I’m not pondering drinking one, just pondering the concept and spirit of the drink.

I hang out with a lot of cocktail bartenders, and the vodka soda seems to be the whipping boy of popular drinking culture upon which they unleash all their all pent-up scorn and contempt. These “mixologists” view themselves as craftsmen who shouldn’t be bothered by the unenlightened. It’s like asking a great sculptor to paint your ceiling. I get it; there’s no craft involved, and no flavor, but hey, there are also few calories, few chances of having one made poorly, and I suppose if you are in the mood for a glass of sparkling water but also hope to become intoxicated, it’s a proper solution. I’m out with the same guys doing shots of cheap whiskey faster than they can taste them, which isn’t really different from everything they hate about vodka soda drinkers.

I’ve actually seen bartenders sneer and walk off when a patron orders a vodka soda… seriously, one guy pretended not to hear this pretty, tipsy blonde’s order, looked to me with a roll of his eyes and promptly walked to the other end of the bar and started polishing glasses. I understand maintaining standards and refusing to serve a product that isn’t of a quality suited to the establishment, but if you are going to stock both vodka and soda, there’s no excuse not to serve them together in a glass with ice.

Furthermore, it’s counter-productive.  The scorned customer will never come back and will probably write a nasty Yelp review, the establishment will lose a sale, and the bartender misses an opportunity to make the same tip for 10 seconds work that he would have earned on a complex, 6-ingredient cocktail that would have taken 5 minutes or more to make and required vigorous shaking or stirring.

I love my cocktail classics, and unique and challenging drinks, but all this vodka soda derision needs to stop.

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