Your car broke down on the way to work. You got into an argument with your boss. And to top it all off, your girlfriend’s friends are coming over to watch two hours of The Bachelor. Man, do you need a drink. If you feel like forgoing your favorite beer in favor of something with a little more kick, we’ve got the cocktails for you. Don’t worry; we’ve left out anything containing melon-flavored rum. These classic, high-alcohol libations are all grown-up. We hope your liver can handle it.
- Black Russian: Calling all vodka and coffee lovers: This is your new favorite drink. Made purely with vodka and coffee-flavored liqueur, the Black Russian is (you guessed it!) just a White Russian without the cream. You can mix it up with flavored vodkas like vanilla or hazelnut, but we suggest keeping it classic — with a Russian vodka, naturally. See recipe
- Bone-Dry Martini: Any drinker worth their (cocktail) salt knows the basics of a martini: your favorite gin or vodka plus a splash of dry vermouth. Removing said vermouth makes it bone dry, and therefore barely a cocktail at all. (For obvious reasons, it’s also known as the Pass the Bottle.) Feel confident enough in your drinking abilities to down one of these bad boys? We recommend doubling up on the olives. See recipe
- Death in the Afternoon: Leave it to a hardcore drinker like Ernest Hemingway to invent one of the booziest drinks in history. Death in the Afternoon is deceptively tame, but watch yourself lest you wind up in another state, alone and without pants. (It’s happened.) The licoricey absinthe and sweet champagne combo makes it easy to forget that you’re drinking alcohol at all. If you’re undeterred, here are some instructions from Hemingway himself: “Pour one jigger absinthe into a champagne glass. Add iced champagne until it attains the proper opalescent milkiness. Drink three to five of these slowly.” See recipe
- Negroni: Made with gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth, the Negroni is not for the faint of heart (or liver). The cocktail boasts an extremely high alcohol content, and it’s also much bitterer than your typical fare. The only non-alcoholic addition is a classic orange garnish, which lends some much-needed sweetness to the drink. See recipe
- Sazerac: Ah, New Orleans’s classic cocktail. The Sazerac packs a serious punch. While there are many versions of this cocktail (some including two types of bitters), we have to say, we’re purists at heart. Our favorite is a blend of rye whiskey, Peychaud’s Bitters, sugar, and a lemon twist, all served in an absinthe-coated glass. There’s nowhere in the world quite like New Orleans, and fittingly, there’s no cocktail quite like the Sazerac. See recipe