The degeneration of the classics due to mistaken intent or technique

@francois’ delightful op-ed (below) feels particularly timely to me in the wake of the “swizzle” (not actually a swizzle, but a middling punch served over crushed ice) I was served yesterday evening.

Even I get confused about some of these things, and bartenders sometimes help confuse me.

There is formula, there is intent, and there is technique. Recipes are terse and you often must read between the lines. Correctly understanding the intent can have significant implications for how the formula is interpreted, including glassware selection, garnishing, and choices about vague quantities (“top with…”, “fill with…”). Technique also can make all the difference—some drinks (e.g., the now-fashionable Garibaldi) are all technique (as @Splificator has explained to me more than once and I maybe now grok).

A sour that has degenerated into a quasi collins is a mediocre drink. A swizzle with insufficient ice, and insufficiently potent (flavorful) ingredients to hold their own against that ice is … not a swizzle. A bartender can easily Mr. Potatohead themself into fraudulence.

For those who missed it, here’s my article from a while back about technique and individuality in drinks. Plato & Aristotle Walk into a Bar A Meditation on the Daiquiri