50 Shades of Booze

Getting over our embarrassing love of trashy drinks
Tasting Table: 50 Shades of Booze
Make like the Titanic and hit this Iceberg

We've always admired the Dude. The man had no shame about his fondness for one of the uncoolest drinks on the planet, the White Russian.

Lately, some of our favorite bartenders have been channeling Jeff Bridges's character in The Big Lebowski, taking chances on drinks with bad reputations and giving them new (and better) lives:

The Gibson: At Booker and Dax in New York City, head bartender Tristan Willey turns this steakhouse staple on its head. Instead of a pickled cocktail onion, the gin-and-vermouth-based drink is centered by sweet-sour red onion syrup. And in a nod to the legendary nearby pub McSorley's, the drink comes with a paper plate of cheddar cheese and Ritz Crackers.

Frozen Margarita: The sandwich specialists in Portland, Oregon, have long had our hearts because of their one-handed lunches. But lunch isn't complete without one of the frozen margaritas at Bunk Bar. Drink it like the staff does: Order an Iceberg, in which a dollop of margarita slush is dropped into a pint of Full Sail.

Slow Comfortable Screw Up Against the Wall: Once a recipe for disaster, this drink has gained sophistication in the hands of the bartenders at Tradition in San Francisco. There, sloe gin is replaced with bourbon and supersweet Galliano is booted for absinthe.

Booker and Dax 207 Second Ave. New York NY 10003 212-254-3500 Bunk Bar 1028 SE Water Ave. Portland OR 97214 503-894-9708 Tradition 441 Jones St. San Francisco CA 94102 415-474-2284

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