Saturday, May 8, 2010

What's in a Name?

After a long weekend of making cocktails and other miscellaneous bevs, I've finally made it back to the keyboard to write about something which is pretty important to me.

Cocktail culture is pretty damn interesting, and many folk who claim to know a thing or two or even threaten to make a decent drink put loads of work into ensuring that everything they turn out is tip-top. This involves lots of work behind the scenes researching, tinkering, prepping, analysing, tweaking and progressing craft and recipes.

That being said, it's a bloody shame to put in all that greasy elbow juice only to waste your hard work by being too serious at the coal face during service. This is a broad topic, and a philosophy that'll need more discussion here - but one thing that's been pissing me off more and more lately is the formulaic and boring approach to naming new drinks.

Now I've copped a bit of schtick lately for creating a drink obtusely named Eric the Cocktail. Fair enough, it doesn't adhere to any of the "rules", and for our benefit I'll list those critters which have got us all bogged in nomenclature boredom here:

  1. The cocktail name should be linked to the classic cocktail class on which the recipe is based. For example: The London Fizz (fictional).
  2. The cocktail name should be linked to the based spirit which is chiefly used. The Bourbon Whisper (largely fictional and highly gay).
  3. The cocktail name should be linked to the culture from which the drink's theme has been extracted. The Tropical Breeze (probably not fictional somewhere).
  4. The cocktail name should be linked to its creator: The Calabrese Special (highly indulgent and a cheeky swipe at one of our cocktail "legends"). Gravy.
Well f all that. Know what? Customers don't care! Let's entertain them!!

What about names which are just down right ridiculous? What about names which just inspire customer interest? I want to trigger the mechanism in the human brain that says "well, I've gotta read what's in that!". Let's toss out the rules and have some fun at the bar - maybe it'll even rub off on us industry folk who take the game a bit too seriously.

So, in the name of the cause, I offer some names which haven't been used, but could be bags of fun:

  1. The Time Crisis Cocktail (named after a video game - preferably one which needs to be taken quickly!).
  2. The Holy Moses
  3. The Transplant Cocktail
  4. The Sticky Icky Rickey (has a classic name, but makes an awesome Snoop Dog reference!)
  5. Hysted's Jethro's No-Doze (JD and espresso. Inspired.)
  6. The Crusta Demon of Dirt (ok, another classic reference)
  7. The Hard Graft
  8. Nashville Cow Juice
  9. The Sponge Bath
  10. Icy Introspection Cocktail
  11. The "Get to the Chopper!" Cocktail
Ok, things are getting weird, and I should probably stop rattling things off the top of my head, but you get the picture! Let's hope we see a bit more imagination, and a bit less Bittersweet Symphony.


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