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#1
Old 08-03-2012, 09:26 PM
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Your favorite non-sweet (or just lightly sweet) alcoholic cocktails?

It's been a long time since I've enjoyed mixed drinks and I'm looking for a few recipes for a cocktail party of sorts.

What's your favorite mixed drink that doesn't include copious amounts of sugar/syrup/fruitiness? I suppose that rules out most liqueurs and probably many of the popular cocktails, but if I'm wrong definitely let me know

As for base liquors, I'm partial to whiskey and tequila, but really fine with any of them.

So, what's delicious without being liquid dessert?
#2
Old 08-03-2012, 10:14 PM
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A Long Island Iced Tea variant might be in order. Made with very little Triple Sec and just a Splash of Coke; heavy on the fresh lime juie which while citrusy, isn't sweet. Very seasonal and refreshing.

A snakebite (not the british one) made with a bourbon instead of Yukon Jack would be enjoyable too.

Both Tequila and Whiskly are good mixed with diet ginger ale and a dash of bitters.
#3
Old 08-03-2012, 10:25 PM
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Well, the point of a cocktail is to kill the alcohol flavor, which is usually the reason they're full of sugar. To ask for a cocktail that isn't too sweet is basically asking for a straight shot of something. In other words, a cocktail that isn't sweet AND doesn't have a strong alcohol flavor is extremely difficult to make, the closest I could imagine would be just anything mixed with water.

That being said, I would recommend a mojito. The alcohol is masked by mint leaves rather than sugar, although they tend to mix it with a sugared soda water of some sort. Also, I suspect that the effect of the mint is more because of the smell rather than the taste.
#4
Old 08-03-2012, 10:42 PM
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If I do drink a mixed drink I like brass monkey's
#5
Old 08-03-2012, 11:04 PM
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Ummm, sugar is a main ingredient in Mojitos. I think they taste very sweet. While the traditional ingredient is fresh cane juice, most bars use a simple syrup with which to muddle the mint.

The most simple I can think of for whiskey or tequila, is diet Coke or diet Dr. Pepper. I don't know if what you're going for is to not involve fake sweeteners, too.

My go-to drink is vodka and seltzer with a splash of Rose's (lime), and a wedge or two of fresh lime. While Rose's is sweetened, just a splash does not make for a sweet drink. I really love vodka tonics, but tonic is usually full of HFCS so I've nixed it from my list.
#6
Old 08-03-2012, 11:51 PM
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In my drinking days, I was fond of a good old gin-and-tonic. Not "sweet" at all, but interesting, and allows one to pretend one is part of the great tradition of British imperialistic harrumph. "Injah!"
#7
Old 08-04-2012, 02:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trinopus View Post
In my drinking days, I was fond of a good old gin-and-tonic. Not "sweet" at all, but interesting, and allows one to pretend one is part of the great tradition of British imperialistic harrumph. "Injah!"
Or gin and soda if you want it even less sweet. I feel like mixing myself a homemade eggnog with my special family recipe: Johnnie Walker Black Label and ice cubes!
#8
Old 08-04-2012, 09:24 AM
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Yup, Gin and Tonic is what I was thinking of. Tonic is slightly sweet, but the gin adds an herbaceousness that definitely does not say "dessert" to me.

Another one is an Old Fashioned. Made properly (ie, not from a mix), it's only slightly sweet. Recipe:

1 shot of brandy, whiskey, or Rye
1 orange slice
1 maraschino cherry
A pinch or so of sugar
Bitters
Soda

Put the fruit in the bottom of a glass, add a pinch of sugar, and 3-4 drops of bitters (more sugar/bitters depending on how you like it). Muddle. Add the liquor, give it a stir, add the soda, stir gently so you don't make the soda flat. Yumyumyum

Manhattans are also not particularly sweet. Basic Manhattan is Whiskey or Rye, sweet Vermouth (which is not especially sweet), and bitters. A "perfect" Manhattan adds dry Vermouth as well.

Properly-made Margaritas (once again, "properly" means without a mix - and even then, a lot of places add far too much sugar) are not especially sweet, but they're sweeter than the above recipes. Tequila/Cointreau/fresh lime juice/sugar if the limes are overly tart.

