Good Lord! We have missed an historic event: The two hundredth anniversay of the invention of the cocktail. I quote from Jonathon Miles’ celebratory column in Sunday’s New York Times.
“Two hundred years and a day ago, the term "cocktail" first popped into print (so far as we know) in The Balance and Columbian Repository of Hudson, N.Y. "Cock tail, then, is a stimulating liquor composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters — it is vulgarly called a bittered sling and is supposed to be an excellent electioneering potion," went this inaugural mention. "It is said also, to be of great use to a Democratic candidate: because, a person having swallowed a glass of it, is ready to swallow any thing else." A snarky birth, to be sure, but hallelujah for it.”
As any mixologist worth the name recognizes, this was the ancestor of what today we call the Old Fashioned.
Several years ago I wrote a poem (copyrighted, if you please but feel free to reprint with appropriate credit) about the preferred cocktail of the truly sophisticated, The Martini.
Oh give me Martinis medicinal, cold.
I want them astringent and forthright and bold.
At the end of a day when I’m truly done in
I welcome a glass that is filled to the brim
With a whiff of vermouth and four ounces of gin.
And take to your heart this immutable truth:
Martinis are made out of gin and vermouth.
They aren’t just concoctions of stuff you have handy,
They’re really not made with sweet cordials or brandy.
They’re not colored blue or be-clouded with brine,
Though best when straight up, ‘on the rocks’ is just fine.
A final reminder, I’ll not let it pass,
What makes a Martini is not just the glass!