Zagat has posted its list of the 10 most annoying cocktail trends, and ...it's pretty much spot on. Here's a few of our favorites:
#1. Too many ingredients.
Bar tenders have no idea what the cardamon is doing in the drink, the complexity usually makes the drink worse because its harder to control and experiment with, and it slows the bar tender down way too much.
If it takes you 10-15 minutes to make a single cocktail, you're doing things wrong, and the lack of volume sales is why your drinks prices had to go up to $15 (annoying trend #2).
#7. Bacon in drinks.
Now, we love bacon as much as the next blog (and the next blog is ATL), but we agree with Zagat's criticism. The problem's not the bacon, it's marking up your price $2 for a single strip of pork. Hash House a Go Go in Vegas does it right with the O'Hare of the Dog -- a 24oz Bud and a full side order of bacon for $7.
Zagat didn't mention this, but we're finding the bacon old fashioned annoying as well. It's not a bad drink. The peeve is that so many bar tenders try to pretend it's their own invention. Credit goes to Don Lee of Please Don't Tell.
#3. Weird flavor vodkas.
Absolut and Stoli have made every flavor of fruit imagined, but now Pinnacle is just making every sweet flavored thing imaginable. There are some really interesting infusions out there, vodka infusions included, but these new mass market vodkas as just the McDonald's of spirits.
We do have to disagree with one thing Zagat said about vodkas though: "Why can't vodka just taste like vodka again? The whole idea is that it's supposed to be flavorless!"
Yes, vodka should taste like vodka. But, vodka is not supposed to be flavorless. Vodka's flavor is very subtle, and if you're used to cheap vodka all you experience is the burn and rubbing alcohol smell. When you take away that harshness, people think they're taking away vodka's "flavor," but they're not. A good vodka like Rain really does have a flavor, and it's good. It's vodka flavor.
Unfortunately for Zagat, there's more than 10 annoying things with cocktails these days, so we went to our intrepid staff and asked them what's pissing them off in the cocktail world these days.
Dr. Rob can't stand cocktails made from scotch. "Scotch is perfect, it needs nothing else. In fact, it's an insult to the creator to use mixers to dilute the flavor. Drink it in the manner it was intended [neat], you pretentious imbecile!"
Zagat's 10th annoying trend was cocktail snobs, and Rob might want to reconsider who's being pretentious here, but we're going to give this one a pass. Technically, Rob is being a liquor snob, and not a cocktail snob. As Robert California would say, "A Rob Roy is a cocktail for people who don't like cocktails. It's scotch for people who don't like scotch."
Shadow Hand is peeved with the Thomas Jefferson School of Law and Mixology: "Ever since chefs started getting more popular thanks to the celebrity chef movement it seems like bartenders think it's now their turn at celebrity with the first step being a rebranding of their image from 'bartender' to 'mixologist.'"
There are true mixologists in the world, but they're not simply high class bar tenders. The difference a bar tender and a mixologist is the difference between a doctor and a medical researcher. If you're coming in during off hours and making countless permutations of the same drink in order to get it just right, you're a mixologist. But when you step up to the bar and start serving customers, you're a bar tender.
Not an Elle doesn't like teaching a bar tender his trade, like how to make an amaretto sour. The hell? I've never even heard of such a thing! ...Maybe not. But the name is the ingredients. It's amaretto and sour mix. That's easier than the felony-murder rule. Rum and Coke? What's in the that? ...Oh! Why didn't you just ask for a Cuba Libre?
BL1Y wants to go high end, "If I'm going to splurge on a really good Manhattan, I don't want to see it sullied with Vermouth that costs less than a six pack of beer." Come on guys, he doesn't have enough money for you to mess up his one nice drink of the day!
And finally comes Lampshade, Esq. "It's a shame that people no longer think of drinking as its own thing. Sure you can have a cocktail while eating lunch or dinner. You can get some drinks while watching the game. Knock back a few while griping about work at a happy hour. But everyone is always multitasking. No one has a cocktail just to have a cocktail. Shake up a martini (or a pitcher of martinis if the wife is with you), sit outside or indoors in your most comfortable chair, and just enjoy the drink. No television. No music. Minimal conversation. Just a nice drink. There's using booze to self-medicate, and then there's this, its platonic form. A drink as therapy."