Staying true to the timeless, refined ethos of The Cuff, The Cocktail Deck compiles a collection of drink staples with an emphasis on construction over flamboyance, growing in complexity as the stakes are raised. Using subtle variations of classic ingredients, this eclectic group of libations achieves a wide range of flavors and textures, giving you an ace in the hole no matter the occasion.
Close kin to the Old Fashioned; the spice of the rye and bitters complement the sweet vermouth exceptionally well in this age-old blend.
Use: Michter's Rye, Antica Fortuna sweet vermouth, Angostura bitters
Recipe: In a mixing glass, stir 2 ounces rye, 1 ounce sweet vermouth and a couple dashes of bitters over ice for about 20 seconds. Strain into your favorite cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.
Stiff and savory, there's always time for a well-mixed gin martini. Emphasis on gin. Vodka is best used in a Bloody Mary and precious few other places.
Use: Broker's gin, Dolin dry vermouth
Recipe: Fill a shaker with ice, 2.5 ounces of gin, .5 ounces dry vermouth and .25 to .5 ounces olive juice, depending how dirty (aka salty) you like it.
A timeless drink fit for any occasion, the first "cocktail" on record is still one of the best.
Use: Michter's Rye, Angostura bitters
Recipe: Muddle 2 sugar cubes, a few drops of water and a couple dashes of bitters in an old-fashioned glass. Mix in 2 ounces of rye, add ice and stir. Twist an orange peel over the top to release the oils, then use as garnish.
Gin & Tonic
A warm-weather staple, it's tough to beat the crisp, refreshing taste of a gin and tonic on a summer day.
Use: Big Gin, Fever Tree tonic
Recipe: Fill a highball glass with ice and squeeze a lime wedge over it. Pour in 2 ounces of gin and fill the rest of the glass with tonic. Give it a couple stirs. I prefer to squeeze another lime wedge on top for extra tartness.
Beloved by the likes of JFK and Hemingway, this isn't the slush puppy you ordered at Senor Frog's. The classic version of this cocktail uses a simple but effective combination of citrus, sugar and rum.
Use: Mount Gay white rum
Recipe: Shake ice, 2 ounces white rum, 1 ounce lime juice, 1 ounce grapefruit juice and 1 teaspoon simple syrup or granulated sugar until cold. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
As coveted a cocktail as any at the moment (it even has its own cocktail week), the Negroni's unique bitter taste and potency, not to mention awesome color, make it great on its own or with foods from oysters to pasta.
Use: Death's Door gin, Cinzano sweet vermouth
Recipe: Stir 1 ounce each of gin, campari and sweet vermouth over ice in a rocks glass. Twist an orange peel over the top to release the oil and use as garnish.
Scotch and Soda
I'm sure the Scotch purists will cringe at this, but try venturing away from your Glenlivet neat and opt for this mobile cocktail that doesn't require reservations at an oaky gentleman's club, smelling of rich mahogany, to enjoy. Retaining the Scotch's woody notes, the carbonation breathes new life into the spirit, giving it an intriguing texture and finish of a smoky, sparkling apple soda.
Use: Macallan 10
Recipe: Add ice to a rocks glass. Pour in 2 ounces of Scotch, then 2-3 ounces of soda water. Two stirs should do it.
In its true form the whiskey sour is a pillar; strong and bold with the perfect amount of tang. Lately it seems to find its way onto very few cocktail menus, and of those only a fraction deliver a proper rendition. Instead of the succulent, foamy drink loved by our fathers and grandfathers, we get the powdery, watered down version. And this needs to change.
Use: Bulleit boubon, Angostura bitters
Recipe: Dry shake 2 ounces bourbon, 1 ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of sugar or simple syrup and 1 egg white for 1 minute. Add ice and shake for another 20 seconds or until you can no longer feel your hands. Strain into a rocks glass and garnish with a cherry and small orange slice. Top the foam with a couple dashes of Angostura bitters.
One of my favorite drinks to throw together on a random night when the week is dragging, this spicy, tropical hybrid combines pineapple and rye in the best way.
