VinePair, in partnership with Rémy Martin, is presenting the Bartender Talent Academy, an exciting Cognac cocktail competition. You can showcase your most creative Sidecar cocktail recipes to compete for a chance at the grand prize, a trip to Cognac, France in October to test your bartending skills against the world’s best. All you need is a shaker and a passport. So visit www.bartendertalentacademy.com for all competition details and to enter. Hope to see you there.
This week on the “VinePair Podcast,” Adam Teeter and Zach Geballe define what a “modern classic’” cocktail is. Our hosts debate whether ascribing the word “classic” to drinks is even worth doing, but come to define a “modern classic” cocktail as a drink that a majority of accomplished bartenders should know and understand, and that’s not a simple riff on another well-known drink.
Teeter and Geballe go on to list what they consider the five essential “modern classic” cocktails, and discuss why listeners should have them on their radar.
If you have any thoughts on “modern classic” cocktails, please send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or Check out the Conversation Here
Adam Teeter: From VinePair’s New York City headquarters, I’m Adam Teeter.
Zach Geballe: And in Seattle, Washington, I’m Zach Geballe.
A: And this is the “VinePair Podcast.” Before we start the show, though, I want to tell you about something really cool that we’re doing. VinePair, in partnership with Rémy Martin, is presenting the Bartender Talent Academy, an exciting Cognac cocktail competition. In this competition, you are going to be able to showcase your most creative Sidecar cocktail recipe to compete for a chance at the grand prize, a trip to Cognac, France in October to test your skills against the world’s best bartenders. All you need is a shaker and a passport. Visit www.bartendertalentacademy.com for all competition details. Zach, you had your anniversary last weekend, congrats! How many years has it been? Five?
Z: Four years.
A: Well, congrats. What did you do?
Z: Well, we had our first dinner out at a restaurant since March 10, 2020. Actually, I sent my son up to his grandparents for the weekend. Then, Caitlin and I had dinner out of the restaurant very near where we used to live, which isn’t that far from where we are now, either. We picked it because it has a beautiful outdoor area. And when we made our plans a few weeks ago, we thought of sitting outside to be safe and all that. By the time the day rolled around, that morning and the day before had been pretty bad weather, but it ended up being quite a nice evening. After doing that once, we decided to dine inside. We’re trying to be careful with Saul because he obviously can’t get vaccinated yet. But for the two of us, we wanted to dine inside and, in fact, did that the next day for brunch. We went back in with both feet. We had dinner on Friday night, brunch on Saturday, and dinner out Saturday night with some friends who were in town visiting. It was nice enough for someone to make me a cocktail for the first time in a long time. It was all while the boring old pre-pandemic sh*t that now feels exotic.
A: It’s funny because I was talking to someone last night near me and I randomly did something that felt so cool and fun. Randomly, we were walking around our neighborhood of Fort Greene and we walked by a wine bar. We decided to sit down and have a drink. Usually, we would scope out the place, make a reservation, but there was outdoor seating. Then my cousin, who happens to live in the neighborhood as well walked by. We saw him and he sat down with us. And we are all saying how through these last few weeks or months as more people are getting vaccinated, that everyone has had the same experience, right. You had all these rules or things you were going to do, and then all of a sudden a situation presents itself and you go with that. For example, a month ago Naomi and I had a restaurant reservation and it was drizzling outside. They asked, “Would you like us to seat you inside?” Naomi and I were like, “Yeah, I guess so.” We are vaccinated, so we decided to go for it. It is pretty funny and it is like ripping the Band-Aid off and saying, “I guess we’re just getting back to normal.” And it’s great, I’m all for getting back to normal.
