Thursday, January 3

Reader Question (January 3, 2008)

A reader wrote:

Happy New Year! I have a bit of a question that may seem out of the way, but I’m hoping that you may have an answer. As of 12:30am yesterday (1/1/87) I turned 21. Point blank, I hate the taste of alcohol. I’ve had it in varying contexts, strong Cali. Wines, shooters, Dark and Stormys (which I had IN Bermuda and it was nasty as hell) even the “shot” of rum in fruit drinks from time to time.

Personally, it all tastes like I’m opening the medicine cabinet and downing fingernail polish remover or witch hazel/rubbing alcohol. With that said, I’m not looking by any means to, “Drink to Get F'd Up” (as you so awesomely put it), but to have a standard go-to drink(s).

So my basic question is, do you recommend anything “light” but “respectable”. As of yet the only thing that doesn't completely bother me are “standard” Daiquiri, margaritas and Kahlua [shots].

Many thanks, Mitch

My response:

From your short list of drinks you like I can deduce that you could start with something called the New Orleans Sour(1). This is just the name of a family of drinks that use:

1. Base Liquor
2. Orange-flavored liqueur (Triple Sec, Cointreau, Grand Marnier, etc…)
3. Lime Juice

This formula is used for the Margarita (Tequila as base) and the Daiquiri (Rum as base), which you listed as tolerable. I suspect you would really like a Cosmopolitan (Vodka as base and splash of cranberry juice). The Cosmo really is a good modern classic don’t let the “girly” drink stigma deter you.

A slight variation to the New Orleans Sour uses lemon juice instead of lime juice, which is very close. Some drinks with this formula is the Sidecar (Brandy as base) and Kamikaze (Vodka as base).

I would highly recommend the Sidecar because it has the elements you like and it has a sugared rim, which you might find blends with the Brandy really well.

However some of these drinks might be tough to order at a high volume bar. You might just ask for a Vodka Sour, Rum Sour, Tequila Sour, Whisky Sour, etc… the family of drinks called the Sour is a base liquor and a sweet and sour mix.

Related links:
Brandy Crusta
How to get a Sidecar

This whole section is devoted to this topic… Bar Fear




Anonymous said...

When I was younger, I sometimes wrote off alcohol altogether as terrible tasting. I mean, it burnt all the way down, they had to let it rot to make it, and the stuff absorbed the wood from the casks, etc. - surely it wasn't meant to be ingested by humans. I recall my roommates and I bought some Benedictine but barely touched it.

14 years later, Benedictine is one of my favorites, and I am getting acquainted with the various alcohols the way I should have done it back then (i.e., not pounding it then booting, but mixing drinks properly and sipping them at the end of the day). I think some of this finer stuff really needs some maturity to be able to appreciate. So I'd say: I doubt you'll feel this way about alcohol forever. (Although I still think beer is not that good).

Anyway, as was said, the citrus+sugar drinks are always a good bet for starting off. A Tom Collins (gin, lemon, sugar, soda) is another recommendation. Also, quite a few liquors are rather "sweet" tasting; ordering a Chartreuse will never look unrespectable. Although it's expensive, and probably not a good choice for bar-hopping. Oh, and what about a Red Bull and vodka?

Anonymous said...

I think alot of the burning feeling also comes from the fact that many times people make their drinks too strong. Numerous times I have seen people put more than a necessary amount of alcohol needed. This tends to sacrifice taste for "gettin drunk"

I found this recipe for a couple screwdriver based drinks on youtube that might also be good. Just dont do too much of the alchohol :-)

barmixmaster said...

One also needs to make sure if it is a stirred or shaken drink this needs to be done enough. Water is a key ingredient in cocktails. It takes the edge off the burn in many cases.

Rick said...

Mitch - try an Alabama Slammer. Its sweet and tasty. Use Southern Comfort, Slow Gin, orange juice and sweet/sour mix. The more your palate becomes used to the alcohol you will desire a less sugary drink. Also, why are you trying to force alcohol into your system? If you don't like don't drink it. It's not like its good for you. It's actually toxic to the system. Beer and wine are much better because they have living cultures in them from the yeast.