Shaken But Not Stirred


Everyone knows James Bond likes his martinis shaken, not stirred. James Bond is to many people the epitome of being a gentleman.  Whether you believe that or not, when 007 orders his drink he is confident and assured in what he is getting.  The modern gentleman must be just as confident, assured and knowledgeable in every aspect of his life.  That includes knowing what occasion deserves what drink.  You would not order a Big Mac at a formal dining restaurant, so you should not order a beer at a cocktail bar or formal occasion.

Of course you can order any drink straight or on the rocks, but in order to really impress and stretch your knowledge you need to know the following drinks. This article will focus on building you knowledge of what a gentleman drinks and what he needs to have his bar stocked with.  These are the drinks that every gentleman should be able to order and should be able to make.

Bartender mixing drinks

Now here are the 10 drinks that every modern gentleman must know how to make, know how to order and drink.

First thing first we must know the difference between the different types of whiskeys:

Scotch is only made in Scotland and can range from smooth and a bit sweet to smoky, a distinct flavor imparted by smoking the grains over a peat fire. Old scotches are typically not mixed, but don’t think that a good scotch can’t make a great cocktail. Read more in our Guide to best Scotch Whisky.

Irish whiskey is basically any whiskey aged in Ireland. There’s a lot of diversity in this pool, leading to whiskeys that are sweet or spicy or citrusy or earthy.

Bourbon is generally sweeter than Irish whiskey or scotch. Wheat bourbons are particularly mellow. Interestingly, CNBC reports that 95% of the world’s bourbon is made in Kentucky.

Tennessee whiskey is effectively bourbon made in Tennessee. Jack Daniel’s is Tennessee whiskey, and it’s mellowed through sugar maple charcoal before aging; some say this makes it a bit sweeter than bourbon and slightly sooty.  Jack Daniel’s has multiple flavors of whiskey, try them all.

Rye is trickier: American rye whiskey must be at least 51% rye in the grain bill, whereas Canadian rye just has to have any rye in the grain bill. Ryes are spicy and sometimes “bready.” They’re making a big comeback these days, especially in mixed drinks.

Canadian whisky (yes, Canada and Scotland drop the “e”) is considered, by and large, the most versatile mixing whisky — it’s a mellower and lighter flavor than most other types of whisky. When it comes to mixed drinks, this is sometimes exactly what you want, and sometimes exactly what you don’t.


Next, a gentleman must know the difference between vodka, gin and tequila.  Each of these have a different taste and strength and smoothness going down the throat.

Many vodkas now come in different flavors, each of these flavors add a distinct taste, so keep that in mind when you are mixing.

Take your time and learn each different drink and get your favorite brand.  Make sure you keep your brand stocked and ready for any occasion.

The 10 drinks every gentleman must know and master.



First is the classic gentleman drink, the Martini “shaken, not stirred”.  The original martini was made with gin. If you want vodka in it you need to order a “vodka martini.” Even a dry martini should contain SOME vermouth, otherwise it’s just chilled gin. The basic martini recipe contains gin, dry vermouth and olives or a lemon twist for garnish.  I personally prefer vodka martinis.  This is where you would just replace gin with vodka.

Practice making martinis keep the vermouth to gin or vodka ration 3 to 1 (it’s fun and looks cool when you are shaking).  Also, practice adding some different flavors to make your signature drink.  Here is mine:

Purple Popsicle Martini

3 ounces of vodka

1 ounce of blue curacao

2 ounces of cranberry juice

1 ounces of 7/up



The Vesper is an easy drink to make, and handy to know. It’s the true James Bond drink, due to the fact that it combines vodka and gin in one martini. Keeping this cocktail in your back pocket is always a sure way to impress your guest.

Just combine 3/4 ounce of vodka, 2 ounces of gin and a 1/2 ounce of Lillete Blonde in a coupe glass. Garnish with a lemon peel and you are done.


Next up is the Manhattan:  This is (along with the martini) the classic cocktail.  Invented in the late 1800’s this is a basic drink which allows you to taste the full body of the liquor without much chaser.  A dark, sweet cousin of the Martini, made with Whisky or Bourbon, sweet Vermouth, and a proper maraschino cherry- no artificially dyed or flavored cherries here.


glass of wine

Every gentleman should have a basic knowledge of wine.  Keep a bottle of wine on hand. This shows sophistication and an ability to be flexible, every occasion does not call for hard liquor or beer.  Basic knowledge of wine pairings will help you stand out. As a general rule, lighter wines for lighter meals, darker wines for heavier meals. Apart from being one of the healthiest drinks you can buy, red wine has always been seen to be sophisticated and incredibly versatile.


glass of cognac

These are meant to be drank straight, if you cannot do that find a chaser that you like.  I have tried ginger ale and it seems to taste good. A fine cognac warmed in the hand will always set a man apart from the crowd. There are three kinds of Cognac you can buy, sorted by quality grade:

VS (Very Special) – stored for at least two years in casks.

VSOP (Very Superior Old Pale) or Reserve– stored for at least four years in casks.

XO (Extra Old) or Napoleon – stored for at least six years in casks.

Hors d’age (beyond age) – is designated with BNIC it is equal to XO, used by producers of a high quality product which is beyond the age scale.

