Thursday, November 02, 2006

Happy Bicentennial, Cocktail!

According to the Boston Globe, our old friend Cocktail is celebrating its bicentennial this year. I guess it's good that I just found out with only two months left in 06 because this knowledge almost certainly would have caused a spike in my cocktail intake (pun intended). On the history of the cocktail, the article points out the following:

Theories abound about the origin of the word "cocktail," but this year is the bicentennial of its debut in print. In 1806, an editor of the Balance and Columbian Repository wrote in response to a reader’s inquiry about the word, "Cocktail is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters." He then described it as an "excellent electioneering potion," something politicians might use to sway voters.

Cue Kennedy joke.

In honor of the cocktail, and assuming that Jameson's on the rocks is not technically a cocktail, I give you the VTK Top Ten Cocktail List:

10. Ward Eight - Never heard of it until today but it's from Boston, so it makes my Top Ten. Sounds delicious.
9. Prairie Fire - adding hot sauce to a shot of tequila sounds like an absolute disaster waiting to happen - and often it is - but fuck if it doesn't work out quite nicely.
8. Pina Colada - the one daquiri/fruity type drink to make my list. coconut, pineapple, and rum - brings back fond memories of the south shore of Puerto Rico.
7. Bloody Mary - there's only a couple very specific instances in which the Bloody Mary hits my spot: on airplanes and when I wake up on the floor of a house on Cape Cod.
6. Long Island Iced Tea - a devastating punch to the yarbles. a fave from the Florida days.
5. Irish Cah Bomb - Murphy's in Providence makes a great Cah Bomb, but remember: there's a 2 Cah Bomb limit.
4. Greyhound - I'm not a huge fan of vodka or grapefruit juice, but put them together and you can't argue with a Greyhound as far as summer drinks go.
3. Mojito - The Cuban classic. I also suggest the Nolito, a variation in which the sugar and water is decreased a tad and replaced with ginger ale.
2. Gin and Tonic - For some reason, I always feel better about myself when I'm drinking G and T's. I suppose it's the alcohol. Dunno.
1. The Highball - whiskey and ginger ale. what's better than that.


lc said...

does a martini get an honorable mention? it is the best for saying things you mean but don't mean to say. Except if its gin. That just makes me plain mean.

Dan said...

It does. In fact, it got consideration for the top ten, but I've never been a big martini drinker, so it slipped a few spots. I mean, I like them well enough when I drink them, but they're not in the rotation. In reality, the only cocktails that could be considered in rotation these days are highball, g & t, mojito/nolito, and greyhounds in the summer. Other honorable mentions include the 7 and 7 (but they usually get trumped by the highball, so they don't get much play) and the white russian (tasty for sure, but it never seems to be the right call - maybe it's the milk).

Dearest Cupcake said...

What about the Harvey Wallbanger or Pink Lady? No Sidecar? It's like having to choose which one of your children is your favorite. And speaking of the martini, a little verse from Doroty Parker:

"I like to have a martini. Two at the very most. Three I'm under the table, four I'm under the host."

P. said...

May I submit with all humility these cocktails for your consideration, o VTK:

The Martini. The canonical Martini: gin, dry white vermouth, and a twist (although dirty Martini fans will prefer olives and their brine, which I'll permit.) But there should be no vodka, no apple schnapps, no coffee beans or any other foolishness.

The Caipirinha. A Brazilian favorite made from cacha├ža, lime, sugar, and ice. Introduced to me by my Brazilian bass teacher.

The Vodka Gimlet. Vodka and lime cordial, such as Rose's.

Here's something for the cocktail enthusiast's reading list:
The Cocktails of the Ritz Paris by Colin Peter Field, 2003.


Dewy24 said...

Of course all top ten list are very idiosyncratic but I totally agree with your high ranking of Cah Bombs, Mojitos, and my personal favorite as well the Highball. While in Nashville I was turned on to the Old Fashioned which is racing up the charts.

1/2 orange slice
1 cube sugar
2 dashes Angostura bitters
2 ounces rye or bourbon whiskey

Muddle orange, sugar, bitters together until the sugar is mostly dissolved. Fill glass with ice, then add the whiskey. Garnish with a marachino cherry, and perhaps an additional orange slice. Serve with a swizzle stick and/or straw

Dan said...

how did I know the cocktail post would rake in the comments.

DC - The Sidecar got some consideration, though not because I like drinking them but because of a night on the Cape when there was this woman called Sidecar Mary who we kept making drinks for out of whatever random things were in the liquor cabinet and she kept drinking them as if they were the same drink.

p - I like most things Brazilian so I'm fired up about the Caipirinha idea. Sounds like the perfect way to start a day at the beach.

dewy24 - You mentioned the Old Fashioned in Nashville. Sounds intriguing. That might be my new drink after the Ward Eight becomes my new drink.

Duffless said...

Is a Car Bomb a cocktail? Or is it a beer and a shot?

Also, I'm all about Gin and Tonic - - have you tried a Sloe Gin Fizz - get thy ass to the B side!

Dan said...

well, that's a fair question. In most bars it's a 1/2 shot of jamesons, a 1/2 shot of bailey's, dropped in 3/4 a pint of irish stout, and then pounded down in one drink. So I think the combination of spirits qualify for cocktail status and it shouldn't be penalized just because the main ingredient is beer.

I stopped frequenting the b-side once I found out how much they were charging for their meatloaf. I mean, that's just unconscionable.

Duffless said...

I hear you on their food prices, but man they mix a nice drink. I can't give them the offical ban, life is too short.

Dan said...

life is too short and they do make a nice cocktail. nice enough that I'm occasionally convinced to go there despite their high priced meatloaf.