Predicting the Next Big (Any) Thing poses challenges, especially when it comes to wine and spirits. In terms of cocktails, it seems like the mojito has caught fire in the wake of the cosmopolitan. And before that the sea breeze (vodka, cranberry and grapefruit) quenched our thirst. Anyone remember the piña colada craze of the late ’70s?
Some of these drinks seem pegged to a particular era while others, when properly made, are simply timeless. The dry martini — the classic original one made with gin — conjures images of pre-1960s America, when mom would shake up a cold one for dad after a long day at the office. Some of us are now rediscovering this civilized ritual — vodka, gin or otherwise.
Similarly, the muscular Manhattan recalls the Industrial Age, yet still seems contemporary with the rise in boutique bourbon. I recently saw a Manhattan on a drink menu along with a martini, bloody mary, mojito and other classics at Kincaid’s in Phoenix. I downed one along with a New York strip before a Suns game. It seemed so retro, yet updated all the same.
Interestingly enough, the margarita is the No. 1 requested cocktail the world over, say industry experts in the December issue of Beverage Analyst. Yes, vodka is the top spirit, but there are as many recipes out there as producers. The humble margarita, the drink that many of us order as a reflex, is admired outside the Valley and is indeed timeless. So grab a shaker and a bucket of ice, and jot down these classics for your next cocktail party.
Also remember that fresh is best in terms of the fruits you use, and try to use premium spirits. You and your guests will thank you.