All are excellent, but if you are the type who finds spirits burns your throat, go for the XO or Hors d’age– they have a far smoother delivery.


Rusty nail

This drink has gotten a bit of a bad rap over the years – being labeled as an old man’s drink, but we respectfully disagree. The mixture of Scotch and Drambuie tastes great together, and the dash of Angostura bitters is a nice finishing touch


whiskey sour

Simple, yet tasty. This classic cocktail blends a shot of bourbon with lemon juice and simple syrup, served on the rocks, and topped off with a lemon wedge.


Basically a tall version of the previously featured Whiskey Sour. Made with 1.5 ounces of bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup, club soda, and both a Maraschino cherry and orange slice for garnish.



Created back in 1894 by a bartender at the Waldorf Astoria New York, this drink has gone on to become iconic on the cocktail scene. Celebrating the premiere of the operetta with the same name, you can’t go wrong with any variation of this whiskey drink.


This mixture is the universal manly drink for men. Served in cocktail glasses, the recipe is simple. Combine Jack Daniels and just enough Coke to make it a crisp bittersweet mixed drink for men that is known to put some bass in your voice. Switch things up at the bar and order a Rum and Coke or use a different kind of whiskey.


When ordering any of these drinks, a true gentleman always distinguishes himself by specifying the kind of liquor he prefers.  Try to avoid the “house” or “well” products as they tend to be subpar, so know your liquor.  If you’re ordering a Martini or a Manhattan, you should also specify if you want the drink up (without ice in a martini glass) or on the rocks (with ice in a rocks’ glass).  How dry a Martini or a Manhattan is connotes the amount of Vermouth that is used.  From dry to extra dry to desert dry (a scale of some to no Vermouth).

Ordering a “Kettle One dry martini on the rocks” sounds a lot better than “give me a martini” then being asked multiple questions and you having a conversation with the bartender and not the lady you are with.


Anything Frozen

Unless you are on vacation and walking a strip on a hot day, this is a definite female drink.

Long Island iced tea

Not only a female drink but a young person’s drink.  This is a just turned 21 and I don’t know my alcohol and I want to get smashed.


This was made famous by Sex in the City, need I say more?


Now that you know what drinks should be the foundation of your knowledge we can move to what tools every modern gentleman must have in his bar for his bar to be correctly stocked.  This is why it is important that you know your go to drinks.  You could spend a fortune on drinks, mixers, chasers, and fruit and not use much of it.  Worse yet go through one kind of liquor constantly and have dust on the others.  Master your favorites AND the basics, stock your bar with those and add on as you get better at mixing and you discover new drinks.

The basic liquors

Vodka- It’s not a bar if there is no vodka, get multiple flavors to give a different taste to your company.

Rum – Really for the ladies, used for mojitos, and daiquiris.

Tequila – Party, party, party, nothing says party like tequila shots.  Also, a good tequila is the basis for a good margarita.

Gin – Remember this can be used for martinis also

Whiskey – Bourbon, scotch cognac all fall under whiskey.

Basic mixers

Orange, cranberry, and pineapple Juice


Dry Vermouth

gentleman hack

Using cheater mixers like bottles of Margarita, Daiquiri or Clamato (Bloody Mary Mix) saves time and keeps you from looking like an amateur if you haven’t perfected the recipe yet.

The Tools of the bar

Tools of the bar

Just like in construction, using the correct tools make a world of difference.  You can get a lot of the below items in a bar set for low prices.  Check around for the best prices or check online.

Shakers– the best ones are metal, with a strainer and cap on top. If you don’t want anything that fancy, a plain one with a well-matched pint glass works as well.

Jigger– Until you’re practiced enough to “eyeball” a shot into a drink without choking some unsuspecting lightweight, you need this little gizmo to measure your liquor. This measures your liquor so it is useful to get different sizes.

Strainer– These look cool, and are useful…but not extremely important you can get a shaker with a strainer, (that is what I use).

gentleman hack

If you just have a shaker and a glass, practice from your shaker/glass combo by shaking and mixing first then tapping gently on the side of the bar. Slide the glass out to just the edge of the shaker, exposing a sliver of space for the liquid to drain through and leaving the ice trapped. There, you look like you really do know what you’re doing.  It takes practice but once you master it you will impress your company.

Bar spoon– It looks like a long teaspoon and you may think you do not need it, but get it, you will wonder how you mixed without it.

Drink Recipe Book– No bar, even a professional one with cover charges and bouncers, is complete without a bartender guide hidden somewhere behind the bar. This means if your date or your friends suddenly just has to have a Purple Rain, you don’t have to panic.

Knives and a cutting board– Remember the lemons, oranges and limes?

Ice bucket– Get an insulated bucket, because you’re going to want ice handy and it will not melt quick. A scoop is also a must.


Every gentleman should know how to dress and drink.  Learning how to drink means more than just bellying up to the bar and ordering a beer.  To be a successful modern gentleman and to impress those around you it takes practice and knowledge.  The best part is that the practicing and building of the knowledge is actually fun.  The best thing to do is to start with the basics and learn the 10 gentleman drinks that is above, build your bar around those, add some cheat mixtures and you can impress those that come visit you and those that will be out with you at events.

gentleman hack

I keep bottles of Gatorade on my bar for the next day, it truly helps the hangover you may get if you overindulge.


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