My Five Favorite Guilty Pleasure Drinks

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I’m not really much of a writer. It takes me a long time, I have to constantly erase and re-write huge passages, and I’ve always, always, always got a case of writer’s block. So I was thrilled to come up with my latest-and-greatest blog post last week while I was in Germany : My Five Favorite Guilty Pleasure Drinks. I got started by writing a few notes and talking to others at the BCB about their favorite guilty pleasure drinks, and was moving along quite nicely with the outline of the blog post.

So I’m sure you can imagine my outrage when I found out that fellow Pacific Northwester Stevi Deter over at Two At The Most had the same idea with her theme for this month’s Mixology Monday: Guilty Pleasures.

Actually, I was pleased as punch. Two birds, one stone, I love it when a plan comes together.


I’d like to preface this post with two important reminders:

1. These really are my favorite guilty pleasure drinks, I’m not making any of this up. You can offer me any of these drinks at pretty much any time, and I’ll gladly accept. I just feel a slight-to-great amount of shame at the time.

2. This is not an open invitation to the manufacturers, promotional departments, public relations firms or distributors of every crappy flavored liqueur in the world to send me samples of additional hideous products. These are my guilty pleasures, I’m happy with them, and I don’t need any more.

So without further chatter, here are my guilty pleasure drinks:

1. Vodka

I badmouth the spirit in private and trash it in public. I grimace every time you order a vodka martini – “Shaken, up, with three olives” – at my bar. For all of the shit I’ve talked over the years, vodka is my number one guilty pleasure drink – I will always accept a vodka on the rocks after work. I’ll drink a Screwdriver at the airport, and a Greyhound when I get on the plane. And if you’ve got a bottle in your freezer, you’ll catch me stealing straight shots right out of the frosty bottle neck. I love the stuff.

But I still hold it with a reasonable amount of contempt because I know vodka’s dirty little secret: it’s all the same. I won’t ever spring for the $50 bottle, and quite frankly neither should you. When I’m bellying up to the bar after a long night, I usually order a mid-priced vodka like Stoli or Smirnoff, and they both taste great.

Because after a long night of making – and tasting – drinks full of ingredients like single-malt Islay scotch, housemade Madeira cask-aged bitters and various bitter Italian liqueurs, I get a little tired of flavor. So I order a vodka, and I almost always accompany it with a…

2. Crappy Beer

Speaking of being tired of flavor, I could really go my whole life without having to choke down another smoked mocha porter, cardamom stout, or quadruple-hopped 3-hour IPA. I don’t drink beer for the flavor (sorry, Beaumont), I drink it for the beer.

But rather than being a purely reactionary choice, crappy beer is a true guilty pleasure: I like the taste. Sure, you won’t catch me dead wearing a beer logo-emblazoned trucker hat, but I’ll happily swing a Bud longneck with you, or help you finish that pitcher of Miller High Life so we can roll down the street for dollar Coor’s Light pounders.

Because that’s the way Dad rolled, and that’s how I roll, too.

3. Anything with Baileys Irish Cream

I will drool like a dog at the mere mention of Irish cream. I’ll take it in my coffee, I’ll drink a B-52, and if you buy me an Oatmeal Cookie shot I’ll slam it before the toast is over. I even use those little International Flavors non-dairy Irish creamers in the morning. I’m ape-shit for Irish cream and I don’t care who knows it. Hell, I even make my own when I’ve drunk the liquor store dry.

If you asked me what I thought the two miracles of modern civilization were, I’d have to name: the internet, and Bailey’s Irish Cream, both circa 1974. I shudder in horror when I think about what life must have been like before email and BFKs, and I thank my lucky stars every day that I only had to endure three miserable years before all was right with the world. In fact, there’s only one Irish cream-based drink out there I won’t stand for, and that’s a Cement Mixer. Blasphemy.

4. Jägermeister

I know it’s a frat boy drink, but unless you’ve had it coming out of your nose at 4 in the morning and can’t physically drink the stuff, there’s no way you can look me in the eye and tell me that you don’t like Jägermeister because you’re a liar and I won’t believe you. Shoot it, sip it, I’ll take it any way I can get it. I even had my eyes opened one late night at Simon Difford’s house (hi, Simon!) when David Cordoba mixed up one of his famous Jägeritas and I practically begged him for the recipe. And here it is:

The Jägerita

2 oz Jägermeister awesome German liqueur
1 oz Cointreau
1 oz fresh lime juice
½ oz simple syrup

Shake ingredients over cracked ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

5. Piña Coladas

I love Piña Coladas so much I want to marry them. I know that some of you in Hawaiian shirts will turn down your noses at me, all “How dare he suggest it’s shameful to drink a Piña Colada! It’s a time-honored classic, an archetype, Hemmingway drank them for God’s sake!”

