Excessive drinking by rock bands may have gone by the wayside since the heavy-metal era, but musicians can still sit back and enjoy a terrific mixed drink every now and then. Whether it’s as classic as a Whiskey Ginger or as off-the-wall as something called Penicillin, musicians discuss their love for cocktails and share their favorite recipes.
1. John McCauley (Deer Tick)
The drink: Divine Cuban Screw
Ingredients: Don Q Cristal, Nantucket Nectars Orange Mango and ice
How to make it: Fill pint glass with ice, pour in a lot of Don Q Cristal (I like to count to four or five), top it off with Nantucket Nectars Orange Mango juice, stir, blow bubbles, etc. Enjoy.
Why it’s great: I was drinking a lot of clear rum during the making of Divine Providence. I always liked rum & OJ (Cuban Screw), but the introduction of the mango flavor was pretty great. Drink this (like six or seven of them, basically the whole bottle of rum) and you too can make a drunk rock album.
2. Jim Ward (At the Drive-In)
The drink: Kickstand
Ingredients: Bourbon, Fernet Branca and Grenadine
How to make it: Combine 1.5 oz bourbon, .5 oz Fernet Branca, Splash of Grenadine, and ice in a shaker. Stir for about 30 seconds, strain into short cocktail glass and garnish with one cherry.
Why it’s great: It’s my favorite cocktail. The Fernet/Bourbon combo is deep and delicious—we also use homemade grenadine at both our bars in El Paso (Hope and Anchor and Bowie Feathers) and it has no high fructose corn syrup, so it’s even better!
3. Matthew Caws (Nada Surf)
The drink: Greyhound
Ingredients: Grapefruit juice, vodka and ice
How to make it: Put a few ice cubes in a glass, pour in as much or as little vodka as you’d like, add grapefruit juice.
Why it’s great: I stick to water, wine and whiskey on tour because anything else is not so great for singing, but when I’m not doing shows, this is my favorite alcoholic beverage. The grapefruit juice makes it taste good but its inherent bitterness reminds you that you’re drinking something serious and helps keep you from overdoing it.
4. Ryan Rabin (Grouplove)
The drink: Penicillin
Ingredients: Ice, scotch, honey, fresh ginger and lemon juice.
How to make it: Mix the above ingredients and top off with some Islay scotch and ginger candy and you’ll have a nice night ahead of you.
Why it’s great: It’s considered a classy, old prohibition drink, but it’s still really tasty and goes down easy even though it’s really strong. And it makes us all feel invincible and gives us the ability to fly.
5. Richard Edwards (Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s)
The drink: The Suicide
Ingredients: Trappist Achel blonde ale, Delirium Tremens, La Fin Du Monde, Unibroue and aloe vera extract.
How to make it: Pour all that shit into an oversized Colts mug and stir it like crazy. Shake the aloe vera real good and dump a mess of it in, as well. Sniff it good to make sure it came out right. If it’s been made correctly, it should clear your sinuses when you smell it. Take a sip, let out one huge belch, and watch any stomach ailments/general life problems sail away forever and ever.
Why it’s great: Why is water wet?
6. Tony Smith (Sleeper Agent)
The drink: Dirty Lemonade
Ingredients: Minute-Maid Lemonade (or the cheapest at the liquor store) and Jim Beam
How to make it: Two shots of Jim Beam, fill the rest of the glass with lemonade
Why it’s great: It’s the manliest drink I could find that lets me be a little fruity. Plus, it’s the easiest way to get a girl to drink bourbon.
7. Neyla Pekarek (The Lumineers)
The drink: The Jude Law
Ingredients: Two Long Island Iced Teas (all the clear liquors in the well on ice – twice).
How to make it: Pretty easy, just drink all of it.
Why it’s great: Welcome to the jungle…
8. Mathieu Santos (Ra Ra Riot)
The drink: Grey Goose & Ginger Beer
Ingredients: See above.
How to make it: Ginger Beer + Grey Goose…adjust ratios for how drunk you want to get!
Why it’s great: Well, because ginger beer is great, and it’s got a nice ginger kick that cuts right through the alcohol. It’s very tasty, and it’s very refreshing.
9. Marc Walloch (Company of Thieves)
The drink: Whiskey Ginger
Ingredients: Ice, Jameson and Ginger Ale.
How to make it: Fill half of the cup with ice, pour Jameson half way, pour Ginger Ale the other half
Why it’s great: Classic drink that tastes great…and makes me feel great.
