There comes a time in every man’s life when doing certain things becomes simply unacceptable. Like, you can’t buy 30-packs of Natty Ice after you graduate college. Or you can’t wear backwards baseball caps after 25 or live in a studio apartment after 30, etc.
While all of those things are true (especially the bit about the backwards caps—what are you, a Minor League baseball player?), those rules kind of make it seem like getting older sucks. The reality is that aging is all about style and grace, and it’s something you should be excited for—even though everyone should be excited about giving up Natty Ice 30-packs. When it comes to getting older, I kind of like to think of it as an exclusive club, where doing certain things finally becomes respectable.
Booze is an excellent example. Who cares if you have to give up keg stands if it means you can finally order a gin martini at the bar without looking like a fucking try-hard? Rejoice, fellas—getting older means getting better. Here are five “Members Only” cocktails for the 30+ Club:
1. The Manhattan: I thought long and hard about tossing the Old-Fashioned on this list, but decided against it because it’s still a pretty approachable cocktail for the younger crowd. The Manhattan, however, is a whole different story. This classic whiskey cocktail is easy to make and tasty without any need for frills or thrills, and it’s a drink generally reserved for the more leveled whiskey drinker.
Just take three parts whiskey (Canadian or rye), one part sweet vermouth and a dash of bitters. Toss it into a shaker with ice, stir vigorously, pour it out and serve garnished with a maraschino cherry. Don’t get me wrong, Old-Fashions are great. But when you’re ready to cut out some of the fluff and get right to the good stuff, stick to a Manhattan.
2. The Martini: I’ve written about the classic martini here on Made Man before, and I still stick by every word I said. The Martini is a dignified man’s cocktail and certainly isn’t one for the inexperienced. It’s nothing more than gin or vodka, with a bit of dry vermouth and garnished with either an olive or a twist of lemon peel.
Frankly, I’m always an advocate for a good martini regardless of one’s age or preferences, but the truth is, if you’re under the age of 30 and you’re out at the bar ordering up one of these bad boys on a Friday night, you look ridiculous. What’s next, Hemingway? Gonna whip out some Camus and start reading aloud to the bar? Start a flash poetry slam at happy hour?
3. The Tom Collins: The elegance and class of the Tom Collins is often lost on the younger crowd because, let’s face it, the drink sounds like something a guy with white hair and a golf polo would drink—and not the cool kind of golf polo, but the, “Are you fucking kidding me, Grandpa? Did you get that thing at a Scottish Goodwill store?” kind of golf polo.
And that’s great, primarily because it means more for us. The Tom Collins is an excellent summer drink that’s made with gin, simple syrup, lemon juice and soda water. It’s super easy to make, and it’s honestly one of our favorite cocktails to drink with friends.
4. Cognac: When you’re younger, it’s all about taking shots of whiskey or drinking tequila straight out of the bottle. You’re in a hurry to go nowhere fast, and you’re drinking more to get your kicks than to enjoy the actual stuff you’re imbibing. Not that we have anything against a good bourbon or Añejo, but when we really want to sit down and enjoy what’s in our glass, nothing beats a good Cognac. Cognac is admittedly a bit of an acquired taste, but once it hooks you, it doesn’t let go.
And if you want to take it up a notch, don’t forget to grab a good cigar to go with it.
5. The Gin/Vodka Gimlet: Oh man… Every over-worked lawyer and architect who browses Made Man is reading this right now and thinking, “Yes! Thank you!” The Gimlet is a cocktail reserved specially for the tightly wound professional who needs some extra decompression sauce at the end of a long work day, which is a feeling we don’t even think people know how to feel until they’re in their 30s.
That said, it’s as simple as it gets: Take a bunch of vodka or gin (at least two ounces), 3/4 ounces of fresh lime juice, another 3/4 ounces of simple syrup, throw it into a shaker and stir with a long cocktail spoon until very cold. Strain over ice in a rocks glass and voila! Decompression sauce! And if you don’t feel like making simple syrup, you can use 1.5 ounces of Rose’s Lime Juice instead. Whatever does the trick.
Photo: Getty Images/Murray Close