Friday, November 16, 2007


If the newspapers and magazines are to be believed, ours is the flushest moment in the history of the cocktail since the 1920s with more new cocktails being created using a an ever broadening assortment of fruits. It is a time too of celebrity bartenders which may go along with the increasing number of gossip pages and celebrities famous mainly for being famous or outrageous.

Credit or shame where it is due. For several years, I had the creative and delightful experience of working with the late Joe Baum famous from his days at Restaurant Associates including the Hawain Room along with the Four Seasons, the Forum of the Twelve Caesars and many pavilions at the World's Fair among his creations. Later, he created Windows on the World and recreated the Rainbow Room.

He always championed cocktails and striking bars and bar rooms. He used generously over-sized Martini glasses and double old fashioneds particularly liking Bourbon old fashions made with honey and plenty of lemon. he had me do research on historic cocktails and re-introduced them.

When he got to the stage (both senses) of the Rainbow Room, he put his head bartender Dale DeGroff into headlines where he has remained. In 1997, William Grimes writing for The New York Times, compared the extravagance of the bar at the World Trade Canter--The Greatest Bar on Earth--with its huge cocktail list with Mr. DeGroff's style of more classic elegance. The piece is still a good primer on cocktails. You can read it by Google-ing Rainbow Room Bartender.

We are still drinking more wine--perhaps almost as much red as white--so where is all that alcohol going. Fun anyone?

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