Clearin the air

Every once in a while we get a comment here at DrinkPlanner that brings up something that I feel needs to be addressed in a full-on front-page post.  I’ve only done it once before (under much less pleasant circumstances) but it happens that someone brings up something that leads me to believe that there may be some misconception about things I’ve written that are large enough that I feel the need to share with the whole class.  So, this is in response to a comment left here by mikhail7:

“after reading some of the other comments, I’ll say this, and DrinkPlanner, please disagree with me if you wish, I wont take it personally. A man should take things as they come. A man should not ever have to sugar coat or soften anything that is not meant to be softened. Whiskey, beer, Vodka, Rum and so on are made the way they are made for a reason. They are meant to be the way they are. Some men, who have a lack of testostorone, cannot handle things they way they are meant to be. So they have to put pink umbrellas in their drinks. And if you, a man, cannot obey at the very least commandment number one, you are no man. Please disagree with me, i like different opinions. Thank you”

Well since you asked mikhail7…ok, I disagree with you. While there are some things, like single-malt scotches, that are downright sinful to mix, many are greatly improved by the addition of other alcohols or mixers.  I mean, I get your point about things being made to stand alone, and many do that quite well and are absolutely best enjoyed that way, but there are also plenty of drinks that are designed to be mixed.  What would you do with vermouth except add it to a martini?  Or triple sec?  Or bitters?  Vodka is by and large a tasteless drink, practically BEGGING to be mixed with stronger flavors to make a better drink.  While I’m certainly no stranger to a shot of vodka, I like it better when it actually tastes like something.

There are tons of classic manly drinks that are mixed, from the martini to the Manhattan to the Pegu club.   I DARE you to go up to the old guy in the bar drinking an Old Fashioned telling him he’s not drinking a manly drink and see if you walk away with your nuts.  Hell, even Hemingway drank Daiquiris (which are really not at all girly in their classic form), and he was a hard-drinking seafaring bullfighting son-of-a-bitch like few others who have walked this world.

I have no reason to post this, but it’s from this series that’s so amazing I’m just going to stick them in posts whenever I feel like it

Beyond that, many things complement each other, and the once-lowly job of tending bar has in recent years been elevated to the level of “mixology“, all based on the art of creating amazing new drinks by combining alcohols and other mixers very specifically and creatively.  Whether born out of the locale the alcohol comes from or necessity of circumstances or complete accident, some very fine drinks are mixed.  In his discussion of the daiquiri, drink expert David Wondrich gives the following eloquent explanation:

“In fact, the daiquiri represents such an obvious marriage between local ingredients — rum, sugar, limes — and American technology — cocktail shaker, ice — that it would take the chowder-headedest duffer who ever buttoned a trouser not to invent it.”

And that’s exactly how drinks like the daiquiri and the margarita and mojito and cuba libre came about, because you’d have to be mouth-breathingly daft not to mix such clearly complimentary ingredients together.  God lovingly placed sugar cane and limes on the same continent for a good reason, and we’d be remiss not to take advantage of such a serendipitous happenstance of fate.

So I just wanted to clear the air to make sure it was understood that I’m not such a booze purist that I believe every single alcohol should always and no-matter-what be consumed straight up.  That’s all.

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