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: Top 10 Blanco Tequilas
Top 10 Blanco Tequilas
If you blithely follow the interwebs, you may have come to the conclusion that tequila is a miracle drink. In the past year, stories have bounced around about the wonders of Mexico’s most famous spirit: It’ll help you lose weight, improve the bacteria in your gut, lower blood sugar levels, fight cholesterol and even reduce your chances of developing dementia. Most of these claims, unfortunately, are boneheaded. And, honestly, declaring any 80-proof liquor to be “good for you” is mighty suspect in the first place.
 However, there is a tiny shred of truth to the idea that tequila won’t damage you as cavalierly as some other spirits might. 
One hundred percent blue agave blanco tequilas—which, unlike reposados or añejos, aren’t aged in wood—are low in congeners, the chemical impurities that are hard for your system to process and can exacerbate hangovers. Also, since these tequilas are made solely from a succulent plant and not a grain, the gluten-averse among us can relax. But will tequila make you thinner? Well...it has no fewer calories than any other spirit of equal strength. But if you drink it straight, at least you’re not adding any calories. And our favorite bottles, featured here, all 
taste fantastic in a glass by themselves, with a rock or without. —Ray Isle

Cocktails, Mixed Drinks and Spirits

Classic Cocktail Recipes


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