Despite states lifting stay-at-home orders, some businesses are still not up and running, which means it might be challenging to follow normal Father’s Day traditions like tickets to a baseball game or drinks at his favorite watering hole. But you can still make new memories and give your dad, grandpa, or father figure the celebration or “cheers” that he deserves with recipes and tips from experts across the cocktail spirit industry.
Check out the recipes below for some ideas, but first, learn a few tricks of the trade from the master distillers and mixologists behind some of the industry’s biggest brands. After all, if you’re making cocktails with dad, it never hurts to have a few dad-like anecdotes (and jokes) to share while clinking glasses.
Fox News: What’s some drink-making lingo that fathers and their kids can use to feel like a bartender?
Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris: As a dad, it is part of my duties to embarrass my drinking-age children. So [I like to attempt] a James Bond accent, and asking if your kids prefer their drinks “shaken or stirred” when taking orders. Quiz them on the difference between serving a Bourbon “straight up” or “neat.” When making a Julep or a Smash, talk about “bruising” the mint or fruit as opposed to “muddling” it. How soon should a drink be served before it “wilts”? Does using egg whites in a “sour” also make it a “flip”? Drop these terms during the cocktail hour and you are sure to impress.
Belvedere Global Brand Education & Training Manager Alice Farquhar: [Dads and kids] should get to know the equipment and tools to make the most of creating an experience around the drink. From the jigger, bar spoon, hawthorne strainer, fine strainer, shaker and mixing glass, these are just a few of the pieces that can help bring precision and flair to the experience of creating a cocktail. They also happen to look beautiful on display, and you can have fun using them and emulating your most revered bartenders. Glassware is also a nice touch to enhance the presentation of the drink.
Trust us, it tastes better this way.
Fox News: What’s a major mistake to avoid when it comes to whiskey?
Blackened Whiskey Master Distiller and Blender Rob Dietrich: I would avoid overpowering a great whiskey with too many cocktail ingredients. You need to trust your palate when it comes to whiskey, and to do that, it’s important to taste the whiskey in your cocktail. Also, if you are spending the money on a high-end whiskey, enjoy it neat or with just a small dash of filtered water to allow the whiskey to open up and bloom. The best part is enjoying the learning process! Challenge yourself to try new whiskeys and you might be surprised at what you might like.
Fox News: What are some important tips when it comes to combining ingredients?
Chad Solomon, director of trade advocacy and innovation for Cooper Spirits: Water is an important and often overlooked component of a good whiskey cocktail, so failing to consider the impact of water on a cocktail and its role in a well-balanced drink is a mistake to avoid. Furthermore, avoid over-stirring an Old-Fashioned, as you want it just a tad under diluted. This will give the drink a long enjoyable arc as it continues to dilute and evolve from the ice it’s served on. I recommend using a single 2-inch-by-2-inch cube as it melts slower.
Caledonia Spirits Beverage Director Sam Nelis: You’ll often hear people talk about how they wouldn’t want to ruin a good craft gin by mixing it into a cocktail, but I look at this quite differently. You wouldn’t ever think organic heirloom tomatoes are too good to put in a salad, so I always tell people that quality spirits make quality cocktails. When it comes to making a cocktail, I recommend grabbing a well-made gin and using that spirit to set the standard for the rest of the drink. Fresh, local, or homemade cocktail ingredients — like syrups, tonics, juices, and garnishes — will pair perfectly with a quality spirit to make a fantastic cocktail.
Farquhar: We are all about keeping things all-natural and honest. Stick to fewer but better ingredients and focus on quality over quantity. Use seasonal, locally sourced all-natural ingredients rather than pre-made over-the-counter juices and syrups. This will enable a fresh and true flavor and bring authenticity to the drink. Always consider the balance of acidity and sweetness, they should complement each other and not overpower. Perhaps consider using honey to sweeten as a nice alternative to sugar syrup.
Fox News: What about some ‘teachable’ facts for fathers or father figures to deliver to their drinking-age kids?
