Old Man Drinks by Robert Schnakenberg

There aren’t any woo-woos, appletinis, grey ladies or mojitos in Old Man Drinks. This book has the cocktails that your father grandfather drank. Open to any page, and you’ll find a drink that only has a handful of ingredients – and most of them are liquor. If a Gin and Milk, Boilermaker, or Old Fashioned is your idea of a cocktail, Old Man Drinks is the book for you.

There isn’t too much to review for Old Man Drinks, truth be told – the book is a collection of dozens of old-fashioned recipes. Each of the 70 recipes is accompanied by a brief history of the drink (did you know the Sazerac is the Official Cocktail of New Orleans?), as well as a picture of – and quote from – an old man. As just a recipe book this would more than be worth the cover price, but the character that author Schnakenberg squeezes in is really what makes Old Man Drinks special. The quotes and photos, particularly, are priceless. My favorite? “I never had a threesome, but it’s bound to happen soon” says Fred, a 90-year-old retired janitor. I can only hope I’ll have as optimistic an outlook as Fred in my golden years.

It’s likely that once you know the premise of the book – strong drinks from a simpler time – you’ll already know if you want it or not. If you’re on the fence, I recommend giving the book a shot. Drink like an old man. You might find yourself preferring a Salty Dog to the latest pomegranate, mini-umbrella-ed flavor of the week. Plus, those drinks don’t come with free advice from a genuine old man.

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