Monday, November 7, 2011

Old Fashioned 2

A great story in Slate today designates the Old Fashioned as the ultimate symbol of our pluralistic nation. It also makes a pretty strong case that it is a drink built to expose our more tribalistic and pretentious nature.

The old-fashioned is at once "the manliest cocktail order" and "something your grandmother drank," and between those poles we discover countless simple delights, evolutionary wonders, and captivating abominations. Because of its core simplicity and its elasticity—because it is primordial booze—ideas about the old-fashioned exist in a realm where gastronomical notions shade into ideological tenets. It is a platform for a bar to make a statement, a surface on which every bartender leaves a thumbprint, and a solution that many a picky drinker dips his litmus paper in. You are a free man. Drink your drink as you please. But know that your interpretation of the recipe says something serious about your philosophy of fun.
Very true. I would recommend the whole article as it does a nice job of describing the issue with a hipsteristic influence on modern day cocktail making. It also made me think about an issue I have become more and more familiar with in my own life, which is my attempt to thread the needle in my own tastes between crass popular culture and the overly precious tastes of the denizens of speakeasies and indie-music sites the world over.

Indeed, my struggle to find an equilibrium between the mass and peculiar results in a regular self-questioning about how my perceptions of the audience of a drink, show, album, book, etc. are affecting my appreciation of that thing. I am afraid more often than I would like, that affectation is clearly present.I reported on my thread-the-needle approach to the Old Fashioned a couple of years ago. Notice my obvious disdain for the neanderthalic addition of club soda, but my defense of the heretical muddled fruit at the bottom of the glass. I am a creature of two worlds I suppose... or I just know what I like.

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