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Friday, August 2, 2013

Cocktails(a Commentary)(and a re-post)

This blog is going to be a little different from my other ones, and will be because it is at the behest of my most fabulous editor, Marie Bargas, of StyleCoven.com, who also is a TV producer, has worked in many film studios...and is just an all-around fabulous woman. I received the assignment of something to do with cocktails a few days ago, and it went(sort of) by Facebook posts.
I also don't like people that use cocktails as a substitute for fruit...

Long story short, I kind of got bored and asked if she'd had anymore assignments for me. Since the website was going through a bit of a makeover, she said she wasn't sure...but told me to write about cocktails.

Cocktails? Are you kidding me? The one woman she knows that barely drinks, ever?

But I am not a quitter, nor am I ever afraid of a challenge. Thusly, I consulted various books on the subject, at the Kansas City Public Library. Everyday Drinking by Kingsley Amis was a fun one, all about prose and hilarity with quite a bit of knowledge to back it up. I also quite enjoyed Boozehound by Jason Wilson, mostly because it was both informative and fun, much like Amanda Hesser's Cooking for Mr. Latte. (All of these books are excellent, so give them a read if you feel like it.)
Rather than recanting to you the entire contents of the book, I'll give my food-loving brain's opinion on the subject of cocktails themselves:

I'm honestly not a fan.

Cocktails, in my mind, are things that you sip at parties and toast with and are kind of little drinkable meals in and of themselves. Why do I think of them like that? Because they have their own flavor profiles, their own colors, compositions, and sometimes even their own structure. A meal should have all of those things, in my mind, as well as texture...which, if you think about it, can be added to certain drinks, if you're a skilled-enough mixologist. But whatever. If I'm going to drink something, it's going to be wine with my roast beef.

When I was 21, I drank cocktails at bars to make men think I could drink with them. Why was that important to me? I will tell you, Audience.

Drinking socially was important to me because it seemed to make other people uncomfortable when I said I wasn't drinking. Think about how awkward that is sometimes, especially at parties:

"Hey, can I mix you a drink?"

"Oh, no thanks, I don't drink."

Awkward pause. "Why?"

Insert nonchalant shrug. "I just don't see the point, I guess. I like my brain. You can't get brain cells back."

"You need to let loose."


"Imagine how much fun you could be having if you were drunk!"

"What? Who says I can't have fun sober? I just like having all of my faculties around so I don't make poor decisions."

"Babe, just relax...enjoy the party."

"Uh... I am?"

"You don't look like it."

"Why, because I'm not falling all over myself? Because I'm not smoking the wrong end of a cigarette? You must be kinda stupid..."

And then they usually leave. So I started drinking to fit in. And I never really enjoyed anything other than wine or champagne, but I drank things like Cosmopolitans and Rubies just to look like I was doing something and people would talk to me without judging me. I began to see a weird pattern in men, who (sorry to all you decent fellows out there) would only pay attention to the women with drinks in their hands. And it occurred to me that we live in this bizarre society where a woman has to be not fully aware of herself or her faculties to be able to be approachable. We have become so oddly intimidating that we have to be drunk enough to even consider talking to you.

Honestly, guys. We appreciate men who are man enough to talk to us when we're sober. If you can get our numbers sober, you are worthy. What are you if you land us when we're drunk? You're honestly not that awesome. Whenever I would end up sleeping with a guy drunk, that I might not otherwise sleep with sober, it was kind of like I was raping myself using his penis. Icky, right? Right.
You should Google "Drunk Girls Stock Photos" sometime...

So that's why I don't really like cocktails. I associate them with bad decisions, chauvinist idiots, and drunk girls.
 ...Even though they do sometimes taste like candy. And the idea of doing signature cocktails at weddings is honestly a pretty cool one. I love the idea of doing signature cocktails as part of a meal, a party...it gives that one extra element to event planning that makes you think that the person doing it cares.

But I have never been a real drinker. I drink to sate thirst, or to accompany a meal. I really like tannic red wines to go with steaks, and I love a good Chablis with cheese. So what cocktail do you look to when your sole purpose in life is to highlight food?

Well, let's look at what you're having for dinner.

Let's start with something easy, like oysters. Briny, slippery, fantastic...the sea's finest, if you get them right! What goes with oysters? Why, champagne, of course! Even better, you can use champagne as the base of your cocktail. Try a Flirtini, which is a great champagne cocktail, with a bit if pineapple juice and a twist of lime. Citrusy. Light. Goes with oysters. Plus, they're the ultimate "girl" cocktail, even though I hate assigning genders to inanimate objects of sorts.
Google "Old Gregg for a laugh."

Makes 1 drink

  • 1 slice fresh pineapple
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau
  • 1/2 oz vodka
  • 1 oz pineapple juice
  • 3 oz Champagne(or any sparkling wine you have)
  • Maraschino cherry for garnish

Grab your cocktail shaker and toss in the pineapple. Muddle the fruit with the liquors in the bottom, and stir in the pineapple juice. Strain well into a chilled cocktail glass, and add the champagne. Garnish with the cherry, and enjoy.

Okay, so we've covered cocktail hour... How about a nice steak dinner, with buttered beets, asparagus, and a potato puree? Something heavy-ish, with a bit of a surprise? Why not a whiskey sour? Or a Manhattan? Or even a Rob Roy? Those could work, too, couldn't they?

When selecting a cocktail to go with your meal, think about the notes in the drink and how they will go with the flavor profiles of what you're eating. I once had a grapefruit Margarita with the charcuterie plate at Urban Table, and it went shockingly well. Cheese, meat, bread...something acidic was really great to break it all up.

If you're not following me on Twitter, yet, do it!
I actually really liked Urban Table, when I went. The decor was really awesome, and I thought their Happy Hour menu was pretty well done. The bartender that served us was polite, smiled a lot, and was fastidiously groomed. I looked up their regular menu online later that evening, and vowed to go back. Work has been kind of hectic lately, so I haven't been able to. But I swear I will! In the mean time, you guys should check it out. It's got mixed reviews on UrbanSpoon.com, but we all know that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. So eat there and then tweet me  @WannaBGourmande to tell me how it was!

Urban Table on Urbanspoon