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The proliferation of the Fauxtini


kvltrede
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From Ted Pincus' column in today's Chicago Sun-Times:

"...A great icon is disappearing from the American cocktail scene. The hordes of thirsty, trendy philistines who insist on change, idolizing the next new thing have provided a ready market to be eagerly exploited by those who've been grandly bastardizing this hallowed beverage with forgeries: the nation's greedy, mischievous bartenders, restaurant menu-writers and ad copy chiefs. It's the proliferation of the Fauxtini..."

and the kicker:

"...Let them freely call it a Ghirardelli Splash or a Peach Panache or Rasputin's Raspberry Razzamatazz. Let them drown it in crushed ice, drench it with pomegranate juice, infuse it with huckleberry essence, shake it with eucalyptus crystals, doll it with a strawberry sipping straw, top it off with sea urchin foam and perfumed peacock plumage, and ignite it with lighter fluid.

But please, don't ever, ever try to take a fluid composition that is not four heavenly ounces of genuine Beefeater, Boodles, Bombay or Tanqueray and seven measured drops of imported dry vermouth, all stirred gently with 10 ice cubes in a freezing cold stainless steel shaker, and have the temerity to call it a martini..."

I'm not sure why Mr. Pincus, who normally writes about business topics, is all afire over fauxtinis. Well, that's not entirely true. I agree completely that most cocktail inventors of recent years have abandoned even the pretense of effort in naming their concoctions. Yet I find it amusing that Mr. Pincus has devoted an entire column in pointing this out.

I disagree completely with his assertion that fauxtinis are kiling off the Martini. In fact, I believe that fauxtinis are sometimes "gateway-tinis" but are always a means of keeping cocktail culture alive. I also think Mr. Pincus spends too much time protesting fauxtinis and not enough in praise of the Martini. But, yeah, how about a little imagination when the time comes to name one's latest concoction?

Oh, and while Mr. Pincus has fine taste in gin it sez here that he needs to pick himself up a bottle of Plymouth and to not be so stingy with the vermouth!

Kurt

“I like to keep a bottle of stimulant handy in case I see a snake--which I also keep handy.” ~W.C. Fields

The Handy Snake

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Some people want to drink martinis, but they don't want to drink Martinis. It's an image thing. Take the same tarted up fusion drink, give one a cutesy and ideally vaguely humorous or ironic name, and call the other some kind of Martini, and I'd imagine you'd sell a lot more of the 'martini' one than the other one.

Matt Robinson

Prep for dinner service, prep for life! A Blog

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Some people want to drink martinis, but they don't want to drink Martinis.  It's an image thing.  Take the same tarted up fusion drink, give one a cutesy and ideally vaguely humorous or ironic name, and call the other some kind of Martini, and I'd imagine you'd sell a lot more of the 'martini' one than the other one.

I imagine you are correct, sir. Then again, I'm the kinda guy who hates it when people use the terms "offense" and "defense" when discussing baseball. The correct terms are, of course, "hitting" and "fielding". Unfortunately, this too is a lost cause.

Oh, well, I try to keep my ranting on either subject to a minimum. If anything, the futility of both topics is as good a reason as any to have another cocktail instead letting one's blood boil. And that's precisely where an ice-cold Martini blows away ALL competitors and pretenders to the throne.

Kurt

“I like to keep a bottle of stimulant handy in case I see a snake--which I also keep handy.” ~W.C. Fields

The Handy Snake

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Some people think it's the name of a glass not a drink. Fuck them. Gin dammit, it's Gin I say. :biggrin::angry::biggrin::biggrin:

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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It's definitely the case that unimaginitive bartenders have a tendency to call drinks a "[something] Martini. But I don't think it's entirely fair to attribute all this to a lack of imagination. It's also definitely the case that this practice tends to be a good business choice in most bars in the country. It is a simple fact that it's easier to sell a drink named "Apple Martini" than it is to sell the same drink named "Apple Core" -- never mind something more whimsical like "Fall in New England."

