How to Spell “Classic” without “Ass”

During last week’s Manhattan Cocktail Classic one of the many seminars presented covered a topic many bartenders are very familiar with, when is lecturing cocktail history to your guest too much? Cocktail historian David Wondrich presided the seminar were topics such as cocktail history as a hospitality tool or an excuse to boost bartenders ego and the use and abuse of cocktail history were discussed.

This next excerpt was taken from Robert Simonson for the NY Times

A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, said the writer, cocktail consultant and bar owner Philip Duff. The road of half-baked “research,’’ he said, “leads to the palace of arrogance.”

But St. John Frizell, a writer and owner of Fort Defiance in Brooklyn, said there was a value to knowing about a cocktail’s provenance.

“Knowing where the cocktail comes from makes it taste better,” Mr. Frizell contended. “You never drink in a vacuum.” He suggested that sketching in the historical framework of a classic drink can help to “provide an extra level of enjoyment.”

Chad Solomon, a founder of the consultancy and catering group Cuffs and Buttons, added that, at this point in the cocktail revolution, bartenders have little choice but to stow a little history up their gartered sleeve. “People want context,” he said. “People expect it.”

The challenge, it seems, is to deliver that context so that it’s received as a pleasurable accompaniment to drinking, and not, as Mr. Wondrich put it, “a club we beat people with.” One audience member wondered how most bartenders would answer the question, “Am I doing this for my guest, or for myself?”… Click to continue reading full article.

This video created by Phillip Duff.

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