This Father's Day, give dad a well-deserved break. Let him ease into his recliner, put his feet up and enjoy whatever sporting event happens to be on the tube. Instead of tossing him a beer, though, how about fixing him a fine drink? Here are three classic cocktails that are easy to put together at any home bar and guaranteed to satisfy any thirst:


2 oz London Dry gin

1 oz dry vermouth

2 dashes orange bitters

This is the Martini recipe as seen in so many classic cocktail tomes. Instead of eliminating or downplaying the vermouth as is so common nowadays, it embraces it. The bitters--once an essential part of this drink that is often ignored in modern versions--give it a little citrus kick. This drink is the perfect complement to that steak you should be grilling dad for dinner. Stir all ingredients with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.


2 oz bourbon or rye whiskey

1 oz sweet vermouth

3 to 5 dashes Angostura bitters

The original Manhattan came in the 1870s or so; and, along with the Old Fashioned, is probably the most venerated of all the classic whiskey cocktails. The original version was made with spicy rye whiskey, but as the drink migrated to the southern part of the country, many tipplers opted to use the sweeter bourbon popular there. Either works just fine. Stir all ingredients with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass or over ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with a brandied cherry.

Rusty Nail

2 oz blended Scotch

.75 oz Drambuie

In the 1960s and ’70s this uber-simple Scotch cocktail was a fixture in home bars, rathskellers and rumpus rooms across the country, as American as shag carpet and avocado-green appliances. I remember my own dad imbibing these on occasion. Make sure to use a good, quality blended Scotch like Johnnie Walker or Famous Grouse to really bring out Drambuie's honey and spices. Pour ingredients into a rocks glass over ice. No garnish.

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