Z: Absolutely. Now, I get to join you in the litany of complaints about mislabeled or mis-made White Negronis because I texted you that evening, Saturday. Well, to be fair and also to be fairly critical, to your experience, they offered their cocktail special as verbalized by our server, a White Negroni. I thought it sounded great, probably stuck in my head from our conversation about it the other week. And it’s not a super-high-end pizza place, but they’ve had cocktails there before, and they’re fine. Then, the server comes back a couple of minutes later and she brings everyone else’s drinks that were Aperol Spritzes. She says to me, “The Negroni is going to be just a couple of minutes. We ran out of simple syrup.” And I thought, “Wait, what? Can you explain to me what this drink I ordered has in it? I didn’t think it should have simple syrup in it.” It just went off the rails. She said there was lime juice, simple syrup, and bitters. I said, “What cocktail is this? It’s not a White Negroni.” I mean, I didn’t say that. I just thought that. And since she didn’t make it yet, I chose an Aperol Spritz, which was delicious. But I thought, man, what is it about this cocktail that makes it impossible for places to get it right? I don’t know.
A: Yeah, it’s so weird.
Z: Did you drink anything good lately?
A: Did I drink anything good lately? Last weekend, it was a rainy Memorial Day, and that was terrible. It was such a bummer man. I think it would have been an epic weekend in New York City if it had not rained. First of all, I think you would have heard that all of the beaches in New Jersey and Connecticut and, of course, in the Hamptons would have been just insanely packed. Apparently, some of the bars still were, but not at the levels that would have been everyone vaccinated and ready-to-go-party weekend. That really was not the case, which was a bummer. Friday, I had a really fun dinner with Josh, VinePair’s co-founder, and his parents, which was awesome. Then on Saturday, Naomi and I found ourselves at this really random bar in Williamsburg. We were meeting up with some friends, and they had a bunch of crazy frozen drinks on the menu. Even though it was raining, I was going to do this. I had a frozen Mojito, which was actually really delicious, and a Piña Colada that had an Amaretto float on top. Both were really delicious. I hadn’t had frozen drinks in forever so that was probably the most exciting thing that I drank this weekend was those two frozen cocktails. Not a lot of wine. Again, it was a bummer weekend, man. It wasn’t as great as it could have been. I said to you before we started recording that I feel bad for all the people that had made plans to go to the beach, because it was not that weekend in New York at all.
Z: Again, we had our first dinner out last Friday. I got my dates a little bit wrong. On Saturday, we had our first dinner party since the pandemic started. We had a few small family gatherings previously, but we had some friends who were visiting from out of town. And then another couple that lives in Seattle came over. The coolest thing that I think we did and was the vague conceit was that two years previous we had been on a trip with a couple that lives in Seattle to the Okanagan Valley up in British Columbia. We went to a number of wineries with them, and two years later we opened a few bottles that we got on that trip, in particular, from a winery down at the very southern end of the valley called Le Vieux Pin, which is near the U.S. border. We had three different vintages of some Syrah that they make. I think their Syrah has always been one of the ones from the Okanagan that I think is just really exceptional. We got to try the three of them side by side. The other thing that was really fun for me, was all of a sudden everyone asked, “Can you make me a cocktail?” I got to actually use the home bar again. I make plenty of cocktails for myself and Caitlin, but that was earlier in the pandemic. I think I need to dial back on the cocktails because most people like the cocktail more than the bottle of wine. That was cool for a couple of months. And then I started to really feel it in a lot of different ways. Anyways, I decided to make cocktails. It turned out that a couple of our friends had never had a Negroni before. It was cool because I could show them what this thing is and they were really into it, and that was fun. I didn’t do anything wild, but it was these little pieces of pre-pandemic life coming back. I don’t know if you’ve experienced this, maybe you’re a more outgoing person than I am, and I’m certainly pretty outgoing. After a couple of days of having people over and doing stuff with other people, I was f*cking wiped. I need to not talk to anyone for all of Monday afternoon.
A: I mean, it is funny. Everybody feels like they’re ready. When they do go out, they go out hard, and they want to have a crazy experience. I believe that’s happening over and over again. Everyone is meeting up for dinner and they need to get appetizers. Then, they get dessert, and after dinner get drinks. I think everyone is just so excited, but it is exhausting. It is hard to think about that in relation to what we came from, which was sitting at home hanging out with a few people or ourselves. Now, we’re going back to full socialization. It’s a lot.
