Last Gasp of a Dinosaur
by Darcy O'Neil on August 06, 2010
There is an interesting post over at the Bartending Magazine blog about the new complex nature of cocktails. To summarize the post, the author laments the fact that progress is interfering with “classic cocktails”, like the Rum & Coke and Screwdrivers, because these newfangled cocktails require things like egg whites and uncommon liqueurs. From the post one thing is apparent, he’s either lazy or conservative (in the change is bad type way). But really, this speaks volumes of how far the cocktail community still needs to go to convince people that drinks can be enjoyed as a unique creation. There are still influential people out there, who write for magazines, that don’t embrace an interesting cocktail.
This type of article is too easy to rip apart, so I’ll make a few points. Vodka and orange juice is not a classic, it’s what you drink when you have a hangover. Striving for the lowest common denominator is a waste. Never wanting to achieve anything new or creative in life is bizarre, and then trying to infect the world with your “might as well die now” attitude is even worse.
I have no problem with journeymen bartenders who do their thing well, and I respect the talents of flairtenders (because I can’t even juggle), I can even respect the bar school instructors who teach the basics and focus on quality, but don’t rip on people for trying to be unique. I’ll rip on people for being lazy, seeking personal attention at the expense of service (flairtenders, I’m looking in your direction) and those who claim cleavage is all you need to be a bartender, because those things don’t make bartenders look professional.
The bartending world is at an interesting point in time. There are people who would like to keep it as it was in the late 1980s (change is bad types), and there are others who look to develop it into a more respectable profession. The conflict seems to come from the inherent insecurity of the Bartending Magazine types who see these new trends as something that could make them obsolete. Once people start enjoying a good cocktail, they won’t go back to a Screwdriver, and if that’s the only option, they won’t be tipping generously for it. Here’s an old post from 2007 that clearly demonstrates my point: Cocktail Hall of Shame
As the world evolves there will be winners and losers. The problem is that the losers tend to go out in an epic hissy-fit as they pass into history. For the evolving world of mixology, and the bartenders who embrace it, be prepared for more of these types of articles from those who are too lazy to change. But, the future looks bright because if wine and beer are indicators of people's tastes for drinks, quality and flavour are where it is going.
Audios to bad cocktails and bad bartenders.