Nothing Shaking

From Seattle Weekly, 6/1/05

“Last week wrapped up a new three-week, 23-restaurant cocktail promotion called the Great Seattle Shake. Sponsored in part by the Seattle Weekly, the event aimed to entice cocktail drinkers to sample two signature drinks paired with an appetizer for $15. Whether it was the 7 to 10 p.m. time frame (threatening to keep drinkers up beyond their bedtimes), a cocktail’s perceived incompatibility with food, or possibly that Seattle residents are just really die-hard local-merlot drinkers, it’s safe to say that very little shaking went on during May.”

Or, it could be that most of the drinks sucked.

I mean, really–look at the list of “drinks” these places were serving, and tell me how many people would willingly toss down more than a couple, and those out of ignorance / curiosity / need to get drunkeness sake. Overreacting? Look:

Ancient Mexican Finnish (from Beach Cafe)
Finlandia lime vodka, sauza gold tequila, 100 year grand marnier syrup, fresh limes and sage, sour, on the rocks

Apple Spice Martini (from Hi-Life)
House apple infused vodka mixed with captain morgan spiced rum and a splash ginger simple syrup

MoMo’s Rum (from Jasmine)
Fresh squeezed orange, light rum with triple sec and peach schnapps, served over ice

And, in the name of all that is holy, this monstrosity:
Tom Waits Was Here (from the Pink Door)
Jack daniels, cynar & triple sec . . .”shake it shake it shake it baby!”

Etcetera, etcetera.

For the love of god, people, a drink should be a drink. Sure, have the token fruity candy syrup for those who like to take slugs of honey straight from the jar, but how about a little variety? Some bitter, some savory, some…difficult drinks. Instead, a tromp through the list of nearly 100 special cocktails reveals only a handful of interesting or innovative creations that are actually worth the effort of pouring down your throat. How many different variations of infused vodka / triple sec / cranberry juice / something-else-to-make-it-different-from-all-the-other-cosmos-out-there do we need? True, there were some classics in there–a mint julep, a few classic margaritas, and various Manhattans (none, however, with rye whiskey). But for every well thought-out drink, that focuses on flavor, balance and complexity (such as Ibiza’s Experience–three Hendricks gin and one part Pimms #1 with a splash of fresh lime juice & simple syrup and muddled cucumbers, shaken and served on the rocks or up and garnished with a cucumber slice), there are a dozen sickly little things that rely on the twin crutches of sugary sweetness and alcoholic wallop. Instead of a careful balance and depth of flavors, so many drinks–as exemplified by a mondo chunk of this list–throw as many flavors at the drinker as possible (in the form of flavored vodkas, spiced rums, etc), without bothering to pay attention to how it all works out in the end.

No imagination, and no clue to what happened when the big promotion failed. How Seattle Weekly.

One Response to Nothing Shaking

  1. I live in Boise, Idaho, where several bars and restaurants are taking a dieing stab at making inventive cocktails. Our town is so on the verge of death that every year, in May, a commitee of boutique owners and Junior League members get together to organize the annual “Martini Mix-off”, where bar owners and minor-league, Red Bull obsessed barkeeps churn out Sugar Nipples and Otter Pops by the quart. Every year the panel of judges, comprised mainly of wealthy playboys, radio and local TV personalities, and fun-loving women in their mid-40s with big boobs (model 2003), get together and select Boise’s most talented cocktailian. Apparently, these people know a lot about mixing drinks, because every year the winning cocktail seems more fit for the “Next Fluid for Use in Toilets When Water Runs Out” competition. Forget the obvious offenses like the gross misuse of the word “Martini”, and the poor qualifications of the judges, because there’s so many more fun things to make fun of. It’s like shooting fish in a barell, really. Brassy-blond fish in a barell full of Apple Pucker.

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