Z: It’s like going back to the gym after not working out for a year. The first day is awesome; you feel great. You are going to lift all the weights and do all the running. Then, the next day you wake up, and you can’t move. I feel a little bit that way but in terms of conversation. Fortunately, doing a podcast with you and Joanna has prepared me for talking to other people who are not my wife, I should say.
A: Oh yeah. And as a reminder to our listeners, Joanna did not get kicked off the podcast. She’s on vacation this week.
Z: Yeah. As you said last week, she’s already sick of us.
A: I know, seriously. Anyways, I thought this conversation today would be really interesting and I’m really curious what our listeners have to say about what we’re going to talk about as well. Over the course of the last few years, I’ve noticed a lot of people in the bar industry, including journalists, etc., will say that a certain cocktail is a “modern classic.” Obviously, the classic cocktails are things we talk about a lot on this show. We have the Daiquiri, the Old Fashioned, the Martini, and the Sazerac. Cocktails that have withstood the test of time. I think what’s been interesting is that some of these cocktails, I would completely agree with and talk about what we think some of those cocktails might be modern classics. Then, other times I’ll say wait, WTF? First of all, this is a cocktail that I don’t think anyone outside of this one city knows. It’s usually someone in New York that says this is a modern classic, and definitely no consumers know this cocktail. How are you calling it a modern classic? I think the biggest issue that I have with a lot of this is our desire to say something is a classic. With drinks, we’re really fast and loose with language and with what words actually mean. For something to be a modern classic, it needs to be a drink that truly everyone knows or a large majority of people know. That means that the industry knows how to make it to a large extent. If you didn’t see it on the menu, it could still be ordered at any given place on the regular. For example, obviously, this is not a modern classic. It’s the Negroni which is a classic, classic. I was at a restaurant during Memorial Day weekend with some people, and they had a very short cocktail menu, like three cocktails that they made themselves. And I wasn’t really feeling any of them and I asked for a Negroni. Of course, it came out, and it was perfect. That’s the idea of people just knowing how to make it. I find that those are my qualifications, and I think that we’re too liberal with saying that something is a modern classic when it really isn’t. It just happens to be a cocktail that some people in a small circle of cocktail professionals, etc., tend to really like a lot. I’m curious what you think first of the term, and then I would love to talk about some that we think actually are or aren’t modern classics.
Z: I think there’s an additional piece to what you said about what could reasonably define a cocktail as classic, whether old or new. A fair expectation is that most bars will have all the necessary ingredients to make it.
A: 100 percent.
Z: Because I think of the example earlier in the podcast of the White Negroni. Suze is not a default spirit that I would expect every bar to carry. That’s probably where both of our experiences went off the rails. One of the three ingredients in the cocktail is not going to be behind the bar in a lot of cases. To me, that’s a big part of it. Also, being fast and loose with language is part of it. I think it’s also just recognizing the incredible power that the language that people, whether they’re journalists, bartenders, etc. use, has to shape public perception of things. Classic is a loaded term, right? We talk about this outside of the drink space, the classics of English literature or movie classics. There is an implicit judgment laid in there, which is that if you’re unfamiliar with these things, you are unsophisticated. It’s a different assumption when you’re the bartender versus when you’re the consumer. Yet, in both cases, you can make people feel really bad to be unfamiliar with some of these drinks. I certainly know as someone who has bartended, plenty of people would come in and call drinks at me that I didn’t know. I wasn’t always super happy to admit that I didn’t know what they were asking me for, but there have always been resources for bartenders. That’s why there are all these bar books, apps, and websites where people can look up recipes. It does also create this whole bad vibe of making people feel defensive, making them feel inadequate. I think that it’s one reason to be very judicious about our use of the term classic, whether it’s classic, pre-Prohibition cocktails or modern classics. I’ll give one little illustration which hopefully helps. My dad is a well-educated, sophisticated person in general. He worked in restaurants for a while, traveled, and all this stuff. Yet, this blew my mind. My dad likes whiskey, but he had almost no clue on how to make a Manhattan. You and I would consider that a more classic cocktail, right? It is remarkably true to me when I step out of my own life experience and our collective bubble, people our parents’ age and certainly younger don’t grow up making cocktails. They don’t grow up learning how to make them. It’s not ambient unless the cocktail is literally described by its spirit and mixer, i.e., a Gin and Tonic or a Rum and Coke. It’s a black box to them. They have no idea what’s in it, even with something that I would feel comfortable calling a classic like a Manhattan. It’s all the more reminder that we need to be extremely careful when we think about applying this term because it has such a value judgment implicit in it.
