The craft-cocktail movement, a trend so pervasive it’s become second nature at most bars, has given us some great rewards and some terrible setbacks. This website, when it comes to food and drink, is here to celebrate these things and not to critique them, however. That’s sometimes difficult when you order a martini and the hip young thing at your service goes all beside themself with confusion. Oh what glass to use? Where do I find an olive: in the kitchen, down the street? How can I summon my talent to make this drink a personal creation? I long to tell them, “Guess what, you can’t.” A proper martini has established rules, rules which cannot be broken, and nothing heartens me more than stumbling across an old school bartender that knows how to keep them. For the love of God put that ridiculous cut glass beaker and silver-plated stir spoon away. Die-hard lovers of this drink want a sheen of ice crystals floating on a tiny arctic lake. So, shaken, always shaken, ice cold and never double-strained. We flirt with the idea of gin in the summer, and that, yes, there can be subtle nuances of flavor to vodka served ice cold…
When I feel I have to put these prejudices aside, or be crucified for them, I find it might be best instead to turn to:
Little Sister’s Craft Cocktail Reviews.
Sis and her good mate Calamity Hane stumbled into one of the bustling steakhouses of Downtown Detroit, where CH had the Skeleton Key, an often-imitated drink that gives little credit to its originator, Brian Vollmer, but is widely praised as a masterpiece (more to come on that in a future post). Sis ordered the Taylor Made, a delightful concoction of Liberator gin with bright notes of fresh basil and the aromatized wine byrrh, finished with strawberry rhubarb syrup. To her it brought back images of “the smooth, soft, round little face” of a Strawberry Shortcake doll, what I can only gather is some children’s voodoo talisman; the drink tasted “exactly like the doll smells” and not in an offensive way, but was rather “quite nice, nostalgic.” There were further descriptions of freckles and the fact that she wished the drink were four times the size. But then she would have been four times more drunk.