The Myths of the Bar, Debunked

The New York Times recently tackled a collection of beloved bar and spirits myths, debunking them with the help of some well-qualified experts.

Among them:

  • Older is better: “It’s absolute nonsense,” said Ronnie Cox, director of the Glenrothes, a Speyside Scotch. “It’s not about oldness, it’s about maturity. Age doesn’t mean anything other than that whiskey’s been in that cask for that amount of time.”
  • Sweet is silly: “I think expectations are still informed by the cocktails of the pre-craft era, when people added sour mix and cranberry cocktail,” said Tom Chadwick, owner of Dram, who insists that all his cocktails, even the sweet ones…are balanced, with the spirit, citrus, sweetener and other elements cohabiting in the glass.
  • Absinthe: Customers “really hope they’ll hallucinate,” said Maxwell Britten, beverage director at Maison Premiere, a Williamsburg bar well stocked with absinthe. “I tell them, ‘If you drink enough alcohol of any category, I guarantee you will hallucinate.’ ”
  • Irish Whiskey are Catholic or Protestant: “If you look into the ownership, it’s all international corporations,” Mr. Frizell said. “I don’t think the Irish even care.”
  • The worm in the bottle of mezcal: [Note: The myth usually claims that tequila has a worm in the bottle. It doesn't. It was mezcal, tequila's uglier sister, that did.] “It was created by Gusano Rojo in the 1950s,” said Steve Olson, an owner of the Lower East Side tequila and mezcal bar Viktor & Spoils, of the widely sold mezcal brand, “when the tequila market had boomed and left mezcal far behind, as an enterprising marketing attempt to get mezcal away from its image as moonshine.”

Kudos to the writer, Robert Simonson, for a great piece. He includes some more quotes that didn't fit, over on his blog.

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