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You might call him your old man, but there’s no need to make your pops feel too ancient on Father’s Day – even if he is an old-fashioned kind of guy. (What? I’m talking about the cocktail, not his tendency to become utterly confused by the act of sending a photo via text.)
He might not know it, but the classic brown spirits – bourbon, rye, whiskey, rum and Scotch – are mounting a comeback, enjoying a renaissance among cocktail fans and experts. The following spirits will not only show your appreciation but reassure him that he’s still got it.
The name says it’s young, but Hudson Baby Bourbon from Tuthilltown Spirits is a pioneer: as the first legal pot-distilled whiskey made in New York since Prohibition, and the first bourbon whiskey ever to be distilled in the state, it could be seen as the granddaddy of the small batch spirits craze. This spirit raised a whole family of Hudson-distilled liquors; Dad can relate.
Get it now: Hudson Baby Bourbon, $55 from Tuthilltown Spirits
For men who want something truly distinctive, Copper Fox Rye, from iconoclastic Virginia distiller Rick Wasmund, appeals to dads who like to drink a little off the beaten path. Made one barrel at a time, the spicy, woodsy blend gets a long smoke over apple and cherry woods for a singular, unusual rye flavor that makes any guy’s Old-Fashioned taste a little fresher.
Get it now: Copper Fox Rye, $46 from Copper Fox
Let the college kids have their coconut drinks and their bottles with a cartoon character on the label. Real men go for Brinley Gold Shipwreck Rum, aged four years in oak with subtle – not cloying – spices like nutmeg and clove. If your dad’s a Cuba Libre fan, he’ll find it spot-on when mixed, but it’s so smooth he can sip it neat like a Scotch.
Get it now: Brinley Gold Shpiwreck Rum, $25 from Brinley Gold Shipwreck
Speaking of Scotch, even guys who can’t take the peaty, smoky tones of most Islay single malts will feel like kings of the castle with a glass of Macallan 12-Year Scotch in their hands. With creamy vanilla undertones from its time aging in sherry casks, it’s one of Scotland’s most accessible spirits, but still sophisticated enough to bring an air of debonair to the evening.
Get it now: Macallan 12-Year Scotch, $46 from The Macallan
Or keep Dad on the cutting edge of small batch distillation with legal moonshine. Yes, it’s true! Death’s Door White Whiskey has all the warmth of a traditional brown spirit, but the cool look of gin: it’s completely clear. Double distilled from organic Wisconsin wheat and malted barley and barrel aged, it’s deceptively complex for something you can see right through.
Get it now: Death's Door White Whiskey, $41, from Death's Door Spirits