Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Ashley Does Her Part

Just a few more words on cosmopolitans' bad reputation. Here's how Richard Russo describes a woman in his latest book, That Old Cape Magic, which I read last week (better than Empire Falls, not as good as Nobody's Fool):

“A woman, in her late forties, was all dolled up and taking in the Old Cape Lounge as if it were just too wonderful for words and she meant to commit its every detail to loving memory. Her dress was cut low in the front, revealing a body that, though thickened, remained somehow hopeful.”

Though he does go on to describe in her in more depth later, right then he doesn't need to go any further to convey her lack of sophistication and salt-of-the-earthiness; he merely has her order a cosmopolitan.

On the other hand, my colleague Ashley, a 28-year-old sultry tattooed brunette vixen, is doing her best to change the stereotype. Here is the transcript of texts from a few nights ago:

Ash: I'm having a gin cosmo!

Me: Have two!

Ash: I'm on my third!

Not the recommended dosage, but she's young. She and I went to Blue Smoke for a very late lunch a few days ago and while I had a gin cosmo (which I watched being made: gin, cranberry juice and that lemony stuff in the squirt bottle), she had a beer to go with her pulled pork. So she's not the total convert yet, but it's a beginning and can only be good for cosmos' image.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

More Magazine: Too Cool for Cosmos

I understand wanting to look the same age as you feel, and in fact I've succeeded in doing it. The problem is, I feel like I'm 80. But that's another story; this story is about how the latest issue of More magazine includes an article called "Does This Cocktail Make Me Look Old?" in which cosmos are called the official beverage of menopausal women.

When I was in high school and college, I didn't drink at all. I thought it was cooler to do the opposite of what was perceived to be cool than it was to do the cool thing. That perverse logic continues to guide me, though it's become harder to pull off in middle age where the line between "cool" and "eccentric crackpot" is, like everything else, blurred. So I will continue to order cosmos, partly because not thinking you're too cool for anything is still the coolest way to be, but mostly because I like them.

As for the cosmo alternatives More puts forth as less aging than mom jeans and minivans, who really wants to order a Friends with Benefits, a 28 4EVA, a Starter Husband or a Cougar Baitini? Not I, and not because I'm too cool for them. Though I am definitely too something.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Manly Cosmo

This past Monday night my colleagues and I had dinner at Bar Breton up the block from our office in the Flat Iron district. (Two-for-one burger night, but we didn't know that so one of the four of us ordered pork loin; it was delicious.)

Ash, who ordered a Stella for the first round of cocktails, was curious about my gin cosmo and asked for a sip. Next round, she ordered one for herself. A convert! And that wasn't even based on the taste of the superior ones Barbara and I have at home. This drink had the lemony taste that 95% of none-homemade cosmos have, but it was still good because the gin gave it a lot of flavor. (I've stopped specifying the ingredients beyond gin when I go out because I want to see what kind they make without my micromanagement. Also, the typical restaurant/bar cosmo is a weaker version of the ones we make, and I like that because it makes having two possible.)

Perhaps inspired by all the cosmo talk, Michael also ordered one for round two. A Ketel One cosmo on the rocks. A manly cosmo. It wasn't in a martini glass and it wasn't made with gin, but I still felt it was a big step in the right direction.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

No Medals in the Luge Event

Last week the ad agency I work at hosted a party, with drinks sponsored by our premium vodka client. Since I don’t care about vodka none of the specialty drinks enticed me, but I felt I to try the White Cosmo for research purposes.

As the bartender mixed my cocktail, I floated my theory about gin being on the cusp of replacing vodka as the go-to Gen X and Y drink. He said he hadn’t seen much evidence of that. Maybe it’s too soon, but it’s going to happen. When he was finished mixing the drink, he poured it into the vodka luge.

Yes, vodka luge.

Now that I think of it, I had heard of ice sculptures through which drinks were poured — the U.K. office of the agency’s global network had scandalized its provincial U.S. colleagues one Christmas party (not holiday, Christmas; that’s the way they do it in the U.K.) with anatomically correct ice sculptures that required the putting of one’s mouth on the genitals of his or her choice to receive the drink directly, without benefit of a glass — but I didn’t know the name of it as an alcohol delivery system until I described the ice sculpture to a 25-year old colleague and said, “Have you ever heard of such a thing?!” and she said, “Uh, yeah, I went to college.”

Uh, thanks.

This vodka luge did not require any mouth-to-ice contact or a college degree; a glass was put under the chute exit. But despite the fact that most of the specialty drinks on the menu were called or actually were some version of a martini, there were no martini glasses in sight. My White Cosmo fell out of the luge into a heavy, squat old-fashioned glass.

That alone would have meant some deductions from this judge. But the ingredients are what kept the White Cosmo out of the medals. Citroen vodka, white cranberry juice and fresh lemon juice. Totally missing were the orange-flavored liquor, either Triple Sec or Cointreau or as Reader Barbara M. suggested Grand Marnier, and the lime juice. I had one sip, and that was enough. No one else who tried it was impressed. It tasted mostly like spiked lemonade.

By the way, that spelling of citroen is correct. I wondered about it, since to my mind citron = lemon and citroen = car, but it turns out that citroen is Dutch for lemon. The Citroen car was founded by a Dutch man by that name. So a Citroen car is literally a lemon. As is the White Cosmo.

The search continues.