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Forget Manhattans—Gimme a Bardstown Sling

Trombonist Eric Felten dishes up delicious cocktails. Photograph by Tyler Wilson

A generation ago, Frank Sinatra used to greet guests at his house with his signature line: “How’s your drink?” Eric Felten, author of the Wall Street Journal cocktails column, is on a one-man crusade to bring back the rich culture and stories of the well-mixed drink.

If you’re looking for something to liven up a holiday party, flip through his new book, How’s Your Drink? Cocktails, Culture, and the Art of Drinking Well. It has some 50 recipes and a thorough history of everything from the gimlet to the martini to the Bardstown Sling. Felten also plays the trombone and directs the Eric Felten Jazz Orchestra.

Among the stories, Felten recounts how Teddy Roosevelt testified in a famous libel trial that six mint juleps over his time as president did not make him a drunk. And we can blame John Updike and his Rabbit novels for the disappearance of FDR’s favorite, the old-fashioned, in the 1980s as Updike portrayed it as the drink of losers.

And how about the Chairman of the Board? He drank Jack Daniel’s with exactly four cubes of ice.

This article can be found in the December 2007 issue of The Washingtonian.

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