According to the Global Market Information Database, the USA ranks 6th in the world in spirit consumption. When you consider that we practically invented and definitely popularized the cocktail, it’s embarrassing.
In the 1800s, cocktails were generally consumed by “men of the sporting life” and journalists, i.e. gamblers and degenerates. Many of the early drinks were served in the morning, as cures for hangovers and to fortify the body. Throughout the century, bartenders developed unique styles, recipes and standards that are still around.
One thing this country has always enjoyed, even when and especially because it was outlawed, is a good drink. Whether it was rum on the Atlantic, bourbon at the races or that Bloody Mary at Sunday Brunch, alcohol is the American Drink.
Jazz welcomed hooch with open arms. Liquor was the other woman in the Blues. Country & Western ran on the hard stuff. We enslaved a people in trade for rum and introduced Native Americans to firewater in order to expand our borders. Our best were ruined by it while others were at their best, it seemed, when sauced. There are plenty of places out there that discuss alcohol’s negative consequences. American Drink is not one of them.
We’ve become spoiled and lazy here in the States. Instead of crafting cocktails from scratch, many turn to pre-made mixers full of food coloring and high-fructose corn syrup to help mask the taste of vodka—OF VODKA, a drink that’s rated based on the lack of taste. Meanwhile, the vodka industry pumps out flavored varieties to appeal to the juvenile tastes of a nation that is number one in the world in soft drink consumption.
America, we can do better.