Welcome to The Straight Up. I’m Nick, a self taught lover of classic cocktails, who enjoys good whiskey, bitters and amari. The Straight Up is my attempt to share this passion with the world and hopefully to learn more along the way.
The Straight Up is divided into categories for easy navigation, including cocktails, techniques, spirits, and articles. There is also a small Amazon Store with items I use and recommend. The minimal proceeds go toward maintaining the site.
The search bar also comes in handy if you’re looking for a specific cocktail or topic.
I also submit posts to Drinkwire on Liquor.com. If you like something, head over there and vote for it. The love is definitely appreciated.
Be sure to check out the other blogs on the list; they are some of my favorites.
The Straight Up was recently featured on Serious Drinks 8 Great Cocktail Blogs You Should Read Now. Cool!
Dying to know more? Pour yourself a drink and read on my friend…
My interest in classic cocktails stemmed from a budding interest in whiskey. As I progressed from drinking shots of bad whiskey to sipping the “good stuff,” I noticed that most establishments didn’t sell great whiskeys, or if they did, they were really expensive. So I started seeking the whiskeys I enjoyed most and drinking them at home. This eventually led to switching to cocktails when out, typically Manhattans (yeah, whiskey again, I know).
The more Manhattans I tried, the more I noticed such a variability in how they would taste. Some were excellent, while others were terrible. As I learned more, I realized that there is so much more that goes into this drink than just a decent whiskey. Variations in type of whiskey, ratios, changing the vermouth, bitters or garnish, adding additional ingredients, all made a difference in the final product. Almost every place shook their Manhattans. Places that stirred them always seemed to taste better.
Much like the whiskeys, I began experimenting at home and reading more about classic mixology. I learned that there are better ways to make drinks, even using the same ingredients as the bars that served less enjoyable ones, just by following some basic principles. For the Manhattan, swapping the cheap vermouth for a better variety, using a higher quality cherry, rather than those nasty maraschino’s found in ice cream, and most importantly using better ice and stirring the drink, makes a huge difference in how the final product ends up. This interest progressed to other favorite drinks.
I began expanding my home collection of liquors, stopped using sour mix, started squeezing my own juices, and began learning to make classic cocktails a better way.
Each cocktail lists the recipe first, but also feature tasting notes and when possible histories and variations. That way if you’re ready to make a drink, you can easily see the recipe at the top of the page. Once you are well hydrated, and if you’re in the mood to learn more about where a drink came from, check out the history. Starting points for variations are also there.
Still not sick of me? Feel free to post a comment or contact me directly.
Note: People send me free stuff from time to time. Rest assured that only products I actually enjoy and recommend will appear on this site.