First Published in Frock Paper Scissors
Act 1, scene 1.
A handsome, savoir-faire man walks into a bar with smooth jazz music playing in the background. His shiny leather boots tap against the polished wooden floor. He rests his strong, muscular body on the bar, and anticipates the bartender’s attention. He doesn’t need the alcohol-soaked pages of a menu to decide his drink choice. He knows his drink (a dry martini – shaken, not stirred), just like he knows his style.
Blame it on James Bond or the vintage appeal of Mad Men – the 21st century man loves a cocktail. The recent return of classic mixology – drinks savoured in the speakeasies of prohibition-bound New Orleans making their way back onto the menus of swanky bars – has rebranded the gentlemen’s cocktail.
Bar manager of the Press Club, Ryan Lane, says some men think ordering a cocktail is emasculating, but not him. “I drink cocktails. I drink pink cocktails. I drink pink cocktails in martini glasses. Does it clash with my ego? No,” he says.
“Cocktails are not gender specific! They culminate in a heightened sensory experience resulting in increased enjoyment of the alcoholic beverage.”
Undoubtedly, the Sex and the City ladies proliferated the Cosmopolitan, but in man-world, it was the Cocktail moment when Tom Cruise’s movie character mounted the bar and rhymed “snazzy” with “kamikaze”.
However, bar manager of Laruche, Dan Paisley doesn’t credit the media for Brisbane’s sudden urge to indulge in the universal cocktail-culture.
“We might be taking inspiration from Melbourne’s cocktail scene, but we have our own identity here,” he says.
On the contrary, public relations consultant, Marissa Tree, observed male patrons during her bartending days to conclude that men and cocktails don’t usually come together, unless the glassware is taken care of.
“Guys used to rock up and say ‘I want a manly cocktail’. They would get a martini in a shot glass. If the glass looks snazzy and masculine enough, the boys are happy,” she says.
Paisley says Brisbane has an array of specialised cocktail bars like Lychee Lounge, The Bowery and Laruche, that give “the classy, sophisticated and manly Brisbanite a reason to go out on a Friday night.”
The Man’s Guide to Classic Cocktails
These are the drinks, contemporary and classic, that wash with many of Brisbane’s dapper young gentlemen. Whatever your taste, these beauties can be found on the menu of any established gin joint, no mini umbrella to be seen.
While the traditional dry martini name has been tainted by girly inventions like the “appletini” and “vodkatini”, the original is a classic and sophisticated choice.
Gin/vermouth/garnish (olive, cucumber, or modern alternatives)
Whiskey is more manly than a coarse beard on a heavy jaw, but it doesn’t have to be as grizzly.
Canadian or rye whiskey/sweet vermouth/bitters
Another whiskey creation, but a fruity one, for guys with a bit of pizzazz.
You know something is going to be impressive when there’s fire involved.
Scotch/boiling water/sugar/lemon peel (then set it alight!)
Bermuda Yacht Club Cocktail
Don’t have a yacht? Not a member of an exclusive club? Try this, instead, and feel every inch as classy.
Barbados rum/Cointreau/fresh lime/sugar
While this is an apt name for a vodka-based drink, this cocktail was actual invented in 1941 in New York. Obviously, New York Mule didn’t sound as sweet.
Vodka/ginger beer/lime juice/sugar