By Laura Weeks | Photos by Griffin Harrington

Ben StoutHis last name might be Stout, but he’s more of a liquor guy.

Ben Stout, a junior economics and political science double major, doesn’t have the average college student’s alcohol collection. There’s no Smirnoff and certainly no plastic handles of Burnett’s. Instead, displayed on a tall bookshelf in a corner of his Urban Exchange living room are glass bottles of some of alcohol’s top-shelf brands: Disaronno, Tanqueray, Wild Turkey and Svedka. In his freezer, a bottle of homemade limoncello strong enough to make an Italian shudder.

Ben Stout

“Sometimes when I go into New York City, I’ll have a drink at a bar that’s really cool, and I’ll try to make it here,” says Stout, who created his “NYC Nights” drink after celebrating New Year’s Eve in the city.

Though Stout, who’s also vice president of the JMU Society of Entrepreneurs, doesn’t have any plans to become an official bartender, he’s happy to impress his friends. He and his roommate recently hosted a “Mad Men” party, complete with music from the 1960s and a list of 35 cocktails.

“My roommate and I are really into the show, and a lot of our friends are too,” Stout says. “We have a pretty nice apartment, and we thought it would be cool dress up in character in clothes from that era.”

Because he’s just 21, Stout says bartenders, especially those in Harrisonburg, are usually surprised at his sophisticated drink requests.

“I ordered a drink at Dave’s that the bartender didn’t know,” Stout says, referring to a popular Italian drink made with Campari, a bitter before-dinner alcohol.

While his drinks might be a bit more complicated than a rum and coke, he’s quick to note a few basics all college students should have in their liquor cabinets: vodka, gin and bourbon. Quality glasses are another necessity.

“They make everything classier,” Stout says. “Even if it’s a shitty drink, if it’s in a nice glass, people think
that it’s better.”

 

 Ben’s drinks:

Ben pouring

After 8 Martini:

2 parts vodka
1 part peppermint Schnapps
1 part crème de cocoa

1. Shake ingredients over ice over ice until well frosted.
2. Strain into a chilled martini glass.

 

 

Ben StoutChocolate Raspberry Martini:

2 parts Stoli Raspberry
1 part crème de cocoa
1 part Irish crème
Chocolate to garnish

1. Shake ingredients over ice until well frosted.
2. Strain into a chilled martini glass.
3. Garnish with shaved chocolate.

 

Espresso Martini
Espresso Martini

Espresso Martini:

2 parts espresso
1 part vodka
1 part Kahlua
Splash of milk
Chocolate to garnish

1. Shake ingredients over ice until well frosted.
2. Strain into a chilled martini glass.
3. Garnish with shaved chocolate.

 

 

Ben Stout's Sour Italian
Ben Stout’s Sour Italian

Sour Italian:

2 parts Disaronno
1 part limoncello

1. Shake ingredients over
ice until well frosted.
2. Strain into a chilled
cocktail glass.