A: I agree. So let’s do this for the purpose of our conversation. Let’s define what we’re going to say the term “modern classic” means. From our conversation thus far, I think classic should mean in this conversation a cocktail that at least a majority of accomplished bartenders should know. If you work at a bar that is known for cocktails, you should know this drink, right? That means I’m leaving out bartenders that might work at craft beer bars but happen to have a plethora of liquor behind the bar and they make some cocktails. If what you do is cocktails, this is a drink you should know. If you are a cocktail aficionado, you should know about this drink. If you are someone on the edges of the cocktail world, you should be able to understand if someone talked to you about it. I believe that is the first step of what it means to be a classic cocktail. It’s a cocktail that everyone in the industry knows. Do you agree with that, first of all? Is there anything you would add or change to that definition?
Z: I think the other piece of it — and we might disagree on this — I am a little bit unsure how to classify things that are essentially just riffs on or takes on terms I don’t love but are industry parlance on established cocktail formats. If someone says, for example, they would like a Boulevardier. And if the bartender says “I don’t know what that is” and you say “it’s a Negroni but with bourbon instead of gin.” The point is, for it to be a modern classic, it has to be more than a one ingredient sub for an existing classic cocktail. People will talk about things like the Oaxacan Old Fashioned, which is basically an Old Fashioned made with mezcal. It’s great, but you’re just bringing the template to a new spirit. You’re not creating something that is fundamentally different from what has existed.
A: Yeah, I could see that. Maybe we define it this way: If you’re doing something like a rum Old Fashioned, or Oaxacan Old Fashioned, it’s still an Old Fashioned. It’s a riff on a classic. It’s not a modern classic. If you’re using a template, for example, a sour template or highball template, but it becomes something different, then I think it could be. The question now is modern. Are we going as far back as the ‘80s?
Z: I think so.
A: Are we saying it’s the early aughts? Like what is “modern” in bartending?
Z: That’s actually a good question because I hadn’t given this a great deal of thought. Off the cuff, my instinct is that you had a real perceptible dearth of cocktail culture from the early ‘60s through to the early ‘80s. The cocktail culture was so defined, that there certainly wasn’t the spirit of innovation. Even if you and I look at a lot of cocktails that came out of the ‘80s and shy away from drinking a Fuzzy Navel these days, it’s no doubt that there were new creations that were being put out there. That is where I would potentially start things off, only in the sense that it’s only the idea of creating new things. That’s the whole idea behind a modern classic is it’s a new creation that has become so appealing that it spreads and becomes a cocktail that people around the world drink. If you want to limit it to the very beginnings of modern craft cocktail revival, the late ‘90s, early 2000s, I won’t argue on that because I think most of what we’re gonna talk about is going to be from that era.
A: Why don’t we say the ‘90s, for the sake of discussion, and for those listening, if you want to propose the Sex on the Beach or you want to propose the Fuzzy Navel or you propose Long Island Iced Tea, feel free. However, I think we should go from the ‘90s forward, and I’m going to start us off with a cocktail we talked about last week. That is the Cosmopolitan. I think it’s actually the most quintessential of what a modern classic is. It was developed in modern times by Toby Cecchini. It is a cocktail that became ubiquitous. Everyone knows how to make it. Some correctly, some incorrectly. It is a riff on a classic sour but it is its own thing and represents its own thing. If you want to talk about modern classic cocktails, you have to start with the Cosmo.
Z: It definitely meets your definition of you going into a bar and ordering a Cosmo and they are like “what?” I mean, I don’t know what bar that is.
