Monday, April 8, 2013

Drank No. 5: What's so bad about 1980s cocktails?

 While cocktails from the 1860s, 1890s, 1920s and 1960s inspired the last decade's cocktail revolution we should look to expand the repertoire. Not just into new inventions, but into new decades.

The 1970s won't lie down forever. I mean, how fun are disco drinks? They’re before my time but I remember all those fabulous names from Three's Company reruns: Harvey Wallbanger, Blue Hawaii, Tequila Sunrise. 

In the midst of the current 80's revival (Cyndi Lauper has a show on Broadway!) the time is ripe for someone to reconnect with that decade's drinks. Peach was the flavor of the time: Sex on the Beach, the fuzzy navel, peach wine coolers—there were even loads of straight wines flavored with peach. My mom was particularly partial to Peach Riunite, which I was partial to "borrowing". The cheap version of all those things stunk but there’s no reason they have to. If you’ve ever had an in-season peach Bellini at Harry’s Bar you know how good it can be.  It's easy to make, why it only exists in Venice is a mystery.

Most of the drinks from the 1980s sucked of course. But that's true for most drinks from the 1920s too. Read a cocktail book from that period and you’ll see what I mean. The number of drinks with eggs, cream, sherry or all three—positively foul. By my count at least half the concoctions in any vintage cocktail book are undrinkable. The trick is to find the gems and then do them right, with good liqueur, fresh juice, a sense of proportion and a minimum of hair gel.

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