Manly Cocktails: 9 Mixed Drinks Every Guy Must Try at Least Once

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. Learn more.

by  Andrew Newton | Last Updated: 

There was a time when cocktails were manly by definition.

Heck, James Bond wasn’t above a martini while saving the world.

You might have a simpler agenda like, say, having a nice evening. But the fact remains: a man’s drink says a lot about who he is.

What’s your story?

The Best Cocktails for Men

The Old Fashioned

bourbon old fashioned

The Old Fashioned kicks off our list for a reason. It meets the original definition of the word and the drink happens to be one of my favorites.

Made with bourbon or rye whiskey, it has all the strong flavor and punch you expect to feel, but the bitters, sugar cube, and ice take the edge off a bit.

Ingredients:

1 sugar cube
3 dashes Angostura Bitters
Splash of water or tonic
2 oz rye whiskey or bourbon
Slice of lemon or orange peel for garnish

Process:

Soften the sugar cube in the bottom of your glass with three dashes of bitters. Add your ice cube. Add 2 oz of whiskey (or four if you’re ready to get the party started) and give it a swirl. Finish with a peel of lemon or orange.

It’s an impressive looking drink. For a twist, mix in a flavored bitter like cherry or peach.

Want it to look extra cool? Serve it up in one of these bad boys:

Last update on 2021-09-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

They’re very well-reviewed and have that heft and thickness you want in your Old Fashioned glass.

Whiskey Sour

whiskey sour cocktail with bar in background

The Whiskey Sour is a simple cocktail with only three ingredients. It’s tasty and the preparation will impress your guests.

It’s remarkably similar to the true margarita or daiquiri. That is: liquor and something sour. This is an excellent summer cocktail for men, as the lemon keeps things light and sharp.

Ingredients:

2 oz whiskey
1 oz fresh lemon juice
1 tsp sugar (or ½ oz simple syrup)

Add an egg white into the mix if you’re feeling adventurous.

Process:

Put everything into your shaker over ice and shake well for 20 seconds.

Pour and enjoy.

Tom Collins

making a tom collins

The secret to a Tom Collins is the glass. No, seriously. The tall Collins glass makes this tall frosty gin and lemon drink a pleasure to look at, to watch be made, and to drink.

The clean, flavor is a crowd pleaser for men and women alike, especially at the height of summer.

Ingredients:

2 oz gin
1 oz fresh lemon juice
1 tsp sugar (or ½ oz simple syrup)
Tonic water to fill

Process:

Add all ingredients beside tonic water to a shaker and shake vigorously. Pour into a glass of ice. Fill the rest of the glass with tonic water. Garnish with a slice of lemon and add a straw.

Gibson

gibson cocktail with bar in background

The first record of a Gibson is from 1908. It’s a simple cocktail made in a martini glass. You can think of the Gibson as a martini with a cocktail onion instead of olives because that’s pretty much what it is. And it’s also delicious.

Ingredients:

2.5 oz gin
0.5 oz vermouth
Cocktail onion for garnish

Process:

Mix ingredients over ice, stir and strain into your glass, add your cocktail onion. Although traditionally made with gin, try vodka if you’d like a cleaner flavor.

Negroni

Negroni sbagliatto made in glass

This classic Italian drink became popular with US soldiers back in WWII and they brought the drink home. Made with bitter Campari, this drink is perfect as an aperitif before dinner or even as a nightcap after dessert.

Ingredients:

2oz Campari
2oz Gin
2 oz Sweet Vermouth
Orange peel for garnish

Process:

Add an ice cube into a heavy-bottomed glass. Pour each of the ingredients into the glass and give a quick stir to combine. Add a slice of orange peel as a garnish.

Bonus:

For a bonus manly cocktail, swap out the gin in the Negroni for bourbon. Now, you’ve got what’s called a Boulevardier. It’s less herbal, with a sweeter punch.

Manhattan

classic manhattan cocktail on a wooden bar

As you may have guessed from the name, a popular history of this cocktail originated in the Manhattan Club in New York back in the 1870s.

Other stories tell of a bartender in 1860s Manhattan area creating it. Whoever you attribute it to, it’s one hell of a drink.

Ingredients:

2 oz rye whiskey
1 oz sweet vermouth
5 drops Angostura Bitters

Process:

Add everything into your mixing glass, add ice, stir, strain and pour.