A: That’s a sign that then maybe the bartender doesn’t know what they’re doing.
Z: Yeah. As we discussed last week, we think it’s coming back in a big way. If you’re younger than us and not that experienced, I guess it’s possible that you’re unfamiliar with it. Certainly, when I started bartending, I didn’t have any idea. I heard of a Fuzzy Navel or a Sex on the Beach, but I always had to look them up on the occasions that people ordered them. The point is, yes, I agree with you 100 percent that it is a modern classic.
A: You have to know it, right? I think a little bit of what you’re saying is somewhat holding it to an even higher standard than I think we can. I believe that you should at least know it or look it up to make sure you remember how to make it. Some of the ones that I’ve heard people claiming are modern classics or cocktails, and I’ve said to people even in the VinePair office who write about cocktails, and they would say, “What cocktail are they writing about?” Anyways, what else?
Z: The first one we were kicking around this idea that occurred to me is the Penicillin.
A: 100 percent, I can’t agree more.
Z: I actually think Penicillin is this really interesting example of a cocktail where it is the antithesis and a lot of ways of the Cosmo, because it’s never been a huge breakout star. It was never on “Sex and the City.” It’s not going to be the ubiquitous cocktail, but it is so beloved within the cocktail culture. There are two reasons for this, and I’ve always been fascinated by this. Bartenders, in my experience, really enjoy making cocktails with ingredients that people tell you shouldn’t go in cocktails, like single malt. I think there’s this idea of single malt being too precious, you should never put in a cocktail or that it doesn’t play well with other ingredients. When I was bartending and trying to create cocktails, I loved playing around with single malts. For one, I think there’s a really distinctive flavor profile that you can get in those cocktails. It is a challenge, right? It’s the opposite of making a vodka cocktail, to differentiate it from the Cosmo. With vodka, you can put any flavors on top of it and it will play nicely. With Scotch, you have to be careful. There is something undeniably beautiful about the way the lemon and ginger in a Penicillin really smooth off the rough edges or at least the harsh edges of the Scotch that you use. To me, that’s another one. Again, it’s more of a bartender and cocktail nerd drink than the Cosmo, for sure. But I still think it is definitely a modern classic.
A: Dude, I completely agree. I’ve been a little unsure of this one, but I’m going to throw it out there: the Paper Plane. I think it is known by a lot of people, but I don’t know if it’s known by everyone, so this one is a little bit more difficult for me. I think it’s everything it needs to be. It has a specific amaro that’s called for, which is Nonino. At the end of the day, it’s a weird riff on a Boulevardier, just served up. It’s bourbon, Nonino, and Aperol, with some lemon juice. It has a sour riff with the Boulevardier, but then the sweeter two amaros, Aperol and Nonino. It clearly became a rock star among bartenders. I saw it getting added like crazy across the country. If you walk into a cocktail bar in the United States, people should know how to make a Paper Plane and have heard of it, so I think it satisfies all for me. I just don’t think it is as ubiquitous as the Cosmo and the Penicillin. I think those actually — and I didn’t talk before this, so we didn’t intend to start with those two — I think those two are the clearest examples of a true modern classic. We’ve both discussed why the Oaxacan Old Fashioned is not. But this one, I think, sits very close to those two.
Z: The thing about the Paper Plane that I think also makes it fitting for this description is it also encompasses a couple of key ingredient trends that are big and have been big in this last 20 year period. If you think about other areas of cocktail history and why things became considered classic cocktails is because in some way they are reflective of various drinking trends from those periods or new ingredients that are available. I’ve certainly seen plenty of Paper Planes not made with Nonino and with other amaros. And Aperol, too. Aperol’s emergence next to Campari as an absolute bar staple. It was not at every bar I worked at when I first started working in the restaurant industry, but it quickly became that. Obviously, that has to do with more than just a Paper Plane, but it’s still a big part of thinking about the idea of cataloging these cocktails as part of chronicling the history of this period of time in cocktail culture. I think the Paper Plane is a great example of the popularity of those two categories. Then, the other piece of this is the incredible popularity of whiskey, and bourbon in particular. That’s another thing that I think is really interesting and to me, one of the fascinating things about this period. I have another cocktail in mind, but I have a question for you. Is there another bourbon cocktail that you feel is pushing into that territory? I thought about this, and I’m not sure I can come up with one that’s a modern creation that has reached the level that the Paper Plane has.