10. Anaïs Mitchell
The drink: Sazerac
Ingredients: Rye whiskey, 1 sugar cube, bitters to taste, absinthe, lemon twist
How to make it: Part of the ritual is you make it in two old-fashioned glasses. The first you fill with ice to chill. In the second you muddle the bitters (Peychaud’s and Angostura are recommended) with the sugar together and then add the rye and a couple ice cubes. Then you empty the ice out of the first glass, put the absinthe in there and roll it around to coat the inside of the glass. Then then strain the second glass into the first and add the lemon garnish.
Why it’s great: I’m not really a cocktail gal, I’d rather drink wine any day, but I have always loved the mystical properties of absinthe. Once after a long day of tracking for our new record, the producer (Todd Sickafoose) and I went to this Eastern European bar for a nightcap. We drank Sazeracs and if I remember right, I cried and told him all of my fears about the project, then we got over that and laughed hysterically in the street. And then I went back to my place and played the violin with two bows at once—and I have a lot of trouble even just playing with one bow—so, there’s proof of the power of the Sazerac. I’ve never made one at home, this recipe is a guess based on various Internet recipes, hope it comes close to the ones we had.
11. Daniel Zott (Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.)
The drink: The Golden Gate
Ingredients: Bourbon, benedictine, bitters and lemon peel
How to make it: Use two parts bourbon and one part benedictine. Add a
splash of bitters and light a lemon peel on fire to release more
flavor before dropping it in.
Why it’s great: Greatness begins with fundamentals, and it’s hard to
beat bourbon. Benedictine is a really aromatic drink made by monks,
so it’s got God on its side as well.
12. Gil Jackson (David Wax Museum)
The drink: The Bina
Ingredients: Hendricks Gin, Club Soda, Ice, Fresh Cucumber, Cilantro and Mint.
How to make it: Mix em, shake it, sip.
Why it’s great: Named after my good friend Bina. A classic upright Gin and Tonic with some zesty plant freshness. It’ll make you holler like Al Pacino.
13. Ezra Furman
The drink: Pale Fire
Ingredients: Bourbon, soy milk and sugar
How to make it: Pour some bourbon, then pour twice as much soy milk. Add a spoonful of sugar and stir.
Why it’s great: Literary critic and author Mary McCarthy called it “a creation of perfect beauty, symmetry, strangeness, originality…one of the great works of art of this century.” Why, thank you, Mary. I’ll admit it is one of my better concoctions.
14. Kat Edmonson
The drink: The Nergoni
Ingredients: 1.5 oz. gin, 1.5 oz. Campari, 1.5 oz sweet vermouth and a slice of orange, halved.
How to make it: Combine gin, Campari, and vermouth in a large tumbler and pour over a glass of ice
Why it’s great: It’s bittersweet, totally refreshing, and comes in a brilliant shade of red. I first tried it at Le Fournil in the south of France after a tiresome week of drinking one beautiful wine after another. This cocktail made for a fun change of scenery and has since been a favorite to employ when it’s time to liven things up.
15. Jimmy Giannopoulos (Pretty Good Dance Moves)
The drink: Lo-life [technically a shot, but we’ll allow it]
Ingredients: Miller High Life and well whiskey
How to make it: Put shot in your mouth (and swallow leaving a little still in your mouth), followed by a sip of High Life brew. It will mix naturally while you tilt your head back.
Why it’s great: Because you get a free pizza with it if you choose to enjoy it at the Charleston on Bedford Ave. in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
16. Francois Comtois (Young the Giant)
The drink: Tom Collins
Ingredients: 2 oz. gin, 1 oz. lemon juice, 1 tsp. superfine sugar, 3 oz. club soda
1 maraschino cherry and 1 slice orange.
How to make it: In a shaker half-filled with ice cubes, combine the gin, lemon juice, and sugar. Shake well. Strain into a Collins glass almost filled with ice cubes. Add the club soda. Stir and garnish with the cherry and the orange slice.
Why it’s great: Good drink to highlight a tasty gin. Nice and refreshing on a warm day.
17. Rebekah Goode-Peoples (Oryx and Crake)
The drink: Death in the Afternoon (also known as Hemingway Champagne)
Ingredients: Absinthe and champagne.
How to make it: Hemingway’s original instructions: “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.”
Why it’s great: It’s fancy and strong, just what you want in a mixed drink (unless you are [my husband and bandmate] Ryan Peoples—ask him about his absinthe experience).