I think that most of America has caught on to the idea that cocktails are cool, but most of America also doesn't know much about cocktails or appreciate the flavors of liquor. Chef Shogun nails it on the head, I think, when he suggests that many people want the image of sophistication that goes along with drinking a "martini," but don't actually want to drink a Martini. An unkind person might suggest that such people would like to appear to have a sophistication they largely lack. When a customer reads "Apple Martini" they know they are getting an apple-flavored sweet drink in a V-shaped glass. To a certain extent, the V-shaped glass makes it easy to pretend it's not a girl drink.

I actually don't have too much of a problem with a drink using the word "martini" (or "sidecar" or "manhattan" and so on) when it is a drink that is clearly riffing on the martini concept or is reasonably related to the idea of a martini. A dry, clear drink that focuses clearly on the flavor of the spirit... go ahead and call it a "Somethingorother Martini" if no other inspiration strikes. You're mixing gin with dry sherry instead of vermouth and want to call it a "Spanish Martini?" Okay with me. You're cleverly twisting the cognac, Cointreau and lemon juice in a classic Sidecar formula and want to call it a "Tantris Sidecar?" Good, I say -- it tells me something about the drink I might not have otherwise known. But I do draw the line at a drink made with Godiva liqueur, vanilla vodka and cream being called a "Chocolate Martini."

It should also be pointed out that there are plenty of cocktail categories one can easily and correctly adapt. Okay... to be correct, they weren't originally considered "cocktails," per se, but rather distinct categoriess of libation unto themselves. I speak of things such as the Fizz, Daisy, Mule, Punch, Crusta, Julep, Sling, etc. -- even the Cocktail. If you come up with a drink involving a base liquor, a little liqueur and a splash of sour fruit juice that's shaken, poured into a cocktail glass and dosed with a bit of seltzer water, there's no reason not to call it a Somethingorother Daisy. That would be entirely correct. In fact, although a true cocktail historian like Dave might protest the renaming of the odious Sour Apple Martini as the Sour Apple Cocktail, I would find this a much more appropriate name. But that, of course, would necessitate having bartenders and beverage directors (not to mention customers) who knew about and cared about these things. Unfortunately, although there are many exciting things going on with cocktails right now, it's still a fact that the cocktail enthusiast is much more likely to be served a well-prepared drink in someone's home than over a bar.

--

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Some people want to drink martinis, but they don't want to drink Martinis.  It's an image thing.  Take the same tarted up fusion drink, give one a cutesy and ideally vaguely humorous or ironic name, and call the other some kind of Martini, and I'd imagine you'd sell a lot more of the 'martini' one than the other one.

Um..... which is EXACTLY the problem.

The Martini is "a" cocktail, not a big-brush-stroke generality to apply to any cocktail you are trying to get the public interested in.

I totally agree that the cocktail-neophyte "wants" a Martini, but in truth isn't really ready for one yet. I also don't really have a problem if they "think" they are having a Martini just because it is served in the same glass that a Martini traditionally comes in.

The problem however, is that it doesn't stop there. There needs to be a "guidance" phase of the process, where this cocktail-neophyte, after having a few beginner cocktails, mistakenly refers to a "lemon drop" as a Martini, at which time the bartender, or their drinking buddy, politely corrects them.

"George, I can understand how you might get that impression, but a Lemon Drop really isn't a Martini. It's just a cocktail."

"Really? Then what's a Martini?"

"A Martini is gin, dry vermouth, and if you're lucky a dash of orange bitters. And if you prefer vodka to gin, you can order a 'Vodka Martini', but you have to qualify it like that."

At issue, is that neither the majority of bartenders, nor the majority of their customers, realize this. We have been operating at "critical mass" of cluelessness about cocktails and Martini's for far too long, and so people don't realize what they don't know about this fine drink.

It is up to the devoted few of us who seem to take this personally to re-educate the masses.

Viva la cock tail!

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If I drink a sidecar out of a martini glass does that make it a sidecartini?

Edited by mjr_inthegardens (log)

�As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy, and to make plans.� - Ernest Hemingway, in �A Moveable Feast�

Brooklyn, NY, USA

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If I drink a sidecar out of a martini glass does that make it a sidecartini?

