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Entertaining

How (And How Not) To Name a Cocktail

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For many mixologists—both professional and amateur—naming a new drink is the best part of the job. Not only does one get to baptize his or her own original creation, the rules for naming drinks (versus the rules for naming appetizers, say, or species of beetles) are quite informal.

Our 2008 Cocktail Guide (which comes out in April) is proof positive, and I’ve been able to glean a few drink-naming conventions, thanks to a quick read through the book’s index of 160-plus recipes: riffs on classic cocktails (Noir Sidecar, Napa Valley Fizz); allusions to ingredients (Guavarita, Gin-esaisquoi, Pinch of Basil); geographical references (Puerto de Cuba, The Ipanema, April in Paris); historical tie-ins (Boston Tea Party, Remember the Maine); number-based (87 Ways, Basil 8); political winks (Long Live the Queen, Filibuster Cocktail, The Chancellor); B-list celebrity references (Ewing No. 33, The David Carradine Martini); danger words (The Stinger, Tommy Gun, The Stiletto, The Wreck) and the downright oddball (Blueberries Gone Wild, Tante’s Medicine, Honey Don’t).

Myself, I’m an awful namer-of-drinks. I have a notebook on my bar filled with recipes that lack titles. I routinely ask friends, strangers and teetotaling relatives "what should I call this?" Don’t believe me? Here’s the list of cocktails I’m planning to make for an Oscar party this Sunday:

There Will Be Bloody Marys
The Diving Bellini and the Buttered Rum
Atone-Mint Julep
No Country for Old Crow
La Vie in Rosewater
Charlie Wilson's Ward Eight
Sweeny Tonic
Into the Wild Turkey
Americano Gangster

See what I mean?

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