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Whether it’s blasting Guns N’ Roses on your way to work, staying up late to watch infomercials while eating ice cream directly from the container, or spending a Saturday afternoon watching “Say Anything” for the thousandth time, everyone has at least one guilty pleasure they’d rather not admit. And when it comes to cocktails, there are a few especially questionable concoctions that are just so darn lovable.
No need to let these legends’ tarnished reputation keep you from enjoying your favorite drinks—no matter how fruity or provocatively named they may be. Step out of the shadows, and enjoy one of these under-loved cocktails.
You don’t need to be on a cruise ship (or in Singapore) to enjoy this tropical standard. The original recipe is attributed to Raffles Hotel bartender Ngiam Tong Boon and is a variant on the Gin Sling. Many versions served today are cloying and blended with bottled fruit juices. Fortunately, this recipe is better than many of the current Singapore Slings because it’s based on the traditional formula found in Charles H. Baker’s historic book “The Gentleman’s Companion.” The Sling is not the easiest drink to make, but the result is worth the effort.
There’s no quicker way to relive your college glory days than by dropping a shot of whiskey into a pint of beer and chugging. But since you’re an adult now, it’s likely time to employ a better bourbon or rye whiskey than what you may have been drinking as a student. As for the beer, anything goes, but unless you're dropping Jameson into a pint of Guinness, you probably want to opt for a lighter-style lager. If you’re up for the challenge, try pairing your whiskey with a complementary beer and enjoy the power of synergy.
While you won’t often find blenders in craft bars, it’s guaranteed that some of the best bartenders enjoy this frosty concoction. All you need is aged rum, lime juice, simple syrup and, of course, a strawberry. Then add ice and blend. The cold, slushy treat will put a smile on your face. Just don’t drink it too fast because, you know, brain freeze.
Does the Kamikaze even need an explanation for why it’s on this list of guilty pleasures. Similar to the Lemon Drop (vodka, lemon and triple sec), this vodka, lime juice and triple sec combination is a balance of sweet and sour. It’s often served as a shot, and the recipe here makes enough for two servings. But if you want to make the drink into a slower sipper, pour the contents into a cocktail glass, and keep the citrusy cocktail all to yourself.
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It’s pink, it’s fruity and it’s the drink of choice for many a bachelorette party. The Sex on the Beach also enjoyed a cameo in “Cocktail,” starring Tom Cruise. But don’t let the provocative name stop you from enjoying the blend of vodka, peach schnapps, fruit juices and Chambord. Despite the name, there’s nothing scandalous about it.
Dig out your Members Only jacket and whip together this ’80s throwback that calls for peach schnapps and OJ and was invented by New Jersey bartender Ray Foley. Want a Hairy Navel instead? Substitute vodka for half the peach schnapps. No matter which version you make, class it up a bit by using fresh squeezed orange juice.
Dreaming of the beach? Then don’t feel guilty for making this traditional tropical beverage. This recipe comes from top bartender Martin Cate, who owns San Francisco’s acclaimed tiki haven Smuggler’s Cove. While the fruity rum drink usually gets a bad rap for being far too sweet, if you fix it the proper way—with fresh lime juice, orange curaçao and just enough orgeat syrup—it becomes one of the more refreshing cocktails you’ll ever taste.
Combining five types of potent alcohol, the Long Island Iced Tea is one of the most infamous cocktails around. And amazingly enough, the mixture of vodka, gin, rum, tequila and triple sec is relatively easy to drink. However, as with most guilty pleasures, don’t overindulge. This tea packs a punch, so one should be more than enough.