That makes it a Sidecar. Properly drunk out of a sidecar attached to a high powered motorcycle.

:laugh::laugh:

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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just to ramble along the same subject lines....

I remember years ago before the "martini glass craze" hit--& let's face it the craze is not w/ martinis them selves but the glass in which they are served--we joined another couple for dinner and met at the bar. The bar tender took our order and "M" could not decide what she wanted. I ordered my usual, "Bombay--if you have it--martini, about 8-1, very well chilled w/ a twist, thank you". "M" chimed in, "that sounds good. I will have one as well."

The bar tender returned a moment later and apologized b/c they were out of martini glasses (as I said this was before the craze hit and finding a true V-shaped glass in a bar was hit or miss). My response was, "not a problem, what ever glass you have is fine w/ me". "M" was appalled and had to order some thing different. It was not the drink but the glass she wanted. "It just looks so cool holding that glass" she explained.

We tease about the Cosmopolitan but at least they had the decency to call it by a real name and not a "cran-tini" or some thing similar. Of course I did have some one once order a "Cosmopolitan martini". I assumed it was a regular Cosmopolitan and prepared same to their delight.

I do have a problem w/ the craze going so far as to take basic cocktails and changing their names to reflect the "martini glass craze". Upon picking up a "cocktail menu" at an establishment recently I noticed a mud-slide as a "mudtini" and a White Russian as a "coffee & cream-tini" w/ a Black Russian as a "coffee-tini", a Salty Dog as a "Grapefruitini", &c. I have enough problems playing twenty questions w/ a bar tender when I order a martini as it is---gin or vodka?, twist or olive?, straight up or on the rocks? (seldomly asked any more)? how much vermouth?, type of gin? that I do not need to spend another ten minutes specifying if I want cranberry or apple juice, a flavored vodka or gin, some bizarre liqueur that is trendy or just got a marketing boost by making a new-fangled drink w/ it, &c.

Just, to quote Peter Benchley, "Quick! get me out of these wet clothes and in to a dry martini!" Every one knew exactly what he wanted.

in loving memory of Mr. Squirt (1998-2004)--

the best cat ever.

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Just, to quote Peter Benchley, "Quick! get me out of these wet clothes and in to a dry martini!"

Er... I believe it was Robert Benchley who said, "let’s get out of these wet clothes and into a dry martini." Peter Benchley, his son, is more famously known for things like, "the great fish moved silently through the night water, propelled by short sweeps of its crescent tail" and "aaaaaaaaugh! A shark just bit my freakin' leg off!" :smile:

Every one knew exactly what he wanted.

At that time... probably something that would hardly be considered "dry" by today's standards -- and better for it, too.

--

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An unkind person might suggest that such people would like to appear to have a sophistication they largely lack.  When a customer reads "Apple Martini" they know they are getting an apple-flavored sweet drink in a V-shaped glass.  To a certain extent, the V-shaped glass makes it easy to pretend it's not a girl drink.

While we're correcting termonology, let me point out that it's a girly drink not a girl drink.

Thank you.

I have a friend who loves girly drinks. I try and try with him (Aviations, mojitos, rum punch, etc) but what he really loved best was the pina colada I made with that disgusting stuff from a can. Sometimes there is nothing you can do.

regards,

trillium

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Just, to quote Peter Benchley, "Quick! get me out of these wet clothes and in to a dry martini!"

Er... I believe it was Robert Benchley who said, "let’s get out of these wet clothes and into a dry martini." Peter Benchley, his son, is more famously known for things like, "the great fish moved silently through the night water, propelled by short sweeps of its crescent tail" and "aaaaaaaaugh! A shark just bit my freakin' leg off!" :smile:

I knew it was one of those Benchleys and am forever confusing the two.

I wonder if that shark drank a martini--or enjoyed some other libation--before dinner. ":^)

in loving memory of Mr. Squirt (1998-2004)--

the best cat ever.

