Crafted drinks may embrace a farm-to-glass philosophy, requiring bartenders and at-home mixologists to troll the outdoor markets for the ripest berries, just-laid eggs, and hard-to-find herbs to be infused into simple syrup.
Drinks du jour often center around Pisco—a South American grape-based brandy that meshes well with the urban foodie obsession over Peruvian food. Bonus points for any use of lychees, particularly when the lychee’s essence has been extracted or infused in a cocktail. And more bonus points for understanding how to do that.
Truly Sexy Mother Foodies also specify that certain drinks have been “handcrafted.” The etymology of this term remains debated, as there are no records of mixologists using any other body parts.
Examples of extreme craftsmanship can be found in the pages of the PDT Cocktail Book. It is an unwritten rule, but each recipe in this modern barman’s bible requires outings to a minimum of three shops: two different liquor stores and one exotic grocer for fresh key limes, kumquats, and lemongrass. Of course, this is operating under the assumption that you keep on-hand a variety of aromatized bitters, fresh clover can be found in your backyard, and it is rhubarb season.
Adding to the challenge of barkeeping in 2012, some recipes will call for ingredients that are no longer made. Alas, good luck in finding a substitute for the Navan vanilla liqueur required for the Nigori milk punch. Whatever that is. We may never know.
Warning: Starbucks has noted this trend and recently began labeling its coffees as “handcrafted.” This term might be jumping the shark.