The cocktail-loving over-40 woman faces a serious dilemma: What to drink, now that the cosmo has become the official beverage of menopausal women? Ordering the once groovy pink drink made famous by Sex and the City is as aging as pulling on a pair of mom jeans or hopping into your minivan. To find out what the young and trendy are drinking instead, I checked in with five hip young female mixologists around the U.S., who each sent in a list of her most-ordered mixed drinks, along with the recipes. The More staff quite happily tested them, and we’re sharing our favorites on these pages.
To experience the new cocktail trends in their native habitat, I ventured, like Carrie, with three female friends to deepest Hipsterville, aka Brooklyn, where renowned mixologist Julie Reiner presides over the Clover Club. Our mission: to find the hippest drinks that also please the midlife palate.
Lesson 1: Don’t be so daunted by the dizzying array of unfamiliar drinks and strange ingredients (cilantro? chocolate?) that you give up before you even start to get a buzz on. “Can’t I just order a vodka gimlet?” my friend Laurie begged.
No, she could not. Nor were we about to drink a skinny bitch—vodka, water and a slice of lemon—the cocktail beloved, to my distress, by young women everywhere. If that’s the alternative, I’d rather be old and fat. Instead, we tried and rejected on the first round: the exotic juice drink (ours was based on watermelon—pretty but too fruity) and the retro cool rye-based cocktail (Don Draper might love it, but for us, too harsh).
Topping off your cocktail with beer or Champagne is another hot trend, one with mixed results. At the Clover Club, we gagged over the wheat beer–infused Sunday shake, but the More testers liked the Champagne-topped old Cuban, a favorite at fashionable bars across the country.
Another hot trend: precious ingredients, like the elderberry syrup and beaten egg white, both featured in one of our early favorites, the bohemian fizz. “I’d travel all the way to Brooklyn just to drink this,” Benilde said, but then Christina pointed out that, although delicious, the bohemian fizz—like many other young cocktails—was too fussy to reproduce at home. Any drink that’s really going to make it with the over-40 set has to be one that can be whipped up for friends. We’re simply not going to be shoving our way up to a noisy neighborhood bar on a regular basis. Next!
The new direction we loved most: Fresh herbal and even vegetable ingredients added to a citrus/sugar/liquor base. Our favorite Clover Club drink, the silver monk, combined white tequila, exotic yellow Chartreuse, simple syrup, lime juice, and—for that illusion of healthfulness—muddled cucumber. The equally delicious cilantro mule, from Toronto mixologist Christine Sismondo, author of Mondo Cocktail, has the same sweet, tart, potent, yet indefinably distinctive quality.
Our two other Clover Club favorites of the 22—yes, 22—different cocktails we sampled, the Highland smash and the bar’s most popular drink, the southside fizz, both have a mojito-like minty base.
You know a night out with the girls is a success when you start talking orgasms. We were on the brink of embarrassing ourselves by ordering redheaded slut shooters (young and tacky!) and then sipping them (old!) when one of the waitresses called Laurie “ma’am.” And although it wasn’t even midnight, any illusion that we’d passed for hip young cocktail connoisseurs shattered like Cinderella’s glass slippers.
Rum and Restless aka Old Cuban
6 fresh mint leaves
1 ounce simple syrup (recipe below)
¾ ounce fresh lime juice
1½ ounces Bacardi 8 plus more for garnish
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Muddle the mint, syrup and lime juice in a cocktail shaker; add rum and bitters, and shake with ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass, and top with Champagne. Garnish with mint.
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
Combine sugar and water in a saucepan on low heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Let syrup cool before using.