The Cocktail Vibe
As important as the addition of well prepared, exciting, flavorful, old-school Cocktails are to an evening of imbibing, there are several other things to take care of and that are equally important to a fun experience. Mr. Cocktail is a firm believer in all things Cocktail and this absolutely includes ambiance. You must have the vibe cooking in the room. Cocktails walk hand in hand with music, barware, setting, lighting and mood. This is the place to come for recommendations on music, music, recipe books, history and the scene.
The little nook devoted to cocktails in your casa, your bar, your set-up should be the place you and your friends gather to relax. I highly recommend that you find a bar with a couple of stools and buy them. I see them in practically every home furnishings catalog that comes in the mail. If your fortunate enough to have a home built in the early 50’s to mid 60’s, there’s a good chance it came with a basement bar or at the very least, a nook or spot intentionally designed for adult get-togethers. If you don’t have the room in your house or apartment to devote to a bar, than may I suggest you find a nice piece of furniture large enough to devote to a collection of bottles and barware and set this up in a cozy corner near some cozy seats and your hi-fi system. The bar is part of the vibe. When you’ve had a long day at the millstone and you turn that key to your home sweet home, knowing there’s a tiny oasis on the other side of the door waiting for you will do wonders for your mood. At Mr. Booze, we’ll talk a lot about home and basement bars. I’ll show you mine and will point you in the direction of downloadable plans and advice for building or buying your own. I love walking into a nice bar as much as the next guy but, I must say, it’s awfully damn nice to have a set-up in my home too. Let’s face it, drinking and driving is a big no-no; you just should never do it. Having a home bar and friends in the neighborhood or a taxi ride away can be just what the doctor ordered. Sometimes, you just don’t want to go out. I hear you.
Bringing home a couple of friends or a special someone? Watch for the smile on their faces when they see the little nightclub tucked away in a corner. Backlit with beautiful bottles, shakers, cocktail bric-a-brac and glasses neatly displayed on top, your bar will become a source of pride and joy. Look at it as a new hobby. Ebay, antique shops, garage and estate sales will become hunting grounds flush with instruments specifically designed for the serving of cocktails. Stemware, ice-buckets, old liquor ads and bar bibles/recipe books will become the things to duck into little shops for on rainy Saturdays. One of the main reasons I’m such a proponent of classic cocktails, first mixed decades ago, is that the barware designed to go with them is simply gorgeous. Art Deco, Nuevo, kitchy, gaudy, politically incorrect, sexy, silver, rustic, chunky, feels good in your hand, naughty, solid, sleek, the barware of times long gone sings out to be used and enjoyed. You and your friends will appreciate drinking from it and using it.
In the coming months I’ll show you the best places to find it and point you in the direction of companies still making it. Believe me, you don’t have to break the bank setting up a bar with some old-school appeal.
I just can’t rant enough about it…having the proper music during an evening of classic cocktails is just as important as the gin, vodka, bourbon and ice you put into it. A drink enjoyed with a beautiful melody is a drink that simply tastes better. I’ve never mixed drinks and had friends over where I didn’t put a little thought into the music I’d be playing. Hell, even if I’m going to have a bet alone while the wife and kids are at a movie, I make sure I have some soul stirring music on in the background. Drinking in silence is not allowed. If I’m having the boys over for poker and drinks, I make sure the jazz is soothing and pre 1970. Can’t have any fusion screaming at me while I’m trying to take their money. If the wife and I are alone and are relaxing with a Manhattan, Sammy Davis or Dean Martin can be nice.
If we’re having a party, you just can’t beat the Capital Lounge Series. There’s just something about the sound of ice tinkling in passing glasses and the jazz instrument of a voice that June Christy records have that add to the joy of the evening. All point out the artists and sounds I feel you’d do well in having on hand. The buzz off a few well mixed Gimlets and the sadness of Sinatra’s In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning can combine and provide the drinker/listener with a powerful and enjoyable momentary experience. Music and booze; you shouldn’t enjoy one without enjoying the other.
I haven’t made the jump to downloadable music yet so you’ll have to bare with me. In the coming months I’ll be pointing you towards CDs. You might eben try to dig up an old record player or buy one of the new repro turntables that I’m seeing everywhere. There’s an awful lot of beautiful LPs waiting for you out there. Garage and estate sales are flush with cocktail culture vinyl.
So…you see with the Vibe
It’s the little things that add up. The little things like music and flavor and temperature and the right glass, the right ingredients, they all combine to give you, the drinker a cocktail experience. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to discussing the vibe with you in more detail. This’ll be the spot on the page to do it. And I absolutely expect you to share your cocktail culture tips with us.