NICK BENNETT - BOOKER AND DAX (New York, NY)
"Don’t get me wrong, the Mojito is, and will always be, a delicious beverage. Rum, lime, and mint? How could that be bad? It’s not. It’s freaking awesome. My beef with the mojito stems from the fact that it too easily becomes a sloppy mess. Muddling the mint too ferociously will tear it up and result in loose little bits of mint leaves that inevitably end up in my teeth. The balance between just the right amount of mint and too much mint is very easily crossed and can imbalance the cocktail. If given the option, try a Queens Park Swizzle, which forces whole mint leaves to the bottom of the glass and floats some bitters on top for a wonderful transition of flavors. Or, perhaps a Bangkok Daiquiri (Booker and Dax’s cocktail consisting of white rum, lime juice, and nitro-muddled thai basil leaves) for a more herbal riff on the same idea."
Underrated: Harvey Wallbanger
"One of the few cocktails to have survived the Seventies, often called the Death Valley of cocktail eras, this has to be one of the least appreciated cocktails. When lime cordials were replacing fresh juice and American schnapps were being overused to make drinks, this vodka-based recipe utilized fresh orange juice and a float of an oft-under appreciated Italian herbal liqueur, Galliano. For some reason, you can always find this 3ft tall bottle in a dark corner in every bar, hidden behind the more recognizable Campari or Fernet. Brush the dust off the bottle and give this cocktail a try."
TODD MAUL - CLIO (Boston, MA)
"Bad white rum, mint, lime, white sugar, and soda water. It’s one dimensional and thin; even with a great rum the drink is okay. The white sugar just adds sweet nothing to the overall flavor."
Underrated: Le Ti'Punch
"We make our own sugar syrup from real sugarcane Clement V.S.O.P Rhum and lime. This drink has all the flavor of real sugar. It blends beautifully with the Agricole Rhum, and it is a true expression of sugar."
GARRETT MIKELL - GENERAL LEE'S (Los Angeles, CA)
Overrated: Moscow Mule
"Regretfully, it's the Moscow Mule. Used to be the gateway drug to virgin patrons of the craft cocktail movement. It was made with pride because we knew it was palatable and bright and flavorful, and that it really embodied the basic qualities of what the movement represented. I think that it's now become an easy go-to for a crowd that doesn't necessarily appreciate a great cocktail program, and that even as bartenders, it's kind of the new 'vodka soda'. Snobby douches we are."
Underrated: Whiskey Sour
"A properly shaken sour is such a wonderful piece of f**king art. When garnished with the appropriate measure of bitters, I can think of nothing that fits every season so perfectly. The warming of the whiskey and bitters, the crisp, velvety refreshment of the egg white -- just enough sugar to take you back to your grandmother's lemon ice box pie. Man, that's going to go away soon. Not whiskey sours. Proper lemon ice box pie."