If food and drink trends are to be believed then, gin is one the way out and whiskey “is the new gin.” I call bullshit on both those statements.
There is no denying that the amount of self loving that happens for a goblet of gin is second only to the amount of self loving that goes on in the Oval Office, Stormy Daniels or not, allegedly. With people establishing distilleries in their garages, gin stands a lesser chance of dying out than Ryanair in the next 10 years. Fingers crossed for the later.
We have become obsessed with the joy and delight that a simple, G&T can bring; it’s not rocket science really, it’s just gin and tonic, you decide how much of each. It must be enticing to call ourselves mixologists, the way overweight middle aged men can call themselves reserves at a football match when they’re wearing their teams kit in the stands. The art of mixing drinks has essentially died, the way that mini-disc never stood a chance with MP3s, and even they’re in danger thanks to streaming and… Vinyl.
And it’s the vinyl that brings me to the joy of what is, the Old Fashioned.
A drink made popular by Don Draper and his Sterling Cooper cohorts, when they weren’t downing Vodka Martinis at 10am. Fiction or not, the way cocktails were drunk in the 60s was a different ball game, and advertising agencies on Madison Avenue knew how to party, hard.
Andrew Cracknell’s recounting of the “Real Mad Men” makes you know that things were toned down for TV. Days where executives were allowed to be completely smashed out of their faces like they had visited a bar at 7am was somewhat acceptable and copy which incited some level of racism was of course, fine.
Today’s brand of advertising and marketing executive is everything but those curmudgeon ridden pissed fellows. Today it’s all about social likes for the office dog and “engagement levels” for being politically correct yet equally risque. It’s clickbait versus office fights, political correctness versus tobacco poisoning, self pontification over drinking fellow colleague under the table, all before your, “elevensies.”
But I return to the Old Fashioned and vinyl because even todays sharpened executive has realised that somethings are better when cherished. Vinyl is hipster enthused sobriety, yawn, yet it sounds fucking cool, especially when jazz is played through each speaker with ear gratifying grumbles of background noise. The Old Fashioned is of course, just cool. It is so relaxed it makes an Italian fireman look panicked, and that’s just on first sip.
The real similarity is how there is a love for both in a time when everything has become fast and convenient. We live in an era of UBER and Deliveroo. We have Netflix for our films, Amazon for our shops. We’re angry when our internet speed is less than 4mb per second and we think that everything should be done through an app or a website because, “it just can’t wait.”
This is a call to a time when collecting stuff was known as something different to hoarding. When cards had zero airbags, and seatbelts too. It was a time for reading magazines like the New Yorker and National Geographic for witty comments and observations and it was a time when a cocktail meant something.
It wasn’t perfect, don’t get me wrong, I’m an early 80s child and I think they were boss, but there is something that the 60s just, had. Rebellion and conformity, sounds and colour, a new world dawning and the art of the after work drink. It was no fuss, no nonsense and whilst the old fashioned wasn’t the only one, it mattered.
Bitters, sugar, whiskey, ice… it’s not rocket science, but they even did that better in the 1960s. Cheers.