If downing alcohol is a heady social expression for the middle-aged, drinking a cocktail can best be described as the suave expressionism of the young rebel. And it is this difference, the element of brashness that helps reflect individual identity or the need to make an ambitious individualistic statement, which sets the two apart. While drinking alcohol straight is considered too unsophisticated by the younger generation, the suave and the impression-challenged modern generation’s obsession for the cocktail mix is seen as rebellious by the matured.
Let me take the difference further. While it is considered fashionable by the oldies (sorry, anything above 35 here) to boast about their single malts and vintage wines (their ladies swearing by Café Royale and Irish coffee), the hip and the mutinous younger generation likes to show off its cocktail colours — Margarita, Mojito, Sex on the beach, screw driver, Bloody Mary… the list is endless; the options inexhaustible.
Recently, a friend called it the roomier option. She said it gives her space, allows individual choice, encourages experimentation and receives accolades — all point towards flexibility. I couldn’t agree more with her, but argued: Did you know that by adding juices and flavourings to your drink you are doing nothing but spoiling the taste of alcohol? I guess you need to mature to enjoy this taste. I was also like you once, stuck with this goopy litter. She laughed and moved on, calling me an oldie. Despite the strength in my argument, it was I who felt defeated while she maintained her composure.
Well, you can make out now, it is generation-specific. Try to recall and you may not be able to name many oldies who liked cocktails. It was only after my experience with my younger friend, I seriously took a re-look. Believe me, cocktails not only appeal to the senses and taste great, irrespective of age, they also prove to be great fillers between planned alcoholic binges on extended weekends. The break-in actually serves another purpose — it enhances the taste of the alcohol. So, in a way,
I think it would be fair to say that the cocktails and alcohol complement each other — just like the older and the younger generation do.
Kulpreet Yadav is the author of The Bet.