Old man bars live and die by their regulars. Not regulars as in, the guy behind the counter sort of remembers your order from your last visit -- regulars as in, Charlie's been sitting on that stool since the end of the Nixon administration. The bartender knows his kids, busts his chops, and pours his drinks as stiff as he did in the 1970s. We should all be so lucky.
In Old Man Drinks, Robert Schnakenberg celebrates these corner bars and the sailors, cab drivers, and salesmen who haunt them with classic recipes and salient bits of grandfatherly wisdom. Just take it from Dick, 80, a retired factory worker: "I'm gonna die someday, so I may as well drink."
If you're tired of muddling and macerating and mixology in general, pull up a stool and settle in to some of Schnakenberg's old man classics.
1.) Gin and Milk
2 oz Gin
1 cup Milk
Combine the liquid ingredients and shake with ice. Strain into a Collins glass. Sprinkle with nutmeg and serve.
2.) Rusty Nail
2 oz Scotch
1 oz Drambuie
Fill an Old-Fashioned glass with cracked ice, add Scotch, top with Drambuie.
3.) Salty Dog
2 oz Vodka
3 oz Grapefruit juice
Salt the rim of a highball glass, then fill with cracked ice. Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice, shake vigorously, pour into the glass.
4.) Scotch and Soda
2 oz Scotch
3 oz Club soda
Fill an Old-Fashioned Glass with a few ice cubes, then pour in Scotch. Fill the glass half way with soda. Stir. Add a twist of lime.
10 oz Beer
2 oz Whiskey
Fill a shotglass with whiskey; drop the contents of the shotglass into the beer and drink immediately.
Recipes adapted from Old Man Drinks, by Robert Schnakenberg. Quirk Books, 2010.