Cocktails & Spirits

It’s no surprise that the origin of the cocktail is muddled. Some say the first was a medicinal rum drink made by British explorer Francis Drake in the 1500s while others point to the Sazerac, which was created by a New Orleans merchant in 1850. Regardless of which was the official first, cocktails have evolved to include a menu of spirited drinks ranging from boozy Manhattans to fruity daiquiris. Cocktail culture has expanded, too: these days bartenders are as creative as chefs, showing the same dedication to using quality ingredients and pushing flavor boundaries. Spirits are the base of cocktails though many, like small-batch bourbons or bitter Italian amaros, are just as delicious when sipped on their own. Gin, tequila, Scotch whiskey—pick your poison: our F&W guide to cocktails and spirits has you covered with recipes for cocktails listed by spirit, season and ingredient, plus how-to tips for mixing the best drinks and editor’s picks for where to drink next.

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Food & Wine: 12 Essential Bourbons for Your Liquor Cabinet
12 Essential Bourbons for Your Liquor Cabinet
What’s not to love about the quintessential American whiskey? Bourbon is an enduring favorite, a spirit that survived the years of Prohibition; survived the decades when most drinkers opted for Cosmos and Cuervo over classic whiskey; and has recently exploded in popularity, to such an extent that many distillers can’t keep up with the demand.  We all associate bourbon with Kentucky, but it’s a common misconception that all bourbon is from Kentucky. Not so. While there are many requirements for true bourbon—like that it must be made from at least 50 percent corn, and aged in charred new American oak barrels—it can be made anywhere in America.  All bourbons share a certain character, the comforting scent of vanilla and caramel and wood, the pleasant heft of an aged spirit. But moving beyond that, they’re all over the map: some are distinctly sweet, others have a bit of spice; some are so smooth they drink like a cocktail, others so powerful they’ll send a shiver down your spine.  While there are dozens of bourbons we could recommend, here are twelve to know and to drink—from low-end to high, well-known to a little less so. —Carey Jones

Cocktails, Mixed Drinks and Spirits

Classic Cocktail Recipes


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