Five to nine

Have a drink.

December 02, 2004


Is the generic term for having alcoholic drinks. Unlike highballs and lowballs, cocktails are hard to make. They're strongly alcoholic and don't have any ice to hide behind. They're about 3-4 ounces, served WELL chilled, and meant to be finished quickly. Five or six effective sips at most. If the cocktail is too much bigger than that, it will warm up before you finish it, and that can lead to trouble. The average cocktail ratio is about 4 parts liquor to one part mixer, chilled and poured through a strainer to avoid the ice. Since BAC is a function of alcohol consumed and the time it was consumed in, these are especially effective and popular in timed situations (Happy hour, cocktails and Hors D'Oeuvres before dinner, etc.)
Much to my chagrin, there in modern ignorant bar society, these drinks are referred to as martinis. cocktail glasses as martini glasses. They are not martinis. Not apple martinis, not sapphire martinis, not lemon drop martinis. And certainly not martini glasses.
A Martini is a gin cocktail softened with vermouth. People nowadays don't really like gin or vermouth. Most people who have a 'Martini' will have a vodka martini much much too dry. Shaken not stirred. That looks nice, especially with the Olives. But it does not taste like a Martini. It's just cold vodka, watered down, that you paid way too much for.
Before I get ahead of myself, there's two different ways to cool a cocktail. James Bond has taken the effort to make them famous, I will make the effort to explain the difference. Shaking is fast and effective, and it tends to crack the ice in your shaker. The harder you shake, the more water is added to your drink. When your drink has no juice or sugar-water mixers, you want to avoid diluting the liquor and liqueur combinations with water. And James bond notwithstanding, Martinis, Manhattans, Margaritas, etc. should all be stirred then strained. never shaken.
Along with the already mentioned cocktails, some other favorites include manhattans, bourbon manhattans, rob roys, gimlets, parisians, cosmopolitans, and my personal favorite drink in the world,
the Aviation.
Look it up. It's obscure, but tasty without being gross, sweet without being sickly, and pretty without being ostentatious.