Five to nine

Have a drink.

October 18, 2004

The times, they are a'changin'

"... is the new black."
Any ugly duckling who has ever slipped into her first little black cocktail dress to find a babe on the other side of the mirror, will tell you that there is no new black. Not last fall when it was navy blue, not this fall when it's grey, not next fall when it'll be plaid.
There is no substitute for the classics, but there's replacements. This is true in all walks of life, and the bar is no exception. I like some of them more than others.
"Can I get..." is the new "I'll have..." I hate this one most of all. No you most certainly can not get. If you get your drinks, then what the hell am I doing here? You may have anything you'd like.
"Martini" is the new "Cocktail" Cocktails are stiff drinks served very cold and without ice in a biggish (3-4 oz.) serving. They are meant to be finished quickly and ordered often. Martini is one thing, and one thing only; Gin with some vermouth garnished with olives (in odd numbers for good luck).
Cosmopolitan is the new Martini. There's a million ways to make it, our most decadent pop idols loved them, and they've stuck. Gentlemen are increasingly realizing there's no shame in having a cosmo in public. They're pretty stiff, and you can probably get your lady-friend there to match you drink for drink.
Sour apple martini is the new Cosmopolitan. They're sweeter, stiffer, and come in a more exciting color.
Vodka is the new Gin. Believe it or not, once upon a time the American Constitution forbade something. This made it difficult to distill complex and tasty drinks that require much attention to the subtle balance of ingredients that give it flavor. During the same time period, the number of establishments that served booze tripled. How to meet the demand? Neutral spirits! Take something like grain (or potatoes) and ferment it into alcohol plain and simple, making sure to filter out as much of the flavor as possible. But the process isn't perfect, this stuff still tasted like crap. Solution? Flavor it with juniper berries, and it's like drinking a christmas tree! Nowadays however, we have titans of industry and technology. We can take grains and distill the hell out of them, leaving not even a hint of flavor or aroma. This is good vodka. Potato vodka is rare these days, but you can still find it. The good people at glacier vodka have an exceptional product, as do the folks at Belvedere, called 'Chopin' (incidentally, it is this Chopin that is fueling my entry tonight. It's a Polish vodka, and being a rightie, I am exceptionally pleased with the Poles these days).
Rude is the new Polite. The people who used to say "you can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar" never counted on their progeny's ability to manufacture vinegar. Maybe I'm exaggerating; having been raised in a strict, nearly Edwardian home, my standards for good manners may be archaic and unreasonable, but still, a smile and a 'please' will move a mountain outta your goddamn way.
These details of social interaction are always changing but I take it as a testament to the strength of our structure that the niches they fill are permanent. However, if the trend in ill-breeding continues, it may well sneak up on us and undermine our society. So everyone, take a minute to think about being polite and start practicing more. I do believe that a bar is a great place to start.
"Hello sir, may I please have a dirty vodka martini and a cosmopolitan for my lovely guest."

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