Posted on February 07 2018
Walk into today’s upscale bar or lounge and you might find yourself transported back a few decades. A renaissance of sorts has emerged. The mixed drink seems to be holding strong against the microbrews and craft beers that permeate the drinks landscape. With the constant stream of new flavors and formulas of the classic vodka and bourbons as well as a resurgence of some ‘blast from the past’ cocktails, the drinks game has become fast paced and ever changing. Gin is taking a break from its usual running mate, Tonic and meeting up with some old friends like, Bitters, Vermouth and citrus juice. The rules are, pardon the pun, fluid but one fact holds true; make a cocktail that people want to talk about and they will come back for another round.
The nostalgia of prohibition-style cocktails, no doubt aided by the dashing Jon Hamm, has spurred market trends in bar menus as well as the education of the purveyors of these fine beverages. Bartenders, or mixologists if you like silly words, are no longer content with twisting open some long necks and serving them up in a promotional bucket. With a dash and a squeeze and a zest here and there, these throwbacks to a by-gone era are bringing back complex flavors and tastes for a new generation of Manhattan, Old Fashioned and Tom Collins drinkers. Order a Gimlet and you no longer get a blank stare from the guy behind the bar who thinks you are talking about something from the Hobbit.
A classic cocktail needs classic glassware. Serving your Whiskey Sour in a plastic cup is not unheard of but a stemmed sour glass or even a double rocks glass allows the color and presentation to be the first impression. A bartender who considers themselves something more than just a beer slinger would not think of finishing a Martini or Gibson in anything other than the proper piece of martini stemware. The first impression is always important. Now, how about the first, and just as crucial, the last taste?
Just because a drink was invented a century ago does not mean the technology of your favorite bar has to be. So, your drink of choice is ‘on the rocks’. The first tastes are cool, refreshing and full of the flavor for which you bought the drink. However, the last sips are a pale, watery shadow of the former glory that once was your Mule. You need ice that melts slower and maybe even looks nice in your crystal-clear rocks class. Manitowoc, an industry leader in ice makers, has come up with the machine to produce the perfect cube for your signature drink.
The Large Gourmet cube is a 2-inch cylinder of machine-made, clear ice that fits well into the standard rocks glass and melts slowly for a full-flavored drink from top to bottom. Smaller cubes are fine for fountain drinks and iced tea. But the refined flavors of today’s gourmet cocktails deserve to be chilled with a more elegant choice in ice. With less total surface area, the Large Gourmet cube traps more of the frozen water in the cube and less in your Mojito.
So, binge watching Mad Men has you craving a Bijou or a tasty Highball. Who can blame you? Everything old is new again for the classic cocktails. The creative bartender can make his or her own signature drink with the basics of the tried and true and a little inventive flavoring. We live in a world where people want to take a selfie with their omelet. So why not give cocktail drinkers a new look and a refreshing experience of a classic cocktail from the first sip to the last drink.