So, have you noticed? It's just about Valentine's Day. In this issue we've made the fitting connection between valentines, as in The Book of Love, and our cover story on the art of cocktailing, a vintage activity that is enjoying a renaissance.
Cocktails, of course, involve bartending, a noble profession that also seems to have achieved new respectability. I'm glad of that, for I have fond memories of my own tenure as a mixologist - 13 years off and on of slaking the thirst of demanding barstool jockeys. (Sometimes all they were demanding was the alcohol, fancy drinks be damned.) Bartending was one of those occupations, such as cab driving, that helped fill in the fallow periods of many a career.
My gig was more of an industrial drinking situation, heavy on the brandy sweets, brandy sours and Brandy Presbyterians (now more commonly called a brandy press). An Old Fashioned was about as fancy as I got, and in drink-a-day Wisconsin it was always made with brandy, a Badger State peculiarity.
Author André Darlington brings us all up to date with his report on the contemporary cocktail scene. It's gotten quite a bit more complicated and creative; some of the concoctions described would have driven me to my Old Mr. Boston drink recipe book, though I did make a mean margarita, with variations.
Speaking of creative, we were hoping for some of that with your submissions for The Book of Love, and you didn't disappoint. You have enough time between now and the 14th to go through all that fine print and see if someone has valentined you. And if they did, take them out for a fancy cocktail, a good lubricant in anticipation of the serious aspect of romance, if you know what I mean. If you don't, well, enjoy some chocolate.