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Entertaining
11 Stiff Drinks for Patriotic Working Stiffs

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Labor Day began in the late 19th century as a celebration of the working class, who were, at that time, just starting to gain rights and recognition as a political force. Today, though, the holiday is fêted as a final summer hurrah. It’s a long weekend of cookouts and barbecues and the last chance to wear white pants. While we love a good grilling marathon as much as the next session sipper, we think there’s a way to refocus the holiday on the working man (and woman) while still partying it up using cocktails.

Here, eight patriotic and work-themed cocktails to return your Labor Day party to its labor-centric roots.

Matthew Kelly / Supercall
“Boilermaker” is the succinct moniker for a shot (usually a shot of whiskey) and a beer. How you drink your Boilermaker is up to you: Drop the shot into a pint glass full of beer, alternate sips of the shot and beer, or take the shot and chase it with the beer. However you choose to consume it, the combo is undeniably one of life’s simplest pleasures and a great way to toast the end of a grueling work day. Pour a shot-glassful of your favorite whiskey, a pint of your favorite beer, knock them both back and wipe the sweat from your brow.

The Essentials

beer
whiskey
Matthew Kelly / Supercall
The Americano may technically be an Italian creation, but it was named for Americans’ proclivity to sip the sparkling red highball all day long. As light as the best aperitif, as bubbly as any celebratory cocktail and as bitter as the working stiff after a long day’s work, the Americano is a foolproof way to chill out on your day off.

The Essentials

Campari
Sweet Vermouth
Club Soda
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Legend has it that American oil drillers working in the Persian Gulf in the 1950s inspired the Screwdriver because they would discretely stir vodka into their OJ using their handy screwdrivers. To make your own, add a shot (or two) of vodka to a highball glass with ice, top with orange juice, then do like an oil worker and mix it up with a screwdriver from your toolbelt. Or go big like an oil baron and batch up a whole pitcher to serve to a crowd.

The Essentials

orange juice
vodka
Matthew Kelly / Supercall

Monkey Wrench

A monkey wrench is a heavy adjustable wrench. It’s not very tasty. A Monkey Wrench, on the other hand, is a light, refreshing and delicious cocktail. It is very tasty. To make one, combine 1.5 oz light rum with 3 oz grapefruit juice, a few dashes of aromatic bitters and ice in a lowball glass and stir. Enjoy only after you are finished using a monkey wrench—never before.

Matthew Kelly / Supercall

Drop a plate of these Jello Shots off at the Labor Day picnic table and prepare for guests to salute. The proud red, white and blue don’t so much wave as they do jiggle, but as they’re packed with two berry flavors, condensed milk and plenty of vodka, you won’t hear us complaining.

The Essentials

Strawberry Jell-O
sweetened condensed milk
vodka
Matthew Kelly / Supercall

The Rusty Nail is burdened with both an unappetizing name and a key ingredient that has fallen out of favor with the cocktailing crowd (Drambuie, a honeyed scotch-based liqueur). But it is actually a great cocktail, especially after a hearty dinner. Sweet toothers can pour an easy 1:1 ratio of blended scotch to Drambuie for a classic iteration of the cocktail, but if you prefer your scotchtails scotchier, scale down the liqueur to taste. Simply pour both ingredients into a rocks glass, add ice, stir and try to ignore the fact that the color of your drink resembles a sharp, tetanus-inducing, rusty piece of metal.

The Essentials

blended scotch
Drambuie
lemon twist
Matthew Kelly / Supercall

Instead of gloppy, rocky, liquid sidewalk, this type of Cement Mixer produces a creamy-citrusy shot. Made with Baileys Irish Cream and fresh lime juice, it’s better than drinking actual cement—but not much. Save this shooter for late into the Labor Day party when a curdled mouthful of cocktail sounds like a good idea.

The Essentials

Irish Cream
Lime Juice
Matthew Kelly / Supercall

Labor Day is about taking it easy on this government mandated day of rest, so don’t spend the whole party mixing individual cocktails. Instead, throw together this star-studded, big batched drink and kick up your heels for the rest of the afternoon. It’s not being lazy; it’s working smart.

The Essentials

pinot grigio
Chambord
Pineapple Rum
Matthew Kelly / Supercall
It’s impossible to strain yourself while making Scotch and Sodas. Take a glass with ice, add the whisky, add the soda water and there you have it: a refreshing and impossible to mess up Highball. Whether you go with a cheap blended scotch or a single malt all depends on what type of working class hero you are.

The Essentials

Scotch
Soda Water
Matthew Kelly / Supercall
The full power of Don Corleone is held within each Godfather cocktail. Legend has it that Marlon Brando was a fan of mixing up scotch and nutty amaretto, and his sipper of choice took on the name of his most famous character. After all the work you’ve done, you deserve something Godfather worthy.

The Essentials

Scotch
Amaretto
Matthew Kelly / Supercall
You can’t go wrong with a classic like the Old Fashioned. The cocktail is like drinking straight whiskey, but sweetened up with a little sugar and made more complex with some bitters. It was one of the most fashionable drinks around in the 19th and 20th centuries, and today, it’s a drink for the masses that can be ordered at just about any bar.

The Essentials

Bourbon
Sugar Cubes
Bitters

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