And, of course, there's the king of dry cocktails: the Martini.
#9
Old 08-04-2012, 09:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Athena View Post
And, of course, there's the king of dry cocktails: the Martini.
I love a Gibson, but a Martini will suffice (I find a lot of bars don't have the cocktail onions for some reason, bars I go to at least). I just like onions better than olives.
#10
Old 08-04-2012, 10:51 AM
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You want a Manhattan, mixed fairly dry:

3 parts whiskey (I prefer bourbon, but rye is traditional)
1 part sweet vermouth (not the kind of vermouth that goes in Martinis)
1-2 dashes bitters
garnish with a Maraschino cherry (optional)

Adjust the ratio of whiskey to vermouth until you get the amount of sweetness you're looking for.

---

Also, Superhal, I'm not sure that the point of a cocktail is to mask the alcohol flavor. That's true of a lot of the faux "martinis" that people drink today, which more or less taste like juices with a dash of alcohol, but most classic cocktails pretty prominently feature alcohol, with relatively little sweetness.
#11
Old 08-04-2012, 11:03 AM
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I came in rather surprised no one mentioned The Caesar Cocktail/ but on Googling it turns out it is a mainly Canadian Thing. I had no idea.

but yes, if a Savoury (as opposed to "not sweet") cut cocktail is what you want, try it. I don't know if Clamato Juice is readily available, but you could substitute Tomato Juice. Then its a spicy Bloody Mary, but still good. The celery salt and the Worcestershire sauce really make it.
#12
Old 08-04-2012, 11:16 AM
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My favorite non-sweet cocktail would be a Gin and Tonic with a lime, specifically Beefeaters. A vodka tonic with a lime is right there next to it.

Slighty sweet would be either a 44 North and tonic or a Pearl Pomegranate Vodka and Tonic. I'd link to the Pearl Pom site, but it was a pain to get past the age verification part and then it started playing music. But it's one of the few (only?) pom vodkas I've found that taste like awful. It's actually really good.
#13
Old 08-04-2012, 11:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mona Lisa Simpson View Post
I came in rather surprised no one mentioned The Caesar Cocktail/ but on Googling it turns out it is a mainly Canadian Thing. I had no idea.

but yes, if a Savoury (as opposed to "not sweet") cut cocktail is what you want, try it. I don't know if Clamato Juice is readily available, but you could substitute Tomato Juice. Then its a spicy Bloody Mary, but still good. The celery salt and the Worcestershire sauce really make it.
I've never heard of that around here, but then bloody mary's aren't really something I pay much attention. Either way, yes, Clamato juice is widely available at every supermarket in the states. We even have beer with it already mixed in.
#14
Old 08-04-2012, 11:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
I've never heard of that around here, but then bloody mary's aren't really something I pay much attention. Either way, yes, Clamato juice is widely available at every supermarket in the states. We even have beer with it already mixed in.
Ok, gross, to quote the Happy Bunny I think I just threw up in my mouth a little. I like beer. I don't much like Clamato Juice, except in a Ceasar. The thought of them mixed together well... it sounds like I started on Ceasars, switched to beer, and regretted it when it all came back up.

Last edited by Mona Lisa Simpson; 08-04-2012 at 11:29 AM.
#15
Old 08-04-2012, 11:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mona Lisa Simpson View Post
I came in rather surprised no one mentioned The Caesar Cocktail/ but on Googling it turns out it is a mainly Canadian Thing. I had no idea.

but yes, if a Savoury (as opposed to "not sweet") cut cocktail is what you want, try it. I don't know if Clamato Juice is readily available, but you could substitute Tomato Juice. Then its a spicy Bloody Mary, but still good. The celery salt and the Worcestershire sauce really make it.
That's my favorite. I'm suprised, I've been to a few places that still don't know how to make one. One taste and I can tell what it's missing, no worcestershire, no tobasco.
#16
Old 08-04-2012, 11:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MilTan View Post
Also, Superhal, I'm not sure that the point of a cocktail is to mask the alcohol flavor. That's true of a lot of the faux "martinis" that people drink today, which more or less taste like juices with a dash of alcohol, but most classic cocktails pretty prominently feature alcohol, with relatively little sweetness.
I was going to mention this as well. Any decent cocktail shouldn't hide the taste of alcohol. The recent trend of too-sweet cocktails is aimed at college students and people who don't drink very often.

A really good cocktail manages to highlight the flavor of the booze(s) and maintain a balance of flavors.

