My criteria was simple: Nothing too sweet; nothing "girly," ie: nothing made with sugary fruit juices, strawberries, bananas or lotus fruit; nothing with too many steps; nothing made with infused liquors or housemade syrups. We're keeping it masculine and simple for you and dad, this year.
(My one exception to the above rules was the inclusion of a rum and coconut water cocktail that is served in an actual coconut. The coconut could be considered "girly," but I like thinking of my dad drinking out of one in a sort of way-cool "Big Lebowski" island-themed way.)
Without further ado, here are the recipes:
Rum and coconut water
It doesn't have a fancy name, nor is it a fancy drink. But the rum and coconut water served chilled in a young Thai coconut at 213's Cana Rum Bar in downtown Los Angeles conjures the Caribbean with each stress-relieving sip. The drink comes with a long-handled spoon so you can scoop out the tender white coconut meat and chew on it as you drink. The result tastes a bit like alcohol-laced French toast with languid hints of slow-moving molasses and sun-soaked vanilla. So who invented this nectar of vacationing gods?
"I think Trinidad did -- about 300 years ago," says bartender Julian Wayser.
4 1/2 oz. fresh coconut water
2 oz. Cruzan Black Strap Rum
2 tbsp. crushed ice
Whip the ingredients in a shaker until the ice dissolves. Pour into a young Thai coconut. Serve with a straw and a long-handled spoon.
Cana Rum Bar, 714 W. Olympic Blvd., L.A. (213) 745-7090; www.canarumbar.com.
Japanese Maple by Damian Windsor
The tiny Roger Room on La Cienega Boulevard with its ultra worn speak-easy feel is a place where true cocktail aficionados go to get their drink fix. The menu is filled with creative concoctions that play with classic recipes before departing into unexpected worlds of flavor guided by fresh, local ingredients and modern appeal. Bartender Damian Windsor lords over the aged wooden bar like a bespectacled madman with a shaker -- always off to the next new cocktail idea in his head, he is quick to voice his opinion on spirits and even quicker to pour a fine drink. One of his favorites is the Japanese Maple. Japanese whiskey, lemon, pure maple syrup and frothed egg white align in a smooth balance of taste and feeling worthy of a Zen way of life.
1 1/2 ounces Yamazaki whiskey
3/4 ounce lemon juice
1/2 ounce maple syrup
3/4 ounce egg white
Add ice to a tin, then add all the ingredients. Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail goblet. Spritz with a 50/50 mixture of Bacardi 151 Rum and Angostura bitters.