A: I really can’t think of one. Again, there are other variation cocktails that some might argue are modern classics. For example, the Gold Rush. But the Gold Rush is just a Whiskey Sour with honey instead of simple syrup. Again, is that a modern classic? I get that it was a staple of Milk & Honey, but was it also just that they were out of simple syrup that night? Is that how it happened? I don’t know. That to me is a difficult one, even though it is a bourbon drink. Yes, I would argue I don’t think that there is as important of a new bourbon cocktail as the Paper Plane. I think you’re right.
Z: Yeah. So the other cocktail I was thinking of — and again, I think the Cosmo predates the true craft cocktail movement, but it’s sort of an early entry. I don’t even know how I feel about this drink, but I’m pretty sure it was invented in that time range. That is the Espresso Martini.
A: 100 percent, again. Ding, ding, ding. So far, we’re four for four.
Z: I’m glad. The thing about the Espresso Martini that’s interesting to me is it’s a little bit of a fusion of a variety of trends, including literally just having espresso machines in most restaurants and bars. That is something that we probably take for granted to some extent these days, but was definitely not the case before the rise of espresso culture in the ‘80s and ‘90s. It is a great and terrible drink all at once, like all drinks that involve sweet and involve caffeine. I have had some great and terrible nights that involved an Espresso Martini, but it’s having a revival right now. It’s undeniably delicious, and that is hard to argue with — even if it’s hurting you the day after if you’re not careful, as most drinks do, frankly. That was one of the other ones that definitely occurred to me.
A: I agree. It’s interesting because the more I’ve thought about these other cocktails we’re talking about because of the rules we’ve created, how many of them are just basically simple riffs, like the White Negroni, the Gold Rush, and a bunch of these others. I’ve been like, huh? These are definitely cocktails that I think I know. Again, they’re not so ubiquitous. For example, a White Negroni is a Negroni that’s clear, so you can make anything with it, correct? That’s also what I think is hard about the rules we created, but also it makes it much more interesting as a conversation, is that it is such a hard thing to define in terms of what it is. I’ll throw one other one out there, which has definitely become ubiquitous again recently. I think one of the things that I believe is a perfect indicator of a modern classic is a cocktail that’s still ordered even after it was created, right? I would say the Pornstar Martini.
Z: Oh, that’s a good one.
A: It was developed 20 years ago. We wrote articles about it the year before Covid, when it was all the rage all over London. Everyone was ordering it, and it was on the biggest cocktail lists all over the place. I think maybe you could consider that one another modern classic. Again, I don’t think it’s as strong as the Penicillin and the Cosmo, but I think it’s one that enough people know. The Penicillin, the Cosmo, the Espresso Martini, and the Paper Plane are much stronger. Now, we’re outside of the core, true modern classics, but I definitely think it’s one that you could consider to be a modern classic.
Z: This is a little bit of a sidebar, but I remember having this conversation a couple of years ago with some friends of mine who are still in the bartending scene. They were people who participated in some cocktail competitions and things like that. Often a single spirit or something will sponsor these competitions, and the idea is to have all these bartenders create cocktails using that spirit, and then they judge them. There are fewer and fewer new things out there, especially on the spirit side. Obviously, there are always new ways to add different flavors into cocktails — and this is where we come back to something I said at the beginning, which is you have to find cocktails that almost all bars would have reasonably on hand. I think some of the most interesting things that have happened in cocktails over the last 15, 20 years is all the stuff that happens in-house. Whether it’s fat-washing infusions, barrel aging, and all these things that define so much of what we consider great cocktails or exciting cocktails. It’s unfair to say any one of those cocktails is a modern classic, even if it’s beloved, even if other people imitate it, because they require such specific and complicated ingredients and preparations. Yet, I do sometimes believe that’s where we are in cocktail culture these days, because so many people for so long now have been riffing and literally putting random shit in shakers and glasses, stirring it, and just trying it. I had this experience bartending where with every interesting creation, you have a lot that definitely is not good enough to ever put on a list. I don’t mean that we’re completely out of ideas for these classic template cocktails, but I do wonder if what we see is just where the creativity comes in is much more on the individual bar side where they can really add technique that the average, even other bars might have a hard time doing — let alone home bartenders.
