I’ve called this post “Cocktails again" because I wrote about cocktails with Caroline in a recent post and am thinking about cocktails again in this one. What is it about cocktails that makes them seem so alluring? I guess it’s the sense of glamour that pervades them. Glamour is a subject that I write about for work and am endlessly intrigued by. It is a massively ambiguous concept, surrounded by multiple and at times contradictory meanings. Likewise cocktails. They can symbolise richness and opulence; think martini glasses and old school Hollywood film stars, or Manhattens and uptown New York nightclubs. They can also be vulgar and the alcoholic equivalent of the tabloids’ Page 3; think fishbowls and all the ones with a double entrendre for a name. The understanding of glamour that appeals most to me is the sense of it as something removed from the ordinary and everyday. For some, this may be a fantasy or escapism. For others, it may be about aspiration. For me, it is about doing something a little bit decadent – not grossly so, just a little bit. In many ways, cocktails fit the bill. One could just have a glass of wine, but a cocktail pushes the boat out further without straying too far into Marie Antoinette territory. They represent a moment of indulgence, two fingers to being sensible and restrained and contained. This has massive appeal as I’ve come to realise that I do tend to err on the side of being sensible and more-than-a-little puritanical. Cocktails are a reminder to let my hair down sometimes, to not take myself too seriously (another unfortunate tendency), to think "What the hell, the drink may cost £20 but hey barman, get mixing” (okay, so they weren’t my exact words, but I did once pay £20 for a cocktail).
I’m not sure my plans for tomorrow night would normally be classed as glamorous. I’m not getting dressed up and going to a smokey bar where I’ll be surrounded by mirrors and serenaded by jazz, but heading to a house scented by a large batch of chilli being cooked, surrounded by a large collection of blue-and-white china and serenaded by the cackles of a group of women gathered together. Throw cocktails into the mix, though, and it ups the stakes; it lends a different aura to proceedings. I feel I should rouge my cheeks and wear the best silk stockings that money can buy. And I can’t wait! Not necessarily often, perhaps not even regularly, just sometimes, we all need a bit of glamour in our lives.