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Some people think it's the name of a glass not a drink. Fuck them. Gin dammit, it's Gin I say. :biggrin:  :angry:  :biggrin:  :biggrin:

Please, tell us what you really mean! :wink:

"GIN"

:biggrin::biggrin::raz::raz::laugh::laugh:

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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I'm no good at cards. Let's play checkers.

Drink first, Play games later.

:raz::raz:

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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I used to "politely correct" people — as drinkboy puts it — that the proper name is "cocktail" when I was writing a weekly cocktail column. And when people made the effort to invent names for their creations instead of adding 'tini' to the end of a flavor — I always lavished praise.

But after while, I decided drinking sweet drinks out of cocktail glasses and calling them something-tinis is really no different of an introdcution to the world of cocktails than white zinfandel is to the world of wine. It's an starting-point, and it gets people curious.

We should encourage curiousity, not squash it with snootiness.

Edited by Liz Johnson (log)

Liz Johnson

Professional:

Food Editor, The Journal News and LoHud.com

Westchester, Rockland and Putnam: The Lower Hudson Valley.

Small Bites, a LoHud culinary blog

Personal:

Sour Cherry Farm.

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I used to "politely correct" people — as drinkboy puts it — that the proper name is "cocktail" when I was writing a weekly cocktail column. And when people made the effort to invent names for their creations instead of adding 'tini' to the end of a flavor — I always lavished praise.

But after while, I decided drinking sweet drinks out of cocktail glasses and calling them something-tinis is really no different of an introdcution to the world of cocktails than white zinfandel is to the world of wine. It's an starting-point, and it gets people curious.

We should encourage curiousity, not squash it with snootiness.

good point but we can still talk bad about 'em behind their backs. ":^)

in loving memory of Mr. Squirt (1998-2004)--

the best cat ever.

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...drinking sweet drinks out of cocktail glasses and calling them something-tinis is really no different of an introdcution to the world of cocktails than white zinfandel is to the world of wine.

More like Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill, no?

--DW

aka David Wondrich

There are, according to recent statistics, 147 female bartenders in the United States. In the United Kingdom the barmaid is a feature of the wayside inn, and is a young woman of intelligence and rare sagacity. --The Syracuse Standard, 1895

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...drinking sweet drinks out of cocktail glasses and calling them something-tinis is really no different of an introdcution to the world of cocktails than white zinfandel is to the world of wine.

More like Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill, no?

--DW

Acutally for me it was peach wine coolers! :shock::blush:

Liz Johnson

Professional:

Food Editor, The Journal News and LoHud.com

Westchester, Rockland and Putnam: The Lower Hudson Valley.

Small Bites, a LoHud culinary blog

Personal:

Sour Cherry Farm.

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From Ted Pincus' column in today's Chicago Sun-Times:

"But please, don't ever, ever try to take a fluid composition that is not four heavenly ounces of genuine Beefeater, Boodles, Bombay or Tanqueray and seven measured drops of imported dry vermouth, all stirred gently with 10 ice cubes in a freezing cold stainless steel shaker, and have the temerity to call it a martini..."

<p>Seven measured drops of <em>imported</em> dry vermouth? I fear this guy has never had a proper martini:</p>

<blockquote>2 parts gin (Hendrick's, perhaps)

<br />1 - 2 parts dry vermouth (I prefer made in the U.S.A. Vya)

<br />a dash of orange bitters

<br />lemon twist

<br />shaken, not stirred</blockquote>

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I'm a bit of a dinosaur and am in the camp of those that know a martini is gin and vermouth. James Bond not withstanding, a vodka martini is vodka and maybe vermouth in a martini glas, but calling it a martini does not make it one.

Apple-tini, chocolate-tini, poison-tini. I think it was Mr Lincoln who asked his cabinet how many legs a sheep would have if you called the tail a leg. They all said five, but he said four as simply calling the tail a leg didn't make it a leg.

"Everyone should believe in something. I believe I'll have another drink". W.C. Fields

My 2 cents,

Kevin

DarkSide Member #005-03-07-06

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