A cocktail program, is a curation of cocktails that have been given careful thought and put together with everyone’s tastes taken in consideration. Some like whiskey, some like gin, others like sweet, others prefer a cocktail with a bite that has bitters and not a lot of sweetness.
But you have to take caution and really wonder about a place that is selling cocktails for $17 when the fancy burger with fries is only $15. Who are they trying to appeal to? Are they trying to nail tourists or really make you think. This will typically happen in the big cities, especially in one of the hottest parts of town. Do yourself, and the rest of us a favor, just get a draft beer or glass of wine. Paying $15 or more for a cocktail won’t just harm your wallet, but everyone else’s as well once they know they can get that price.
As time goes on and inflation increases its understandable how prices creep up, however I won’t ever be able to understand how a drink costs more than an appetizer. For example, chicken wings or ribs take processing from the farm to warehouse, then refrigeration while shipping, more refrigeration once it gets to its destination, then preparation by one or more cooks, cooking itself, and a waiter to serve it. A cocktail basically takes a bottle on the shelf which arrived that way and needs to be mixed with ice right in front of you by one person in the space of a square foot of counter space. So its curious how that cocktail, no matter how good the ingredients are, somehow turn out to be double the price of a plate of chicken wings, fried calamari, or even dip and chips.
So when you look across the attractive cocktail menu, look at the ingredients. If the words sour mix even appear in one cocktail ingredient, take caution.
I was at one fancy place at a seaport. This is always prime real estate, so I do understand how prices are generally more expensive. But when I see a glass being filled to the top with ice, then halfway up with seltzer, I already know this is not a good drink. There may be plenty of room for the mixers, spirits and bitters, but the fact is, a good cocktail is perfectly chilled. Its mixed or shaken in a separate glass with ice, then strained and poured into a new glass with new ice (or none at all). The drink is chilled before its poured, not mixed all in one glass so you get a diluted drink that is 90% water and ice. It might sound pretentious or picky, however, you are paying $15. Would you pay $15 for a glass of club soda with a splash of vodka? Why not just order a screwdriver or a rum and coke at half the price?
The process of a true cocktail means carefully measuring all the ingredients, stirring or shaking in a separate glass, then straining into a cocktail glass with garnish so the drink looks like a work of art and tastes like it. The seltzer should just be there to give it a mere fizz to enhance it, not taste like an orange soda with vodka or tequila.
Here is the best example of a scam which makes me very angry. It was labelled as a Blood Orange Mojito with “Tito’s Vodka” A classic mojito is made with sugar, lime, mint and rum. So how do they charge $14 for this?
Let’s start with the basics. A blood orange gets its name, obviously from the blood red color. Here is what it looks like naturally, and what it looks like in processed soda from Italy where it was first cultivated. It only makes sense that if its puree its going to be red or at least deep pink in color. No mint garnish, no blood orange garnish, this is the most lame presentation that is insulting example of cashing in on a trend.
Here is another least favorite which sells for $19, a “duck-skin washed Armagnac, Lustau Amontillado, San Emilio Pedro Ximenez Sherry, Byrrh Grand Quinquina” – sounds very very fancy. But the fact is any one of these bottles you can find for $20 or less, which is basically cheaper than vodka. It would be a different story if these were premium bottles of spirits which sold for $100 or more, but they aren’t. Why is this $19 instead of $9?
Tourists and cocktail enthusiasts beware.
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