I have been remiss in failing to mention my friend and former colleague Robert Messenger’s excellent, longish piece on the rebirth of that classic American concoction, the cocktail. As with anything Mr. Messenger writes it’s both full of informative tidbits and oh-so-smoothly smoothly written. If it was a cocktail, I would describe it as an Absolut martini, straight up, with a twist — the smoothest cocktail I know. (And he would grimace, noting with frustration that a martini consists not of vodka but of gin.)
One of the more interesting tidbits is that of size, namely its increase and the damage the plus-sizing of the cocktail has done. A taste:
A cocktail is about four ounces, and today’s Martini is six, maybe even eight. It’s warm before you can contemplate its measure. The chill is essential. Cocktails do not open up like wine, they just get warm. Plan on more than one round and consider steps like chilling your shaker and making ice cubes from distilled water. (Better ice is an overlooked way to improve cocktails–it’s a lot like making your own stock and pie crusts.) But regardless, serving smaller drinks at colder temperatures is as essential as not overcooking the trout.
Anyway, you should read the whole thing. Perhaps at the Gibson while enjoying one of their delicious Sazeracs, if your eyes can deal with the strain of reading by candlelight.