Anyone can pour a glass of bourbon, but it takes some coaching to drink like a proper old man (or use bitters with any real success). That’s where Robert Schnakenberg comes in. For his new book, “Old Man Drinks,” he compiled retro recipes along with the history of the cocktails and advice from their faithful drinkers.
“There are a lot of variations on how to make something as simple as a gin and tonic,” says Schnakenberg of the research process. “I did a lot of taste tests — and then in the morning I cleared my head and adjusted accordingly.” Along with still-familiar classics such as the Cuba libre, negroni and tequila sunrise, the book also includes forgotten sips such as Satan’s Whiskers (gin, vermouth, orange juice, Gran Marnier and orange bitters) and the aptly named Obituary (gin, vermouth, absinthe).
But it’s the advice — on everything from women to the dangers of “American Idol” — by which aspiring old man drinkers will really benefit. Sometimes nostalgic, sometimes mischievous, it’s all from a group of guys you wouldn’t order a light beer in front of. “I don’t know if I, or anyone, should live by the advice,” admits Schnakenberg. “But I’m certainly inspired by some of it.”