Perhaps not since the Great Depression has this country needed a collective drink. Thankfully, there's a new generation of bartenders, including Charles Joly, who have the skill to ease your pain. As the chief mixologist for The Drawing Room in Chicago, Joly focuses on pre-prohibition era drinks, though he can craft contemporary libations with the best of them. Seasonal, fresh and house-made ingredients are all part of his repertoire. Now you might be thinking that such skill would be wasted during a time when people are pinching pennies. But a number of surveys report consumers consider alcoholic beverages an affordable indulgence. And if you're going to spend more than $10 on a drink, don't you want it to be a good one? That's where Joly comes in. Last year his team placed second at the Cocktail World Cup (the highest any U.S. team has placed), and he was named a 2009 Rising Star by Cheers magazine. So, what would you rather have, a vodka-tonic or Joly's Nooner with whiskey, vanilla, maple syrup, ginger and orange bitters (recipe on page 50)? It won't restore your life savings, but it will restore your spirits.
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