The internet is killing my favorite drinks | Wbactive

I’ll just say it: for the last month I’ve avoided the thought of ordering a Negroni in a bar to avoid being labeled as a meme culture adherent. Though the classic Negroni (equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari) has been one of my favorite drinks for many years, the bartender asking for my order and the regular next to me don’t know it. You’d probably think I’d jump on Emma D’Arcy’s bandwagon after the House of the Dragon star declared Negroni sbagliato her drink of choice in a candid interview with co-star Olivia Cooke. (I wonder if the drink would have exploded like this if they had suggested sangria or a Tom Collins.)

“It’s only popular because of the redundancy of their saying ‘a Negroni Sbagliato with Prosecco’ because a Negroni Sbagliato is known to have Prosecco. That’s the drink!” says Nate Haskell, bartender at OAK Long Bar + Kitchen in Boston.

Translated into Italian as “mistake” and accidentally created after a Milanese bartender accidentally poured from a bottle Prosecco Instead of gin, the viral video has put all types of the amber cocktail in the spotlight. And that makes me want nothing to do with them (I haven’t even made one at home since).

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Let me explain what exactly unsettles me not only about the sbagliato, but about all fashion cocktails. Although viral moments like these bars offer opportunities to capitalize on the drink you jours Five minutes of fame, for the casual drinker, is just another fleeting moment in mass media culture. The majority of Negroni newbies don’t necessarily care about what they drink, but rather why they drink it—and the “why” is to conform (usually with an effort to create a viral social media post of their own). “It’s like not knowing who Tom Hanks is, seeing a snippet of a movie he was in, and then going on a social media crusade to let the rest of the world know about it,” he says Lou Charbonneau, beverage director at Xenia Greek Hospitality in Boston. “We know – thank you for drawing attention to quality things that we already like and have enjoyed for a long time.”

Just look back over the past few years, where Cosmopolitan, Aperol Spritz, and Espresso Martini all surged into the mainstream overnight (don’t even get me started on Dirty Shirleys). Sure, this internet craze may lure some lucky drinkers to meet their new favorite drink, but for the most part, viral drinks die a long, slow death where modern-day orders are prefixed with “I’ll be easy, but…” or: ” Let’s push it back to 2019.” And for cocktail enthusiasts and mixologists who love the classics, that’s a concern.

The reality is, fad drinks are nothing new, but how we mindlessly consume them is, and I’m ashamed of that. The earliest beverage trends date back to the turn of the 20th century when Old Fashioneds were celebrated for their simplicity. In the 1920s, this evolved into gin martinis. The ’40s were about daiquiris, the ’50s were about vodka martinis, and so on. When social media came into play, these decades-long trends morphed into mere month- or week-long sensations that end up buried in our grids, and therefore in our minds.

“Cocktail trends can seem like a double-edged sword: on the one hand, we get excited when people step out of their comfort zone and order something new,” says Ricky Dolinsky, co-owner, chef, and mixologist at Yo+Shoku and Paper Airplanes in NYC. “On the other hand, running off to try something because it’s endorsed by a celebrity, or worse, simply because it’s been featured on social media, can seem like tunnel vision for the subsequent customer.” He says it’s not unusual for patrons to walk in and order the hottest cocktail of the moment without ever looking at the drinks menu, even though Dolinsky’s bars offer over 20 original house cocktails.

“I find it kind of funny to see a bunch of light-eyed people ordering Negroni Sbagliatos for the first time, only to soon realize it’s a pretty bitter cocktail that isn’t for everyone,” says Harrison Snow, beverage director and co-owner from Lullaby in NYC. “I’ve seen a few half-full sbagliatos on the bar.”

Those half-full sbagliatos tossed down the drain are a symbol of modern society’s short attention span, as many drinkers briefly consider novelty before bartering for their usual order, without ever knowing the origins, legends, craft or even understanding the ingredients—besides Prosecco, duh—around them. In this way, such microtrends not only ruin beloved classics; They rob the creativity of the bartenders.

But some bartenders are realizing the missed learning opportunity for fashionable cocktails. “I’d prefer a guest to sit down at my bar and ask me to walk them through a cocktail that’s similar to what they’ve seen online but suits their taste better,” says Emily Harding, bar manager at the Civility Social House in Somerville, Fair. That way, she says, drinkers who are genuinely curious about what’s in their glass can get away with something they actually enjoy and might even order again.

“If we lived in the early to mid-2000s, viral cocktails would be a boon to craft cocktail culture. It would bring awareness to the world of craft cocktails that the general public may not have known about before,” says Sam Slaughter, author of Are You Afraid of the Dark Rum?” “In 2022 I don’t think that’s necessary . If you want to cash in thanks to viral trends or ‘be part of the cool group’, just grab the next drink.”

If only social media could start an everlasting trend. Abby Taylor, bar manager at Urban Hearth in Cambridge, Mass., believes such moments of virality hamper the art behind cocktails and create a fleeting itch when little to no attention is paid to the drink’s history or composition. “I’d love to see a return to the apothecary approach to cocktail creation,” she says. “Spending time sourcing quality ingredients, growing your own herbs and fruits, or delving deep into the medicinal properties of the syrups and tonics you use could help shape a new trend.”

Until then, if you’re as sick of sbagliatos — or whatever that next social sip we’re served — as I am, Slaughter reminds us, “They’re viral trends for a reason; They will go out of style sooner rather than later.”

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