These days any bartender in any bar who can put some ice in a glass and throw in a mixer with abandon gets to call themselves a maker of cocktails. Pity the customer who seeks a quality drink. How is one to distinguish between a proper bartender and a common slinger of sludge? Even in some of the finest eating establishments — locations where only the finest chef’s will do – a proprietor will simply shove a cocktail shaker into the hands of any charlatan and call them a bartender. Something has to change.
In bygone days, a cocktail was more than just a drink: it was an institution. A cocktail would be taken prior to dinner. The ambience would be calming — perhaps a pianist in the corner offering variations on a theme of some Cole Porter song –- and the drink was as idyllic as the light of the sun, setting beyond the bar’s windows. Customers could decompress the day and let go of the stresses and tensions that will have preceded this most auspicious of hours.
Cometh the hour, cometh the bartender, whose job is to ensure that the cocktail is neither a distraction from, nor the point of the proceedings. A barman will have a detailed knowledge of every cocktail a customer might enquire about.
Cometh the Spiritualist!
We propose a cocktail dogma called the Creed of Cocktail Spiritualists (C.O.C.S) that produces a standard against which all proper bartenders (hereafter called “Spiritualists”) should be measured. Only if all the tenants of this standard are met, should any barman earn the right to the title Spiritualist.
We publish this below. It is a process and we invite any of you to participate in it. When it has been subjected to the rigors of debate and over the course of some months, we will take it to the highest authorities in a bid to get it passed into drinking law. Wish us luck!
The Creed of Cocktail Spiritualists
A Spiritualist must always:
sample a cocktail before serving it to a customer;
have knowledge of all cocktails, including measures;
use precise measures unless instructed to vary them by the customer;
use fresh fruit and olives when called upon;
never use prefabricated cocktail mixers;
never use prefabricated “sweet and sour” mix;
never put fizzy apple cordial (or other non-essential cordial) into a drink and then call it a “martini”;
never serve a drink that ends in the letters T I N I when not preceded by the letters M A R (except under exceptional circumstances);
keep music ambient rather than deafening;
ensure all televisions remain off except in the event of historic broadcast occasions.