I was having a blood orange paloma in a crowded restaurant, alone at the bar. I’m not sure that that was the specific name of it, but it had ‘above my price range’ tequila in it and a salted rim. I only had it after watching an episode of Anthony Bourdain. In the episode, someone was pouring a cocktail and, not being a cocktail person myself, I wanted to see what that was like. Cocktails don’t usually run cheap and I perceive that the overall function of the cocktail is to mask the overall function of the alcohol. By intertwining culinary properties to an alcoholic beverage, one may feel a sort of festiveness and excitement. But, it does this by taking a quality product, the tequila, and placing variables in its way, obstructing it and setting up diversions.
I assume that people enjoy cocktails the same way people enjoy cutting up quality grade chicken, breading it, frying it, and then pouring a tomato puree over it much like they do in a chicken parmigiana. But, at that moment at the bar, I didn’t understand the cocktail. I didn’t understand what it represented or what it should be perceived as. I didn’t understand why I would ever go out of my way to buy a cocktail again. However, I was writing this morning when I came upon a point in my next book where two characters were examining whether people are chasing after what’s in front of them or being sold on the feeling of what surrounded them. When I see people having a cocktail, they’re having cocktails with other people. I was having a cocktail alone at the bar, surrounded by people I didn’t know and didn’t care to find out about. The only thing that mattered to me was the culinary process of the cocktail, the ingredients, and the price, all of which I was certain got in the way of me enjoying the key ingredient which was the alcohol, the tequila.
Overall, to me, it wasn’t much of an enjoyable experience. I left the bar wondering why people would buy such expensive luxuries. It was only until this morning while writing that I realized that people didn’t buy into the luxury of a cocktail, they had bought into a moment. No one cooks chicken parmigiana and eats alone. I assume that ordering a cocktail alone would be quite depressing given that it was. The cocktail itself doesn’t represent ingredients, a price, or even the alcohol stirred into it. It represents a moment of extraordinary circumstance. The quality of the ingredients and the alcohol matters, but not as much as the moment. People are not buying the cocktail, they’re buying the moment.Read my latest book, 'The Day Sex Robots Said No.' For exclusive updates, subscribe to my mailing list.