The Devil is in the details

The other night, I was drinking with Satan (named so for his cocktail choice of a Satan’s Circus, a potent libation of rye, thai bird chili-infused Aperol, cherry herring, and lemon) and a group of other gentlemen rogues at The NoMad.[1] Looking around this group, it became readily apparent that the devil really is in the details.


See, this was a Friday after work impromptu cocktail, which means that casual attire was on display; nary a tie among the group.  Nonetheless, the group was extremely well-heeled thanks to an array of elegantly displayed pocket squares, tailored unlined cotton blazers, bespoke off-white seersuckers pants, contrast stitched slim-fit shirts, colored socks, and bench made shoes.  Looking around our group, it was clear that “business casual” no longer meant khakis and a polo shirt.  Time to up your game!

While business casual can mean a lot of different looks (usually describing the need to not wear a tie or even a suit), you can follow a few guidelines to make sure that you are still a rakish standout even without a suit (especially among those who dress like they just got done playing a round of 18).

As discussed in prior posts, your clothes (not only suits) should be tailored to fit your body.  Flat front pants are cleaner looking than pleated, and especially when the legs are tapered.  Contrast stitching, colored buttons, barrel cuff or even a Portofino (2-button turn back) cuff, or an interesting pattern can raise the bar for a shirt.  I also recommend a set of magnetic collar stiffs, such as
Würkin Stiffs, which will help to ensure that your collar doesn’t look like it came off the disco floor.  Casual looks also call for an elegant, in-your-face watch (I typically wear my IWC Big Pilot on these days since a 46mm is usually too big to go with a suit).  Finally, I can’t stress enough how much a blazer with a colored pocket square completes your look.  I am almost never seen without a pocket square because I believe that a suit pocket just looks incomplete without one.  However, on those days when I am not wearing a tie, a pocket square is even that much more of a necessity to me since it brings a splash of color to your look.

An elegantly casual day, calls for an elegantly casual drink. After all, you have earned such a drink after a long, hard week of work.  And my choice of reward for these types of evenings is a Vieux Carre.

.75 oz. Rittenhouse Rye
.75 oz. Cognac
.75 oz. Dolin Rouge Vermouth
1 tsp. Benedictine
2 dashes Peychauds Bitters
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
*** Stir over ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass and garnish with lemon peel

Since you have a long weekend coming up, make your next drink a de la Louisiane (a slight variation)

.75 oz. Rittenhouse Rye
.75 oz. Cognac
.25 oz. Benedictine
2 dashes Peychauds Bitters
1 splash of Absinthe
*** Stir over ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass and garnish with lemon peel

Since you are a gentleman, you should also order a casual drink for the lady on your arm. My suggestion (especially in this weather) is a Bramble.

1.5 oz. Hendrick’s Gin
.5 oz. Lemon juice
.5 oz. 1-1 part Simple syrup
2.5 oz. Fresh blackberries
***muddle the blackberries at the bottom of a glass. Add ice.  Then add remaining ingredients and stir. Fill up remainder of glass with ice and garnish with a blackberry.

As the Joker famously asked, “Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?” If you want her answer to be “yes,” follow Satan’s lead and ditch the polo.

[1] Congratulations to Leo and his staff for their inclusion in
Esquire’s Best Bars in America.