Retro hedonism in a glass: why 2022 was the year of the martini | Food and drink

T.In his years, martinis were inevitable. It was the lubricant of choice in the era of retro pastiche. It was a moment dominated by an e-commerce aesthetic like Mad Men. It’s less a meditation on desire than a mid-century credenza pamphlet.

Gen Z flocked to TikTok’s resurrected geriatric hotel bar to take selfies over cheese-stuffed olives. The espresso version helped aging millennials stay awake past bedtime and recapture the fun of their 20s for just one hour. flowed out into the hinterland. In April, an article in New York Magazine declared martinis to be a “boom,” and bartenders resented how many customers had their hearts pounding. A premium beverage consultant I spoke with said a private client wanted a “martini-only party.” In November, in his CGA Cocktail Tracker, which measures the most popular cocktails in the United States, Martini soared to his No. 3 spot, leapfrogging once-popular Manhattan. Espresso His Martini also climbed his fifth spot in the rankings, making the biggest breakthrough among cocktails.

On a recent trip to Las Vegas, the drunken sophistication of the Rat Pack gave way to single women sloshing three-foot-tall souvenir mugs in the shape of saxophones. greatest drama. In a kitschy diner, I saw a woman order a dirty vodka martini with an extra olive and demand a shot of Hennessy in it. The color was like sewage. She knocked it over brilliantly without a frown on her face. It seemed incontrovertible proof of its excellence that the Martini, under the guise of a minimalist, penetrated the most minimal or bombastic of America’s playgrounds.

So what’s behind the sustained revival of Prohibition-era cocktails?

With its restrained composition of only two ingredients (three if temperature is included, very cold), the martini has always been shorthand for a kind of intellectual hedonism, among marketing managers who prefer the term experience curator. is becoming more and more popular.

Consider shape.

A typical martini glass, with its long stem and angular vessel, derives its elegance not from the power of its curves, but from the smoothness of its shape. Carrying it across a crowded bar requires the composure of a ballerina, the focal point of a chess player. fall into This is a casual performance in the face of danger, showing worldliness and charm. And when you take a sip from its conical chalice, its width is almost vulgar, and its volume is so concentrated towards the top that you can swallow a good chunk of its contents, but it still overflows. A glass that is half full forever.

It’s a drink of possibility that straddles the modern gender divide. For all bon vivants who reject the claustrophobic heterosexuality of IPAs but don’t want to suffer the penalties of natural wine with their boring backstory, Martini is a fun middle ground. The cosmopolitan of color heralded the rising power of women in the sex market. Carrie Bradshaw could go on like a man, but still drank something sweet that betrayed her coquettish femininity. Today’s girlbosses no longer have to be shy.

Don’t worry about putting the patriarchy on a pedestal. Just a cloud of innocent olive juice. Photo: Lara Hata/Getty Images

The modern male hard worker, with his tenuous desire for success and anxiety over his diminishing role in society, can find a little mince to show he’s hip, but castration Non-binary youth are able to see themselves in the historical connections of both men and women (James Bond, Antti Mame) and do not betray their obvious affiliation. And for all the multi-hyphenates whose brand never goes away, the favored drink of working lunches in the ’60s remains a totem of understated power, well into the evening.

Above all, it is a nostalgic drink. It was an unspoken yearning for a while before we all felt so judged, so desperate, so tired. Self-conscious liberals worried that their aesthetic affiliation would reveal the wrong political leanings, while Martini worried about being seen as pro-fascist. It’s a passport to an era when men wore tie clips, women wore skirts, and DEI officers were scarce. Boundaries between work, home, and sex crumbled before the polyamorous playdates and endless girlfriend Slack notifications were scheduled. A pathetic recollection safely locked in a glass, we don’t have to worry about putting the patriarchy on a pedestal – just a cloud of innocent olive juice.

Instagram and Wayfair jumbled our visions of the past into one awesome Pinterest board, placing a substitute Noguchi coffee table next to our Great Gatsby-themed engagement party. Boutique hotels come and go in the same anachronistic collage, splurge on deco chandeliers and skimp on imitation Breuer cane chairs. But there are always martinis on the menu. With the death of Joan Didion and her subsequent furniture auction, Cocktail Hour as a vehicle for coastal elite fantasy culminated this year. Her barware set, which includes a decanter, a wooden corkscrew, and a funnel (“Funnel with bruises and oxidation. A wooden bottle opener with cuts and chips”), the lowest price she gave was $400. It sold for $3,750. You don’t have to go out of your way to join a literary person when you can drink like a literary person. Props are important.

Feeling nostalgic. So we slip into a velvet booth at a brasserie, put on red lips, and name our sons Archie. I miss the past. Chilling his glass of martini might be more fun than breaking the glass ceiling. Or maybe we like the past because our vision has a cleaner aesthetic. Everyone had lung cancer, but at least our inner surfaces weren’t loaded with iPad chargers, e-cigarettes, and reusable bags.

In a time when our most elaborate fantasies cannot match the eerieness of reality, we find ourselves craving memories of something we’ve never experienced. Something that reminds us of the joys and freedoms and pains of .Or wish we had. You can hold it in your hand, it’s ice cold to the touch, when you think about how smart you are and how good you look. And for a moment, just a moment, we may regain that pristine brilliance when the future unfolded before us. Full of promise. A glass half full forever.

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