Cocktails again

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.

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