Nelis: Around the 1750s, England drastically increased how much it was taxing its gin producers and retailers. Pub owners started posting wooden signs in the shape of a black cat on the outside of their establishment, secretly signaling to people that they had gin on hand. Folks would stop by, deposit some coins — often in the mouth of the cat — and a shot of gin would come pouring out for them to drink quickly before continuing on their way. This is how Barr Hill Tom Cat Gin got its name.
Morris: A fun fact about bourbon is that it is the most versatile of whiskies when making a cocktail. It can literally be used in any whiskey cocktail. Another fun fact is that bourbon predates the modern cocktail era — there was Bourbon before there was a Manhattan, Old-Fashioned and more. It was bourbon that made a Virginia Dram, otherwise known as a “Bracer,” into the Mint Julep we know and love today.
Farquhar: From the spirits side, many people (dads included) hesitate to have vodka by itself over ice. There’s a distinct stereotype that vodka is colorless, odorless, tasteless…Try treating it the same as you would any whiskey or bourbon and discover the unique characteristics as close to neat as possible.
Fox News: What is the first cocktail you remember making, and how was it?
Dietrich: Honestly, I think my first cocktail was a screwdriver, which is the entry-level cocktail for most people. As for my first whiskey cocktail, definitely an Old-Fashioned, which I have refined down to some key ingredients: 2 ounces whiskey, 3 dashes of black walnut bitters, brown sugar simple syrup, luxardo cherry and an orange wheel, muddled, add ice.
Solomon: The first round of cocktails I made for two guests on my first bartending shift included a margarita and an Old-Fashioned. Both were OK by the standards of the day. Neither was measured; I free-poured both as it was the predominant practice back then, so the balance was questionable. The Old-Fashioned was made in the tragic late-century fruit-salad style, which included a muddled orange slice and cherry into the drink. (Hey, it was 2001.)
- 1.5 ounces of Blackened whiskey
- 1.5 ounces ginger beer
- 3 dashes of Angostura bitters
- Squeeze of lime
Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass and strain into a glass over ice.
Remember the Grain
- 1.5 ounces Belvedere Smogóry Forest Vodka
- Just over 0.5 ounces Cherry Heering
- .0.25 ounces sweet vermouth
- 2 dashes absinthe
- 2 dashes chocolate bitters
Stir all ingredients over cubed ice in mixing glass, and strain into chilled glass over one large ice cube.
Slow & Low Proper Old-Fashioned
- 2 ounces Slow & Low Rock and Rye
- 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
- Orange peel, for garnish
Measure into a double Old-Fashioned glass over a large ice cube. Stir to chill and properly dilute. Garnish with an orange peel expressed over the top of the drink and dropped into the glass.
The Bee’s Knees
- 2 ounces Barr Hill Gin
- .75 ounces fresh lemon juice
- .75 oz raw honey syrup (2 parts honey, 1 part water; simmer to combine and let cool)
- A lemon twist, for garnish
Combine ingredients in a mixing tin, add ice, shake, then double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add garnish.
- 1.5 ounces Woodford Reserve Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey
- 1 bottle ginger beer (12 ounces)
- Lime wheel, for garnish
Add bourbon to Collins glass, fill with ginger beer, top with ice and garnish with a lime wheel.
Tito’s Summer Heat
1.5 ounces Tito’s Handmade Vodka
2 ounces sparkling water
0.5 ounces lime juice
0.5 ounces agave syrup
3 slices cucumber
2 slices jalapeño
Muddle jalapeno slices into a shaker. Add Tito’s Handmade Vodka, lime juice, agave syrup and ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with a cucumber and jalapeño slice.
Diamond Rye Back
- 2 ounces Belvedere Lake Bartężek
- Just over 0.25 ounces yellow chartreuse
- Just over 0.25 oz Crème de Peche
Stir all ingredients over cubed ice in mixing glass and strain into a chilled martini glass.
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Emily DeCiccio is a reporter and video producer for Fox News Digital Originals. Tweet her @EmilyDeCiccio.