Use: Bulleit rye, Martini dry vermouth, Angostura bitters
Recipe: Shake 2 ounces rye, 1 ounce dry vermouth and 1.5 ounces pineapple juice until cold. Strain into an ice-filled Old Fashioned glass. Top with a couple dashes of bitters.
Named for a small but devastating piece of World War I French artillery, elegant and easy to make, this drink packs quite a punch, and its versatility makes it a staple for all occasions, from brunch table to cocktail party.
Use: Death's Door gin,
Recipe: Add two sugar cubes to a champagne flute and dash twice with orange bitters. Mix .5 ounces lemon juice and 2 ounces gin in a mixing glass until cold and strain into flute. Top off with champagne or sparkling wine. Garnish with a lemon peel.
A New Orleans staple since the 1850's, this rye-driven concoction spread like wildfire from the Big Easy and can be found in good bars all across the country.
Use: Sazerac rye, green Chartreuse, Peychaud's bitters, Angostura bitters
Recipe: Add a sugar cube and a few drops of water to a mixing glass. Use the spoon to break up the cube until it's dissolved. Add ice, 2 ounces rye, 1 dash Angostura bitters and 3 or 4 dashes of Peychaud's bitters. Stir for 20-30 seconds. Rinse a chilled Old Fashioned glass with green Chartreuse, making sure it's evenly distributed with no excess liquid. Strain the rye mixture into the rinsed glass. Twist a lemon peel over the top and rub the rim before dropping it into the cocktail as garnish. Served up.
As a lover of Scotch and a lover of cocktails it only felt right to find another way to combine the two. Known as the Scotch Manhattan, this drink will give you the smooth sweetness of the original with the added character of that classic smoky scotch glow.
Use: Three Monkeys scotch, Antica Fortuna sweet vermouth, Angostura bitters
Recipe: Shake ice, 2 ounces Scotch, .75 ounces sweet vermouth, and 2 dashes bitters until cold. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.
Sharing a name with the equally dynamic French Quarter, this original New Orleans recipe combines an abundance of potent ingredients and intriguing flavors all working toward the same goal: a rowdy good time.
Use: Rittenhouse rye, Hennessey Vs cognac, Noilly Pratt sweet vermouth, Benedictine liquer, Peychaud's and Angostura bitters
Recipe: Stir .75 ounces rye, .75 ounces cognac, .75 ounces sweet vermouth, 1 barspoon Benedictine liqeur, 1 dash Peychaud's bitters, and 1 dash Angostura bitters over ice in a mixing glass for 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled old-fashioned glass. Twist and rub a lemon peel over the glass and use as garnish.
The Last Word
Springing back to life after decades in purgatory, a forgotten prohibition past time, The Last Word is an efficiently complex cocktail, combining just the right number of ingredients to distinguish it from the crowd without drowning out any one of its unique flavors.
Use: Death's Door gin, green Chartreuse, Luxardo maraschino liqueur
Recipe: Shake .75 ounces gin, .75 ounces green Chartreuse, .75 ounces maraschino liquer, .75 ounces lime juice for 20 seconds. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with lime twist.
Once you've developed a taste for Campari, it's high time to branch out from your standard Negroni and see what else this amazing spirit can do. With a rich whiskey replacing gin, this drink uses the smoothness of the bourbon and sweet vermouth to blend with the Campari's acerbic character for a bold flavor and creamy finish.
Use: Elijah Craig bourbon, Cinzano sweet vermouth
Recipe: Stir 2 ounces bourbon, 1 ounce Campari, and 1 ounce sweet vermouth in a rocks glass over ice.
A brainchild of Death & Co., this fresh, springy fizz combines texture and tart to a T.
Use: Death's Door gin, St. Germain elderflower liquor, Fee Brothers orange bitters
Combine 2 oz. gin, .5 oz. elderflower liquor, .5 oz. grapefruit juice, .5 oz. lemon juice, 2 dashes orange bitters, 1 egg white and .25 oz. simple syrup in a shaker and dry shake for 1 minute. Fill shaker with ice and shake for 20-30 seconds. Strain into a highball glass with ice. Top with fresh soda water.