"... his Sazerac contains a touch of ambergris, the whale secretion used in perfume production..."
There's some weirdness going on these days in the segment of commerce that goes under the rubric "cocktails."
Earlier this morning I tried to watch this video with these 2 supposed science geeks using nitrous oxide to hasten the infusion of berries and almonds into vodka. This is presented as an alternative to going out for a drink and "a dude in suspenders takes 7 hours to make it for you" — at least in San Francisco.
And I was listening to this amusing Stephen Merchant performance "Hello Ladies" — about dating — where he says the woman always orders "a cocktail" and gets a laugh as if everyone understands "cocktail" to be expensive. Back in the 70s, I knew a young woman who tested her dates' worthiness by — when the waiter asked if you'd like a drink — ordering a split of champagne.
But when did "cocktails" suddenly become something especially posh? I'm guessing specific establishments in American coastal cities made a market push. Here in the Midwest, far from the coasts, but right on the isthmus, I'm keeping biliary secretions of the intestines of the sperm whale out of my booze, and if I need reminder of the taste of deep-cooked bone, I'll gnaw on the charred tips of the last chicken Meade roasted with the drink on the side. And if there are any containers of nitrous oxide lying around, can't we just mix it with nothing?
Speaking of nothing, back in the 60s there was a whole genre of jokes about making a martini — the sophisticated cocktail of that era — that involved pouring gin in a glass and doing something else with the vermouth. So, seriously, if you want a glamorous cocktail, get some nice martini glasses and keep your gin in the freezer.
ADDED: Meanwhile, I went looking through my photographs from last month in Austin, Texas, thinking I'd taken a shot of a bar touting some crazy number of "infusions." I hadn't. But I found this:
IN THE COMMENTS: Paddy O says: "More along the lines of Althouse's opinion, is Ron Swanson's views on mixology":