Activist Bartenders

 

BonedryProving that everyone is allowed at least one redeeming quality, we quote a Wall Street Journal letter to the editor written by Robert Bork:

What counts in mixology is the “original understanding” of the martini’s essence by those who first consumed it. The essence remains unaltered but allows proportions to evolve as circumstances change. Mr. Felten’s “near-perfect martini” is the same in principle as the “original-understanding martini” and therefore its legitimate descendant. Such latter-day travesties as the chocolate martini and the raspberry martini, on the other hand, are the work of activist bartenders.

Hear, hear. (Oyez, Oyez?) To this we’d like to add that the “wacky” or “funky” martini glass (without a stem, with a glass ball instead of a stem, anything featured in a Bombay Sapphire ad) is a consequence of attempting to legislate from the bar, opportunistically insisting on the existence of a “penumbra” around the martini glass. This allows for interpretations far beyond those intended by the Founding Fathers.

Bork’s full letter after the jump.

Martini’s Founding Fathers: Original Intent Debatable

 
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Eric Felten’s essay on the dry martini is itself near-perfect (“Don’t Forget the Vermouth,” Leisure & Arts, Pursuits, Dec. 10). His allusion to constitutional jurisprudence is faulty, however, since neither in law nor martinis can we know the subjective “original intent” of the Founding Fathers. As to martinis, the intent may have been to ease man’s passage through this vale of tears or, less admirably, to employ the tactic of “candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.”

What counts in mixology is the “original understanding” of the martini’s essence by those who first consumed it. The essence remains unaltered but allows proportions to evolve as circumstances change. Mr. Felten’s “near-perfect martini” is the same in principle as the “original-understanding martini” and therefore its legitimate descendant. Such latter-day travesties as the chocolate martini and the raspberry martini, on the other hand, are the work of activist bartenders.

Mr. Felten lapses into heresy only once. He prefers the olive to the lemon peel because the former is a “snack.” Dropping a snack into a classic drink is like garnishing filet mignon with ketchup. The correct response when offered an olive is, “When I want a salad, I’ll ask for it.”

Robert H. Bork
The Hudson Institute
Washington

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