Some people will try making a dry manhattan. Don’t. Just no.

For a change, you can mix half and half sweet vermouth and dry vermouth. If you want to have a little more fun, toss a maraschino cherry in the bottom.

Martini

classic martini in a rustic manly setting

I’d be crazy to leave out the most classy of manly cocktails.

Think Humphrey Bogart, Sir Winston Churchill, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ian Fleming, Dean Martin, and of course James Bond. The famous, the powerful, and the cultured have all made names from the Martini.

Ingredients:

2 oz gin
1 oz dry vermouth
Garnish with an olive or lemon twist

Originally the recipe was:
4 oz gin
1 oz dry vermouth

A basic martini, but I’m sure you’ve heard people say ‘dirty’, ‘dry’, ‘muddy’, the list goes on. Those are all variations on this classic cocktail.

These include: dry: small splash of dry vermouth, rinse: rinse glass with vermouth then empty it, extra dry: three drops vermouth, dirty: splash of olive juice, perfected: rinse of sweet and dry vermouth, smoky: vermouth replaced with scotch, and naked: no ice used but glass and ingredients are chilled.

The list goes on.

The Margarita

vice tequila

The margarita is a great choice for a date, especially if you want to show you’ve got a bit of wild side. Just don’t let it all out date one: you’ve got time, brother.

If you order one, make sure it’s a classic style. Lots of bars and restaurants have them on the menu but they are a sickly sweet slushy concoction in many colours and flavours. If that’s what you want you may as well just throw a popsicle in your blender with some booze.

Ingredients:

2 oz tequila
1 oz Triple Sec
2 oz lime juice

Process:

Pour ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously to incorporate air. Grab a wide rimmed glass and add salt (add chili if you’re tough enough). Pour your margarita into the glass.

Bonus: 3 Easy Summer Cocktails You Can Make With the Bespoke Post Aged Box

Bespoke Post Aged Showcase of box
Aged

Bespoke Post is one of our favorite men’s subscription boxes (check out our complete Bespoke Post review). They ship you one box a month with each focusing on a particular manly lifestyle theme.

One of the boxes is called Aged. And the theme?

You guessed it—the perfectly aged cocktail.

Here are three cocktails we made with our Aged box (follow our links to get 15% off). They’re all super easy to make and require only a few ingredients.

Exclusive Discount Available
Bespoke Post Aged
(Get 20% off your first box automatically by following our links)

If you haven’t put a moment’s thought into your home bar, the Bespoke Post Aged will give you an immediate leg up. But if you’ve been slowly building your bar collection for years like me, the box still delivers something fun and unique.

Check Best Price Read Our Review
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

1. Brandt Bailey’s Old Fashioned

Brandt Bailey’s Old Fashioned Bespoke Post Aged Recipe

Back in my college days, I was a waiter at Sutro’s Cliff House restaurant in San Francisco. One of the waiters there, Brandt Bailey, spent years perfecting the Old Fashioned. He shared his recipe with me, and it’s truly the best Old Fashioned I’ve ever had.

I’ve aged it to go along with the theme—try it both ways and see what you like.

Ingredients:

Oak Stave, Aging Bottle, Two Rocks Glasses, Sugar Cube, Angostura Bitters, Orange, Bourbon, Ice

Process:

  1. In a tall glass, mix together six double-jiggers of your favorite bourbon, six dashes of bitters, and one-inch shaving from an orange peel.
  2. Using a funnel, pour that mix into your aging bottle and add an oak stave. Let sit for four to six days.
  3. Place sugar cube in the center of two rocks glasses.
  4. For each cube, add two dashes of bitters and let sit for 30 seconds.
  5. Add Ice. One large cube is preferred, but two smaller cubes will do.
  6. Pour a double shot over the ice.
  7. Run a strip of orange peel around the edge of the glass, squeeze the oils over the top, place the peel in the glass.
  8. Give one stir and serve.

It seems complicated, but once you’ve made it you’ll see how simple it really is.

2. Aged Vodka Tonic

Aged Vodka Tonic Bespoke Post Aged B

My wife is a big vodka-tonic fan, and after a tough work week recently, I wanted to treat her to something special.

The oak flavor here adds a bit of sweetness to the otherwise dry and slightly bitter drink.

