Almost everything exciting or wonderful in life has a hint of danger. Cocktails are no exception.
Whether that danger comes from the peculiar punch of the green fairy or from an airborne arc of flaming Scotch, these exciting drinks will get your pulse and the party going.
Obviously, any cocktail strong enough to bring back the dead packs a wallop.
Harry Craddock, the famous bartender and author of The Savoy Cocktail Book, warned that the necromantic powers of the drink are easily overdone, noting that “four of these taken in swift succession will unrevive the corpse.” This gin-and-absinthe classic is worth the risk.
Speaking of bringing back the dead, the Zombie is a tiki classic that will sit you up straight in your chair.
Though recipes vary wildly, the general shape of Don Beach’s creation revolves around potent rum and citrus (surprise, surprise—it is a tiki cocktail, after all.)
Despite this, or maybe because of it, the drink has inspired insane levels of dedication. Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, for example, spent a decade tracking down the original recipes.
The Blue Blazer comes to us from the patron saint of bartending, Jerry Thomas.
The point of the Blazer is the performance. This is a recipe that, decades before the term “flairtending” was conceived, pushed bartending into the dangerous and carnivalesque. The showstopper? Pouring a stream of electric-blue, flaming whiskey back and forth between metal mugs. This is a stuntman drink, and one that commands every set of eyes in the room.
How can Absinthe not make an appearance on this list? One of the most mythical and controversial spirits ever, most experts will now tell you its legend is more bark than bite.
Though modern varieties available in the United States definitely do not contain any hallucinogenic properties, absinthe is still a potent part of several classics, including the Death in the Afternoon and the Sazerac.
From its heyday over a decade and a half ago to its current cruise ship purgatory, it’s been a long, strange ride for the Long Island Iced Tea. Which, fittingly, is not unlike the experience of drinking one.
The fun starts as you watch the drink being built. The bartender grabs bottle after bottle of seemingly random base spirits from around the bar. As the gin, rum and tequila go in, perhaps you begin to worry about what you have ordered. Do not fear, there is still room in the glass for vodka and Triple sec (and that’s just the alcohol).
The Long Island is the kind of drink that leads to regrettable dance moves, tattoos and texts to exes. It is also, obviously, a lot of fun.
Rarely has a drink been more appropriately named.
Like the Sazerac and the Ramos Gin Fizz, the Hurricane is a New Orleans institution. Unlike those drinks, though, the Hurricane is more likely to be throwing beads on Bourbon Street than hanging out in the Carousel Bar.
Featuring four ounces of rum—light and dark are both represented here—this tropical storm of a drink will get you going.
Mixing your cocktail