Slideshow: Staff Picks: Our Go-To Drinks

Improved Whiskey Cocktail
Improved Whiskey Cocktail

"I’ve been in love with this cocktail ever since reading it in David Wondrich’s Imbibe!, because it's straightforward to create, yet alluring and complex. It starts with a base of whiskey (2 ounces bourbon), simple syrup (1 teaspoon), and bitters (a few dashes of Angostura). Instead of stopping there, it gets a couple dashes of maraschino liqueur and absinthe. The small amount means that neither overwhelms the drink; they two just pull the drink in odd ways, making you wonder what is going on. The drink is also built in a rocks glass, which means I can have one while being supremely lazy at the same time."—Nick Kindelsperger, SE Chicago editor

[Photo: Nick Kindelsperger]

Pabst Blue Ribbon
Pabst Blue Ribbon

"I've said it before and I'll say it again, proudly: There's nothing more refreshing after a long day's work than an ice cold PBR. I crack one whenever I'm feeling stressed, hot, or just need to relax for a few minutes. Like a good soda, I can drink it without thinking too hard or feeling like I have to challenge myself, but unlike a soda, the sweetness doesn't get to me. It's light enough in alcohol that it won't affect my performance if I still have a bit of work to get done later on, but it's got enough that if I feel like it, I can drink a few and get a decent little buzz going. I don't care it if makes me a philistine or a hipster, I like my PBR, and I'm going to stick with it!"—J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, Chief Creative Officer

[Photo: Robyn Lee]

Whatever's Sour and Bitter
Whatever's Sour and Bitter

"I find that cocktail menus at bars often tell you the ingredients, but not the style of the drink—is it boozy and rich? Light and refreshing? You can sometimes guess if something's smoky (if you spot mezcal or Scotch) or fizzy (Champagne, soda, 'served tall') but I find it's best to ask which drink is in the style you're craving. For me, that's almost always sour and bitter. I want whichever drink is really tart from lots of lemon, lime, or grapefruit, and I definitely have a weakness for bitter amari and aperitifs. (At home, I'm most likely to sip bittersweet Punt e Mes on the rocks, or pull out a few bottles of bitter stuff for friends to try.)"—Maggie Hoffman, Drinks editor

[Photo: Maggie Hoffman]

Negroni
Negroni

"My daily go-to drinks are grapefruit juice, coffee, and red wine. But when I'm going out for cocktails, it's a good Negroni that I'm after. I got hooked on the bitter, palate perking flavors of Campari in Italy (where you can order a Campari and soda without having people look at you like you're a teenager who heard about that drink in an old movie and wants to give it a try.) A Negroni is C&S's elegant older sister: potent, complex, and the perfect thing to get you in the mood for dinner, or help you digest it."—Carrie Vasios Mullins, Sweets editor

[Photo: Craig Cavallo]

A Bloody Mary
A Bloody Mary

"Recently I've been obsessed with Bloody Marys, and not just with brunch. It all started with McClure's Bloody Mary mix and White Pike whiskey, but I've since gone on to make variations with smoked salt and mezcal. Sometimes I just want a savory rather than sweet drink and this totally hits the spot."—Tracie Lee, Designer

[Photo: Alice Gao]

Daiquiris
Daiquiris

"I drink a lot of daiquiris. Not blended with coconut or strawberry, but the real kind—rum, sugar, lime. They're ridiculously simple to make; I always have the ingredients at home, and any bar that has fresh lime juice can make a respectable version. I've also been traveling quite a bit recently, with time in Thailand and in the Caribbean, and both countries drink an awful lot of rum. Most bars could handle a daiquiri order no problem, and even in a hotel room, cheap rum + squeezed lime + simple syrup made from coffee-service sugar packets is pretty easy to wrangle."—Carey Jones, cocktail / 'Ask a Bartender' columnist

[Photo: Robyn Lee]

Sweet Milk Tea
Sweet Milk Tea

"When you're like me and don't drink coffee or alcohol and rarely soda or juice, you're not left with much. I drink water 95 percent of the time. After water, the drink I consume the most (especially during winter) is sweet milk tea. I'm not picky about tea; I'm happy with generic black tea. After it's done steeping, I add a spoonful of sugar and a few glugs of heavy cream. If there's condensed milk lying around, I'll use that instead of sugar and heavy cream. I definitely consume too much sugar through milk tea."—Robyn Lee, Staff Photographer & AHT editor

[Photo: Robyn Lee]

Beer of the Strong, Hoppy Variety
Beer of the Strong, Hoppy Variety

At the end of a long day, I tend to go straight for the beer. When I'm drinking out, I'll usually try labels I'm unfamiliar with, but when it comes to my grocery store selection, I like to grab a six-pack of Lagunitas IPA (Maximus if it's been a really long day) or a pale ale—Dale's, Brooklyn Brewery, and Sierra Nevada are all on my rotation. And if Dogfish Head happens to be on hand, I'll happily snatch up some 60- or 120-minute IPAs, too. I'm not sure if this is sacrilegious, but I almost never pour my drinks into a glass—doesn't matter if it's soda, water, or beer. There's just something about the feel of a cold bottle or can in my hand that I love."—Niki Achitoff-Gray, Associate Editor

[Photo: Sarah Postma]

Moscow Mule
Moscow Mule

"Moscow mules have to be one of the tastiest drinks ever invented. The most basic formulation (vodka, ginger beer, and lime) is hard to beat, but add a dash of Angostura bitters, a splash of tropical fruit juice, or even a spring of mint and you've got something really delicious."—Erin Jackson, AHT Contributing Editor

[Photo: Erin Jackson]