And if you want to put this one over-the-top, use a top-shelf vodka and great tonic. Yes. Great tonic. There’s such a thing.

Your supermarket will likely have a few different types of tonic. If you’re in the beer and wine section, browse your options. With such a simple drink, you’ll want top-of-the-line ingredients.

Bespoke Post Aged Vodka Tonic Being Poured

Ingredients:
Oak Stave, Aging Bottle, Vodka, Tonic, Lime, Ice

Process:

  1. Fill the aging bottle with vodka and an oak stave. Let sit for five to seven days.
  2. Add ice to a highball glass. Squeeze a wedge of lime over the ice.
  3. Pour two jiggers of aged vodka over the ice and let sit for ten seconds.
  4. Fill the glass with tonic and serve with a slice of lime.

3. The Old Man and the Sea Daiquiri

The Old Man and the Sea Daiquiri Being Poured Bespoke Post Aged

Ernest Hemingway’s favorite drink toward the end of his days was the Daiquiri.

It’s become synonymous with the slushies one might find in a comically oversized cup while partying pool-side in Las Vegas. But the true drink is nothing like that.

It’s a tropical classic. And when made true-to-form, it’s unforgettable.

To go with our Aged theme, I chose the daiquiri because it was Hem’s choice cocktail as he wrote his final book, The Old Man and The Sea.

When the manuscript was done, he patrolled the coast of Florida on a fishing boat, armed with a shotgun, looking for Russian submarines.

Love that guy.

To make the simple syrup, just boil a cup of water and add a cup of sugar. The ratio is one to one so you can scale that as much as you’d like. It lasts months in the fridge and it’s used in hundreds of different mixed-drinks

Bespoke Post Aged The Old Man and the Sea Daiquiri Recipe

Ingredients:
Oak Stave, Aging Bottle, Lime, Light Rum, Simple Syrup, ice

Process:

  1. Age light rum with an oak stave for three to five days.
  2. Add one jigger lime, two jiggers aged rum, and a half jigger simple syrup to a shaker filled with ice.
  3. Shake vigorously for ten seconds. Strain into a cocktail glass and serve.

Definition and Origin of the Cocktail

A cocktail is defined as a drink with two or more ingredients, with one of them being alcoholic.

The origin of the word is still largely disputed. The Morning Post and Gazetteer in London, England has one of the first written uses of the word from 1796.

Cocktail Horse
Photo credit: F. Clifton (1830-1898) (Dorotheum) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

However, the Oxford English Dictionary says the word was first used in the United States Of America in 1803. The first definition of cocktail referring to an alcoholic beverage was seen in 1806.

The word cocktail originally referred to a non-thoroughbred horse, because their tails were docked. Later it became a vulgar slang term for a person who raised above their station without proper breeding.

The first definition of cocktail referred to an alcoholic beverage including ‘spirits, sugar, water, and bitters’,  meaning the drink was not pure, but diluted, like the horses. The first recipe book for cocktails included punches, sours, toddies, and more. There were also 10 specific cocktail recipes.

manly cocktails
Photo credit: Sam Hood [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By the late 19th Century, the term changed. References to Old Fashioned versus a Highball started to appear for cocktails. This referred to drinks made the old-fashioned way with water, bitters and sugars or drinks made the ‘modern’ way with only liquor and mixer.

Cocktails became even more common during prohibition. By the 1970s their popularity started to decrease. But by the new millennium, we have seen a resurgence of cocktails, both classic manly cocktails and new and flashy fruit concoctions.

One Last Shake

There you have it. You didn’t think I’d leave you hanging without the perfect date option, right?

Be sure to check out the Bespoke Post Aged box for an easy way to kickstart or upgrade your cocktail-making accessories.

Exclusive Discount Available
Bespoke Post Aged
(Get 20% off your first box automatically by following our links)

If you haven’t put a moment’s thought into your home bar, the Bespoke Post Aged will give you an immediate leg up. But if you’ve been slowly building your bar collection for years like me, the box still delivers something fun and unique.

Check Best Price Read Our Review
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Looking for more general cocktail recipes? Check this out:

TAM's Top August Picks Under $50

Bespoke Post Weekender
Get 20% off by following our links
Check Best Price
Armaf Club De Nuit Intense Man
Quality, affordable Creed Aventus clone
Check Best Price on Amazon
If you click these links and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.