When I was knee high to a grasshopper (the insect kind, not the drink containing crème de menthe), my father bought me a “mocktail” (a non-alcoholic concoction of fruit juice, crushed ice and grenadine) at a restaurant. Since then, I’ve been fascinated by the delectable delights decorated by those tiny umbrellas and toothpick-skewered cherries. A cocktail is not only about what’s on the inside. It’s definitely a book to be judged by its cover. If it doesn’t have garnish, it’s not a cocktail in my opinion! You can’t shake together a mix of sweet spirits, cream, juice and ice, stick it in an ordinary glass and guzzle it down. There has to be some effort, some pizzazz, some style put into these delicacies! So, as a self-described expert on the consumption of these wicked potions of sin and merriment, I would like to shine a spotlight on the Cinderella of the bar and offer hints as to enjoying her correctly.

When buying cocktails
1. Don’t bother going to a pub, where the barman looks like he’d be more comfortable in a blue singlet and a pair of stubbies.
2. Know your stuff! Don’t embarrass yourself by saying “I want one of those thingies that has the three different coloured layers in it”. The bar attendant is going to roll his eyes when you’re not looking and give you way more of the non-alcoholic liquid than the stuff you really want.
3. Be prepared to pay top dollar! If you think a cocktail should cost anything less than $7, stick to pre-mixes. It takes skill and top quality ingredients to make a good one. You wouldn’t ask a highly regarded pastry chef to whip up a batch of shake-n-pour pancakes, now would you?
4. Now’s not the time to be fussy. If you like your drink a certain way, it’s fine if you’re talking martinis. But a “Sex On The Beach” is made to a formula! You can’t deviate from the accepted norm or it simply is not “Sex On The Beach”. If your thing is to add and subtract ingredients, stick to ordering Whoppers with extra cheese and without pickles.
5. Expect and demand your cocktail in a glass. Anything offered up in a fruit should be reserved for poolside on the Lido Deck of the Love Boat.

Drinking cocktails
1. If your goal is to get drunk, you don’t need to do that in style. That’s what beer and hard spirits are for. Please, when partaking of cocktail indulgences, show a little class. They should be sipped with finesse, coveted for the way you look while drinking them, and enjoyed to the smallest puddle in the bottom of the glass.
2. Save the garnish for last. Try to refrain from munching on the pineapple piece, the cherry and the orange slice until the end. There is an exception to this. A delectable pina colada is even more divine when you can dip the skewered cherry into the froth and lick it a few times. Just do it tastefully!
3. No licking the inside of the glass, or tipping your head back as far as you can to retrieve the remaining dregs of your cocktail. For goodness sake girl, just have another!

By Gina Luca * Gina is a freelance writer whose passion for talking to people on the Internet provides much inspiration for her writing.

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