Becoming a Good Drinking Host

Bill Marsano penned a “Mixed Reviews” column for the May 2008 issue of Hemispheres Magazine (United Airline’s in-flight mag) where he argues that party hosts should be putting more effort into providing better quality mixed drinks to their guests.

He quotes a colleague on this issue, Eric Felten, who’s written a book on drinking called How’s Your Drink? – Cocktails, Culture, and the Art of Drinking Well:

Being a host requires showmanship as well as generosity, so you do you best and pour your best. Many Americans now recognize that making good meals entails preparation and real effort, but don’t realize their drinks do, too. That’s too bad, because at home it’s really a struggle to match restaurant-quality food, but it’s a breeze to make better drinks than are served at many bars.

Marsano goes on to provide a few tips on how to improve in your roll as a “bar chef” by throwing out months old tonic, picking fresh lemons for Tom Collins’, and using ultra-fine sugar as a sweetener rather than undissolvable table sugar in cold drinks. Small things than can make exponential improvements to drinks.

He also has tips on how to make your own ginger ale, tonic water, and maraschino cherries for the true enthusiasts.

What do you think about this? Is it worth the effort to take the craft of mixology at this level? How insulting is it to make someone a drink from a dusty bottle of TGI Friday’s Mudslide mix? Stick to beer; you’re in the clear?

Felton also writes a column by the same name for the Wall Street Journal and can be seen in action through videos online including this one on the Original Intent Martini where sweet gin and vermouth are used:

After watching that video I have to ask, “How does one get Paul Lin’s job?”

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