"I pray thee let me and my fellow have A hair of the dog that bit us last night— And bitten were we both to the brain aright. We saw each other drunk in the good ale glass." —John Heywood, 1546
Long before the Bloody Mary, the Screwdriver, the Martini, the Margarita, and the Daiquiri appeared on the scene, alcohol lovers were drinking Mint Juleps, Sazeracs, Old Fashioneds, and Manhattans—all of which shared one common ingredient: whiskey. Even today, when so many new cocktails are based on vodka, rum, or tequila, such classics as the Whiskey Sour are shaken and poured from coast to coast. Whiskey remains a constant favorite.
Liqueurs, those sweet after-dinner drinks, are available in a remarkable range of flavors, including apricot, mint, peach, cherry, coffee, and orange. Proprietary brands, whose exact formulations are closely guarded secrets, are more subtle in flavor and offer more complex tastes. Nevertheless, each has a dominant flavor that defines its particular personality and appeal, which also makes it a useful and intriguing ingredient in mixed drinks.