Mixed drinks are problematic.
Now don’t get me wrong; a properly mixed drink can and often is a thing of absolute beauty. And that doesn’t mean it has to be a highball full of pretentiousness either, because I’ll take a cleanly-made Greyhound (that’s vodka and grapefruit juice for those of you keeping score at home) over something made with homemade cucumber bitters, aged bathtub gin from the depression, and lemon verbana limbs taken from the ancient tribes of Guadalajara any day of the week.
But again…that goes for a properly made mixed drink, and that’s becoming more and more of a rarity these days, even if you’re not shouting down a badly-haired bartender through a cloud of Ke@#$$#@%ha songs to get it. A lot of people, 75% of which are sorority girls with no sense of taste and an even lesser sense of fashion, think the goal of a mixed drink is to completely and utterly hide the taste of the alcohol you put into it. They’re wrong.
First off, the whole reason why alcohol tastes like it does is because it’s nature’s way of telling you that it’s poison. Surprise of all surprises, that’s also the reason why your body feels the need to forcefully eject the stuff out of your face once you’ve reached your 12th pomegranatetini: if it didn’t, you’d die. You’d die very quickly. Which is why most of the people who die that way do it off of some fruity-apple flavored nonsense and not, say, a batch of conservatively made scotch and sodas.
Second, alcohol is actually made to taste good by itself, barring the $5 plastic hip flasks lurking on the bottom shelf. There’s a real good reason why the people making this stuff feel the need to age their whiskey for 10 years in an oak barrel, or spend time finding the right breed of juniper to add to their gin, and it isn’t so your dumb ass can obliterate that carefully-made flavor with a liter of Pepsi. That finger of Bourbon deserves a chilled whiskey stone and a rocks glass, not a torn-up Wendy’s cup with fry grease sliding down the sides. You’re ruining a work of art if you pour it in there. Stop it.
I’m not saying you should just pull your spirits straight from the bottle. They’re not all made for that, and everyone’s not made for that either. Just make sure you can taste the stuff after you put it in your glass. Some old guys probably worked really hard on it, and it’d be a shame if you threw it up all over your DVD copy of Weekend at Bernie’s.
Here’s another piece of art for you: Child’s Attraction, from the late, great Nujabes. Enjoy your night, people.
Postscript: Since I decided to rant about drinks, I figured I should post a good one. Here goes:
Basil Gin Fizz:
Here’s what you need:
Basil Simple Syrup:
– 2 cups sugar
– 1 cup basil leaves
– 1 cup water
The Drinky Part:
– 3 oz. gin
– 2 oz. basil syrup
– 1 1/2 oz. lemon juice
– club soda
Here’s what you do:
Put the basil, sugar, and water into a small saucepan over medium heat, and stir until the sugar dissolves completely.
Once the sugar is dissolved, turn the heat up until the syrup starts to boil, then take it off the heat, cover the pan, and leave it until it’s completely cool.
Take the basil leaves out with a spoon or your hands or something.
Put the gin, syrup, and lemon juice in a cocktail mixer with ice and shake.
Strain into a highball glass with ice and top with club soda.