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.
Friends with Benefits aka Silver Monk
2 rounds unpeeled English cucumber, plus 1 for garnish
2 ounces white tequila
¾ ounce simple syrup (recipe above)
¾ ounce yellow Chartreuse
Juice of 1 lime
Pinch of salt
Muddle 2 slices of the cucumber in a cocktail shaker. Add remaining ingredients; shake and strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Garnish with a cucumber slice.
Daughter’s Jeans aka Cilantro Mule
Several leaves of cilantro for muddling plus 1 sprig for garnish
1 ounce ginger syrup (recipe below)
1½ ounces gin
1 ounce fresh lime juice
With a wooden spoon, muddle cilantro with the ginger syrup at bottom of a Collins glass. Add ice, gin and lime juice. Garnish with a cilantro sprig.
In a saucepan on low heat, combine 1 cup of simple syrup (recipe follows) with a 3-inch piece of gingerroot that has been peeled and diced. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Leave in pan to cool. Strain into a jar, discard ginger, and refrigerate.
Four-Digit 401(k) aka Sabai Sabai
3 large basil leaves plus 1 sprig
1½ ounces Mekhong (Thai whiskey)
1 ounce fresh leamon juice
¾ ounce simple syrup (recipe above)
Place the basil leaves in the bottom of a cocktail shaker; gently muddle with a wooden spoon. Add ice, and then the whiskey, lemon juice and simple syrup. Strain into a martini glass, and top with soda. Garnish with the basil sprig.
Cougar Baitini aka Northern Bramble
1½ ounces gin
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
½ ounce maple syrup
½ ounce cassis
Fresh berries, for garnish
Combine gin, lemon juice and maple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Shake, and strain over crushed ice into an old-fashioned glass. Add cassis slowly to top off, allowing it to drizzle into the drink; it should look like a sunset.
28 4EVA aka Cucumber Cooler
3 rounds unpeeled English cucumber, sliced thin as if for a salad, plus a long cucumber spear for garnish
1½ ounces Plymouth gin
½ ounce ginger syrup (recipe above)
1½ ounces fresh sour mix (recipe follows)
Ginger ale, to top off drink
With a wooden spoon, muddle 3 rounds of cucumber with gin, ginger syrup and sour mix in a cocktail shaker. Strain into an ice-filled Collins glass. Top with ginger ale, and garnish with the cucumber spear.
¼ cup simple syrup (recipe above)
½ cup fresh lemon juice
Combine lemon juice and simple syrup. Refrigerate.
Starter Husband aka Michelada
Coarse rock salt (or chili salt; recipe follows) for rimming
1½ ounces fresh lime juice
1 ounce Clamato juice
Dash or two of good hot sauce, or to taste
Dash of Worcestershire sauce, or to taste
Pinch of chili salt
One bottle Pacifico Clara beer or any light beer you like
Rim a large beer glass with lime. Dip into salt. Fill halfway with ice. Add lime, Clamato, seasoning, then beer.
¼ cup coarse rock salt
½ teaspoon chili powder
Mix and place on a small plate.
Choc and Awe aka Coco-Quila
The infused chocolate tequila should be made 5 to 7 days ahead.
1 ounce infused chocolate tequila (recipe follows)
½ ounce Kahlúa
½ ounce Bailey’s Crème Caramel
½ ounce heavy cream
Pinch of spicy chili powder
Shake infused chocolate tequila, Kahlúa, Bailey’s Crème Caramel and cream over ice until mixture is frothy, strain into a martini glass. Then garnish with a line of hot chili powder.
Infused Chocolate Tequila
Makes about 1½ cups
½ bottle or 1½ cups tequila blanco (100% agave)
12 ounces dark, 72% cocoa chocolate, coarsely chopped
Place the ingredients in a jar; the tequila should cover the chocolate. Store the mixture at room temperature for 5 to 7 days, gently shaking the jar every 2 days. When the tequila turns a nice chocolate brown, it is ready for use. Strain the liquid and be sure to discard the chocolate. (Eating the chocolate might cause stomach problems.)
Parent-Subsidized Mortgage aka Bogie
2 ounces Firefly Sweet Tea vodka
1 ounce sour mix (recipe above)
Sugared lemon wedge for garnish
Shake, and strain over crushed ice into a highball glass. Garnish with a sugared lemon wedge.
Quarterlife Crisis Fizz aka Southside Fizz
2 ounces gin
1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
¾ ounce simple syrup, or to taste (recipe above)
Pinch of fresh mint plus 1 sprig for garnish
Combine gin, lime juice, simple syrup and mint in a cocktail shaker. Add ice, and shake well. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Add club soda, and garnish with the mint sprig.
Ashton Shooter aka Buttery Nipple
1 ounce butterscotch liqueur
1 ounce Irish cream liqueur
Combine in a chilled shot glass—and go for it.
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