Spirits

7 Cocktails.

Cocktail

Cocktail is an strictly American invention surrounded by many stories. Some claim it was a French lady in New Orleans entertaining French and American officers in her establishment gradually fall into serving mixed drinks the way they wanted them made and presented. This was in 1862. Others give credit to anonymous bartenders in New York to have created drinks popular with working people wanting to have a different flavour than straight spirits or beer.

Americans are still the biggest cocktail consumers in the world and any American bartender worth his/her salt claims credit for a drink invented. Many have also written bartending books, but the International Association of Bartenders is in the U. K.

This establishment has also a bartending book that sets international standards, if there can be any. The cocktail mixing world is unique because only the taste, presentation and imagination of the bartender matters. Obviously, people would want to try the concoction and see how it pleases their palates.

“Flaring” was invented in the U. S. A. and is much    admired by Americans who like flamboyant bartenders and enjoy watching their cocktails prepared in an entertaining fashion. Bartenders exercise constantly to invent new moves in throwing bottles in the air, flipping them, and catching them to pour in a long stream from afar. Flamboyant pushing full glasses on the clunter are also part of a flaring bartender’s repertoire. Essentially, they become entertainers cum bartenders. Some people just patronize a bar for the flaring bartender, to learn or to be entertained.

There is drama involved to be sure, but whether the drinks are any better is best left to be discussed by cocktail connoisseurs. Americans are enthusiastic about cocktails that wherever they travel in large enough numbers, they patronize bars that offer cocktails particularly in exotic locations. In tropical countries cocktails tend to be too sweet, contain locally produced spirits, and a lot of fruit juices and ice cubes. They may cause, if the water for ice cubes was contaminated, serious gastrointestinal problems or splitting headaches. In general, sweet cocktails should consume once in while or one per evening. Seasoned drinkers stick to “dry” cocktails such as Regular Martinis, Vodka Martinis, Manhattans, just to name a few staples.

Apparently, Martini cocktail was invented in the U. S. A. by a bartender in San Francisco’s Occidental Hotel. Originally, the cocktail was called Martinez, and eventually this, by the then popular drink (1910), was christened Martini after the bartender who invented the dry Martini. The original contains 2/3 dry gin and 1/3 white vermouth served with a twist of lemon. Dry Martini consists of mostly gin with a few drops of dry white vermouth and unpitted green olives. (A Martini must never be served with a stuffed olive).

To this day Martini, ups and downs not withstanding, is the world’s most popular cocktail. Gin distillers promote it all the time to encourage sales and many people like gin although they do not want to admit it. Therefore, Martini is essentially a gin drinker’s cocktail. Its simplicity makes possible to insist on high-quality gin and adherence to following well-establishes rules in mixing.

James Bond (007) “invented” the shaken Martini, but this is purely movie fiction. No self-respecting bartender will shake a Martini.

This cocktail must be gently stirred!

A perfect martini requires a high-quality gin, and these days there is  no shortage of high-end gins, starting with Tanqueray’s No.10, Bombay, Booth’s, Larios, Gordon’s just to name a few. Of course vermouth must be of high quality and dry, like Noilly Prat, or Cinzano or Martini e Rossi (no relation to the cocktail).

Vodka has become so poplar that many people now ask for a vodka martini, which is an oxymoron.

Martini must consist of gin and dry vermouth. Vodkatini may be a better name for a concoction of vodka and vermouth. In most bars these cocktails are served with a number of edibles i.e marinated stuffed olives and even a dirty vodkatini, which contains a little olive juice.  Some bartenders in the famous Mayflower Hotel in Washington D. C., close to the White House claim that they can tell by Martini sales how the economy will evolve. High volume means times are getting better, low means a recession is on the way.

 

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