Anyone who tells you that the quality of booze in a drink doesn't matter because you don't taste it is either making unbalanced drinks or has never really done a taste test. Believe me, I spent a lot of time trying to make high-end cocktails with low or medium quality booze. I can definitely tell the difference. I can't always afford a $60 bottle of tequila to make margs with, but when I do, it's divine.
#17
Old 08-04-2012, 12:56 PM
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Bloody Mary

Unless there's a lot of sugar in the mix, bloody mary's aren't that sweet. The spicier the better, too. The problem for me is that a little tomato based drink goes a long way, and it's hard to enjoy too many of them. That's why I make the first one good and strong. And did I mention spicy? Black pepper, cumin, hot sauce, "what's-this-here" sauce, even A1.
#18
Old 08-04-2012, 06:40 PM
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Moving cocktail hour from IMHO to Cafe society.
#19
Old 08-04-2012, 07:52 PM
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My current favorite is a Jack Rose, typically made with applejack, or calvados if you want to "upscale" it a bit. Perhaps you've never tried either of these liquors, both of which are made from apples, and this would offer a great change of pace. If you can find a "real" grenadine made primarily from pomegranates juice, rather than the flavored corn syrup that seems to be so popular, you should definitely do it.

2 oz applejack or calvados
1 oz lime juice
1/2 oz grenadine
#20
Old 08-04-2012, 07:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MilTan View Post
Also, Superhal, I'm not sure that the point of a cocktail is to mask the alcohol flavor...
Yeah. I think I heard that cocktails were developed, or at least popularized, during prohibition, as a way to either mask the taste of bathtub gin and the like (i.e., not quality alcohol), or disguise the smell. Being that I'm on my second sidecar of the night, I'm too lazy to look this up....

ETA: Oh, yeah, a sidecar. Cognac, lemon juice, and Cointreau. Very tasty!

Last edited by Fiddle Peghead; 08-04-2012 at 07:59 PM.
#21
Old 08-04-2012, 08:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mona Lisa Simpson View Post
I came in rather surprised no one mentioned The Caesar Cocktail/ but on Googling it turns out it is a mainly Canadian Thing. I had no idea.

but yes, if a Savoury (as opposed to "not sweet") cut cocktail is what you want, try it. I don't know if Clamato Juice is readily available, but you could substitute Tomato Juice. Then its a spicy Bloody Mary, but still good. The celery salt and the Worcestershire sauce really make it.
YES!

Love Caesars. But that's the antithesis of a sweet drink. I find that if I have a Caesar, I need a beer to chase it every time. It leaves me parched, especially if it's made with inferno vodka as the good Lord intended.
#22
Old 08-04-2012, 08:29 PM
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I like a well-made margarita. Just sour, salty, tequila-y goodness. They shouldn't be sweet.
#23
Old 08-04-2012, 09:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobot View Post
Unless there's a lot of sugar in the mix, bloody mary's aren't that sweet. The spicier the better, too. The problem for me is that a little tomato based drink goes a long way, and it's hard to enjoy too many of them. That's why I make the first one good and strong. And did I mention spicy? Black pepper, cumin, hot sauce, "what's-this-here" sauce, even A1.
Seconded. I ruined bloody Marys for myself one horrible afternoon, but they are the savory cocktail par excellence.
#24
Old 08-04-2012, 11:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiddle Peghead View Post
Yeah. I think I heard that cocktails were developed, or at least popularized, during prohibition, as a way to either mask the taste of bathtub gin and the like (i.e., not quality alcohol), or disguise the smell. Being that I'm on my second sidecar of the night, I'm too lazy to look this up....
Cocktails predate Prohibition by quite some time. The original bartender's guide dates to 1887, and it's a book of standards as well as some new inventions.
#25
Old 08-04-2012, 11:44 PM
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Chilcano

Fill a glass with ice cubes.
Pour Pisco halfway.
Complete the glass with ginger ale.
Add half a key lime's juice.
#26
Old 08-06-2012, 11:55 AM
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Citron and Soda. Citrus vodka (I'm partial to either Svedka's Clementine or Hangar One's Mandarin Blossom, but Ketel One's Mandarin works, as does Absolut Citron) with club soda, served over rocks. With or without a twist; when I'm at home, I don't bother.
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