Unlike food, trends in cocktails seem to be a little longer lasting. Maybe it’s the influence of television or the movies or music, but here are my suggestions for the iconic drink of each of the last few decades.
The 60s: The Martini
Okay this is early to mid-60s I’ll admit, and probably reflects more my memory of television in the 60s. (Remember Darrin coming home for a martini in Bewitched? Or Mary Tyler Moore handing Dick Van Dyke a martini after work?) Men and women were always enjoying a martini and yet no one ever seemed to get drunk.
The 70s: Beer
All that disco dancing made us thirsty and before we really knew or worried about calories it was easy to have a beer.
The 80s: The Margarita
It wasn’t just in Florida that we were getting wasted away on margaritas – it was
everywhere. Whether it was the Jimmy Buffett song or pure escapism, Margaritas were exotic, adventurous and delicious.
The 90s: The Cosmopolitan
Sex in the City, the HBO hit TV show of the 90s made every girl want to be hip and fun like those girls in New York ordering cosmos. It helped that a cosmopolitan was sweeter than Dad’s old martini, and more sophisticated than that salt moustache you’d get from a margarita.
2000 -2010: Wine
New California wines suddenly made drinking wine a patriotic thing to do, and when Australia starting producing low-cost, terrific wines (with a new fast-aging procedure which sped up aging by 30 years) wine bars took the place of regular bars. Not only could you show your individuality through your wine choice, but have a whole conversation just about wine.
2010: The Mojito
I nominate the mojito for the drink of this decade. The mojito was Ernest Hemingway’s drink of choice in a Havana bar called La Bodeguita del Medio. But until recently, the mojito was overshadowed by the more popular margarita and the daiquiri, which are much sweeter than a mojito.
No longer an obscure Miami cocktail, the mojito is now popular worldwide. This summer I tried mojitos in Canada, Greece, Turkey and France. Not only did everyone serve mojitos, they had slight variations on our classic lime and mint combination using brown sugar, agave nectar, or lemons instead of limes.
What I love about the mojito is that it’s never the same twice. Every bartender makes even the classic mojito slightly differently (basic recipe is lime, mint, soda water, simple syrup, rum or vodka). So from drink to drink, bar to bar, you never know quite what you’ll get. But at the same time, it’s always fixable to your liking. Too sour? –ask for some more syrup. Too sweet?—add some lime. And one mojito can last you all night. Order a sparkling water on the side and just keep topping up your mojito as the night goes on. Okay the flavor diminishes a bit but your head feels better the next day….Yes there are varieties of the mojito – a watermelon mojito, strawberry mojito, but I love the classic.