Tonight, I went to a dive bar with some friends to watch the US vs. Australia women’s World Cup game. Why go to a dive bar? Well, the best bar in town definitely still qualifies as a dive bar. The homey signs that cover the wall and smoke filled air provide a strong contrast from my first experience at a bar: Ball and Biscuit in Indianapolis. I want to be clear that I’m not using dive bar negatively in this context. By dive bar, I simply mean a place that serves cheap alcohol and does not necessarily fret over maintaining a high quality of cocktails.
Dive bars can be quite seedy, but there’s something really nice about this quaint bar. A friend bartends there and my friends and I go there at least once a week, which has brought up an interesting challenge for me: how can I drink healthily at this bar? My friends all enjoy beer, so that’s their go-to drink. I am much more partial to cocktails. Often, however, if I try to order even a classic cocktail, such as an old fashioned or manhattan, the bartender does not know how to make it or does not have all the ingredients. Dive bars frequently only stock liquors and mixers that will move quickly, so specialized liquors, bitters, and mixers are out of the equation. Therefore, the best way to get consistent quality is to get a simple two or three ingredient cocktail without any obscure ingredients.
So, here I compiled a list of some of my favorite cocktails that are simple enough that they won’t get messed up, but also aren’t filled with sugar, like a rum and coke. *