Mixology. Kidology. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell the 2 apart. I’ve written about my definition of a cocktail elsewhere but suffice to say, for me it’s about having 2 or more alcoholic ingredients.
I remember a few years ago meeting a guy who now builds kitchens for a living, but who had done some barwork in his younger days. He told me how disillusioned he was about cocktails when he had to make a Cuba Libre, only to find out that it was merely dark rum, coke and a bit of lime. Now I like dark rum and coke. It is in fact one of my 6 favourite spirit and mix drinks. And yes I would usually add a bit of lime to it too. But I don’t consider it a cocktail. It is a simple spirit and mix. Plain as.
The same would go for the iconic gin and tonic – with lemon or cucumber or whatever. Another one of my 6 favourite spirit and mixes. No-one ever tries to pass this off as a cockail. It’s not in any of my cocktail books. But the Cuba Libre is. So what’s the difference? Perhaps it’s all about the name. If the humble Gin and Tonic had become known as a ‘Nirvana’ then perhaps it would also be considered a cocktail.
The same applies to the enticingly named Dark & Stormy. I love the name. It is evocative of something. But I was a bit disappointed when I realised that it is just dark rum (supposedly Goslings), ginger beer and lime. So a sibling to the Cuba Libre. Again nice combination of flavours, but not a ‘proper’ cocktail.
The most ridiculous of all though has to be the Screwdriver. It’s a vodka with orange. Puleeze. The most neutral flavoured spirit mixed with the most popular (I’m guessing) fruit juice on the supermarket shelves. It’s hardly us mixologists at our creative best now is it?!