first four ingredients in a Highball glass. Add ice and gently stir. Pour ginger ale down the spiral of a bar spoon to fill. Garnish with a lime twist.

The New Riff: Suffering Fools

Ingredients:

1 dashes Angostura bitters
.5 oz pineapple shrub
.5 oz lime juice
1 oz London Dry gin
1 oz Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac
Ginger beer

Directions:

Combine first five ingredients in a Highball glass. Add ice and gently stir. Pour ginger beer down the spiral of a bar spoon to fill. Garnish with candied ginger

5. The Vieux Carre and The Guatemalan Square

Created at the historic Hotel Monteleone in the late ‘30s by New Orleans great Walter Bergeron, this split-spirit Manhattan by way of the Big Easy is slightly more complex than the other cocktails presented here but is absolutely worth the effort. Sother’s riff swaps out the Cognac for Guatemalan rum for a cocktail swirling with notes of fresh orange, vanilla and dark chocolate. Both drinks are aces, and as close to a vacation as you can get without hopping on a plane.

The Classic: The Vieux Carre

Ingredients:

1 dash Angostura bitters
1 dash Peychaud’s bitters
.5 tsp Benedictine
.75 oz sweet vermouth
.75 oz rye
.75 oz Cognac

Directions: 

Combine all ingredients into a shaker with ice and stir. Strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with a cherry.

The New Riff: The Guatemalan Square

Ingredients:

2 dashes Angostura bitters
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
.25 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
.5 oz Carpano Antica
.5 oz Rittenhouse rye
1 oz Zacapa 23 Rum

Directions:

Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass to chill and combine. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist