The best defence is a good offence, not least of all in the cocktail cabinet, as this little-known classic amply demonstrates.
"On paper, it looks boozier than it really is," says Steve McDermott, bar manager at pioneering Brisbane watering hole The Bowery, of The Attack. "The Sherry in the mix lowers the alcohol. It's actually very palatable and pretty easy-drinking.'' A bit of a misnomer then? "The Attack cocktail will certainly get your night off to a good start.'' McDermott recommends making your own grenadine (dissolve a cup of sugar in a cup of pomegranate juice on the stove and cool) rather than using too-sweet commercial varieties. "This would have been shaken originally, but stirring gives the drink more clarity," he adds. The original recipe, which appears in Harry McElhone's 1927 Barflies and Cocktails, doesn't call for a garnish, but McDermott says the drink benefits from a lemon twist. Charge! The Bowery, 676 Ann St, Fortitude Valley, Qld, (07) 3252 0202.
THE BOWERY'S ATTACK COCKTAIL
Add 40ml Calvados, 20ml fino Sherry, 20ml Cognac, a dash of anise-flavoured liqueur ("Pernod works fine," says McDermott, "or you could give your glass a rinse with Absinthe"), a dash of grenadine and a dash or two of Angostura bitters to a chilled mixing glass, then add ice to nearly fill. Stir smoothly for 40 seconds, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist and serve without delay.