Book Review: Old Man Drinks: Recipes, Advice, and Barstool Wisdom

Book Review: Old Man Drinks: Recipes, Advice, and Barstool Wisdom

This slim little novelty book from Robert Schnakenberg is as harmless as it is cute: A collection of “Old Man Drink” cocktail recipes, paired with photos of old codgers sitting on barstools and quotes condensing their wisdom into various aphorisms.

Many of the drinks are indeed nothing that anyone under the age of 55 would likely consider ordering – Rolls-Royce, Sloe Gin Fizz – but the vast majority are simply classic cocktails like the Bloody Mary, Manhattan, and Sazerac, stuff that is suitable for all ages. Only a couple of cocktails, like the Bellini, seem not to fit the book’s title at all. I’ve never seen a man drink a Bellini in any seriousness, much less a retiree.

The old man quotes are about what you’d expect, not so much advice but more angry snaps of the complaint variety, heavily focused on the evils of politics, the evils of working for The Man, and – especially – the evils of women. Old Man has to drink, it seems, because Old Lady drove him to it.

The funny thing is that in the black and white photos that adorn the interior of the book – a less attractive collection of pictures I’ve never seen – it’s pretty clear that real Old Men don’t drink Rob Roys and Pisco Sours very often. Seen here, posing with their favorite tipples, these crusty characters invariably seem to head for the truly Old Man standbys of beer and whiskey, straight. I imagine Schnakenberg’s time spent with these dudes to collect his quotes and photographs was quote the experience. Now get off their damn lawn.


Old Man Drinks: Recipes, Advice, and Barstool Wisdom




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.

1 Comment

  1. Anonymous on June 5, 2011 at 9:12 am

    Whenever I can, I try to find a bar that will make me a vesper. It is the true James Bond Martini from his first book, “Casino Royale.” Here ’tis: 3 measures Gordon’s English Dry Gin, 1 measure vodka, 1/8-1/4 measure Lillet Blonde. Yes, it is shaken not stirred. I make these myself, but it is hard to find Lillet Blonde; and anyway, two is definitely my limit.

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