Dads are a special breed. Before history was ever recorded, they were protectors and providers. While they no longer need to teach their progeny to wrestle saber-toothed tigers into submission, these stoic giants do need to muster their considerable reserves of testosterone to pass on their accumulated wisdom. The world would be a far darker place without that guidance, so this Father's Day it would be wise to loosen dad's tongue with a bottle of spirits befitting your dad's stature as a man among men. After all, where would you be without his sage advice on car repair, lawn maintenance, or belching the alphabet on command?
It takes a special liquor to match up to the titanic masculinity of a good father. And while their roles have evolved over the years, the liquors found in their cups hasn't all that much. Rum, whiskey, vodka and tequila are the drinks of the men of yesteryear and the dads of today know that if something ain't broke, you don't fix it. These spirits were good enough for their pioneering forefathers – those who built cabins and cars from the ground up and would never even call an Appletini a cocktail, let alone drink one.
So before pulling a tie off the rack or snagging a bottle of Tim McGraw's latest scent this Father's Day, consider one of these bottles instead. They'll remind your dad of simpler times, not to mention that in this economy it never hurts to score a few brownie points in case you have to ask if you can move back in.
Jim Beam Devil's Cut – The Angel's Share is the term for the bourbon that evaporates through the porous barrels it's aged in. The Devil's Cut, according to Jim Beam, is the bourbon that is absorbed into the wood of the barrel but doesn't evaporate. Whether the distiller somehow squeezes the liquid out of the barrel staves or it's just the liquid that resides at the bottom of the barrel, the effect is dramatic – an incredibly oaky whiskey that exhibits all the character of the barrel. It's mixed with aged Jim Beam bourbon to moderate the flavors a bit, but make no mistake – this is to bourbons as Darth Vader is to fathers. Like Lord Vader, it's incredibly appealing and just over the top enough to be termed badass, like every dad wants to be. The oak has a huge punch, followed by vanilla and muted caramel and spice. In short, a whiskey dad would be proud to call his own.
Referent Horseradish Vodka – Father's Day often starts off with a Bloody Mary and if there's one place horseradish vodka could find a home, it's there. Sure, some dads will pour a finger or two of this stuff and throw it back straight, but where it shines is in savory drinks like the Bloody Mary or Dirty Martini. Luckily, those are two of the quintessential dad drinks. The spice in Referent isn't overbearing, but it does maintain that unique sinus clearing quality horseradish fans love. The vodka base is clean and smooth, though it still has that slight burn vodka drinkers tend to look for. Plus, it's distilled in Wisconsin, a state so manly that being a lumberjack is still considered a viable career there.
The Kraken – This 94 proof Caribbean rum bills itself as being as powerful as the mythical sea beast it's named for and as dark as the ink the creature is reputed to exude. The reality is that the coffee-like liquid within the Victorian bottle is a striking example of a spiced rum and a great pick for a dad looking for something a bit different to add to his morning coffee. The Kraken has a thick, almost viscous, texture that's surprisingly pleasant. Every swallow hits hard with chocolate, clove, cinnamon and ginger, with a heavy warmth that's nothing short of tropical. Best of all, few dads would turn down a bottle named for the creature mighty enough to bring Captain Jack Sparrow down into the briny deep.
Scorpion Mezcal Anejo 1 Year – Mezcal, tequila's cousin from the wrong side of the tracks, has increased in popularity in the last couple years. Now treated more like whiskey, this smoky liquid is often barrel-aged before being bottled, adding a whole lot of complexity and nuance. Despite this newfound sophistication, most bottles still get “The Worm” - a sort of caterpillar larva dropped in just before the bottle is sealed to add just the right touch of badassery. This particular bottle spent a year in oak barrels, gaining a gentle vanilla and ginger spice to go with the heavily smoky flavor of the mezcal. Any dad who enjoys tequila would likely be happy to step up his game and down the worm. Though, if he's throwing back the tequila in a frozen margarita, it may be wise to rethink this plan.