The Cocktail Alton Brown Swears By

When it comes to food, Alton Brown is a chef worth listening to. His basic approach is grounded in science and a solid appreciation for American food, but his inquisitive spirit keeps things fresh and he's always on the hunt for the best way to do something. He's always surprising us with a new approach to something classic, like his explanations for how to carve a turkey, or showing us how adding preserved lemons to make lemonade even tastier (per Eat This Not That).

While Brown isn't immune to health considerations (via Very Well Fit), he recognizes the importance of taste enhancers, and has famously discussed "The Virtues of Lard" to skeptical Americans (per YouTube). His straightforward, step-by-step explanations, rooted in good sense and solid knowledge of chemistry, could convince some of us to do almost anything he suggests. While he experiments with foreign flavors, his recipes have a decided homegrown flair: Brown embraces the Southern food that is his heritage (via Southern Living), and while Tex-Mex features prominently in his repertoire, most of his cooking is American in flavor and spirit, with a kick–the man loves his hot sauce

His cooking is traditional, with a delightfully eccentric modern twist. And his favorite cocktail fits right in.

Bourbon at its base

What is Alton Brown's favorite tippler? A boulevardier. This classic combines American bourbon or rye with Campari and sweet vermouth. It's substantial, but layered, like Brown himself. American at its base, with fortified wine and a bitter orange liqueur for depth. And it has a fascinating history to boot. 

The boulevardier dates back to the Prohibition Era (via A Couple Cooks). During Prohibition, cocktails abounded throughout the United States, in part to disguise many of the sub-par alcohols they were made with (per Imbibe), but many bartenders were forced to flee the country — or go into another line of work. The Boulevardier was first created at the famed Harry's Bar in Paris, a favorite watering-hole for expats living in France. Seems that the drink was named for Erskine Gwynne, an interesting sort himself: Part of the Vanderbilt family, he was born into privilege, but enlisted and fought in World War I. A racing enthusiast as well as a publisher, Gwynne was quite the socialite and was reputed to have a collection of over 1,200 suits (per Time). The name comes from the magazine Gwynne founded,  which both Time and Imbibe refer to as a sort of "Parisian New Yorker." The name of the magazine? The "Boulevardier."  

An American original, created in Paris, in honor of a quirky American, complete with a funny orange spirit most Americans hadn't even heard of yet (per Imbibe). Good choice, Mr. Brown.