There is a growing sophistication in drink as there has been with food and we can thank the popularity of Mad Men. Although I can not quite agree with their Scotch swillin' before noon, (must have been invented before the official morning coffee break), Don Draper and the gent's have certainly re-energized the vintage cocktail crowd.
I was a waitress and bartender for many, many years and used to enjoy the drink fads that came and went. More so, I used to enjoy the know-it-all's that would sit at my bar and spew cocktail statistics - as if this was the world series of drinking and stats were a major part of the game.
Originally, the big four base ingredients in 20th century cocktails were brandy, gin, rum, and whiskey. Vodka was rarely consumed outside of Europe until the 1950's and did not gain popularity until the 1970's. So a classic martini is actually gin, not vodka. Next time you are sitting next to that expert at a bar, you can share your cocktail trivia.
During prohibition, when gin was distilled in someone's local bathtub, it tasted quite awful. Vermouth was liberally used to cut the taste, so an original martini is half gin, half vermouth. Luckily, we now have sophisticated and well distilled vodka's today and the vermouth can simply be waved over top - as a nod to its heritage.
It would be no surprise for me to have a vintage themed Christmas season - including cocktails. Sidecars, Old Fashioned, Highballs, Gimlets, Martinis, Kir Royale...the list goes on. There are some wonderful drinks to re-discover - so don your favorite party outfit or play bartender and enjoy a vintage Christmas!
How about this for a retro bar in your basement?
The tiki themed bar has always been a fun favorite!
Don't forget to dress the part.