Chefs and bartenders tell us their Dads' favorite drinks
Dads usually have a few things in common: they crack awful/awesome jokes, wear Life is Good merch, and can generally be dropped off at any Brookstone in America and be distracted for a few hours. But every Dad is wonderfully different in their choice of drink -- some are beer guys, some love mispronouncing wine varieties, some do shots, and some eschew booze altogether. With the world's myriad Dads in mind, we polled some of the nation's top chefs and bartenders to see what their Dads prefer over anything else. Cell phone holsters excluded, of course.
"I was very lucky. My parents -- especially my dad -- loved his wines. Still does. His favorites are still the premiere French Bordeaux wines. Margaux is probably his all-time favorite. He's also a Francophile. He loves the routine and the way the French live; you take time when you eat. Enjoy. Of course, you have a couple of glasses of wine -- you've got to live. He still has some beautiful wines in Palo Alto when I visit. Some are going bad because he's been holding them for so long. A long time ago, I remember him drinking scotch, but that quickly went to wine, because that's a beverage you drink with food."
- Ming Tsai, executive chef at Blue Ginger, Blue Dragon
"Dad loves 'tsokolate tablea' -- it's traditional Filipino hot chocolate, made from single-origin pure cacao beans from regions in the Philippines, that are dried, roasted, and ground, then formed into tablets or discs. It is a heavenly, rich, thick bittersweet chocolate drink, worthy of celebration every single time it finds itself in Dad’s mug. My dad doesn't drink alcohol. And this is more interesting than Coca-Cola."
- Ria Neri, Cicerone at Bangers & Lace
"My dad's favorite drink is the King of Beers: Budweiser. I have vivid memories of getting my dad beers from the fridge during a Chicago Cubs game, a Bears game, a Bulls game. Ice cold, easy drinking -- it's a memory of great times with my old man."
- Dale Talde, executive chef at TALDE, Pork Slope, Thistle Hill Tavern
“I come from a long line of bourbon drinkers. My grandfather on my father's side drank Three Feathers -- neat. My father drank Wild Turkey while I was growing up, but has switched to Blanton's these days -- neat. I usually go for a Grand-Dad, sometimes Old Grand-Dad, and on a good day Pappy Van Winkle (my Grand-Dad of choice) -- neat, of course.”
- Andrew Zimmerman, executive chef at Sepia
"My dad was not a big drinker... apparently this trait skips generations or something. When he did drink, it was usually a beer, a rum & Coke, or a gin & tonic. The reason I know this is because while nursing his single drink, he would constantly name drop the drink... like anyone cared. We could be talking about Millard Fillmore's inaugural address and somehow he'd work his single gin & tonic into the conversation."
- Justin Warner, chef at Do or Dine
“My dad worked hard but lived happily. His drink of choice was Hennessy. It’s a far cry from mine (I’ve never been much into spirits but am a sl*t for Sauvignon Blanc). This Father’s Day, I would like to think my pop would be toasting up some Hennessy with my West Coast idol, Tupac.”
- Brian Malarkey, executive chef at Searsucker, Herringbone
"My dad is old-school -- nothing more enjoyable than a glass of Martell Cordon Bleu [Cognac] and a big cigar after supper. I still remember my first Cuban cigar with my dad while sitting on the beach in Negril drinking aged rhum: a taste memory forever.”
- Jonathon Sawyer, chef at Trentina
“My late father was an ex-Marine and loved ice-cold Old Milwaukee. A man's man by all accounts.”
- Tyson Cole, executive chef at Uchi
"My old man isn't really much of a drinker now, but I think because he was a surfer in his youth and has always talked fondly of the time he spent in the Caribbean, I have always seen him gravitate toward rum cocktails. He'll sip a rum & Coke after one of the Sag Harbor Summer sailboat races -- which he competes in -- and he has always said he likes the Hemingway Daiquiri I'll make for him, though he never makes it for himself."
- Nick Bennett, bar captain at Booker and Dax
"My father likes Beefeater gin Martinis, very dry with a twist. His father drank the same, but with olives and a twist. My dad’s parents had one Martini each and every day for many years with light snacks after work; I still vividly recall those happy-hour sessions when I would stay with my grandparents. I drink it all, but guess which one my old standby is...? Correct! It's gin. My new favorite gin Martini version, The Astoria, was introduced to me by my bar manager, Bill Anderson. Named after Waldorf himself, it’s made up of gin, vermouth, and orange bitters, stirred and served ultra cold with an orange twist."
- Paul Virant, chef/partner at Vie, Perennial Virant
"As a kid, I knew what good beers were because of my dad. While most of my friends' parents would reach for Bud Light or Corona, my dad would have the garage fridge stocked with Harpoon, Sam Adams, Ipswich, and other beers from our area that he'd pop open after mowing the lawn. I always bring interesting beers to sample when I go home to visit. Lately, we've started friendly competition with each other on who can make a better Old Fashioned."
- Zach Mack, proprietor of ABC Beer Co.
“My father, John Speer, a literal man, enjoys the finer points of life and prefers a modest glass of Kentucky bourbon.”
- Philip Speer, director of culinary operations at Uchi