Bullshit. It’s made in a blender, and it calls for cream of coconut out of a can. Enjoying one is the guiltiest – and the most pleasurable – of guilty pleasures.


So there you have it, internet pals. My five dirtiest secrets. But I’ll leave you with this one caveat: there might be a lot of cocktail übersnobs out there, but I guarantee you that I’ve shared each one of these guilty pleasure drinks with at least one of them. And we smiled and clinked glasses as we felt the guilt. Those of you who don’t believe me, are cordially invited to suck it.

70 Replies to “My Five Favorite Guilty Pleasure Drinks”

  • Garretto says:

    Jeff,
    Man your gavel ’cause I’m gonna be found guilty for an occasional summer Long Island Iced Tea –I make them strong and refreshing. Also, I agree on the Baileys–in a fireside Mudslide and yes a poolside Pina Colada is a great summer rumshake! But only one.
    I’ve laid out special moments to enjoy these, but a Bud and side of Jim Beam is good any time.
    Would Tanqueray on the rocks, dirtied with a couple barspoons of anchovy stuffed olive juice, and a trio of olives fall into this category? Last night it was the precursor to the Bud/JB closer.

  • funny stuff! pure liquor genius…..and taurmini says “hi”

  • chuck says:

    I have to agree with Jeff on the shot and beer. Jägermeister awesome German liqueur and a 22oz PBR draft are exceptional ways to end the night after mixing sugartini’s

  • Steven Morgenthaler says:

    Give me a crooked I and i’ll return the favor with a crooked eye and a wink. MD 2020 makes me see clearer than a cop on the prowl. Gin and tonic can leave it slippers under my bed any night!A chiparinia is like sleeping next to a brazilian girl. OEOE

  • Steve says:

    Ha, great list. I’m with you on pretty much all of those things. I have mixed feelings about cheap beer, though. Living in Chico, California (home of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company), where decent beer is both ubiquitous and pretty inexpensive, I don’t have much use for the cheap stuff.

    As for Piña Coladas… I’ve had some on beaches in Ecuador that were made from fresh, whole pineapples and coconuts that, as far as I could tell, had just been retrieved from trees on the beach. I didn’t feel manly drinking them, but I think the deliciousness overwhelmed any feelings of guilt I might have had.

    I do like Harvey Wallbangers though… does that count?

  • Janessa says:

    Pina coladas are freakin amazing, I actually added some angostura last time I decided the calories were worth it, and it was heaven.

    There ain’t nothing wrong with wanting to live in a jimmy buffet song.

  • Nick says:

    Jagetmeister is something I found went pretty well in some cocktails only recently.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/features/how-jgermeister-changed-the-way-we-drink-8577209.html

    This article is pretty interesting and gives you two interesting ways the German’s employed to make it mix it.

    With bitter lemon or with ginger ale and bitters. Both pretty delicious!

  • Miguel says:

    Just read this post (better late than never), great “jagueritas” recipe! (thank u mr. cordoba).

    i personally believe that jager and cointreau make a great pairing even better if you have fresh citrus juices at hand.

    the baileys confession is but at least controversial…have you got any special irish cream recipes you like best?

    my personal crime are sgroppinos…i can drink jars of that sweet icecreamy, frozzen, lemon yoghurts.

  • Jake says:

    I work at a higher end restaurant on the island of Kauai but was trained in California on classic style cocktails. The drinks I get sent back are pina coladas. So I’ve made it a mission to perfect them. Luckily we don’t have a blender so I’ve resorted to other techniques.

    Recipe 1 calls for pineapple juice, lime juice, simple syrup coconut rum (Koloa) aquafaba and a fancy little peyxhauds bitters design on the froth served up in a cocktail glass.

    Recipe 2 calls for muddled banana, canned cream of coconut, pineapple juice, white rum and a tiny float of aperol served in a hurricane over fresh ice.

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