I recently went to a new watering hole, all warm low-lighting and fancy bar menu designed by someone with interesting eyewear and a penchant for Copperplate. The drinks, with the clever names you’d expect from a hipster bar that requires a secret handshake to enter, were made out of exotic ingredients. My pal and I were parched so we just ordered up two Tanqueray & tonics.
No problem. I
can roll with a locally distilled and
ticked by. The thirst mounted.
Finally, our server appeared with a pair of ginger-colored cocktails gleaming in their old-fashioned
glasses. “Good news! We have this amazing tonic; it’s made from Peruvian tree
became the visual version of a needle scratching a record. Peruvian tree bark
in my gin & tonic. That explained the tea-stained color.
like to think I’m open minded. But hell if it didn’t taste vaguely like
cinnamon-laced apple. And it was as flat as Keira Knightley’s chest.
Needless to say, I sent that drink back to South America and gave my best
stinkeye to the bartender. Excuse me, mixologist.
bitters infused with rare herbs. Schnapps produced in a tiny Alpine hamlet only
during avalanche season. Drink names that combine the mixologist’s last
vacation destination with a weather phenomenon or natural disaster. No, I do
not want a Cabo San Tsunami, Amsterdammit! What’s next? Vodka made from Brussels
are easy to spot. Their plumage comes in the form of a natty vest and they all
vaguely resemble Joseph Gordon-Levitt. They have an extensive knowledge of Absinthe
and the ruined men who loved her, are judgmental of anyone else’s
cocktail-crafting abilities, and rejoice in taking half an hour to make a Ramos gin fizz (which, admittedly, is delicious).
While they follow
spirits trends, they pride themselves on being an exhaustive repository on all
things boozy. If you want the backstory on that 15-year-old Calvados, the
mixologist is your man. But if you want a drink without a side of “I
know better; let me make you a new and improved cocktail,” head to your closest
dive bar. You can get pissed drunk instead of pissed off.