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Now Is the Time to Start Drinking Scotch

April Fool's! We're not turning our backs on investing -- though we did fool some of you.

Since November, the stock markets have fluctuated drastically, taking us on wild swings and, for the most part, leaving us with wild paper losses. We used to cover these events every single day, and frankly, they've made us recommit to drinking.

Why we love wild cocktails
Ben Franklin said, "There can't be good living where there is not good drinking." No wonder they have rap songs in his honor.

Today, we'd like to run through Part 1 of our 29-part mixology series. We'll get to our two favorite drinks later (and how to make them successfully every time), but first let's tackle some looming questions everyone has been asking themselves.

Question 1: Alcohol: Buy, sell, or hold?
Tim Hanson: Strong buy, especially in lean economic times like these. The key, though, is not to concentrate your consumption in one area. You've got to diversify across asset classes ... wine, beer, various liquors, cold medicines. For example, I can get stuck in a G&T [gin and tonic] rut in the hot summer months. Of course, then you're liable to run out of tonic. When that happens, you're dead in the water ... until you remember you have the makings of a mean mojito (fresh mint, rum, simple syrup, limes, seltzer). Problem solved; catastrophe abated.

Brian Richards: Buy. I eat my own cooking, too -- I actually buy alcohol on a consistent basis. The key is to buy wisely -- you never want to limp in with those little airplane bottles when you can get the price per ounce down with a handle. So there's my advice: Buy with a long time horizon, so buy in bulk.

Question 2: What's the most overlooked cocktail?
TH: It's hard to know. New cocktails are being invented daily in labs; in countries where animal testing isn't frowned upon, science has really made great advances. But many non-professional mixologists (amateurs) shy away from drinks that mix alcohol with alcohol, thinking the Price-to-Potency (P/P) ratio is too high. This is an enormous mistake. If you're willing to pay up for quality (ingredients), you will reap the rewards. I was extremely impressed by a Food & Wine recipe for The Chancellor, which mixes ruby port and single-malt scotch. What could go wrong?

BR: There are a bunch. For one, drinks with dirty names get overlooked because they're distasteful ... people don't want to hold that drink. That creates huge opportunity for you. Also, some of the simplest drinks are often overlooked in favor of the extreme, exotic -- drinks like vodka and orange juice, and bourbon and cola.

Question 3: Give us two promising mixed drinks bartenders ignore.
TH: Everyone's go-to drink should be the classic martini. There's some debate as to whether gin or vodka is the go-to liquor here, but let me clear it up now: Gin's the clear winner. If you're making (or ordering) your martini with olives, you want to call for Hendrick's Gin. If you're going for the twist, reach for Martin Miller's. (In the event that Miller's is unavailable, Bacardi's Bombay Sapphire is a suitable substitute.)

If you're looking to make your martini at home, you'll need the following ingredients and equipment:

  1. Cocktail shaker
  2. Ice
  3. Dry vermouth
  4. Gin
  5. An eyedropper
  6. Garnish (either olives or lemon zest)

And you'll want to follow the following procedure:

  1. Chill your gin, vermouth, and cocktail shaker.
  2. Fill the cocktail shaker halfway with ice and then with 4 oz. of gin.
  3. Use the eyedropper to extract a teardrop-sized amount of vermouth and add it to the cocktail shaker.
  4. Shake the cocktail for 30 seconds, using a towel so your hands do not get frostbitten.
  5. Strain martini into a martini glass.
  6. Add appropriate garnish.

BR: The best nightcap around is the White Russian, but it's often treated like an Arkansas hillbilly. It's more than a novelty -- it's a delicious drink that's better when made at home. The time-tested recipe goes as such:

  • Double old-fashioned glass
  • Handful of ice cubes
  • 1.5 parts vodka
  • 2 parts Kahlua
  • Whole milk (note: not cream!)
  • Top off with a touch more Kahlua

You'll want to stir it so that the Kahlua is mixed throughout, but it's nearly impossible to botch that recipe.

And there you have it. Happy drinking.

The Motley Fool is taking a break from investing. Read more here.

Brian Richards and Tim Hanson are happy drinkers, except when they aren't. Brian owns bottles of Bombay Sapphire and Kahlua. Tim owns bottles of Martin Miller's and Hendrick's. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy would like to remind everyone that the key to this whole thing is moderation.


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Brian Richards
TMFBrich

Now: I work on global strategy for The Motley Fool with a focus on Canada, Europe, and South America. Former: Managing Editor of Fool.com. The longer version: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/brian-richards/31/164/461/.

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