We love cocktails at the LA Beat, but we have to agree with some of the points made by the Zagat Guide’s latest survey.
1. Too Many Ingredients: Combinations of >10 ingredients seem ‘fancy’ but taste like mud,” and another complaining that the ingredients themselves are just, well, ridiculous. “I went to a place that serves a drink with thyme-infused apple liquor and zerbens pine. It tasted like a Christmas tree.”
2. Drinks Over $15: Many of the guilty parties are speakeasy-style cocktail bars that are heavy on the old-school techniques. One surveyor isn’t hesitant to call them out: “Because you burn an orange peel and drop it in a glass does not mean you should charge $18 for it.”
3. Weird Vodka Flavors: In the past few months, we’ve witness the launch of the aforementioned marshmallow plus cupcake, whipped cream, pumpkin pie, peanut butter and jelly and – wait for it – hemp. Why can’t vodka just taste like vodka again? The whole idea is that it’s supposed to be flavorless!
4. Molecular Cocktails: Ok, to be fair, these beverages are for the most part totally safe (as long as they are made by a trained professional), but folks who took the survey complained that they don’t really add anything to the drinks flavorwise (unless you count “notes of freezing cold” as a flavor).
5. Twee Serving Vessels: Note to thirtysomething drinkers going out to booze it up with your friends: the tea party ended long ago. Unless those friends are imaginary, you should not be drinking any boozy beverage out of a tea cup. One of our commentors reminded that “proper glassware for a cocktail is key”
6. Herbal and Floral Infusions: “Half these ingredients sound like they come from the land of Smurfs,” one said, with another pointing out that “some are ok, but most are like spraying a can of Glade in your mouth.”
7. Bacon in Drinks: Our surveyors want bartenders to “leave the breakfast foods on the table please,” noting that “drinks are meant to be drunk, not chewed.”
8. Enough With the Retro: Manhattans, old fashioneds and sidecars are all well and good, but do you need to wear a fedora while drinking one?… enough with the “bartenders who dress like an extra on Boardwalk Empire.” It’s the 21st century, and people want their drinks to reflect that.
9. Metal Straws: Sure, there are a few things to like about metal straws. They help keep the liquid cold, and they surely reduce waste – just think of all those plastic straws that are forever in a landfill. Ow! Sorry, we just chipped our tooth while we were thinking about all that extra waste.
10. Cocktail Snobbery: News flash: drinking is supposed to be fun. In the modern era of mixology, when everyone is so hyperaware, it’s easy to forget that. Surveyors called out the snobbishness of both patrons and the bar staff – the main complaint is that “people who think they know everything about cocktails” just ruin the fun.
I like a nice muddled drink and creative mixing but if a fancy muddlin’ bar specializing in those 10-ingredient dealies gets crowded, be ready to wait 30 minutes for your drink order. And seriously, hemp- flavored vodka? The whole point or elevating the technique for pot cookies was to get that horrible taste OUT of the finished product!
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