My buddy said he was coming over to have a drink and showed up on my doorstep with a bottle of Blueberry Vodka. I didn’t know if I should mix a cocktail or bake a pie. How did we get from vodka, whisky, rum and even tequila drinks to infused vodka and cinnamon whisky? Here are a few of the steps it took to get us to the above mentioned Chocolate Martini.
First we had Spiced Rum and it just went crazy from there. Rum comes in so many flavors now, your local liquor store probably has a whole aisle set aside just for it. Vodka too, has become “Infused” with everything from peaches to blueberries. Even Tequila is coming in flavors ranging from mango to bacon. We knew we were in trouble when cinnamon whisky came out, but it all started when a shot and a beer became a craft beer and a Jagerbomb.
Introduced in 1935, Jägermeister actually means, “Master of hunters” and has been popular in Germany for years while exploding in the States over the last couple decades. Made with a combination of 56 herbs, fruits, roots and spices it is also known as the leader of the bar-top cooling machine craze. Sponsors of sporting and music events since the seventies, “Jager” has teamed with Red Bull energy drinks to make “Jager bombs,” one of the most popular shots ordered today.
Originally from Canada this cinnamon flavored whisky reminds us of the cinnamon candies of our youth. It packs a much different punch though as it is 33% alcohol by volume (66 proof). It was developed in the mid-1980s and was known as part of the Dr. McGillicuddy’s brand of flavored schnapps. Rebranded as Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey in 2006, it passed Jameson Irish Whisky and Patron Tequila in sales in 2013 and actually replaced Jose Cuervo Tequila as one of the top ten most popular liquors according to a Bloomberg Business Week article in April 2014. The article goes on to predict it will surpass Jägermeister in popularity, probably as you are reading this.
A martini is basically gin and vermouth with a garnish of an olive or a twist of lemon The exact origin of the martini is as hazy as you are after drinking a few. Some say it is named after the Martini brand of vermouth started in 1863. Other theories range from the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco in the 1860s to the Knickerbocker Hotel in New York City in 1911. Whatever its origins the martini became more popular during prohibition when illegal gin became the choice of speakeasies across the U.S. Once vodka became an ingredient, things went south in a hurry. Now we have appletinis, along with peach and anything else you serve in a martini glass. Chocolate martinis have chocolate around the rim and may contain gin or vodka, vermouth, and just about anything you can imagine these days.
In this day and age there is no telling what someone will order. Beer has more fruit than hops, vodka has blueberries and Tequila has bacon. It doesn’t matter if you want a shot of Fireball, Jägermeister or Jameson’s, they all pour the same. If you want your martini with chocolate, well, go for it. The bottom line is “Real” men drink whatever the heck they want.