A: Yeah, I think for it to truly be a modern classic, there needs to be a situation where if I order it at a bar and it’s not on the menu, they can make it. It doesn’t take the fat washing, it doesn’t take the molecular gastronomy. I don’t want to have 20,000 different ingredients. And another cocktail that I think is worth mentioning, even though, again, it doesn’t stick to our rules, is the Tommy’s Margarita. Sure, it is definitely a different Margarita. It’s just two ounces of tequila, one ounce of lime juice, and a half-ounce of agave nectar, so you’re changing what the sweetener is as opposed to being a simple syrup or Cointreau.
Z: Well, you’re taking out the orange component, too. Traditionally, you have some triple sec or Cointreau, etc.
A: So maybe you are changing it enough and you’re definitely upping the agave flavor, which I actually personally enjoy much more. But yeah, it’s a riff. Is it a creation of a brand new thing? I don’t know. Possibly, this is the sticking point because you have people who listen being like, “Guys, the four that you’re mentioning are all riffs.” And they are in some cases, but they also feel completely different and totally new. The Penicillin just exists on its own. Yes, I totally get that it’s basically a Whiskey Sour, but it’s made with Scotch and it has ginger syrup. But it feels totally unique. The Cosmopolitan feels totally unique. The Espresso Martini is its own thing. I don’t know. Maybe we really are just sitting here and for right now that the two of us, we’ve got five, right? We’ve got the Cosmo, the Paper Plane, the Penicillin, the Espresso Martini, and the Pornstar Martini. If there is anything else that we’re really missing? Email us email@example.com. But before I completely open it up, what do you think, Zach?
Z: I was going to say there are cocktails that I could think of that are new-ish, but no, I don’t think that anything at this point I would feel comfortable saying that they’re modern classics. The other thing about this concept is sometimes it takes a cocktail a really long time to catch on. It’s not always instantaneous, and so it’s possible that there is a cocktail that’s out there circulating a little bit now and someone came up with it during quarantine. Maybe it’s been percolating in one specific city or one specific part of the country or another part of the world entirely, and it’s ready to go big. We don’t know yet. If so, let us know, and then we’ll talk about it in 15 years when we do this again.
A: This has been a really fun exercise, and hopefully for everyone who’s listening, it’s been fun for you to hear us kicking it around, too. We’d love to hear what you think is a modern classic cocktail. Hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org or post on Instagram. Tag me @adamteeter and Zach, what’s your handle again?
A: Or @vinepair. Let us know what you think a modern classic cocktail is. Tag us when you’re out, even. We’d love to know. because I think as an industry we so quickly want to say that this new cocktail is a classic, but when you really boil it down and you give it those really strict parameters, it really is those five.
A: I’m happy with where we are, but I’m open to suggestions. So hit us up and let us know. Zach, we will have Joanna back next week, and I’ll talk to you then.
Z: Sounds great.
Thanks so much for listening to the “VinePair Podcast.” If you love this show as much as we love making it, then please leave us a rating or review on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever it is you get your podcasts. It really helps everyone else discover the show.
Now for the credits. VinePair is produced and recorded in New York City and in Seattle, Wash., by myself and Zach Geballe, who does all the editing and loves to get the credit. Also, I would love to give a special shout-out to my VinePair co-founder, Josh Malin, for helping make all this possible and also to Keith Beavers, VinePair’s tastings director, who is additionally a producer on the show. I also want to, of course, thank every other member of the VinePair team who are instrumental in all of the ideas that go into making the show every week. Thanks so much for listening, and we’ll see you again.
Ed. note: This episode has been edited for length and clarity.