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Rant: shake down

Kenny Hodgart

 

I'm comfortable with the word "bespoke" when it's applied to tailoring. There is nothing worse than an ill-fitting suit, after all. I understand it is also applied to software and travel tours, which, again, is fine.

Bespoke cocktails, however, are a phenomenon at which a line must be drawn. It is an insult to weasels to label it a weasel phrase but it is one that is becoming ubiquitous in Hong Kong - in magazines and PR gibberish thrown about on behalf of bars. Almost certainly it comes from New York, where everything now is "bespoke" or "boutique" or "bijou" and everything on a menu is grass-fed, single cask, hormone-free, blah blah, hand-slaughtered, blah blah blah.

Insofar as "bespoke" means "made to order", one would trust all cocktails to be so - as opposed to, say, out of a tin. You like Bulgarian gin? Ask for it. You want the thing shaken for 45 seconds? Count them.

The problem is cocktail bars offer too much choice already. You knew where you were when it was just the classics: the dry martini, the negroni, the harvey wallbanger. Now it's all jujube berries and organic cane sugar ground by unicorns and "orgasm this" and "zombie that".

The worst of it, though, is the way people tell you about these places as if only they know of them; as if they'd invented a new colour. They haven't. They just know where to be fooled into forking out for some over-priced booze.

 

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