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5 Manly Cocktails You Need to Try

A cocktail menu can be as daunting for some men as ordering lingerie online. Not only are you looking to be a quick twenty sheets out of pocket for a pitcher, but if you don't know what you're doing you run the gauntlet of ordering a complete girls handbag of a drink. This is alcohol, this is man-street, and you’re not in Liberace's hot tub now. You're at the Royale-les-Eaux Casino, going all-in with Bond and Le Chiffre knocking back Vespers, smoking tiparillos because it's the 50s. We have asked one of London's best mixologists, Andy Mil, who is part of one of London's most exciting bar brands, The Cocktail Trading Company, what a gentleman should order at the bar to secure some man-points.

Champagne Cocktail, AKA Business Brace 

Often associated as a feminine drink, but ask any bartender and they’ll tell you it isn’t exactly for the faint-hearted. Basically, a shot of brandy poured over a bitters-soaked sugar cube, topped up with sweet champagne. A champagne cocktail has sometimes been referred to as a Business Brace because of its mood-changing punch - it was the drink of choice to soften the blow of business meetings for American entrepreneurs in the late 1800s. 

Recipe: Pour a shot of good grape brandy (typically Cognac) into a Champagne flute or coupe. Soak a sugar cube in Angostura bitters and drop into the brandy. Top up with chilled demi-sec Champagne. Don’t be put off; much of the original Champagne was on the sweet side, and this drink is built around that style - the bubbles must be sweet or the drink is not worth the effort to drink. If you can only find dry Champagne or sparkling wine, simply add a teaspoon of sugar syrup. Garnish with a twist of lemon during the day or orange at night.


Looks like a couple of shots of brown liquid in a glass, but it is so much more. If an Old Fashioned is like your first car, a Sazerac is the turbo-charged 350 GT Ford Mustang. Made in a similar way to an Old Fashioned, but strained without ice into an absinthe-rinsed rocks glass and finished by spritzing the oils from a lemon twist over the top before discarding said twist. Originally made with a brand of Cognac called Sazerac de Forgee et Fils, hence the name. Now often made with strong rye whiskey or a 50/50 mix of rye and cognac, before adding bitters and sugar. We recommend the latter. 

Recipe: Coat the inside of a cold rocks glass or chilled cocktail glass with absinthe - add a small amount, roll it all about and discard. Don’t feel wasteful; it’s done its divine duty. In a mixing glass, add 2 shots of rye or 2 shots of Cognac or 1 shot of each (give them all a go - there’s more culture here than in most history books). Dissolve 1 teaspoon of white sugar into the spirits and add the bitters - 1 dash of Angostura for every shot of rye, 2 dashes of Peychaud’s for every shot of Cognac. Stir over ice until diluted and strain into the absinthe-rinsed glass. Do not add ice to the finished drink. Garnish with a lemon twist, discarded.


The Gimlet was originally a drink of the British navy. Or more, the drink - a simple combination of lime cordial and navy strength gin, drunk strong. Lime cordial was prescribed to the British sailors of the 1880s in a desperate effort to cure scurvy aboard its ships. However sailors did not like being force-fed sweet lime juice so added navy strength gin. As you would. 

Recipe: 3 parts navy strength gin, 1 part good lime cordial. Make sure it actually contains lime juice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. This little number might look small and harmless to some... but so does Britain. And we once ruled the world.

Nose Dive 

A spirit mixer for proper drinkers. Taken out of the old Savoy Cocktail Book, this is a drinking ritual for adults, if ever there was one. Do drink responsibly however or else your night could quickly curtail like the cocktails namesake. 

Recipe: Place 1 olive in a large shot glass. Fill said shot glass with strong gin, place the shot glass carefully upside down in a tumbler, ensuring the gin does not leak. Fill the tumbler with ginger ale and consume.

Bartender’s Cocktail 

A twist on a classic Martinez cocktail, made of mezcal, sweet vermouth, Maraschino liqueur and bitters. A full flavour-packing concoction. The Martinez was originally made with gin as the base spirit, but, as with many within its era, swapping in mezcal bastardises things into a whole new family tree, nonetheless resulting in some formidable offspring. This one’s hitting the menu at CTC in January. 

Recipe: 2 parts Mezcal, 1 part sweet vermouth - Antica Formula or Cocchi Torino work well. 1/2 part Luxardo Maraschino, 3 dashes bitters (Angostura and Bitter Truth Chocolate work well here) Stir the drink until it sounds ready. Once diluted, strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with an orange twist.

Peter Brooker

Peter is a published author on men's style, writer for the Metro Online, a huge James Bond fanatic and the host of our very own MenswearStyle podcast show.

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