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10 Deceptively Strong Cocktails

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Sometimes the name of a drink hints at exactly how much booze you’re about to imbibe—consider the Bee Sting, the Kamikaze and the Hurricane, to name a few. But for every cocktail that screams “booze!” there’s another that slips by unnoticed thanks to a cutesy name, fruity flavor or colorful appearance. Though you may feel fine after a few sips—or even a second coupe—these 10 unexpectedly boozy cocktails will catch up with you sooner or later.

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On first consideration, the French 75 seems harmless enough: One sip of the golden, effervescent cocktail will engulf your palate in sparkling, citrusy clouds. But don’t be fooled by its sophisticated facade—the fizzy flute contains two ounces of gin, so sip slowly or that refill will sneak up on you like a bat out of hell.

The Essentials

Gin
lemon juice
Champagne
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Never trust a tropical drink to go light on liquor—especially one that’s garnished extravagantly and proffered by a bartender wearing a lei. Tiki cocktails often contain enough fruit juice, nutty mixers and secretive spices to mask a potent blend of rums, and the Pearl Diver is an excellent example of the style. It’s spiked with three kinds of rum, but you’d never know it thanks to the addition of Don’s Gardenia Mix, a sweet and buttery mixer that that helps this drink go down way too easily.

The Essentials

gold rum
Don’s Gardenia Mix
Fresh Orange Juice
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If you’re a little heavy handed with the liquor in most cocktails, you’re bound to notice a distinctly boozy flavor. But combine five types of booze in a single glass, and somehow they restrain each other to achieve wondrous harmony. That’s the magic of the Long Island Iced Tea, the oversized, super-spiked masterpiece that is the bane of every 21-year-old’s existence come Sunday morning.

The Essentials

All Clear Spirits
Lemon Juice
Cola
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Thanks to its simplicity and balanced flavor, the Old Fashioned has managed to stand up to the test of time. But there’s not much more to the recipe than slightly diluting straight whiskey with sugar and bitters. Though it’s easy to throw one of these sweet, ice-cold drinks down, take care to sip slowly or you’ll wind up with a searing hangover.

The Essentials

Whiskey
bitters
sugar cube
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Lurking beneath its demure pink surface, this cocktail has a serious dose of attitude. Frothy egg white and grenadine may initially make it seem as sweet as its brandied cherry garnish, but that’s only a guise to mask a potent base of gin and applejack. Trust us: This biting coupe will gang up on those who underestimate its strength.

The Essentials

Gin
Applejack
Grenadine
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Beachy drinks have a reputation for easy sipping, but this amped up version of a Hemingway Daiquiri doesn’t do sleepy R&R. The slushy swaps out the Daiquiri’s simple syrup for Cointreau, ditches the fruit juice and packs in three ounces of booze, giving the Beachcomber less fluff and more punch than Hemingway’s preferred sip.

The Essentials

White Rum
Cointreau
Maraschino
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Red Bull and vodka is de rigueur in clubs for a reason: It fuels absolute bedlam. While the combo has become infamous, the mix of caffeine and booze is a tricky beast, no matter if you’re mixing with energy drinks, cold brew or green tea. The vodka in the drink makes you think you can do anything, while the energy drink gives you the energy to try.

The Essentials

Vodka
triple sec
Red Bull
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This punch may date back to 1732, but that just goes to show that early Philadelphians knew how to get the colonial party started. Black tea and lemon juice make it easy to ladle out another cup without thinking, but also keep in mind that it has a hefty base of dark rum, Cognac and peach brandy. In other words, watch yourself as the punch bowl drys up.

The Essentials

dark rum
Cognac
peach brandy
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The Rusty Nail may seem like something your grandfather drinks before nodding off in his recliner, but this two-ingredient cocktail is not to be taken lightly. Though Drambuie quells the intensity of the scotch, its honeyed flavor only covers up the fact that it’s basically just more scotch. Turns out grandpa knows what he’s doing.

The Essentials

blended scotch
Drambuie
lemon twist
Matthew Kelly / supercall
Anyone who’s attended a Christmas party knows that Eggnog is often the sweet downfall of many unsuspecting holiday revelers. You may have even seen your parents let loose after a couple of glasses, but that’s nothing compared to what would happen if you unleashed a pitcher of George Washington’s go-to recipe. While most ‘Nogs are spiked with one or two kinds of liquor, this presidential sipper contains brandy, rye, rum and sherry—the founding fathers weren’t messing around.

The Essentials

All the brown spirits
eggs
milk

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