Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Craft Cocktails

When I hear 'craft,' I think feathers. Beads. Pipe cleaners. Felt. Sock puppets. What the hell is a craft cocktail?

The adjective 'craft' does, in fact, refer to cocktails that are handmade, though not with a glue gun. In 2006, a smart bartender guy named Camper English made a list of some of the elements that he believed earned a drink the title 'craft cocktail' in San Francisco:
  • fresh juices
  • muddled fresh ingredients
  • seasonality
  • cocktail-food pairing
  • fancy shmancy mixers instead of el cheapo soda guns
  • infusions
  • homemade ingredients, like syrups or bitters
  • an actual drink menu
If the craft cocktail is vintage or classic, it's extra cool. If it has a good name, like the Horny Ninjarita, it's extra-extra cool. If it contains bacon, it's extra-extra-extra cool.

Beware. Like hipster fashion choices, some of those craft cocktails are overrated. Many of them can't be created at home unless you quit your day (night) job, invest in weird ingredients, build a complicated home bar, and install a commercial kitchen.

And seriously: Have you actually tasted a drink with bacon and liked it? Or even more telling, liked it enough to have seconds? The idea is fun, but in reality, not so good. Just like hipster eyeware and men with skinny jeans: Those giant eyeglass frames and teeny pants that sag in the manbutt might be interesting style concepts, but they both look pretty comical when you put them on. In twenty years, your kids will be laughing at you, not with you.

Fresh is good; handmade is awesome. Sock puppets rule. But don't go overboard. Glue guns can be addictive, and your craft obsession can quickly grow out of control and take over your life. STAY AWAY FROM PLASTIC FLOWERS. And never get so snobby about your drinks that you can't enjoy a Natural Light beer when your neighbor offers you an ice cold can.


Drinkapotamus said...

I think every bartender in the bay area should read that post, or at least have it read to them by a sock puppet.

Anonymous said...

Agreed that some cocktails are way overboard in terms of having to make custom ingredients. I subscribe to the old school of mixology where you should be able to make an outstandin cocktail using ready made spirits and liqueurs with fresh produce.

However, that being said, bacon infused bourbon in a Manhattan is absolutely outstanding. I've made this several times and it takes less work than cooking a simple meal. I'm going to try cold-smoking cocktails next, and soon will try making liqueur infused foams. This is all for my own amusement, mind you. I will never turn down a well made drink at a bar.



frederic said...

Cocktails are nothing but arts and crafts for drunks. So the care that goes into a quality sock puppet should be the same, and the end result of enjoyment should no different.