The Soul of The Cocktail; Let It Not Taste Like Reconditioned Tin — A New Year’s Resolution

The warrior with his tools.

I have good news for local liquor stores, if not house guests: I intend to take cocktailing seriously in 2010. Not just the consumption of cocktails, which I have taken seriously for some years now, but the creation of cocktails. As an expression of my seriousness, I have purchased The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks by David A. Embury, originally published in 1948, known among bartenders and Men’s Journal editors everywhere as nothing less than the gospel of mixology. Embury was described by the esteemed Gary Regan, author of The Joy of Mixology, as “probably the most important cocktailian author of the 20th century” and “the man who took drinks apart, examined their inner soul, and carefully put them back together again.” If any guy could give cocktailians a good name, this is he.

I have but begun my tutelage in the fine art of mixology, but I feel the strength of the calling. Embury says on page 33, in the “What, Then, Is a Cocktail” section,

The well-made cocktail is that most gracious of drinks. It pleases the senses. The shared delight of those who partake in common of this refreshing nectar breaks the ice of formal reserve. Taut nerves relax; taut muscles relax; tired eyes brighten; tongues loosen; friendships deepen; the whole world become a better place in which to live. But don’t expect these results if you serve bitter drinks, syrupy drinks, watery drinks or drinks that taste like reconditioned tin.

Amen. Let there by cocktails, and let them not taste like reconditioned tin. I shall study at the side of this wise cocktailian, and report back with word of my progress.

2 thoughts on “The Soul of The Cocktail; Let It Not Taste Like Reconditioned Tin — A New Year’s Resolution

  1. Most of my life I’ve been almost strictly beer & wine, but in the last few years I’ve gotten into cocktails. I was inspired by a cocktail mentor back in MD, whose focus was all about large amounts of fresh citrus in drinks. I went all in on his philosophy, and this was particularly great in LA, where everyone has citrus trees in their backyard.

    Not the case in CO, but I still stick to citrus. Go-to is the Dark & Stormy . Minimum 1/2 lime per drink.


  2. I love citrus, and I think my personal bias is likely to be towards root extracts — various kinds of bitters and fresh ginger. Ginger! The intersection of ginger and booze is a happy one, I think. Great in a dark and stormy, light on sugar.


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